Jul 30, 2009


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!

Jul 11, 2009

Book Review & Giveaway: Julie & Julia ~CLOSED~

From Hachette Book Group:
"Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film version is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia."

I am self-proclaimed foodie, so when I heard about the book Julie & Julia I knew I wanted to read it. Julie Powell's narrative of her quest to prepare every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is wonderfully entertaining and funny. I imagine if I tried to cook such things as calves foot gelatin aspics, or attempted to flip a crepe into the air and catch it in the pan, it might be somewhat comical, but Julie Powell's culinary escapades are downright hilarious! I enjoyed the book very much, and now I can't wait to see the movie.

Julie & Julia is available for purchase at Amazon.com, and other retailers listed here.

The Giveaway:
Thanks to Anna and
Hachette Book Group, I have 5 copies of Julie & Julia to give away.

Check out Julie & Julia, then come back here and leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book. You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count.

~Follow my blog, and say so in a comment.
~Blog about this giveaway - include a link to Julie & Julia and this post, 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 use this Tweet: Win a copy of the book - Julie & Julia @ Peace & Quiet. 5 Winners!: http://bit.ly/sMyRy
~Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar.

Entries will be accepted until July 29th 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!

Jul 7, 2009

Black Raspberry Pie

My husband brought home a huge box filled with pint containers of black raspberries last week. He had asked me how many I wanted, and I replied that 2 or 3 would be fine - so he got 10! So...I made a pie, and some jam, and I canned the rest for future pies or cobblers. Baking is a passion for me, but, although I LOVE eating pie, I don't bake them much. Pie was my mother's specialty. She would dip her cupped hands into the flour bin, magically scooping the correct amount of flour into the bowl to make the crust. Her crust was so flaky, it melted in your mouth. I wish I had asked her to teach me how to make her pies while she was with us, but she was gone too quickly. I think about Mom when I bake, both missing and feeling closer to her at the same time. This weekend I baked a Black Raspberry Pie for our 4th of July get-together. I searched for recipes, and what I found was that there are Blackberry Pie and Raspberry Pie recipes, but practically none for Black Raspberry Pie. I decided that a Blackberry Pie recipe would do. I used a pre-made pie crust that I had in my freezer, so it really was pretty easy to make. I found the recipe on the Food & Wine Magazine website here. I even attempted a "sort of" lattice crust (I did mine the easy way, without weaving the strips under-and-over each other). It turned out very nice, if I do say so myself, and it was very yummy! Mom would've been proud of me.

Jul 5, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Skin Free™ ~CLOSED~

Skin Free™ Skin Care Products

Recommended for individuals with:

  • Extreme Dry Skin
  • Skin or Fragrance Allergies
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Pregnant Moms
  • Babies
  • The Elderly
  • Diabetics
  • Renal Patients
  • After Radiation or Chemotherapy Pharmacist formulated and doctor recommended patented formulas for delicate, sensitive and very dry or damaged skin.
  • All Natural, Vegan Ingredients
  • No Perfumes
  • No Petroleum Products
  • No Harmful Chemicals
  • No Steroids
  • No Colorants
  • No Greasy feeling
  • No Animal Testing, Cruelty Free

* Free shipping on orders of $25.00 or more!

I have sensitive, problem skin. So when I was given the opportunity to try Skin Free Skin Care Products I was thrilled! I received Lite Moisture Cream for Daily Use, Niaouli Scrub for Blemish Prone Skin, Sweet & Smooth Sugar Scrub, and Extra Moisturizing Liquid Soap.

The Light Moisture Cream for Daily Use is as it's name says, light. It's not at all greasy, and gave my face a dewy, clean softness. It only took a small amount to to cover my face and neck, so I can tell the jar will last me a long time. It's a great moisturizer for my combination skin, as it balanced out the dry and oily areas, giving my entire face just the right amount of moisture.

