Dec 17, 2009

~CLOSED~Review & Giveaway: Earth To Table

Earth to Table
Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm
By Jeff Crump, Bettina Schormann


Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann is an extraordinary, gorgeously illustrated collection of reflections and recipes in the tradition of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Matters. Subtitled “Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm,” Earth to Table sumptuously illuminates how good food is grown and how it comes to us—following over the course of one year, the journey from farm to restaurant of delicious organic produce. Featuring thoughts and recipes from some of the world’s most renowned and innovative “slow food” chefs—including Dan Barber (Blue Hill), Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), Matthew Dillon (Sitka and Spruce), and Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck)—here is a glorious celebration of the best things on earth, from Earth to Table.


My Review
We all want to feed our families a healthy diet. We read food labels, buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or the farmers market, and maybe we even grow some of our own produce in our back yards. If you've ever picked a fresh cucumber, radish, or tomato from your own garden, and eaten it within moments of taking it off the vine, you know how amazing and fresh food can taste. I look forward to our garden vegetables every year. My husband does the planting and I do most of the preparing, cooking, canning, drying, freezing, and preserving the harvest. We also stock up on local produce in season.
Earth To Table is all about growing, harvesting, and cooking seasonal foods. It's divided into the four seasons, with stories about farm life, information about such things as composting, foraging, and canning, and most of all, lots of great recipes. The authors tell us which foods we should be focusing on eating during each season, based upon what is available locally.
Some of the recipes included in Earth To Table are: Dandelion Salad with Poached Eggs, Rhubarb Fool, Maple Shoofly Pie, Deep-Fried Zucchini Blossoms, French Vanilla Ice Cream, French Onion Soup, Duck Confit, Salt-Baked Arctic Char.
The recipes are easy to follow, with plenty of photos.
You can browse inside the book here and purchase it at HarperCollins.


Giveaway
Thanks to Kyle and HarperCollins Publishers, I'm giving away 3 copies of Earth To Table!


MAIN ENTRY (You MUST do this First for your entry to count!) Check out Earth To Table at HarperCollins, and tell me in a comment something you learned about the book or the authors (other than what is already in this post).


EXTRA ENTRIES
~Follow me PUBLICLY on Google Friend Connect. Include your Google Friends user name in your comment. Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) AND Tweet this Giveaway, linking to this post in your tweet. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. Your tweets must be PUBLIC for this to count. You may copy this tweet:
Win a copy of Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann at Peace & Quiet. 3 Winners!

~Post this giveaway in a post on your blog. Include my blog name "Peace & Quiet" and link back to this post. Leave a comment with a link to your post.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment. Entries will be accepted until December 27th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Dec 10, 2009

~CLOSED~Review & Giveaway: Soy DeLites


Soy Candles by Soy Delites are handmade using 100% natural soybean wax and cotton wicks. Clean burning and long lasting, Soy Delites Candles are an eco-friendly and healthy candle alternative.

Soy Candles by Soy Delites offers several styles to choose from, including tealights, votives, travel tins, and signature glasses in an array of scents, like clean and invigorating Ginger Lemongrass or bold and sensuous Sandalwood Amber.
I like to burn candles, but I don't like the black soot that builds up on paraffin candles, or the mess when the wicks need to be trimmed (I always seem to get the black gunk on my hands. Yuck!) Soy candles burn without creating soot, and they're biodegradable. The wax from soy candles can be cleaned up with just soap and water.

Christy at Soy Candles by Soy Delites sent me two of their signature glass candles to try, one in Ginger Lemongrass scent and the other Vanilla, as well as a set of tealights in a variety of scents. I've had the Ginger Lemongrass candle on the end table in our family room, which is where we spend most of our time, and I love the clean citrus-y fragrance. Vanilla is probably my favorite candle scent, and the Soy Delites version is very nice and not at all overpowering. The candles are lasting a long time and the glass containers are perfectly clean - no soot!



WIN IT

Christy at Soy Candles by Soy Delites has generously offered one of their 9 ounce Glasses in your choice of scent. Here's how you can win it;


MAIN ENTRY
Visit Soy Candles by Soy Delites, have a look around, come back here and comment with something you learned on their site (other than what I've mentioned in this post.) You must do this FIRST in order for any of your entries to count.

EXTRA ENTRIES

~Follow me PUBLICLY on Google Friend Connect. Include your Google Friends user name in your comment. Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Follow me @amylou61 and Soy Candles by Soy Delites on Twitter and Tweet about this Giveaway. Be sure to link to this post. Leave a comment with a direct link to your Tweet. Your tweets must be PUBLIC for this to count. You may copy/paste this Tweet:
Win a candle from Soy Candles by Soy Delites at Peace & Quiet: http://tinyurl.com/yjcf6zr

~Blog about this Giveaway, linking to this post. Leave another comment with a link to your post.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment. Entries will be accepted until December 19th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!


Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received free products in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Dec 2, 2009

Review & Giveaway: The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank


From Harpercollins.com

Still spry at ninety-three, Theodora has lived long enough to see her family grow into an insufferable bunch of truculent knuckleheads. Having finally gathered the whole bickering brood together for the holidays at her South Carolina home, the grand matriarch pines wistfully for those extravagant, homey Christmases of her childhood. How she misses the tables groaning with home-cooked goodies, the over-the-top decorations, those long, lovely fireside chats with Pearl, her grandmother's beloved housekeeper and closest confidante. These days, where is the love and the joy . . . and the peace?
But this is, after all, a magical time. Someone very special has heard Theodora's plea—and is about to arrive at her door with pockets full of Gullah magic and enough common sense to transform this Christmas into the miracle it's truly meant to be.


About the Author

Dorothea Benton Frank is the New York Times bestselling author of Bulls Island (William Morrow, 2008), The Christmas Pearl (William Morrow 2007), The Land of Mango Sunsets (William Morrow 2007), Full of Grace (William Morrow 2006), Pawleys Island (Berkley 2005), Shem Creek (Berkley 2004), Isle of Palms (Berkley 2003), Plantation (Jove 2001), and Sullivan's Island (Jove 2000). Her newest book, Return to Sullivans Island, will be released by William Morrow June 30, 2009.

My Review

Dorothea Benton Frank has been one of my favorite authors for several years. She writes wonderful stories that take place in and around Charleston, SC and it's barrier islands. Her books are well-written, with colorful, lovable, and sometimes eccentric characters that I've enjoyed getting to know. The Christmas Pearl is a story about several generations of a Southern family, rich with traditions and history, who seem to have forgotten what is truly important about family and Christmas. The eldest member of this family, Theodora, longs to guide her family toward the values and traditions she grew up with, but is at a loss as to how to go about this. Help comes to her, in a most unusual way, and soon her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren begin to see what a magical time Christmas is meant to be.

I loved reading this book, and I know I'll read it again. It put me in the mood to begin my own preparations for a meaningful family Christmas. And if a great read isn't enough to entice you to pick up this book, there are dozens of recipes that the author has collected from her family and friends, including Beet Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Goat Cheese, Charleston Red Rice, Hot Crab Dip, Fruited and Glazed Ham, Breakfast Casserole, Rum Balls, and Apricot Brandy Pound Cake, just to name a few. Yummy!
The Christmas Pearl is available for purchase at HarperCollins.com.

Giveaway

Thanks to Shawn and HarperCollins Publishers, I'm giving away 3 copies of The Christmas Pearl!

MAIN ENTRY: You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count. Tell me something about your family's Christmas traditions, or share a favorite holiday recipe.

EXTRA ENTRIES

~Follow me PUBLICLY on Google Friend Connect. Include your Google Friends user name in your comment. Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.
~Follow me on Twitter (
@amylou61) AND Tweet this Giveaway, linking to this post in your tweet. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. Your tweets must be PUBLIC for this to count.
~ Favorite Peace & Quiet on
Technorati and leave your user name in a comment.
~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment. Entries will be accepted until December 11th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Nov 21, 2009

~CLOSED~ Book Review & Giveaway: The Blue Star


The Blue Star by Tony Earley

From Hachette Books

Seven years ago, readers everywhere fell in love with Jim Glass, the precocious ten-year-old at the heart of Tony Earley's bestseller Jim the Boy. Now a teenager, Jim returns in another tender and wise story of young love on the eve of World War Two. Jim Glass has fallen in love, as only a teenage boy can fall in love, with his classmate Chrissie Steppe. Unfortunately, Chrissie is Bucky Bucklaw's girlfriend, and Bucky has joined the Navy on the eve of war. Jim vows to win Chrissie's heart in his absence, but the war makes high school less than a safe haven, and gives a young man's emotions a grown man's gravity. With the uncanny insight into the well-intentioned heart that made Jim the Boy a favorite novel for thousands of readers, Tony Earley has fashioned another nuanced and unforgettable portrait of America in another time--making it again even realer than our own day. This is a timeless and moving story of discovery, loss and growing up, proving why Tony Earley's writing "radiates with a largeness of heart" (Esquire).

My Review

The Blue Star is a wonderful love story, and a journey into the era prior to and during WWII. Jim Glass is a sweet young man experiencing true love, but with a girl who is promised to someone else. He would do absolutely anything to gain Chrissie's love, but the situation is complicated because she is "tied" to another boy, in ways that make it almost impossible for her to even consider giving Jim a chance. I really enjoyed this book, and in particular, the historical backdrop was interesting. Tony Early writes with great attention to detail, and he makes you think about things that can sometimes be uncomfortable to think about, but that make the story seem more real.

