March 20, 2009
First, the blog news: I’ve got a new blog home! (Well, almost–we’re about 95% moved in and unpacked so far. . . we’ve still got to add a virtual top coat of paint, rearrange some html furniture and hang some digital pictures before the rest is up and running over the next week or so, but everything is on site and functional!). Please drop by to check it out, and don’t forget to change your Google Reader, other subscription info and blogrolls (it’s also much easier to subscribe to this new site, so hope that helps–and note that the page tabs are now across the top of the page, not on the right as in this site!). I’ll be transferring over there for good by next week. And now–ta da!–here’s the new home of
The site was set up and arranged by Blain Smith of 13 Infinite. It’s been a pleasure to work with him on this–Blain’s communication style is easy and relaxed, yet always professional. He’s also been very accommodating and incredibly quick about responding to all my emails regarding the site (not to mention very patient with my sometimes endless questions and requests!). If you’re looking to set up a new blog, I’d highly recommend him.
Next, the cookbook news: my cookbook finally has a cover!
(I’m guessing you might recognize some of those photos? And I know, the red, white and blue looks very patriotic,no?) 😉
Finally, the Double Giveaway News!!
I am very excited for this giveaway because it’s the perfect melding of my new blog, my new cookbook, and a product I love!
In honor of the cookbook’s cover being finalized, I decided to throw another giveaway to celebrate–add a new blog home, and it’s really a reason to party! (Get those chandeliers and lampshades ready!)
So here’s the scoop:
WHAT YOU CAN WIN
PRIZE ONE: ANYONE IN NORTH AMERICA CAN WIN (again, a HUGE apology to my overseas readers–shipping costs prohibit overseas delivery. BUT I DO PROMISE THAT THE NEXT GIVEAWAY WILL ABSOLUTELY INCLUDE ANYONE ON THE PLANET!)
Win a quart-sized jug of Coombs Family Farms Pure Maple Syrup!
[This is a photo of the glass bottle I received–the quart jug prize is four times this big!]
Yes, the prize is the same amazing maple syrup I wrote about in my previous post. And when the people at Coombs Family Farms heard how much I loved their syrup, and how much my readers wished they could taste some, they said, “Okay! Let’s give some away!” Who am I to argue? I said, “YEEEE-AAH.”
With a full quart (about a liter) of pure maple syrup, you can bake every maple-based recipe on this blog, and probably all the maple-based recipes in my new book, too! And I can’t wait for one of you to sample this extraordinary product as well, and tell me what you think!
PRIZE TWO: THOSE IN THE TORONTO AREA CAN WIN (to ensure freshness, it has to be within the general Toronto area, or you must be willing to meet me within Toronto–I am really sorry it can’t be everywhere! sniff!)
A custom-baked chocolate layer cake from the Sweet Freedom recipe–made to your specifications!
After I posted about the cake I made for my friend Eternal Optimist’s birthday, I was touched by so many positive comments about the cake. This is the same recipe I used for several years when I baked birthday cakes for kids with food sensitivities to wheat, eggs, dairy and refined sugar–and was a regular hit with the kids and adults alike (low-gluten, but not gluten free). The 9-inch layer cake serves 10-12 people comfortably.
Now, I’d love for a lucky reader to sample this chocolately, moist and light cake, too! And you get to design the frosting/filling, plus whether you’d like a message on the cake as well. (We’ll choose a mutually convenient delivery time so that you can even plan to serve the cake to family, friends, or party guests!)
Here’s what you can choose:
Chocolate layers with vanilla pastry cream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting
Chocolate layers with all chocolate–filling and frosting
Chocolate layers with sweet potato truffle filling and chocolate frosting
Chocolate layers with chocolate filling and sweet potato truffle frosting (the cake in the photo above)
Message of your choice in any color frosting (or no message–it’s up to you).
I’ll deliver the cake freshly baked and frosted so it’s ready to serve!
HOW TO ENTER:
Entering couldn’t be easier–simply click on over to my new blog home, take a look around, then let me know either:
1) what more you’d like to see on the blog (any other features you’d like me to add? Something you’re missing from the old blog? –etc.) OR
2) what you like best about the new blog if you can’t think of anything you’d like to be different.
FOR A CHANCE AT TWO EXTRA ENTRIES, simply mention the contest on your own blog, if you have one, and link to this very page on the new blog (ie, this page).
