Cooking With the Troops Veterans Day Update, a Giveaway, and a Brag

Heather says:

This post is off topic and a bit rambling, bear with me. We’ll get back to turkeys tomorrow.

Many of you know I attend and speak at conferences on topics related to blogging, writing, and working with new media. Last year I decided to attend Blog World Expo in Las Vegas, only I screwed up and bought the wrong ticket. I couldn’t get into any of the sessions the first day and I ended up hanging out in a hallway waiting on Kelby Carr, my hotel roommate. While I can’t remember what exactly opened the conversation -I think it had something to do with the outlet I was using to charge- I met Blake Powers. He was excited about his non-profit Cooking With the Troops and began to tell me all about the program. When he got to the part about the Homefront program, in which they planned on teaching cooking and nutrition to wounded warriors and their families, I knew I had to get involved.

You’ve seen the results of my involvement with CWtT.

I’m placing a donation button, just like this one, in the upper right corner of the site.


Last week I flew to NYC where I had the honor and privilege to participate in the Cooking With the Troops Veterans Day event at NASDAQ in Times Square. Because of serendipitous timing I also had the opportunity to attend two other events.

Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Stand Up for Heroes

A lady sitting near me described what’s happening as a “silent war” and I’ve been mulling that over ever since. Yes, we know we’re at war; yes, we know that our troops are slowly coming home. What we don’t hear enough about is the ridiculously high unemployment rate of vets nor the disproportionately high suicide rate.  If you ever have the chance to hear Andrew Kinard tell his story, listen.

Blake tried to tell me about what to expect from the Stand Up for Heroes event, but I had this preconceived notion that it was one of those boring fundraising dinners. My fall calendar was packed with travel and deadlines, so I never paid attention to WHAT I was attending, I was just worried about the getting the details right: what time, where, what am I expected to wear. I never really looked into what it was. I was absolutely blown away from the moment we approached. I had no clue that it was an evening of entertainment with comedians like Jim Gaffigan (who also has four kids and describes it perfectly) and Jon Stewart. I got to see Bruce Springsteen, who I’ve heard my entire life, but have never seen. We were there because the Bob Woodruff Foundation supports CWtT and I wish there was a way to condense all that I saw and heard and who it was for into a succinct recap, but I can’t.

There are amazing people working hard to support our wounded and I wish the work of all of these people received more attention.

One of those people is Chef David Robinson who has created the Vets2Chefs program. He invited Blake and I to attend the graduation dinner of the inaugural class in Chatham, NY. Veterans and active duty men and women who are interested in transitioning to a career as a chef worked a 30 day, intensive culinary bootcamp. I could go on and on about the meal, the wine, and the amazing people involved.  The lady on the far right is one of those amazing people, she spent three years in a wheelchair after being wounded.

Friday found me in Times Square at 6:45am in front of the NASDAQ building. You see, we were in on a surprise proposal that was to occur at 7:30. It was incredibly sweet and I wish the couple all the best in the years ahead. The rest of the day was spent with cooking demos and a luncheon for veterans and active military personnel. The afternoon was capped off by our participation in the closing bell ceremony. The bell was rung by the man in the middle of the above picture. He is Phil Perugini one of the surviving members of the Band of Brothers.

On a side note, some of you may recognize J$ from Budgets are Sexy, he’s a fellow blogger who took the time to come up for the event and that’s Blake Powers on the left.

Now for the brag.

Friday afternoon, just before the closing bell, we were abuzz with excitement. We were excited by how well the day had gone and let’s face it, it’s just an exciting thing in which to participate. My phone buzzed with an email from my editor.

My book, Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living is listed on Amazon’s Best of Home & Garden 2011.

A year ago I was terrified that no one would read it.

I am over the moon and obnoxiously happy.

Since I’m in such a ridiculously good mood, I’m giving away a signed copy of my book. (Is that gauche? If it is, oh well)

There’s no purchase necessary. Just leave a comment below to enter. I’ll draw a winner at random from the comments on Sunday November 20, 2011 at 9pm Eastern. The winner will be announced on Monday morning. Limit one entry per person and this is open to US residents only, due to the cost of shipping.

I had been struggling with how to write this post as I didn’t want it to come across as bragging about all the things I get to do. I’ve been working on this site for almost five years and it has lead to some wonderful opportunities and experiences such as those in this post. Blogging is a bizarre line of work, you never know what is going to catch on and become an “overnight success” and usually you don’t get to see all of the work that lead up to someone else’s success. Some of you have been around since the very beginning of this site and have been supportive from the very first time a post was published and some of you have just wandered by more recently. Thank you all for being a part of Home-Ec 101.  I like to think that what I’m doing here is not only fun, but helpful, too. You can’t know how much I value your questions, comments, and the occasional random email that just says “thank you,” those are the things that tell me to keep going.