The Blue Star can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other retailers.

Giveaway
Thanks to Valerie at Hachette Books, I'm giving away 5 copies of The Blue Star by Tony Early!

MAIN ENTRY:

Visit Hachette Book Group and tell me about another book there that you'd like to read and why. You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count.

EXTRA ENTRIES

~Follow me PUBLICLY on Google Friend Connect. Include your Google Friends user name in your comment. Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) AND Tweet this Giveaway. Your Tweets must be PUBLIC in order for the entry to count. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. You can copy this Tweet:

*Giveaway*@ Peace & Quiet! Win a copy of The Blue Star by Tony Early. Great Book! 5 Winners! http://tinyurl.com/ydnkq5k

~ Favorite Peace & Quiet on Technorati and leave your user name (I will be checking) in a comment.

~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment.

Entries will be accepted until November 30th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Nov 10, 2009

Applesauce-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake



Every Autumn, we visit apple orchards and buy lots of apples for eating, baking, and canning. I've canned more applesauce year than we will be able to eat, so I've been looking for recipes for baked goods that include it as an ingredient. I found this one at Food & Wine (they have some great recipes!). It's moist, chocolatey, and slightly spicy. It was very quick and easy, and I didn't even need to use a mixer. I know I'll be making this one again and again. Here's a link to the recipe for Applesauce-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake.


Nov 9, 2009

Congratulations Becky & Matt!


My daughter is Engaged!!!



Matt asked our daughter Becky to marry him yesterday! I'm so happy for them. I know they have a wonderful future together. (And I can't help but think about my future grandchildren! LOL)
He got her a beautiful vintage ring.
Wow, the years go by fast!

Nov 1, 2009

~CLOSED~Book Review and Giveaway: The Lace Makers of Glenmara


The Lace Makers of Glenmara


Book Description
"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself.
She arrives on the west coast, in the seaside hamlet of Glenmara. In this charming, fading Gaelic village, Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society: Bernie, alone and yearning for a new purpose since the death of her beloved husband, John; Aileen, plagued by doubt, helplessly watching her teenage daughter grow distant; Moira, caught in a cycle of abuse and denial, stubbornly refusing help from those closest to her; Oona, in remission from breast cancer, secretly harboring misgivings about her marriage; Colleen, the leader of the group, worried about her fisherman husband, missing at sea. And outside this new found circle is local artist Sullivan Deane, an enigmatic man trying to overcome a tragedy of his own.
Under Glenmara's spell, Kate finds the inspiration that has eluded her, and soon she and the lace makers are creating a line of exquisite lingerie. In their skilled hands, flowers, Celtic dragons, nymphs, fish, saints, kings, and queens come to life, rendered with painterly skill. The circle also offers them something more—the strength to face their long-denied desires and fears. But not everyone welcomes Kate, and a series of unexpected events threatens to unravel everything the women have worked so hard for. . . .


About the Author


Heather Barbieri is half-Irish. Her paternal ancestors left counties Donegal and Tipperary after The Great Famine and worked in the coal mines of Eastern Pennsylvania before settling in Butte, Montana. Her impeccably dressed maternal grandmother was a descendant of a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria and instilled an avid interest in fashion in her granddaughters. Barbieri’s first novel, Snow in July (Soho Press), was selected as a Book Sense Pick, a Glamour magazine “Riveting Read,” and a Library Journal Notable First Novel. Before turning to writing fiction full-time, she was a magazine editor, journalist, and film critic. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and three children, and is currently working on her third novel.

My Review
The Lace Makers of Glenmara is a beautiful, heartfelt story of grief, friendship, adventure, tradition, love, and so much more. While traveling in Ireland, Kate Robinson happens upon the tiny village of Glenmara, and little does she know that her life will never be the same. The women of the village have a lace-making club that Kate becomes part of, and she takes their handiwork in an entirely new direction. The women are a close-knit group, providing friendship and support to each other through hard times, family problems, illness, and even spousal abuse.
I enjoyed The Lace Makers of Glenmara very much. The author describes the characters and the village in such detail that I felt almost as if I were there with them. I grew to like the women of the Lace Making Society, as well as their families, and even a lovable dog named Fergus. I've never travelled to Ireland, but if I do, I'd like to find a little village just like Glenmara to visit.
The Lace Makers of Glenmara is available for purchase at HarperCollins, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers listed here.

Giveaway
Thanks to Heather and HarperCollins Publishers, I'm giving away 3 copies of The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri!