Don’t have a blog? You can still earn two extra entries! Simply browse through the Recipe Index on the new DDD and choose a favorite recipe that uses maple syrup (some of the links haven’t been shifted to the new blog yet, so you might still be in the old blog when you click on a recipe title–I’m in the process of changing them all over). Then comment again, letting me know which one you like best, and why–and you’ll be entered two more times.
Please be sure to include a valid email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.
Please post your comments on the new site to be eligible to win (that way I can keep track of all the entries in one place). 🙂
HOW IT WILL WORK:
Once the contest closes, I’ll choose two winners from a bag of names. The first Toronto-area name I withdraw will win the cake. Then all the other names go back into the bag for the maple syrup draw, and the second name I choose wins that.
DEADLINE AND ANNOUNCEMENT:
Deadline for entries is midnight, March 31, 2009, Toronto time.
Winners will be announced first thing on April 2, 2009 (I wouldn’t dare post contest winners on April Fool’s Day!).
I loved baking up a storm for the previous giveaway, and was thrilled with Lisa’s kind words about the Sweet Freedom goodies.
I can’t wait to get baking on this cake for you this time round as well. And even if you can’t win the cake, you’re still eligible to win the syrup–so you can then bake your own delectable treats!
HAPPY SPRING, EVERYONE!
February 21, 2009
[Okay, so the post title is a bit obscure (I was alluding to Four Weddings and a Funeral)–but with the Oscars coming up in a couple of days, and with my having seen, hmmn, let’s see–a total of “zero” of the movies, I wanted to make reference to that grand little Golden Guy in some way or other in this post. ]
It’s almost time for midterms at the college where I teach, so I’m afraid I’ll be MIA from the blog for a little while (not to be confused with the recently balloon-bellied, singing-at-the-Grammys, went-into-labor-and-gave-birth-the-next-day MIA). But before I bid you all adieu, I thought I’d mention three festivities leading up to said exams.
Shindig One: The most recent celebration we enjoyed here in the DDD household was an intimate birthday dinner for my friend Eternal Optimist (consisting of just the EO, the HH, and me).We three enjoyed a spectacular, yet simple meal of Potato-Miso Soup (Alisa’s uniquely delicious recipe: satiny smooth, rich and slightly yeasty from the hint of miso–in fact, this was the second time I’ve made this in a week!); trusty Tagine of Quinoa with Chickpeas, Olives and Prunes (always a hit around here); garlic sautéed rapini and collards; and a special b-day cake (chocolate layers with sugar-free chocolate buttercream frosting (both from Sweet Freedom) and the Sweet Potato Frosting I wrote about a while back.
[Alisa’s Creamy Potato Miso Soup]
It was grand to spend a leisurely evening together fêting a dear friend. The EO also brought along her own pooch, another border collie cross, and The Girls were in heaven. (“We love having our friends over, too, Mum! Except next time, there should be a cake that we can eat as well.”)
Shindig Two: In addition to the birthday, the dinner was also occasion for a spontaneous mini-celebration in honor of the cookbook finally reaching the publisher. After numerous delays in formatting and glitches with the cover, it’s finally on its way! My publishing rep called yesterday to confirm that she received the files and their part of the book’s production will begin next week. YIPPPPPPEEEEEE!! (Of course, this means it will still take about three months before the book is in print, but it is out of my hands at this point). I can’t even begin to express what a relief that is! So we had a little toast in honor of Sweet Freedom last evening as well.
Shindig Three: Despite mountains of marking, I’ll be peeking in periodically at the Academy Awards, that shindig to beat all shindigs, that tribute to all things silicone and Juvéderm and Botox, that massive glitterati ego-massage that will take place on Sunday evening. From the Barbara Walters interviews to the Joan Rivers gaffes to the melodramatic and slurred acceptance speeches, I love it all. And even if I haven’t actually seen any of the movies, who cares? That’s not what the Oscars are all about, anyway!
Before I depart on break, I thought it might be fun to leave you with a little midterm quiz of your own to ponder while I’m away (and the best part–it doesn’t matter whether you know the answers or not!). I’ll reveal the “correct” responses when I get back (though with a bit of sleuthing, it should be fairly easy to find them before then).
[Chocolate birthday cake in all its uncut glory]
A Diet, Dessert and Dogs Mid-Term Quiz
Instructions: Please answer each of the following questions. Note that this is an open-blog test; answers can be found in previous entries. Please double space your answers.
1) DDD stands for:
a) The 2009, eco-friendly version of the pesticide “DDT”
b) Pamela Anderson’s bra size (now that she’s had a breast reduction)
c) a cutsie way to refer to “3-D” movies
d) the name of this blog.
