Jan 27, 2010

~CLOSED~ Review & Giveaway - The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

The Recipe ClubA Tale of Food and Friendship

Loyalty, loss, and the ties that bind. These are the ingredients of The Recipe Club, a "novel cookbook" that combines an authentic story of friendship with more than 80 delicious recipes.

Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities. Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproving father. Val, shy and idealistic—and surprisingly ambitious— struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true.

In childhood, "LillyPad" and "ValPal" form an exclusive two-person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets—and recipes, from Lilly's "Lovelorn Lasagna" to Valerie's "Forgiveness Tapenade." Readers can cook along as the friends travel through time facing the challenges of independence, the joys and heartbreaks of first love, and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred.

The Recipe Club sustains Lilly and Val's bond through the decades, regardless of what different paths they take or what misunderstandings threaten to break them apart . . . until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

Now, years later, while trying to recapture the trust they've lost, Lilly and Val reunite once more—only to uncover a shocking secret. Will it destroy their friendship, or bring them ever closer?

“Food and love without the schmaltz and warm fuzzies is what kept me turning the pages of this book. Yes, there are recipes, nostalgic and good ones, but the fascination is in how they mark the years of a childhood friendship struggling to become a life long one. If you’re lucky enough to have that one true best friend, you’ll find all the love, prickliness, laughter, blood curdling honesty, and joy here.”

— Lynne Rosetto Kasper, host of The Splendid Table, National Public Radio

“I found elements of every one of my own friendships in the 40-year relationship between Lilly and Val, the heroines of this delicious and delightful novel. I also discovered heaps of recipes that I can’t wait to try out. Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel bring to life the joys as well as the disappointments inherent in attachments between women, and the power of food to sustain intimacy when those bonds are strained. The Recipe Club had me nodding in recognition as I hungrily devoured this satisfying and surprising story.”

— Giulia Melucci, author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

“Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel have written an absorbing novel that reflects the wisdom of MFK Fisher, namely that there is no separating food and dining from family and friends. . . . “A satisfying meal for both body and soul.”

— Sara Moulton, host of Sara’s Weeknight Meals and executive chef, Gourmet magazine

My Review

The Recipe Club is a story of a life-long friendship, with it's ups-and-downs. Lilly and Val have very different backgrounds and interests, yet they become friends as young children, sharing their lives, letters, and recipes, throughout the years. Their differences sometimes come between them, and even cause them to sever their ties for a long time. Years go by, then they attempt to re-connect, only to encounter obstacles that could draw them even further apart.

I liked this book right away, for a couple of reasons: I'm a child of the 60s (yes, I'm that old!), as are Lilly and Val; and I love to cook, and collect new recipes, which this book has in abundance!

As I read the early letters exchanged between Lilly and Val, I was transported to my own childhood days of Moon-Pies, bicycles, and writing notes in class (remember that?). I was very much like Val - bookish, introverted, and cautious, and I also had a close friend who was similar to Lilly - daring and wreckless. Thankfully, that's where the similarities ended. Lilly and Val's childhoods were difficult, and even dysfunctional. Despite this, Val excelled in school, academically if not socially. She was so advanced, that she was able to enter college early, and once there, she "came into her own" socially as well. Lilly did the opposite, struggling to meet her father's expectations educationally, her talents leaned more toward the dramatic. She rebelled against her father by becoming a singer and performer. Eventually, these differences were what severed Lilly & Val's friendship.

I liked this book. The story drew me in and kept me interested, and the recipes made me want to get in the kitchen and cook!

You can buy a copy of The Recipe Club at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other book sellers listed here.


Thanks to Kyle and HarperCollins Publishers, I'm giving away 3 copies of The recipe Club!


(You MUST do this First for your entry to count!) Check out The Recipe Club at HarperCollins.com, and tell me in a comment something you learned about the book or the authors (other than what is already in this post). Duplicate comments will be deleted.


~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 The Recipe Club @ Peace & Quiet. 3 Winners! http://tinyurl.com/yat27mq"

~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 February 12th 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.

Jan 23, 2010

National Pie Day!

January 23rd is National Pie Day! Who knew? Check out the American Pie Council's site for details, and page down for DEALS going on at Pie Vendors around the country.

Here's a link to my post about the yummy Black Raspberry pie shown above, plus the recipe.

Jan 20, 2010

Review: A Victorian Christmas (Anthology)

A Victorian Christmas (Anthology)
by Catherine Palmer

From Tyndale Media Center:
A beautiful patchwork of four novellas about love and joy at Christmastime by best selling author Catherine Palmer. These four novellas were previously published in four anthologies—A Victorian Christmas Quilt, A Victorian Christmas Tea, A Victorian Christmas Cottage, and A Victorian Christmas Keepsake.
Return to a time when life was uncomplicated, faith was sincere … and love was a gift to be cherished forever.
Includes author’s favorite holiday recipes.

Better late than never, I guess. I've been meaning to post my review of this book for some time now, and even though the holidays are long gone, I'd still like to share with my readers, a book that made my Christmas even merrier.

I love Christmas stories, and I also love historical fiction, which makes this book perfect for me!
There are 4 stories: Angel in the Attic, Lone Star, Under His Wings, and Behold the Lamb. They are full of romance, hope, and faith. The female characters are inspiring, as they are strong independent women who know their own minds and hearts, and who don't waiver in their faith.

