Archive for the ‘contests/giveaways’ Category

someone’s going to dinner

February 13, 2012

I had a crazy week last week (hence, no posts), but I did pick a winner for the $100 gift certificate to Engine Co. No. 28 – Kelli Ingber. Maybe not in time for a Valentine’s Day dinner Kelli, but send me your address (you know my email address) and I’ll send you the gift certificate.

Here’s what Kelli said: I love going out to dinner because it is a social situation more than an eating situation. Although the food is good too, but conversation makes for a great night out. You have someone serve you and you can relax with the ones you’re with and really enjoy the night out.

I agree Kelli!

Thanks for all the other nods (Carol – I’ll buy you a glass of wine anytime and Kristin, you’ll be coming along for our special dinner in April).

Children's Valentine, 1940–1950

B Mine

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Got any plans? Me…. I avoid restaurants on 2/14 but I still love flowers (you paying attention Charlie 🙂

My Valentine to you folks reading this – a great new giveaway in March (my sisters will give me some good ideas, I’m sure).

In the meantime, Happy Valentine’s Day.


VDay? Celebrate early

February 2, 2012

Valentine’s Day is upon us. It’s one of those holidays (like Mother’s Day) that brings a little too much anxiety (especially for our male companions).

I like hearts and I like flowers, but VDay doesn’t have to be celebrated on Feb. 14. In fact, my husband and I have a tradition to avoid crazy restaurant reservations on that important “I love you” day.

IF we celebrate VDay, we celebrate it on Feb. 13 (kind of always liked that number anyways). So I want to help you celebrate.

Happy Valentine's day!

Happy Valentine's day! (Photo credit: DonnaGrayson)

I am giving away a $100 gift certificate to Engine Co. No. 28 restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. It’s an amazing renovated original firehouse built in 1912. And the food is fantastic.

Just drop me a line – I want to know what you like about going out to dinner.

That’s it.

You don’t have to go on Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to take your sweetheart.

Take your girlfriend, your sister, save it for your mom. Anytime is a good time to explore LA and having a good dinner  is always a pleasure (especially when you don’t have to cook or clean up).

This giveaway will end on Tuesday (2/7).

It’s a Wonderful Life… but I want more!

November 28, 2011
Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in ...

An angel got his wings!

Set the DVRs – the holiday movies are upon us! I have to say I’m a sucker for all these movies and when I’m wrapping gifts, I love to put on a little “It’s a Wonderful Life” to get me in the spirit.

My favorite by far is “The Bishop’s Wife” starring the beautiful Loretta Young, gorgeous Cary Grant, and the ever-great David Niven. Not many people have seen this movie so I liked to give it out to my friends for Christmas. There was a remake sometime back (“The Preacher’s Wife“) starring Whitney Houston, Courtney Vance (he’s married to Angela Basset btw), and Denzel Washington. Filmed during Whitney’s glory days, it was a pretty good movie (but NOT as good as the original).

New movies are sneaking onto my list, however, starting with “Family Man” and “Elf (Merry Christmas! What’s your favorite color?”). I’m sure there is more but I can’t think of them at the moment.

But I want to hear from you. Send me your list of favorite holiday films and enter into my contest. Winner will receive a packet of holiday DVDs to play all through your gift wrapping moments.

Deadline is next Monday (12/5). I’m looking for one I totally forgot and trust me, “The Bishop’s Wife” will be part of the package.

navigating the web and finding a prize

September 27, 2011
Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...

Image via Wikipedia

Some website are easy to surf. Others, like mine, are particularly challenging. For that reason I am in the middle of a major re-design.

This will take some time as I learn all there is to know about websites and the internet. Kind of the way I had to learn all about newspaper journalism some ten years back. I had a couple of excellent teachers at The Signal. The first was Chris Dickerson. He was the educational reporter when I was first hired as a part-time reporter. The newspaper was famous for hiring you and then just throwing you out to cover stories. Chris helped me through my first long and boring high school board meeting.

Then Chris quit! and I was brought on full-time to cover…. education.

You might think the education beat can be somewhat boring, but it’s amazing how many stories you get out of schools. One of the best stories I covered was the “Every 15 Minutes” program. These two-day events are meant to show high school juniors and seniors the consequences of drinking and driving. The whole community gets involved – sheriffs, fire department, EMTs, hospital, courts and a group of student volunteers who recreate a drunk driving disaster complete with crashed cars, bloody make-up and body bags. You also have parents who have to write “obituaries” for kids who didn’t survive and parents who have to “bail” out their child who was the driver. Others were sent to the morgue to identify their children. It’s an unbelievable re-creation.

The second day is the most emotional as parents who have lost their children in real crashes tell their stories about the most devastating day of their life. My co-worker at the time, Patti Shea, taught me how to write that first sentence that captured the event and hence the readers. I still remember it – “Students learned first-hand the consequences of drinking and driving on Thursday, some from the inside of a body bag.”