2) “NAG” refers to
a) the HH’s endearing nickname for me;
c) a healthy way of eating that includes whole, unprocessed, organic foods.
3) Ricki’s favorite food is:
d) all of the above
a) Lon Chaney
b) Lewis Carroll
c) Love Chocolate!
5) Complete this phrase: “Rocker Guy (He of the —)”
a) broken guitar
b) off his rocker
c) rock collection
d) black leather pants
6) Ricki loves blogging because:
a) of all the amazing people she’s “met” in the blog world
b) it’s always fun to read other blogs and learn about new foods
c) reading your comments on her blog is the high point of her day (truly)
d) YOU GUYS ARE SIMPLY THE BEST!
I’m sure you all got an “A”! Have a great time at the Oscars, all, and see you in a week or so! 😉
Last Year at this Time: My Favorite Mistake: Savory Filled Breakfast Crepes
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
February 12, 2009
As always, thanks for reading. I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!
“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]
* * * * * * * * * *
Just a quick note to share some exciting news: my recipe for Orange-Infused Chocolate Almond Cake is featured in this month’s Clean Eating magazine!
When I was asked by the folks at the magazine to create a recipe for a healthy, fudgy chocolate cake (that met the Clean Eating requirements, of course–basically the NAG diet that I follow anyway), I was thrilled and got to work! I actually submitted the recipe last summer, but that’s how far in advance the schedule is planned. I didn’t want to mention anything until I saw it in print with my own eyes. . . and now it’s finally here–yay! Wow, did their food stylist ever make that cake look gorgeous (the pic above is mine, not theirs–the magazine version is much more attractive!)
For those of you who can get the magazine where you live, it’s the March/April issue, with a bowl of Black-Eyed Pea Stew on the cover and the banner headline, “Try Our Chocolate-Almond Cake: Enjoy a Second Guilt-Free Slice”. And while my recipe was mentioned on the cover, to see my name credited, you have to squint really hard, then look at the teeny, tiny, teensy weensy little print along the fold to the right of the recipe (which is on the last page of the mag, in the “Happy Endings” section).
For those who are interested, the magazine is based on the philosophy/diet of Tosca Reno, who wrote the book Eat Clean. Some of the articles in this particular issue include 5-ingredient entrées, nutritious snacks, allergy-proofing your home, risotto by Food Network host Aida Mollenkamp, and antioxidant berries, goji and acai (and no, I have no personal stake in the magazine–I’m not affiliated with them in any way except for having developed that recipe for them).
I wish I could reprint the recipe here, but I can’t, as Clean Eating purchased the recipe rights as well. But I think you can at least get an idea from the photo above!
New recipe next post, I promise 🙂
PS Vegan/Vegetarian readers take note: while 22 of the 68 recipes in the magazine are vegetarian, most do contain eggs or dairy (mine doesn’t, of course!).
“Mum, if clean eating means ‘cleaning out your bowl every time you eat,’ then I think we could write for that magazine, too. Or maybe we could just be taste-testers. Much better than eating snow, I’m sure.”
February 7, 2009
DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS HAS MOVED! PLEASE VISIT THE SHINY NEW DDD BY CLICKING HERE.
[Sometimes, you just want to eat something now. I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.” (For other FitP recipes, see “Categories” at right).]
It’s astonishing to me how our tastes can change so dramatically as we age. Remember those things you loved as a kid which elicit apathy now? As a tot, I loved The Monkees. In my teens it was historical romances. In my twenties, I wore dark eye shadow and painted eyeliner across the base of my lashes. In my thirties, I dressed in black almost every day for three or four years in a row.
There’s no doubt my palate has changed over time as well. Foods I loved to eat as a child–saltwater taffy, Cap’n Crunch cereal, mellowcreme pumpkins or (a dinnertime favorite) a hillock of mashed potatoes with nuggets of hamburger cut up and hidden under it–all seem slightly repulsive to me now. Then again, many of the foods I abhored then are ones I adore today; to wit, parsnips, cilantro, and–as of two days ago–baked apples.
When I decided back in January to attempt a “cleaner” diet for a while so that I might reverse some of the holiday era choc-o-rama indulgences, I turned to a cookbook I’ve had for some time but have never really used: The Detox Cookbook and Health Plan, by Maggie Pannell. Hiding at the back, on the very last page, was a rather fetching photo of a lone baked apple, stuffed to the brim with chopped figs and walnuts.
