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  1. Wednesday, September 30

    Don’t Forget! Morning Glory Farm Giveaway

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    Don’t forget to enter the Morning Glory Farm cookbook giveaway. CLICK HERE and post a comment by midnight tonight! You don’t want to miss your chance…it’s a lovely book!

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  2. Pizza Stone Update

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    I need to do a quick report on my pizza stone, mostly because I want to brag. Since I last wrote about it, I have greatly improved my skills with the pizza peel. I’ve successfully slid TWO pizzas into the oven without folding the crust under and making a big mess. I know, I know…two pizzas isn’t exactly a track record, but it still feels like a victory. Just look at that perfectly un-ruined crust!  (Quick note: I tried making pizza without putting cornmeal on the stone and it worked just fine. I still put lots of cornmeal on the pizza peel, but no need for it on the stone.)

    garlic bread pizza

    In case you’re wondering what kind of pizza this is, I like to call it Garlic Bread Pizza (original, eh?). Brush some olive oil on the crust, push two garlic cloves through a garlic press and spread the garlic around, top with mozzarella and fresh basil. I’ve been making small pizzas like this as a side dish to pasta lately. Yum.

    Back to the pizza stone. I finally ordered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It arrives on Thursday. I can’t WAIT. A friend of mine has been bugging me to make this bread for some time, and now that I have the baking stone I really need to. Then I met one of the authors Zoe Francois (who I love, by the way) at BlogHer Food and felt especially inspired to get my butt into bread baking gear. I’ll definitely report back on this bread, so stay tuned!

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  3. Tuesday, September 29

    Happy

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    I am happy. Do you know why? Here’s a clue…

    clue

    Figured it out yet? Need another clue?

    new desk

    I have a new iMac. I know, I’m totally giving Apple free advertising here, but I don’t care. When I got home from BlogHer Food late Saturday night, I walked into the house to find this lovely surprise on my desk. My previous computer was 6 years old, and while it was a good computer, it was time for retirement. After all, 6 computer years is like 120 human years. Nate decided this would be a nice birthday surprise for me. He was right. 650 GB of beautiful storage space and 4 MB of speedy RAM later I am the happiest graphic designer/blogger/mom-with-thousands-of-pictures this side of the Mississippi. Isn’t Nate the best?

    For those of you who notice the details…yes, our Inbox/Outbox is full. And yes, I don’t have the fancy new keyboard yet. It’s coming. And if anyone can spot something super scandalous, you win the prize for best eyesight.

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  4. Monday, September 28

    BlogHer Food: Swimming in Scharffen Berger

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    I have so many fun things to share with you from BlogHer Food, so instead of one monster post, I’m going to divide it up into a few. And since chocolate is hands down the best food ever, we’re going to start with Scharffen Berger.

    scharffen berger box1

    Ah, Scharffen Berger. They were an official sponsor of BlogHer Food and one of the sponsors at the fun after-party put on by Ree, Jaden and Elise. Which means I received a LOT of Scharffen Berger chocolate this weekend. Which means I’m one happy girl.

    My favorite? The 41% milk chocolate. To die for. It is creamy and smooth, but still has very rich flavor. But I still have lots of other chocolate to eat…tonight I’m going to make lava cakes and use the bittersweet chocolate and cocoa. You can bet I will report back on the results.

    scharffen berger 2

    Chef Elizabeth Falkner was at the conference with Scharffen Berger, who is currently hosting a recipe contest that uses ‘adventure’ ingredients combined with chocolate (you could win $10,000 – check it out!). In honor of the adventure ingredients, she made a magic chocolate box, which was essentially a giant chocolate box filled with all kinds of ingredients…both crazy and normal. If you wanted to eat it, you had to put on a glove and stick your hand right in. Linda from One Scoop at a Time captured an oh-so-lovely shot of me enjoying this unusual dessert.

    elizabeth falkner

    Elizabeth Falkner was also at the after-party, where she had prepared some amazing petits gâteaux. And yes, I ate my very own without any help. And yes, I was a little sick to my stomach afterwards. And yes, it was worth every bite. I got a chance to chat with Elizabeth for a minute, at which point I drilled her about Iron Chef…and here’s what I discovered, for those of you who care. The Iron Chef and the challenger get a short list of potential secret ingredients about one month prior to the taping, but they don’t find out the ingredient until you see it on TV. They are given a small budget to bring ingredients of their own, and there is a well-stocked pantry on set. I asked her if it was stressful or fun…and she said both! Maybe I’m just a geek, but I’ve always been curious about those little points. Elizabeth was very nice (and cool) and it was fun getting a chance to meet her!

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  5. Sunday, September 27

    Week 140 Menu

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    I can’t wait to share my fun weekend at BlogHer Food with you…but at this very moment I’m completely wiped out, so I’m going to take a nap instead. Until then, please enjoy these homegrown tomatoes from Katie at goodLife {eats}. ALL of my tomato plants died this summer…I blame the dirt and a suspected virus. It certainly couldn’t be me, right? Katie felt guilty literally swimming in healthy, homegrown tomatoes, so she carried a bag on the plane all the way from Albuquerque to share with me. Now that’s food blog love if I’ve ever seen it. Thanks, Katie!

    katie's tomatoes

    On to the menu! You would think a weekend at a food blog conference would have me fired up to cook. Nope, it actually has me fired up to be a better photographer. I may end up playing with my camera all week instead of cooking!

    MONDAY:
    – Homemade margherita pizza
    – Salad

    TUESDAY:
    – Tacos of some kind – there was a lot of taco talk this weekend, feeling a bit inspired

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Chilaquiles – this was on TWO menus last week and I haven’t even heard of them, so I’m giving it a try. Figure I can incorporate leftover ingredients from taco night. Recipes are welcome!