MAIN ENTRY:
Go to the HarperCollins
The Lace Makers of Glenmara page and comment with something specific you learned about the book or the author (other than what is already included in this post!) You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count. Please don't just repeat comments made by others here.

EXTRA ENTRIES

~Follow me on Google Friend Connect. Include your Google Friends user name in your comment. Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) AND Tweet this Giveaway. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. You can copy this Tweet:
" Win a copy of The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri @ Peace & Quiet http://tinyurl.com/ydaqblz "

~ Favorite Peace & Quiet on Technorati and leave your user name (I will be checking) in a comment.

~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment.

Entries will be accepted until November 14th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Oct 27, 2009

~CLOSED~ Review & Giveaway: ReSnackIt™ Reusable snack and sandwich bags


Live and Dream Green LLC was founded by a Mom who dreams of a greener world and believes being environmentally friendly does not mean sacrificing convenience and style.

After running out of plastic sandwich/snack bags for her kids’ school lunch one day, she knew there had to be a better way… then was born “ReSnackIt™”.

With her 2 children Olivia and Andrew, along with her supportive husband, she was inspired to find a better alternative for a plastic baggie.

The idea is to encourage “earth-friendliness” with a bag that is cool, where kids and adults want to carry it. Who says you can’t have fun and flair while still being earth conscience?


Product Information & FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are ReSnackIt’s™ just used for “dry” foods, or can they also store snacks like apples and cucumbers?•

Yes! Whatever you would put into a plastic baggie you can put into ReSnackIt™. The inside of our bags are constructed with undyed, vinyl- free nylon, backed by a coating that does not come in contact with food, allowing them to be moisture resistant and wipe-able so that you can use them again and again.

What materials are used in making ReSnackIts™?•

The outside of ReSnackIt™ is 100% cotton. The inside (lining) is a non-dyed nylon that is lead free, phthalate free, BPA free and PVC (vinyl) free. The trim around is 100%cotton, making it more durable and it completes the over all look of the baggie. Velcro® keeps ReSnackIt™ closed, and is positioned so it can accomodate different sizes of sandwiches/snacks.

Will ReSnackIts™ keep my food fresh?•

ReSnackIt™ keeps sandwiches and snacks fresh because of a coating on the underside of the lining (away from the food) which allows contents to retain moisture — no dried out bread! The fold over design and Velcro® on the front of the bag keeps contents and freshness inside. Plus, the design allows little fingers to open ReSnackIt™ and hold it with ease. ReSnackIt™ is perfect for your “on the go” eats!

Why should I use ReSnackIt™?•

Plastic bags take over 1000 years to photodegrade (not biodegrade). As they do toxic substances are released, leach into soil and enter our food chain. Plastic bags will be around for centuries contaminating our earth.

My Review
We're all trying to do our part to be more "green" these days, aren't we? That's why I was very happy to try a ReSnackIt™ bag, to replace disposable sandwich/snack bags. I work part-time at an office and pack my lunch most of the time. I used my ReSnackIt™ bag for baby carrots, crackers, pretzels, and I found it was great at providing a little extra protection for pieces of fresh fruit such as peaches and plums. The food stayed fresh, and when I got home, all I had to do was wipe or rinse out the ReSnackIt™ bag and set in on the dish drainer to dry. I've been using my ReSnackIt™ bag so much that I've reduced the number of sandwich bags we've used signifigantly. It's a great feeling to be doing something good for th earth, while reaping a financial benefit, too!

Thanks to Kristin at ReSnackIt™ one of You will win your very own ReSnackIt™ sandwich bag in your choice of pattern. Here's what you have to do to win:

MAIN ENTRY - Go to the ReSnackIt™ product page and pick out your favorite pattern. Come back here and tell me which one you would choose if you win.
YOU MUST DO THIS IN ORDER FOR YOUR ENTRY TO COUNT!

EXTRA ENTRIES

~Follow me on Google Friend Connect PUBLICLY. Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~ Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) AND Tweet this Giveaway. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. Copy this Tweet:
"Win a ReSnackIt™ Re-usable sandwich bag @ Peace & Quiet http://bit.ly/1RG4tZ"

~ Favorite Peace & Quiet on Technorati and leave your user name (I will be checking) in a comment.

~ Follow
ReSnackIt on Twitter and leave a separate comment with your Twitter name.

~ Join the ReSnackIt Facebook Group and come back and tell me you did in a comment.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment.

Entries will be accepted until November 7th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US addresses only. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Oct 26, 2009

Make Time For Change





Moms are probably the busiest people on earth, right? What could we do with an extra hour in our day? Many of us would spend it with our families, or maybe doing something for someone who needs a helping hand.


Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner are teaming up to urge Moms to use the time we get when we turn the clocks back on November 1st to make CHANGE for children.


For more than 75 years, Save the Children has been helping children survive and thrive by focusing on early childhood education, literacy and physical activity and nutrition programs.


When you pledge to spend an hour with your child, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children's U.S. Programs. And you will be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven! Make your pledge
here.




Go to
Make Time For Change for more details, and while you're there, check out the New Frigidaire appliances designed to help moms get things done in less time and with less effort.



Oct 25, 2009

CD Review: Michael Buble's Crazy Love





From the One2One Network:
Singer and songwriter Michael BublĂ© has sold over 22 million albums worldwide. His previous album, 2007’s Grammy winning "Call Me Irresponsible" was a #1 album in over 15 countries.
His 2005 CD "It's Time" holds the record as the longest running title to remain on the Billboard Traditional Jazz charts – a full two years. It sat in the Number One position for over 80 weeks!
He has had two #1 singles, "Everything" and "Home" which was also a #1 hit for Blake Shelton on the Country charts.


Check out his websites michaelbuble.com, Facebook and myspace, where you can listen to his music and watch videos, like this one:





Thanks to Michelle at the One2One Network, I recently received Michael Buble's Crazy Love CD. I've been a fan of his for awhile now, so I was very excited to listen to Crazy Love, and I was not disappointed! One of the things I like about Michael Buble is that when he sings a song that has been recorded by another artist, he makes it his own, and many times I find that I prefer his version to the original. Crazy Love has some great songs such as "Cry Me a River", "All of Me", "Georgia On My Mind", "Stardust", and more. With 13 songs in all, it's packed full of entertainment that will put you in a good mood. (And speaking of good moods, this would be a great "soundtrack" for some romance!) You can buy Crazy Love at Amazon.com.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a copy of this CD in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Oct 14, 2009

Joshua Bell At Home With Friends






From the ONE2ONE network: "Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell has been in the spotlight since he was 14 years old. Fourteen! Now, 20 years and 30 original albums later, Joshua has the public’s attention like no other classical violinist of his time, captivating audiences worldwide. He’s a soloist, chamber musician, orchestra leader and he’s earned countless awards and honors for his work as a concert stage performer and recording artist, including “Classical Artist of the Year” and “Classical CD of the Year” by Billboard Magazine. He’s the first musician to have a classical music video played on VH1, and he’s appeared on Sesame Street. And you know he’s big if he’s been on Sesame Street."


I received a copy of the Joshua Bell CD At Home With Friends from the ONE2ONE network for review (Thanks!) I had no idea that there would be so many great singers and musicians on the CD, performing with Joshua Bell! Sting, Chris Botti, Josh Groban, Marvin Hamlisch, and Regina Spektor, just to name a few. I came home after work one afternoon, and found this CD waiting on my doorstep. I put it on the stereo while I started making dinner. I found the songs to be pleasant and relaxing. Joshua Bell's violin playing sounds so beautiful, he truly is a gifted musician. Some of my favorite tracks were Come Again, featuring Sting, My Funny Valentine, featuring Kristin Chenoweth, and Cinema Paradiso, featuring Josh Groban(I LOVE his voice!). I liked the CD so much that I listened to it again later that evening while I soaked in the tub. If you want to listen to some of the songs on At Home With Friends, check out Joshua Bell's site. Come back here and tell me what you think!


Oct 10, 2009

Winners!: The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder


The Winners have been chosen by Randon Number Generator.

They are: 9, 10, 18, 26, and 31.

Congratulations to all of you! Please respond to my email with your shipping information. More Giveaways to come very soon!

Sep 24, 2009

~CLOSED~ Book Review & Giveaway: The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

From Harper Collins:

"The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Little Altars Everywhere, and Ya-Yas in Bloom debuts an entirely new cast of characters in this luminous stand-alone novel about the pull of first love, the power of life, and the potential for healing

"Wells weaves more of the magic that made her a bestseller. . . . Chock-full of Southern charm and sassy wisdom . . . it benefits from a hearty dose of Wells's trademark charisma. . . . [Calla's] sure to be a crowd-pleaser thanks to her humble aspirations, ever hopeful heart and perseverance no matter what fate throws at her."—Publishers Weekly


Since her Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood became a publishing phenomenon that shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list for 68 weeks, Rebecca Wells has become one of the most beloved contemporary writers. Her ability to show that joy and pain, humor and pathos are inextricably linked has drawn readers worldwide to her stories that break their hearts and then heal them again.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is the sweet, sexy, funny, and heartbreaking journey of Calla’s life set against the Louisiana that Wells knows so intimately. Born in La Luna, Louisiana, a small river town on Wells’s fictional landscape, Calla Lily bursts into life, a force of nature, all luminous and inspiring like the flower she was named for. Bathed in the loving light of the Moon Lady, the protective feminine force that guides Calla throughout the book, Calla is also blessed by an earthly mother, the town’s beautician, who encourages her daughter to sing and dance in the magic of a small town where Saturday mornings are filled with Cajun bands, pots of gumbo, and a whole lot of flirtin’. It is at her mother’s side that Calla discovers that to touch another human’s head can be a healing experience.