Apple? Baked? I could feel myself recoiling, thinking, “Nawwww. . . . ” I mean, who eats baked apples? They’re granny food. They’re ulcer food. They’re nothing-else-is-in-the-house-so-I-have-to-make-do-with-this-dull-fruit food. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love raw apples and try to have one every day. But I’ve always found the concept of a baked apple to be rather meh.
Besides, apples are so common, so quotidien, so humdrum that they’re suffering from overexposure, like cupcake wedding cakes or Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons or Pamela Anderson’s cleavage. I mean, aren’t apples like the perma-date of fruits–pleasant, enjoyable, always there–but just not exciting enough to seek out for something exceptional? When I think of apples, all the old, hackneyed language comes to mind: Apple of my eye. One bad apple. An apple a day. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Apple Paltrow-Martin.
I was also flooded with memories of baked apples from my childhood, and why I never liked them back then: plain, dowdy, as wrinkled as your frowsy neighbor’s housecoat. And yet, that photo beckoned to me. I found the final push I needed when I went grocery shopping a couple of days ago: I often buy marked-down packages of apples to cut up and serve The Girls along with their regular dinner. That day, I found three packs of six apples each, at 99 cents a pack. Usually, these bargain-basement fruits and veggies sport more than a few little bruises; but these packages were perfect–smooth, rosy, unblemished; pristine. Seriously, I couldn’t find a single nick or mark on any of the apples! It was a sign.
I went home and baked these apples. The recipe was ridiculously easy, with only 4 ingredients. And while they baked, I got dinner ready and even fed The Girls (they got the unbaked fruit).
I guess my tastes have matured now that I’m an adult. I loved these–they were stupendous. I’d say these apples are like the homely, bespectacled secretary in the 1950s movie who suddenly tears off her glasses, pulls the hairpin holding her bun and shakes her head, and then–mon dieu!–she’s beautiful! I now am officially smitten with baked apples. Baked apples are my hero!
I used Gala apples (that’s what was on sale) and the outcome was perfect. The contrast between the sweet, pliable stewed figs with their popping crunch, and the perfectly creamy, tart apple flesh was delightfully unexpected. And as the glaze baked and thickened up, it acquired a deep, intense orange flavor as well as a deep caramel hue, contributing a glossy, sticky exterior glaze to the skins.
I think I’d better try to eat baked apples at least a few times a week through the winter. I plan to have them as often as I can. I mean, who knows when my tastes might change again?
Baked Apples with Figs and Walnuts in a Citrus Glaze
adapted from The Detox Cookbook and Health Plan
by Maggie Pannell
TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.
This is an elegant weekday dessert, that’s a comforting winter treat. And for pennies a serving, you really can’t go wrong.
TO VIEW THE COMPLETE RECIPE, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE ON THE NEW DIET, DESSERT AND DOGS, BY CLICKING HERE.
Last Year at this Time
© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs
January 31, 2009
Here’s how I selected them: First, I went to Random.org and asked for 6 random numbers between 1 and 120. Then I went through the numbers in the order they appeared in the random list. The first entry from Toronto won the baked goods; after that, everyone else (whether from Toronto or not) won a Peppermint Ritter Sport.
I’ve copied and pasted the list here. I’m afraid I don’t know how to capture the screen exactly as it looks on the Random. org page (can anyone help me with that?), but I promise that this is the actual list that appeared when I hit the “Get Numbers” button. And if anyone can tell me how to copy the content from the original page onto my blog (for the next contest), I’d be much obliged!
(“Yes, we can vouch four our Mum because we were in the room while she was on the computer. . . well, okay, maybe we were actually wrestling on the floor at the time, but we trust our Mum. She always gives us treats when she says she will.”)
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
26 19 35 108 29 28
Timestamp: 2009-01-31 14:04:51 UTC
In other words, the winners are:
19: Shelby–Ritter Sport #1
26: VEGAN LISA–YOU WIN THE TREATS!!
28: Michelle–Ritter Sport #2
29: Animal-Friendly–Ritter Sport #3
35: Ellie–Ritter Sport #4
108: Joanne (Apple Crumbles)–Ritter Sport #5
Congratulations to all the winners! I’ll be contacting you via email. And if you happen to read this before you hear from me, please email me at dietdessertdogs AT gmail DOT com to get in touch!
This was really a fun contest for me. I loved reading all the entries, and your enthusiasm was contagious! Thanks, everyone, for entering.
And as I mentioned before, there will be one contest each month until the cookbook is published, so you can always enter again later for another chance to win!
Have a great weekend (and to my American friends, enjoy the Superbowl–but honestly, does anyone really enjoy the Superbowl??).