The Niaouli Scrub for Blemish Prone Skin cleaned and polished my face, so that I almost felt like I had new skin after my first use! Again for this product, a little goes a long way. The natural ingredients are very gentle, but as I've found with any face scrub, you don't want to rub too vigorously or you risk damaging your skin. I've used the scrub a few times now, and I've noticed that my skin's flakiness has reduced significantly. One thing that is different from other facial scrubs I've tried, is that my skin doesn't feel dry after using the Niaouli Scrub. SkinFree adds " just a touch of light Organic Macadamia nut oil and some anti-inflammatory Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to allow your skin to be moisturized while you clean out overworked pores."

Trying the Skin Free™ Sweet & Smooth Sugar Scrub™ was truly a spa experience. The first time I used it, I applied it to my feet, which were in need of some pampering, since I go barefoot most of the time in summer. I rubbed it all over my feet and it felt so good! I understand why they caution you to be careful not to slip, because the oils in this scrub left my feet a bit slick. As suggested on the package, I used the Skin Free™ Extra Moisturizing Liquid Soap to wash away the oiliness, and it did the job nicely. (After the first time, I decided to simply rub the oils in a bit, then put on a pair of cotton socks to give my feet an extra moisturizing treatment.) I later tried the scrub on my hands, which I had never done before (this was another suggestion on the package). I was amazed at how soft it made my hands feel! I'm so happy this scrub comes in such a big jar, because I'll be using and enjoying it often.

One thing I loved about Skin Free™ Extra Moisturizing Liquid Soap is that you can wash your body and face with it! This saves space on the shower shelf, which is important in our tiny bathroom. After washing my face and body with it, my skin felt clean and moist. It's very gentle to the skin, and rinses off easily, leaving no residue.
$1 from every purchase of this product will be donated to the Susan G. Koman for the Cure Association for Breast Cancer research.

To purchase Skin Free™ products, visit http://skinfree.net/.
Skin Free™ products are available at cvs.com and drugstore.com, and at local retailers. Go here to find out where you can buy Skin Free™ in your area.

For the Giveaway:

Skin Free has generously agreed to award the winner of this giveaway a $30 Gift Certificate! Here's what you need to do to enter:

MAIN ENTRY: Visit Skin Free™, then come back here and comment with a product you'd like to try (other than the ones I've already mentioned). You must do this FIRST, in order for your entry to count.


  • Follow my blog, and say so in a comment.

  • Blog about this giveaway - include a link to
    Skin Free™ & this post, 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 use this Tweet: Win a $30 Gift Certificate for SkinFree products @ Peace & Quiet: http://bit.ly/pxUvb

  • Grab my button and post it on your Blog's sidebar.

Entries will be accepted until July 25th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US only. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is selected.
*Please remember to leave your email address if it's not attached to your profile so I can contact you if you win!
Good luck!

Jul 2, 2009

Review: Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters are a sweet, salty, crunchy, bite sized snack. They come in 4 varieties - Nut Lovers, Honey Roasted Peanut, Roasted Cashew, and Roasted Almond. Thanks to Nature Valley and My Blog Spark, I received all 4 varieties to try! I've always been a fan of granola bars, and I'm also a salty snack lover, so this combination of sweet granola clusters with salty nuts was a great match for my tastes.

As soon as the package arrived, I tore it open. It was mid-afternoon, and I was ready for a snack. I noticed right away that the packages were the perfect size to hold in my hand, and to carry to the office. They also have a zipper seal. I opened the Honey Roasted Peanut first. I liked the size of the clusters, which are a bit bigger than most bite-sized snacks, but not too much to pop in my mouth. The flavors of peanut butter, granola, and salty peanuts were all packed into each morsel, and they were yummy! I ate several, maybe 6, and I was surprisingly satisfied. I could tell that this was a snack that would stick with me for awhile. Over the next few days, I tried all 4 varieties, and although I liked them all, the Honey Roasted Peanut was my favorite.
If you'd like to try Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters, there's a $1.00 off printable coupon on their site here.

Thank you Nature Valley and My Blog Spark for giving me this opportunity!