Tim Whyte was my editor at the time. When he had the time to read over my stories, he would give them a tweak here and there which made me a better story-teller. Then-city editor Leon Worden drove me crazy but he always made sure I had the facts correct. Friend and journalist Carol Rock is still a great editor as well as my  Wisconsin friend/English teacher Sue Milton. They cringe, I’m sure, when they see grammatical errors on this site, but I thank them always. Patti Shea, btw, is still a wonderful source as I learn this new form of journalism.

But time marches on and now I’m blogging. I’m learning a new journalism tool – websites – and it’s time to kick it up a notch. I’ll be taking some time off as I travel to Quebec but in the meantime I am giving my 12 readers a challenge.

Find the cooking/giveaway page (it has to do with Burl Ives and it’s difficult to navigate there). If you haven’t already, leave me a note at the bottom of that blog on what you remember about Burl Ives (how come no one remembers “Summer Magic” with Haley Mills?). You’ll automatically be entered into a $200 Sur La Table gift certificate,

Some of you are in the running and there is a good chance you’ll win. I’m giving you until 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Good luck and keep a look out for my new and improved site!

oh, and thanks for reading…. any and all grammatical errors can be listed below 🙂

Fall into fall with Burl Ives

September 22, 2011

My go-to cook/recipe guy Alex has been busy teaching little ones at the local elementary school, so he doesn’t seem to have as much time to cook. I miss him.

But its Wednesday, and I had the opportunity to try out Gerri McCorkle’s father’s/grandmother’s Burl Ives Pork Chop recipe using my beautiful Staub cast iron pot. I love the way the food comes out so tender in this pot.

This is the last week of summer and now that fall is right around the corner, you might want to give this recipe a try.

Here’s some step-by-step instructions from Gerri (with a few tweaks from me):

Gerri recommends pork chops but I couldn’t find any good ones at the market, so I settled on a Tenderloin.

Brown the pork in olive oil to seal in the flavor.

Thinly slice one onion and peel and slice two apples.

Place pork in pot. Top with onions and apples.

Pour 2 cups of Apple Cider over the entire dish. Apple cider breaks down the onions and combined with the freshly cut apples, will create an incredible  aroma in your kitchen. 

Gerri suggested mashed potatoes and fresh string beans. I had some Yukon golds, so I boiled and mashed them.

Place the mashed potatoes on a plate, top with pork and pour some of the liquid/onions/apples over the dish. Steam up your favorite veggies and you have a complete meal. I’m telling you, the pork just melts on the fork and in your mouth. The entire family will be asking for more!

In honor of Burl Ives, Gerri’s dad and grandma and because it’s my birthday month, I’ve decided I need to give you another chance to win some great cookware.

Just let me know what you remember about Burl Ives. What did he looked like, what he was famous for, did you see him in movie/TV show, does he remind you of your childhood, is he still alive? (sure, go ahead and Google him).

Reply to this post and you will be entered into a contest for a $200 gift certificate from Sur La Table, one of the best places for kitchen goodies. This way, you can pick out your favorite cookware.

Contest will end Wednesday, Sept. 28 at noon.

and the pot goes to …..

September 14, 2011

Gerri McCorkle!

Gerri sent me a fabulous pork chop recipe that I am dying to try. I’m sure this beautiful cast iron Staub cookware from Sur La Table will be perfect for preparing this dish.

(to try this dish yourself – check out “What does Burl Ives and pork chops have in common?”)

Congratulations Gerri. Just send me your address and the desired color (blue or grey) and I’ll send you the pot.

Be prepared for next month’s Giveaway. It’s a special Halloween theme.

What do Burl Ives and pork chops have in common?

September 6, 2011
Burl Ives, American actor and folk singer

Burl Ives

There is nothing like a good ol’ one pot dish when Fall weather comes (and it’s September so it should reach us by the end of the month). I’m a big crock pot person myself, but I also love cast iron cookware.

You’ll want some too when you see how beautiful Staub cookware is and how wonderful your food tastes when it simmers inside these pots.

Check out this month’s giveaway. Go to contest/giveaways and click on to “on the table” and add your two cents.

Contest will end at midnight on Sept. 13.

In the meantime, enjoy this recipe sent in by my good friend Gerri. You’ll find the answer to Burl Ives and pork chops at the very end.


Here is one of my favorite recipes.... by Gerri McCorkle 
Choose some thick cut pork chops... 
I choose 5 because that is the total number in our family, 
unless of course we have an extra mouth to feed.  
One of our kids hungry friends... 
In a large frying pan, lightly brown the chops with EVOO...  
Then add 1 whole large onion sliced thinly.... 
allow the onion to break down with two cups of apple cider....
You can almost smell it. I'm drooling as I type! 
Slice up two apples skinned and add to creates this wonderful fall smelling aroma.... 
Allow to simmer, the chops will be will know they are done when they are no longer pink! 
In another pot boil your potatoes, so that you can add this concoction to homemade mashed potatoes 
and fresh string beans. 
My Dad attended the Culinary Art Institute in New York and worked at the Beverly Hills Hotel, 
this is one of his favorites...It may not be exactly the way he makes it, but a close second! 
oh and I think he got this from my Gramma who was Burl Ives' cook!

on the table….