After the end of her first love, Calla heads to the Crescent City, where she creates a new family of friends who help her flourish and discover the power of her own “healing hands” to change lives and heal pain, including her own."


My Review:

Rebecca Wells is a wonderful storyteller, and in true Southern fashion, she weaves a tale of life in La Luna, Louisiana, and a girl called Calla Lily Ponder. This book is funny, heartwarming, full of drama and also sadness. The characters are colorful, eccentric, and endearing. Calla has both joys and sorrows, makes life long friendships, pursues her dreams with brave determination, touching many lives and sharing her amazing gifts and talents with others. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is funny, whimsical, heartwarming, and at times very sad. I enjoyed every minute of reading it, and had a hard time putting it down (I stayed up way past my bedtime!) I highly recommend it.

Giveaway:

Thanks to Heather and HarperCollins Publishers, I'm giving away 5 hardcover copies of The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells!

MAIN ENTRY:

Go to the HarperCollins The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder page and comment with something specific you learned about the book or the author (other than what is already included in this post!) You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

~Follow me on Blogger (Google Friend Connect). Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Blog about this giveaway - include a link to this post, and to HarperCollins,

then leave the link to your Blog Post in a comment.

~Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) AND Tweet this Giveaway. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. You can copy this Tweet
"Win a copy of The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. 5 Winners! http://tinyurl.com/y9kwqtb"

~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment.

Entries will be accepted until October 9th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. No PO Boxes. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!




Sep 11, 2009

Dot's Homemade Brittle WINNER!


The winner of the Dot's Brittle Kitchen Giveaway has been chosen and emailed. The comment# chosen by Random Number Generator was # 53. Congratulations! Please reply to my email within 48 hours. Thanks to all who entered. More giveaways will be posted after Sept 21st (I'm on vacation until then).

Sep 10, 2009

Grocery Coupons WINNER!

The winner chosen by Random Number Generator is #19, Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom. Congratulations, Sarah. The coupons are on their way to your mailbox. Happy saving!

Sep 1, 2009

Giveaway: Over $300 worth of Grocery Coupons ~CLOSED~


I love coupons! I clip ALL of the coupons that come with the newspaper, in magazines, on packages, etc. I can't possibly use them all, especially since it's just the hubby and me now. I've stockpiled over $300 worth of coupons that I'm offering to you all, just because I like you so much! I cut them all out with my own two little hands, so they're ready to "spend". This will be a quick giveaway, so the winner can get her(or his) coupons and get shopping! I'll make it easy.

All you have to do is add a meaningful comment to this post. For example, tell me something about you, leave me your blog link so I can visit, share a recipe, a favorite blog, a money-saving tip...Get the idea? Just talk to me, friend! Please don't say "Enter me", "Count me in", "Great Giveaway", etc. (I'll delete those comments). Comments will be accepted until Sept. 8 at 11:59pm. A winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator, and will have 24 hours to respond to my email. US addresses Only.
*IMPORTANT* Make sure your email is in your comment, or linked to it so I can contact you!


Aug 27, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Dot's Brittle Kitchen~CLOSED~



Dot's Brittle Kitchen's homemade brittle is made fresh to order using only the best ingredients. No preservatives, only the freshest ingredients. There are 11 varieties of brittle to choose from:

Almond Brittle
Cashew Brittle
Coconut Brittle
Hazelnut Brittle
Macadamia Nut Brittle
Peanut Brittle
Peanutless Brittle - try this one dipped in chocolate
Pecan Brittle
Pistachio Brittle
Supreme Brittle - for those who want it all or can't decide!
Walnut Brittle

Dot's will make any of these varieties sugar-free (sweetened with malitol) upon request. Also, you can have any of your favorite brittle with toppings of your choice - Chocolate, Toasted coconut, or extra nuts.


I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample several varieties of Dot's homemade brittle, including peanut, almond, cashew, macadamia, and coconut. Before trying Dot's brittle, I had only ever had peanut brittle, which has always been a favorite of mine, but I have some new favorites now! They all tasted fresh, sweet, and flavorful. Peanut brittle is still my favorite, but I also especially enjoyed almond and cashew. Now I'm wondering what they would taste like topped with chocolate...

