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  1. Monday, December 15, 2008

    “The Gathering of Friends” Giveaway Winners!

    I’m happy to announce our two winners for The Gathering of Friends cookbook giveaway…

    Kristin, who said, “Maybe this time”¦” (this time was it, Kristin!)


    Anna, who said, “ooohhh!!! how exciting! I am so addicted to cookbooks”¦ this would be so fun to add to the collection!” (consider your collection “added-to,” Anna!)

    Congratulations, ladies!  I hope you enjoy The Gathering of Friends.  To the rest of you, better luck next time (as in later today!)…and be sure to go get your own copy of The Gathering of Friends!

  2. Sunday, December 14, 2008

    Week 99 Menu

    Look what came out of my oven this morning!  Delicious pain au chocolat!  I spent hours making these croissants.  It’s a very involved process.  KIDDING.  I bought them frozen at Trader Joe’s, let them rise overnight, and this morning our apartment was filled with the smell of fresh croissants!  None of the work, all of the pleasure.  These will be PERFECT for Christmas morning.

    You have until midnight tonight to enter “The Gathering of Friends” cookbook giveaway! Click here and post a comment!

    And, if you haven’t already, take part in the Holiday Virtual Cookie Exchange here!

    This is our family’s busiest week of each year…Anna’s birthday (I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already), Cate’s birthday and Christmas preparations.  Wish me luck…I hope I survive!

    – Chicken cordon bleu (from freezer section)
    – Rice
    – Veggie

    – Eat out (birthday celebrations that night, so won’t have time to really cook)

    – Cate’s favorite dinner…not sure what that is yet because she’s napping. Will update later!

    – Pork chops
    – Rice
    – Veggie

    – Eat out (I know, twice in one week…but we have more birthday celebrating that day AND doctor appointments…so I’m being realistic)

    – Chili
    – Corn cake toppers

    – Leftovers

    Now, time for your menus! AND…be sure to come back this week…I have another giveaway you won’t want to miss!

  3. Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Pumpkin Waffle-Off

    When autumn rolled around, I couldn’t resist buying the Pumpkin Pecan Waffle & Pancake mix at Williams-Sonoma.  (I’d link to it, but they’re not selling it anymore.  Sorry!)  It was a little pricey, so I decided to hold a Waffle-Off…I used the mix for one batch and a Williams-Sonoma recipe for the other batch.

    The mix won.  The recipe was good, but the consistency didn’t come out right (see picture below, which looks nothing like the picture on their website). Ugh.  I really wanted the recipe to win, especially since I can’t even buy the mix now if I wanted to!  The recipe was good, but not great.  Perhaps I’ll try to perfect it…or maybe one of you has a good recipe!  Please share if you do (I think someone mentioned a Rachael Ray recipe in a comment?).

    Regardless, pumpkin waffles are YUMMY. Oh, and Williams-Sonoma came up with yet another food item that I’m probably going to try to make myself…just like these pumpkin waffles…and just like the pumpkin butter.  That store keeps me busy, and poor, and eating overly-indulgent foods!  Uh-oh, I just noticed the peppermint bark is back…AND the hot chocolate.  Oh my.

  4. Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Free Giveaway! ‘The Gathering of Friends’ Cookbook!

    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

    Remember The Gathering of Friends cookbook I told you about recently? Now’s your chance to get a free copy of your own!  TWO lucky, randomly-selected TWFD readers will each win a copy of this great cookbook!  Just leave a comment on this post by Midnight PT on Sunday, December 14!

    Thank you to Michelle Huxtable & Alyse Christensen, the authors of The Gathering of Friends, for such a great holiday giveaway!  And be sure to check out their website, where you can order the book, see some video and get some recipes!

  5. Monday, December 8, 2008

    You’re Invited! Virtual Cookie Exchange!

    A dear friend of mine in San Diego hosts a Cookie Exchange every December.  It is the best!  Everyone bakes 10 dozen of one kind of cookie, then brings them to the exchange.  We all hang out for a few hours (eating and chatting!) and then go home with 10 dozen of all sorts of wonderful cookies!  I was able to put the cutest plates of cookies together for friends.  It was fantastic!

    I wish so much I could have you all over for a real cookie exchange, but I simply don’t have room! 🙂  But how about a little “virtual” cookie exchange to get us ready for the holidays?  One of the best parts of Jen’s cookie exchange was discovering new recipes, so I thought a Cookie (Recipe) Exchange here on the blog would be fun!

    So, share your favorite cookie recipe of all time.  Or your favorite holiday treat that you like to share with friends (i.e. you don’t have to “bring” cookies…just something yummy!).  I’ve got my sprinkles and cookie cutters ready to go!

