In which I finally announce winners.

Last Thursday was the announced deadline to enter my cookbook giveaway, which also happened to be my birthday.  In the midst of birthday celebrations, a house full of company here to celebrate it all weekend on top of our usual jam packed schedule and preparations for the storm of the century, I just now got around to my faithful assistant drawing names out of the fishbowl we like to use for such things.
With out further ado, the winners are:
The Vegetarian Epicure  – Tracy
Vegetarian Pleasures – Gail
The Great Vegetarian Cookbook – Gabby
Breadtime Stories  – Vikki
And the highly contested Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen cookbook lucky winner is Allison!  Which is probably highly fitting, because I seem to recall her eyeballing it many years ago in my kitchen, telling me that if I ever get rid of it, she’ll take it.  It also means I will get to visit it from time to time.
Thanks for all the entries.  I’m quite happy to report that I received two new (highly coveted) cookbooks for my birthday, so the space I cleared is filling up quickly.  Winners, please drop me an email so I can get your cookbook to you!

Tis better to give than receive.

Today has been the day of Becky. 
I heard the mailman come by and when I looked in the box, there was this:
A very fun creatively packaged treat from my friend Lesa.

Just a small, clear plastic box she had re-purposed.  Perfect.

Inside was a new apron pattern, a pickle recipe and a few butterfly and bee trinkets that I can’t wait to make into something – probably for Edie’s room, since she has a bit of a butterfly theme in there.  Thanks Lesa!
A few hours later, a UPS truck pulled up and dropped this off:

A new cookbook I’ve had my eyeball on. Thanks Michele!
I can’t wait to sit down with it.
They say it’s better to give than receive though. 
When I pulled out all my cookbooks this week in the name of biscuit research, I couldn’t for the life of me get them all back in.  Which meant one thing – time to purge.  I thought I’d share them with all of you out there in the world. 
I have 5 books I’m getting rid of.  Instead of sending the entire lot to one person, I thought I’d send 5 books to 5 of you.  Simply leave a comment telling me which cookbooks you’d like – you can choose more than one (and win more than one!).  I know sometimes the Internet can make it tricky to leave comments, so you can also email me.  I’ll leave the giveaway open until October 25.  And then I’ll dump all the names in a hat and pull them. 
All of these are good cookbooks, with at least one recipe that’s a regular part of my repertoire.  But they don’t get used nearly enough to warrant the space they take up.  So, out they go.
First up for grabs:

Breadtime Stories by Susan Jane Cheney.
Bread and things to put on bread.  She’s baked for Moosewood, that legendary vegetarian collective in upstate NY, so there’s lots of whole grain bread recipes.  This cookbook taught me how to make english muffins.  
The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. 
A classic vegetarian cookbook, my enchilada sauce is based on a recipe in here.  
Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin
This cookbook is set up in menu format, easy to use for those who love to have a menu.

The Great Vegetarian Cookbook The Chef’s Secret Recipes by Kathleen DeVanna Fish.
Some very lovely chef recipes, including ones from Emerile Lagasse and Alice Waters.

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Lousiana Kitchen Cookbook.
Cajun AND Creole and the difference explained between the two in this essential cookbook.
Also contains hands down, the best, quite possibly the most decadent oyster stuffing you’ve ever had. 
So, fire away.  Leave me comments, shoot me emails, drop me a line on Facebook and tell me which one of these gems you want before I change my mind and find more room for cookbooks.

Various things to do, read and eat.

  • In case you missed it, my favorite Riverkeeper was on the local news over the weekend talking about his organization’s new initiative. You can find out more info on being a James River Hero at their website.

  • Lesa is having an apron pattern giveaway.  One can never have enough aprons.  I’m thinking about making one to garden in.

  • Want a quick and easy dinner?  Look no further.  Peanut Sauce that is quick, easy and good with just about anything.  We like it with rice noodles and any combination of nuts, veggies, tofu, and shrimp.

  • Have you read Frecklewonder’s  guide to thrifting?  Parts 1, 2 and 3.  She knows her thrifting.  I was in her neck of the woods this weekend and when we passed the Goodwill, Edie was feeling it.  I wasn’t, but considering all the times my gal has put up with my thrifting, I thought I’d play along and we stopped in. She scored.  Two dresses, a new blouse for the upcoming chorus concert and the sweetest little denim jacket with pink trim.  Never ignore the call of the thrifts. 