The Giveaway:
Dot has generously offered to provide a 1 pound tin of any variety of her brittle to the winner of this giveaway.
Here's what you have to do to win it:

MAIN ENTRY:

Visit Dot's Brittle Kitchen and look around. Come back here and tell me something specific about Dot's Brittle Kitchen that I haven't already mentioned here. This must be done FIRST, in order for your entry to count. Comments not meeting this requirement will be deleted.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

~Follow me on Blogger (Google Friend Connect). Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Blog about this giveaway - include a link to this post, and to Dot's Brittle Kitchen, then leave the link to your Blog Post in a comment.

~Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) & Tweet this Giveaway. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. You can copy this Tweet:
" @amylou61 Win a 1 Pound Tin of Dot's Homemade Brittle of your choice at Peace & Quiet: http://tinyurl.com/lwdvxa "

~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment.

Entries will be accepted until September 10th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Aug 19, 2009

Winner!



The Winner of the Teak, Wicker & More Giveaway is #57 (chosen by Random Number Generator).

wigget said... i like the Arizona Sahara Deep Seating Set by Barlow Tyrie
Congratulations, wigget! Make sure you respond to my email sent today, so I can get your prize shipped to you.



Aug 10, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway: Off Season *CLOSED*


Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons



From Hachette Book Group:

Acclaimed novelist Anne Rivers Siddons's new novel is a stunning tale of love and loss. For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does...in loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past--to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety-- to try to figure out her future. It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.


My Review:
I loved this book! I like stories with an ocean, lake, or other waterfront setting, and the author described coastal Maine in beautiful detail. It made me want to travel there and spend a summer. (I wish!) The characters were developed so completely, that I felt as though I was getting to know each of them. I especially liked Lilly. She was wise, strong, and determined, even as a child. She had a rich life, experiencing adventure, love, and loss. Off Season is full of joy and sadness, and it made me feel like laughing and crying, as it drew me in to the lives of Lilly, her friends, and her family. I highly recommend it.


Off Season can be purchased at many online and brick-and-mortar retailers such as
Amazon.com, BN.com, and Borders.


Giveaway:

Thanks to Valerie and Hachette Book Group, I have 5 copies of Off Season to give away.

MAIN ENTRY:

Tell me in a comment where you saw this giveaway. You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

~Follow me on Blogger (Google Friend Connect). Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.

~Blog about this giveaway - include a link to this post, and to Hachette Book Group, then leave the link to your Blog Post in a comment.

~Follow me on Twitter (@amylou61) & Tweet this Giveaway. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. You can copy/paste this tweet: Win a copy of Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons. 5 Winners! http://bit.ly/UIuR0

~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment.

Entries will be accepted until August 25th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. No PO Boxes. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen.
Good Luck!


Aug 8, 2009

Happy National Zucchini Day!






Today is National Zucchini Day. Who knew? This year my hubby planted a couple of zucchini plants in the garden, which are doing very well, and producing more zucchini than I can keep up with. I've baked Zucchini Bread, sauteed zucchini with peppers, onions, and garlic (just like my mom used to make), roasted zucchini with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and onions - tossed with pasta, and just a couple of days ago I made my favorite Fried Zucchini.

Fried Zucchini
Ingredients:
vegetable oil for shallow frying (I use canola)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or granules (optional) *see note*
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 medium zucchini

Heat about a half inch of oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Line a plate or cookie sheet with several layers of paper towels or newspaper. Heat oven to warm. Slice zucchini into thin rounds. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Mix flour, bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder or granules (if using), and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices into eggs, then lift them out and allow the excess to drip back into bowl. Drop slices into the flour mixture, turning to coat both sides. Carefully place into hot oil. Adjust temperature of oil if they don't begin to fry right away, or if they begin to get brown too quickly. Fry until golden brown on the underside, then turn over and brown on the other side. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or newspaper. Salt to taste. Fry in batches, removing the drained zucchini to another plate or cookie sheet and keep warm in oven.
*note* I use Garlic Salt in place of the salt and garlic powder or granules, but you can use just plain salt, if you prefer.
You can serve this with marinara sauce for dipping, but I like it just as it is. My husband and I polished off the entire plate with dinner. Yummy!


Aug 4, 2009

Teak, Wicker & More Giveaway*CLOSED*



I was recently "introduced" to CSN Stores , with over 100,000 items in dozens of categories. I soon saw the potential for endless hours of browsing and dreaming, and knew this would become a distraction that could be dangerous...Okay, maybe dangerous is too strong a word, but all of you shopaholics know what I mean, don't you?