    Oh!  And here’s my recipe.  I discovered these at the first cookie exchange I went to.  I have no idea who made them or brought the recipe, but I will be forever grateful!

    Chocolate Swirls
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ½ cup packed brown sugar
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate ships, melted and slightly cooled
    1. Heat oven to 350F. In large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Fold melted chips into dough until lightly marbled. (do not overmix)
    2. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 mins, or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completly before storing.


  6. Sunday, December 7, 2008

    Week 98 Menu…and so long, Turkey!

    Phew!  I used up almost ALL of the turkey (my mom bought a 24-pounder, so that was quite a feat, let me tell you).  I’m so proud of myself.  And, even though I’m ready to move on from turkey, we weren’t even that sick of it.  Good job, Jane, with creative leftover usage!

    The last thing I made was Turkey Pot Pie (thanks to Heather for the recipe).  I modified a bit – I used gravy instead of stock and flour, and cream & white wine instead of half & half (that’s what I had on hand and wanted to use up).  The sauce was heavenly and the pot pie came out GREAT.

    I am feeling quite uninspired this week.  Please share your menus – I really need them!

    Beef Stew
    – Good bread

    Chicken Piccata
    – Mashed Potatoes
    – Broccolini

    – Pumpkin Waffles (more on these later!)

    – Leftovers

    – ???

    – Eat out

    – Frittata (I’ve never made a frittata, so I’m going to give it a try! Any recipes or tips are welcome!)
    – Fresh fruit

  7. Saturday, December 6, 2008

    First trip to Berkeley

    We met some friends the other night in Berkeley for dinner.  They had both lived there for years and love the ‘hood, so we decided it was time to make the trek and see what it was all about.  We were not disappointed!  Great food, fun neighborhood, cool campus.

    We ate dinner at Gypsy’s, an Italian restaurant close to campus. The food was great and we could not believe the prices!  Living in Silicon Valley has it’s advantages, but one of them is NOT cheap food.  Even our local burger joint puts a dent in our wallet.  I find whenever I venture outside of my little silicon bubble, I’m pleasantly surprised at the prices (it also makes me a little bitter about my bubble!).  Anyway, Gypsy’s was delish and a great value.

    Then off for dessert!  How about a little gelato at Gelataria Naia?  Yum!

    My next Berkeley visit will be the Berkeley Bowl.  I can’t wait…although, I’m a little nervous…

  8. Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Song of the Week: ‘Tired’ by Adele

    I think it’s about time for another Song of the Week!  I know, it’s been more like the Song of the ‘Every-Few-Months-Or-So’ but whatever.

    I LOVE this week’s song.  Have you heard Adele yet?  She is too cool, I mean, look at the album cover.  Adele is a British singer with a hip sound and an Amy Winehouse-esque voice, but without all the “baggage,” if you know what I mean (no hard feelings, Ms. Winehouse).

    I bought Adele’s whole album after only hearing one song, Chasing Pavements, and love it.  The song Tired is hands-down my favorite.  Check it out!  You’ll be glad you did.

  9. The Goods: Kerrygold Irish Butter

    There is a lovely Irish family at my daughter’s preschool.  They brought homemade Irish soda bread to the class Thanksgiving feast, with this delectable butter on the side.

    Yum, Kerrygold is my new favorite.  Imported from Ireland, this butter is saltier than it’s American counterpart, so it is quite yummy spread on bread and rolls.  It’s at all of my various grocery stores, so I’m sure it’s pretty easy to find.

  10. Sunday, November 30, 2008

    Week 97 Menu…I need turkey recipes!

    Happy Thanksgiving!  Yeah, I know I’m a few days late, but I decided not to work, blog or check email the last few days.  It was wonderful.  Not that I don’t love all of you! 🙂  But it sure was a nice quiet holiday.

    I hope you all had wonderful feasts and more wonderful times with loved ones.  And, I’m guessing, more than a few of you have oodles of turkey leftover.  So, please share your favorite ways to use leftover turkey!  I’ve got TONS and I don’t want it to go to waste!

    You also need to share your menus for the week….here’s mine!

    – Turkey a la King? Turkey pot pie?

    – Something with turkey…waiting for your fantastic ideas!

    – Spaghetti
    – Salad

    – Tacos

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out

    – Beef stew with some yummy bread

    PS – We did in fact cook the turkey in brown paper bags and it worked great!  We needed to cook it a little longer than we did, but other than that, it was a super technique.  I definitely recommend it!