  • I’m currently on a dry German Riesling kick for those you wondering what wine I’m drinking these days. I’ve yet to fall head over heels with one label, but generally, if it says it’s dry and it’s on sale for less than $10, I’ll give it a try.  I think a longer post on this might be coming if anyone is interested.

  • The cotton candy picture has absolutely nothing to do with anything. No, I did not eat both of those, I shared part of one with Edie at her school’s Spring Fair Friday night.  There really is nothing better than freshly spun cotton candy.  It’s a certain kind of happy.

All Sorts of News!

The running joke around here is that if it’s outside of my ‘circle’, I have a hard time getting there.  My circle being the route between my house and downtown Charlottesville and Edie’s school.  The full circle is maybe, maybe 2 miles.  My world is small, yes?
Wednesday, I drove up to Baltimore for a dear college friend’s surprise 40th birthday party.  By myself.  I get away by myself maybe once a year, it’s not something I get to pull off very often.  Taking a cab from the hotel to the party was quite the adventure – I realize I need more of these. 
Not only did I have 3+ hours in the car alone there AND back, I had a whole hotel room to myself.  And the party was a good time.  It was great to see everyone. I hung out with Andrea all through college.  I can’t remember her not being there to tell you the truth.    Over the years, we’ve fallen in & out of touch, but the last few years have really brought us back together.  She blames facebook.  But I also think our collective life experiences have made us realize, you only get so many friends like that and you really do need to work at keeping them around at a certain point.  She’s one of those friends that even if I don’t talk to for a few years, we can still pick up where we left off.  Sure we’ve changed in some ways, but in the ways that count, we’ve changed in the same direction.  Not only does she have the best laugh, she’s still the coolest chick I know.  And I’m quite honored to still be able to call her one of my best friends.  (Not that I think I ever let her know that before, since you know, I have issues letting the people I love the most know they are indeed that, but, she knows this about me and is good with it, which is one of the many reasons why she is still one of my best friends.)
As if one roadtrip weren’t enough, I drove home Thursday to get up Friday morning and head over to Richmond to see the Picasso show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with Edie. 
No, that’s not from the exhibit, I couldn’t take pictures in there, but as we were leaving we got an eyeful of these in the gift shop window and loved it.  The show was great, I even splurged and got the the exhibit catalog for Edie. After the show, we went to lunch at Kuba Kuba and then we wandered around the VCU campus a wee bit, soaking up the atmosphere of their Final Four glory.  Loved seeing the tents set up at gas stations in the city, selling Final Four memorabilia.

I love my small town, but I do love the city too and I really need to get there more often. At the very least, i need to break out of my circle more often than I do.
And now the news you’ve been waiting for….  the winner in our Cozy Noggin giveaway is Kristin.  Congratulations Kristin!  She chose the Abigail fingerless gloves.  Thank you Anne, for suggesting it and helping to promote not only the giveaway, but my little blog here.
And now for my really big news that I’ve been sitting on for oh, 6 weeks now…..I am the new wine columnist at In The Kitchen online magazine!  My first column came out yesterday, under the column name of Beneath the Cork.  I’ve been quietly working on this for the last month or so.  I’m really quite pleased with the results.  I’ve been a fan of Rowena’s magazine since her first edition and never dreamed I could actually write for it someday.  Her monthly meal planner has been a source of inspiration to me.  I had the distinct privilege of meeting Rowena at Leni’s Second Wednesdays last summer.  I ran into Rowena at city market one fine Saturday morning last fall after Leni’s front porch season had ended and we planned a winter version at Rowena’s.  After our first one in February, I realized how much I had treasured my evenings with those two remarkable women.   They are two kindred spirits when it comes to a good many things, but first and foremost, in our attitudes towards food. 
So, that’s been this week around here.  With the usual work,school, soccer and impromptu playdates and dinner parties thrown in of course.  Next up is getting ready for a visit from Pat’s folks, who are coming to visit with Edie during spring break next week.  Some serious cleaning and grocery shopping needs to take place around here, so I suppose I should get going on that…..