One of the CSN stores I enjoyed perusing was Teak, Wicker & More, which offers Patio Furniture, Wicker Furniture, Hammocks, Grills and Grilling Accessories, Outdoor Fountains, and so much more. They have just about everything you can think of to decorate and accessorize your outdoor living. Here are just a few items that caught my eye:

This would be great on our deck or patio.



I've always wanted a hammock chair on my front porch.



And a fountain in that square flower bed just next to our garage.





The wonderful people at CSN Stores have given me the opportunity to offer one item of my choice to one of you! I chose this Polder - BBQ Safe Serve™ Instant Read Thermometer from Teak, Wicker & More.







This handy gadget is a must-have for any kitchen! A 10 inch long probe accurately tells you when your meat is cooked to perfection. The convenient probe folds to become a 5" long instant read thermometer.
Features:
10 in. long probe allows you to safely check meat on the BBQ
Large LCD screen with back-light button
Safe Serve™ feature sounds when meat has reached a USDA recommended safety temperature
Cooking presets help you cook to desired doneness
Probe has two locking positions for easiest reading angle
Probe folds closed to become an instant read thermometer with 5 in. long probe
Probe sheath included



The Giveaway:


MAIN ENTRY:


Go to Teak, Wicker & More's Patio Furniture section, and choose your favorite item (besides any I've mentioned in this post.) BE SPECIFIC, don't just say a patio table or chaise lounge. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me the specific name of the item in your comment. You must do this FIRST, in order for any of your entries to count. I'll delete all entries that don't follow the rules.


EXTRA ENTRIES:


~Follow me on Blogger (Google Friend Connect). Make sure I can see your name in My Followers on my sidebar.


~Blog about this giveaway - include a link to this post, AND a link to patio furniture. Leave the link to your Blog Post in a comment.


~Follow me on Twitter (
@amylou61) & Tweet , mentioning this giveaway, and linking to it. Leave a link to your Tweet in a comment. You can copy/paste this Tweet:

Win a Polder BBQ Safe Serve Instant Read Thermometer at Peace & Quiet! http://tinyurl.com/knovcv


~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar. Include a link to it in a comment'


PLEASE make sure your email is visible in your comment or linked to your name! If I can't email you, you can't win!


Entries will be accepted until August 18th at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. No PO Boxes. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen.


Good Luck!




Jul 30, 2009

Winners!


The 5 Winners of my Julie & Julia Giveaway have been chosen by Random Number Generator, and have been emailed. It's frustrating because 2 of the original winners that were chosen had no email in their comment or linked to their profile, so I had no way to contact them, and had to choose alternate winners. This happened in my last book giveaway, too.
Congratulations to Lisa, Soha, Sharon, Liz, and Maureen!
I have a new giveaway starting very soon, so check back!

Jul 26, 2009

Blueberry Muffins




I tried a new recipe for Blueberry Muffins this week that came from one of my favorite recipe blogs, Simply Recipes. This recipe is very easy and the muffins are moist and yummy. I sprinkled the tops with sugar before baking, just to add a sweet sparkle to them. If you'd like to try them, here's the link:
Simply Recipe's Blueberry Muffins.


Jul 20, 2009

Zucchini Bread


My husband grows a vegetable & herb garden every year, with tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, peppers, cucumbers, and this year - zucchini! I love zucchini, especially when it's baked into zucchini bread...YUM! I baked some this week, and decided to add some chocolate chips, which made it even better (of course, what isn't better with chocolate?) This recipe has been my favorite for many years. It's great with or without the chocolate chips.

Zucchini Bread

1 ¼ cups Wheat Germ (preferably toasted), plus more for optional topping
3 cups Flour
1 Tb Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup Chocolate Chips, mini or regular (Optional)
2 Eggs
1 ¾ cups Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2/3 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
3 cups grated Zucchini (with skin)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 loaf pans (or spray with vegetable oil spray). Mix together wheat germ, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, nuts, and chocolate chips (if using). Set aside. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Pour into greased pans. (Sprinkle wheat germ over the tops of loaves, if desired.) Bake for 1 hour or until done. Cool 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from pans to finish cooling. Makes 2 loaves.

Jul 15, 2009

Yummy Chocolate Cherry Cake

I was looking for a new recipe to try for a dessert to take to a dinner party we went to this past weekend. I found this recipe for So-Easy Cherry-Fudge Cake on the myrecipes site. If you've never checked out myrecipes, you definitely should. They feature recipes from Cooking Light, Southern Living, Real Simple, Sunset, Coastal Living, All You, and Health magazines. You can save any recipes you like in your own personal collection on site. This cake came from Southern Living magazine, and it was dense, moist, and oh-so-chocolate-y! There are only 8 ingredients in the entire recipe for both cake and icing. It was easy-peasy!