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Baked loaded potatoes (Sherri S put this on her menu last week…sounds really good to me for some reason…Nate doesn’t really like potatoes…he’ll have to suffer for one night….aren’t I sweet…should I keep doing ellipses…is it annoying yet…)
    – Salad

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out

    SUNDAY:
    Butternut Squash Risotto – doesn’t that sound good? I think I’ll add some chicken to it, as well.
    – Salad

    Your turn! Please share your menu for the week! I love how we’ve had lots of first-time posters lately…please keep those menus coming! As you can see, the more tired I am, the more ideas I steal from you…so, thank you for your ideas!

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  6. Thursday, September 24

    My New Favorite Cookbook, Morning Glory Farm…and a free GIVEAWAY!

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    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your interest!

    I recently received an email from Vineyard Stories, a publisher on Martha’s Vineyard, about a new cookbook called Morning Glory Farm by Tom Dunlop with photos by Alison Shaw. This email stood out for two reasons. First, I love the Cape and the Islands (Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket), so anything related immediately piques my interest. Second, they mentioned seasonal cooking, which I am increasingly interested in. I responded to the email and they sent me a copy of the book to review.Can I just say that I am SO happy I read that email? This cookbook is wonderful and I am excited to share it with all of you.

    morning glory farm cookbook2

    Morning Glory Farm, which is filled with lovely photography, opens with the story of the Athearn family, who own and run Morning Glory Farm near Edgartown, MA on the Vineyard. A few recipes are woven into this first section of the book, which is both interesting and endearing. Next are recipes grouped by season. The recipes that I have tried so far have been healthy and delicious with wonderful, layered flavors. The recipes are also very approachable and uncomplicated. It’s definitely my kind of cookbook.

    stuffed acorn squash

    Since I like this book so much, I really wanted to share it with everyone. And what better way to share than to do a giveaway?

    Enter for your chance to win a copy of Morning Glory Farm by adding a comment to this post by Midnight PT, Wednesday, September 30. One person will be randomly-selected as the winner, which will be announced on Thursday, October 1. I will also share one of my favorite recipes (pictured above) from the cookbook in that post, so be sure to check in next Thursday! (Click here for the recipe)

    Big thanks to Vineyard Stories for making this giveaway possible!

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  7. Wednesday, September 23

    A Cookie Hail Mary

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    I did the craziest thing the other night, and it had nothing to do with Las Vegas. And I guarantee Chris Berman would be proud of this play.

    cookie miracle

    Here’s what happened: I made these cookies but inadvertently took them out of the oven way too soon. After letting them cool for 10 minutes, Nate and I started to eat and realized they were, well, kind of gross. Which was so disappointing. After an hour of watching TV, I went back in to look at my sad cookies. I thought the game was over, but I decided to go for the Hail Mary pass.

    I re-pre-heated the oven, then put the cookies in for about 10 minutes. And, believe it or not, they came out perfectly! I still can’t believe it worked. The cookies were fresh but certainly no longer hot when I put them back in the oven. I’m not saying that anyone SHOULD cook their cookies this way…I’m just saying if you have nothing to lose, go for it!

    I’m reminded of the time my brother and sister-in-law brought a beautiful turkey to our Thanksgiving feast…only to discover it was not cooked. They pulled the classic “put ‘er back in the oven after the fact” move and it worked!  Gotta love a good Hail Mary pass, especially on Thanksgiving. ;)

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  8. Tuesday, September 22

    Grilling Vegetables

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    Surprisingly I have never grilled vegetables outside on the grill…until now. I have ventured into the brave new world of grilled vegetables and am wishing I had done so sooner. This was the best zucchini! Cooked to perfection with really great texture. I can’t wait to try more veggies on the grill…speaking of which, if you have experience, which vegetables have worked best for you? Any grilled veggie tips?

    grilled zucchini

    In case you’re wondering how I cooked these puppies…I tossed the sliced zucchini in olive oil and sprinkled with my favorite seasoned salt, Onera*. I then grilled over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.

    *The Onera website isn’t working…I know they were struggling to stay in business, I’m thinking maybe the struggle has ended. I’m so sad. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?! I’ll tell you one thing, my chicken salad will never be the same. I better use my last shaker of Onera wisely.

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  9. Sunday, September 20

    Week 139 Menu

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    Before I moved to San Diego 8 years ago, I hated cilantro. After living 20 miles from Mexico for over 6 years, well…now I love cilantro. I am currently experiencing a similar metamorphosis with sourdough bread. Before we moved to the Bay Area…blech. But it is really starting to grow on me. What’s more, there are so many different kinds of sourdough here, it’s really fun trying them all out! Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

    colombo sourdough bread

    On to the menu!

    MONDAY:
    – Baked Stuffed Winter Squash (more on this recipe another day!)

    TUESDAY:
    Tortilla Soup

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Barbeque Pulled Pork (more on this recipe another day, too!)

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – My Birthday! AND…I get to go to a dinner in Napa Valley with Rocco DiSpirito…Rocco heard it was my birthday and wanted to do something special. Just kidding. It’s a pre-BlogHer Food dinner I was invited to that should be pretty darn fun!

    SATURDAY:
    BlogHer Food conference – can’t wait!

    SUNDAY:
    – Paninis

    Please post your own menu for the week! Can’t wait to see what you’re having…and to browse your ideas for next week’s planning!

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  10. Friday, September 18

    Pretty Tomato

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    I turned around to chop this tomato the other night, and this is what I saw. I love these lucky moments of light.

    tomato

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