I enjoyed each of the stories very much, and I know I'll want to pick this book up again and again to inspire me and lighten my heart during holiday seasons to come. A Victorian Christmas (Anthology) would make a great Christmas gift for next year!

Preview this book at Google books.

Download the first chapter for free at Tyndale.com

You can buy A Victorian Christmas (Anthology) at Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.

Jan 6, 2010

~CLOSED~ Review & Giveaway: Ecostore USA

ecostore was founded in 1993 by longtime organic gardener and environmental pioneer Malcolm Rands from his family’s home in an Eco Village in New Zealand. ecostore began as a mail-order business promoting eco-friendly products to a small group of dedicated organic gardeners. Known throughout New Zealand and Australia today as “ecoman,” his dream was to create a healthier and more sustainable world through the development of a permaculture, or self-sustaining ecosystem village.

New Zealand-based ecostore, which has developed and marketed eco-friendly, plant-based products for more than 15 years, continues to offer its full line of cleaning and personal care products online in the U.S. The entire line of products, including bar soap, shampoo and baby products, comprises natural, plant-based and eco-friendly ingredients in place of laundry detergents and other harmful chemicals.

ecostore USA has formulated its products without toxic petrochemicals, phosphates, nitrates, chlorine, ammonia, enzymes, synthetic perfumes, coloring or dyes, optical whiteners/brighteners or chemical preservatives. Instead, ecostore USA uses sustainable ingredients derived from plants and minerals, producing safer products that work equally as effectively as those that are chemical-based. Customers anecdotally have reported that, after using ecostore USA laundry products to wash clothes and linens, children’s eczema and dermatitis have disappeared, while allergies and asthma symptoms have decreased.

ecostore USA guarantees its products:
• are plant- and/or mineral-based and free of nasty chemicals (No nasty chemicals™)
• use safer ingredients from renewable resources • are formulated with your health in mind
• are safely super-concentrated
• meet the highest environmental standards
• have not been tested on animals
• are GE free (free of genetically-engineered products)
• are packaged in recyclable packaging

We've been trying to replace our household products that have harsh chemicals in them, with gentler, "greener" alternatives. I have health issues, and am very sensitive to strong cleaning products, and as I get older this seems to worsen. I've experimented with many different brands, but most irritate my sinuses, my skin, cause me to cough, or make my eyes burn.
That's why I was eager to try Ecostore USA's cleaning products with " No Nasty Chemicals™".
You can read all about the many "Nasty" chemicals that Ecostore USA does not use in their products here: http://www.ecostoreusa.com/nonastychemicals.aspx.
Maggie at Ecostore USA was kind enough to send me their Auto Dish Powder and Pure Oxygen Whitener to try. I've always preferred dishwasher powder, as the gels and liquids seems to build up a slimy residue on the inside of our dishwasher, but the powders have a harsher smell and can sometimes make me cough when I pour them into the dispenser. I've been using oxygen-based bleach products for our laundry for some time now. I much prefer them to chlorine bleach, as they're much safer and easier to use.

Ecostore's Auto Dish Powder is a high performance blend of simple mineral salts, citrus and Coconut oils.

I noticed that it had a mild, pleasant citrusy fragrance. It's Super Concentrated, so it only takes 1 tablespoon of the powder to clean a full dishwasher load. I was skeptical as to whether such a small amount would get my dishes clean, but I'm happy to say it did a great job, and left NO Spots on the glasses!

Ecostore's Pure Oxygen Whitener contains oil of citrus and Coconut and other plant-based ingredients. It brightens and cleans clothes and does not contain any harsh chemicals that could irritate delicate skin.

I used it for our towels, sheets, whites, and light-colored clothes. The clothes were very clean and bright, with no bleach smell!

In addition to their Household Cleaners, Ecostore USA has products for Baby Care, Bath & Body, Hair, and Pet Care.
All of the products can be purchased at ecostoreusa.com, and a limited number of their cleaning products can now be purchased at Meijer stores.


Thanks to Maggie and Ecostore USA, one of you will win a $25 gift card to Ecostore USA!

MAIN ENTRY (You MUST do this FIRST for your entry to count!)
Go to Ecostore USA, shop around, come back here and tell me in a comment
which product(s) you'd like to try AND WHY.
Duplicate comments will be deleted.


~Follow me PUBLICLY on Google Friend Connect. Tell me in a comment that you already follow or are now following and include your Google Friends user name. Make sure I can see that name in My Followers on this blog's sidebar.

~Sign up for Ecostore's No Nasty Chemicals newsletter which can be found on their blog. Come back here and tell me in a comment that you've done so.

~Follow me @amylou61 AND @ecostoreusa on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway, linking to this post. You can copy/paste this tweet:

Win a $25 Ecostore gift card at Peace & Quiet! http://fibrofoggy.blogspot.com/2010/01/review-giveaway-ecostore-usa.html

~Become a fan of ecostoreusa on facebook. Come back here and tell me in a comment that you've done so and include your facebook name.

PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment. Entries will be accepted until January 19th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. USA mailing 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 free products in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.