September 1, 2011
The Seattle Location of Sur La Table.

Seattle store

September means the Fall season is right around the corner. Of course, in Southern California we normally experience some pretty hot days  (and on this first day of September, some rock and rolling from a 4.3 earthquake!). But have hope – cooler days are ahead and soon we can head back into the kitchen to fine-tune our culinary skills.

If you are like me (and I know many of you are), shopping at gourmet kitchen stores, like Williams Sonoma, is a lot of fun. These are not your mother’s kitchen gadgets. These are fun, colorful and sparkly. We probably don’t need much of what they sell, but we can’t resist and it’s always nice to have one or two great pieces.

Which brings me to this month’s giveaway. I occasionally receive catalogs from Sur La Table, another great gourmet kitchen store. In fact, this little French-sounding store which translates to “on the table” is the second largest shop of its kind (yup, Wm Sonoma comes in first).

Founded in 1972 by Shirley Collins in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the store was bought by the Behnke Family some twenty years later and they opened a second location in Berkeley, California. Selling gourmet cooking utensils, appliances, food and cookbooks, the Behnke family and a private equity firm has expanded Sur La Table to include cooking classes in some of their 80+ stores.

I’m a big crock pot person so I’m naturally attracted to cast iron cookware for the same reason – you can simmer in them for long periods of time and the food will melt in your mouth. Sur La Table offers Staub cookware that is to die for. Prized by top chefs for its superior heat distribution, durability and oven-to-table beauty, Staub is beautiful. Made in France, Staub cast iron is made from a sand mold and takes an entire day just to create one piece. It is now offered in two new colors (I have the grey but there is also a stunning blue).

So I waited for a little cooler weather and I finally tried mine out. I used a recipe that came with the cookware (4 season chicken):

Here’s the recipe (I tweaked a little):

4 boneless chicken breasts

olive oil

garlic cloves (as many as you like)

soy sauce (about 1/4 cup)

3 T honey

Mrs. Dash seasoning

Pour some olive oil in pan to coat and sauté chopped garlic. Brown chicken on both sides and

season with Mrs. Dash. Pour the honey on the chicken and turn so the chicken

is coated.

Add soy sauce and salt and pepper (remember – soy sauce has salt so taste as you go.

Place lid and simmer for 25 minutes. It’s that easy. Crazy, huh? You don’t have to worry about the chicken drying out because the cast iron keeps the juices in the food.

While the chicken was simmering, I cut up some Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled and mashed them. I also made a beautiful Pear salad, cut a loaf of Asiago bread and opened a bottle of Chardonnay.

I really like my black fish plates.

(My iPhone doesn’t really do justice to the colors in my kitchen or my dish, does it?)


What is your favorite Fall recipe? Drop me a line and let me know. You will automatically be in the running for the Staub 8 1/2 qt. cookware. You can even choose between the grey and blue colors.

The contest will end of Sept. 13 at midnight.

cheryl’s going to the movies!

August 19, 2011
Summer Shoes

summer may be over, but flips are never out of style...

Happy Friday all.

It’s been a wonderful summer, not too terribly hot except for my friends in the midwest and east coast who suffered through some mighty bad humidity. School is back in session so we must leave summer behind and get ready for the best season of all – Fall!

My ArcLight theater tickets are sitting on my desk and Cheryl Phillips, former librarian, avid reader and movie fan is the lucky winner of these two gift certificates.

Thanks to all for helping me with summer titles, movies and memories. Cheryl, you know my email so send me your address and I’ll send you the certificates!

I’ve got a super September giveaway coming up (it’s my birthday month, so it will be super special). You’ll want it, you’ll need it and you will love it!

Stay tuned.

summer lovin’

August 10, 2011
Summer of '69

great summer movie

I told you some time back one of the best dates I’ve been on lately was at the ArcLight Theater in the Valley. It was so enjoyable, that I had a hard time remembering what movie I saw. Now I remember: Pirates of the Caribbean (part 4?)

Since then some great new movies have come out and I haven’t seen one of them. I have two tickets to the ArcLight Theater I’d like to give out if you can tell me what movie I should go see and why I should see it before the end of summer. I don’t care if it’s an old one, I just think its time for another date night with my husband.

Unfortunately, the ArcLight Theater is only in Southern California, so if a random, lucky winner is selected and he or she lives outside the Southern California area, I’m going to have to come up with another giveaway. I’ve got a week or so to figure that out and I’m sure I’ll get some ideas from my family and friends.

So here’s the rules: log on to and subscribe to the site (there is a button on the home page). Give me your best summer movie pick in the comment section and tell me why you loved it by midnight Aug 18 (Thursday). Winner of two ArcLight tickets will be picked at random. On Friday (Aug. 19), I’ll let you know who the lucky winner is.

It’s time for you to have an enjoyable summer date because summer will be over before we know it.

Endless Summer – Summer of 69 – hmmm…. I just can’t think of any more movies with the word “Summer” in it. Can you?

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