  1. buster4 on November 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    hello!! I am 44, trying believe it or not to learn how to cook and properly take care of a home!! I would love your book, have been reading your blogs/posts for a while, totally enjoy your site!

  2. betz white on November 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I’d love a copy of your book! I think there should be a few more “skills for everyday living” books that include sewing, gardening, building, etc. I worry about the world’s lack of self sufficiency. But I digress. Congrats on all of your success!

  3. Kristen on November 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I have been reading your blog for three years now and it has saved me on numerous occasions! I’ve also learned quite a few of the “basics” that I decided weren’t worth learning when I was a teenager. Keep it up!

  4. larissaesq on November 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I’d love the book! Congrats on… well, everything!

  5. palmetto on November 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    What’s wrong with bragging?!?

  6. marthalynn on November 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I just found your blog by googling “how to freeze bell peppers” and boy am I glad I did! I am IN LOVE! It’s like the blog I always knew I needed but better than I imagined. I would do a happy dance if I won your book!

  7. CassandraCraig on November 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Wow, Heather! That’s great to hear about your book! : )

    And I love that Vets2Chefs idea…brilliant. I can see them making that transition without too much trouble.

  8. debbie.chum on November 18, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Congrats! I can’t wait to read your book!

  9. CBerbs on November 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Congratulations! After asking you a question on Twitter and getting a fabulous answer, I got your book for my birthday present. 🙂 Whoever wins this will be receiving a great gift.

  10. hislovendures on November 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Congratulations! And I’d love to win a copy of your book!

  11. sweepluv09 on November 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Congratulations on making Amazon’s “best” list!!

  12. augustgirl on November 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Love your blog!

  13. danelle.drake on November 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    You have a fantastic blog! Congrats on getting some well deserved recognition:)

  14. aprilwoodscary on November 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    wonderful wonderful things! and well deserved!!! xo!

  15. HeatherDickeyKuykendall on November 17, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I am fairly new to your site, but the first day I found it I bookmarked it! I love the wit and wisdom, and the basic homekeeping advice. You can always learn something new! Keep it coming, girl!

  16. plainoldsarah on November 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm


  17. kcdupee on November 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Congratulations! It’s good to have someone reminding us homemaking not only matters but can be a joy.

  18. JonBurk on November 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Fantastic story – loved following your tweets from NYC and Times Square – very real and authentic.

  19. MeganRallNatherson on November 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Way to go! Congrats o the book and for all the great things you get to be a part of and promote along the way. Be proud of all you have accomplished!

  20. deneicer1 on November 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I love your site, thank you! I am planning on sending my son and daughter-in-law a copy as soon as they get settled into their new home. They were married yesterday and everything was lovely! I am so excited to send them a copy soon………!!!!!

  21. Milehimama on November 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Congratulations on your book- but also for you Cooking with the Troops and really putting yourself out there to make a difference. You rock!

  22. a mom on November 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Congrats on making the “Best Of” list. You deserve it!

  23. Anne D. on November 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Would love to have a copy for myself or for one of my daughters (I have 5), some of whom are now starting their own households. Congratulations on your very worthy work.

  24. The Napkin Dad on November 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I want a copy to give to one of my daughters, they would love it!

  25. maryjohnson816 on November 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I would love to win a copy of your book! This site is wonderful, and I would love to learn even more Home-Ec 101! On a side note, I’m pretty sure I came across your blog on pinterest. Someone had pinned one of your posts and after reading it, I decided I needed to follow you.

  26. SandeeHill on November 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I love your site! You get to do amazing things because you give us all an amazing product. You have a right to brag sometimes!

  27. KimberlyEvansSchratwieser on November 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Congratulations! I’d love to win your book! I am a disabled veteran who loves to cook and I am learning some new things from your blog. If only I could get the housework under control. I need to motivate myself further to follow your plan.

  28. sharinlilbit on November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I’m so excited for all you’re getting to do! I learn so much from this blog, and I love to see you being successful. I already have the book on my Amazon wish list, but boy would I love to win it and not have to wait until Christmas for it! 🙂

    • HeatherSolos on November 21, 2011 at 6:28 am

      @sharinlilbit you were chosen at random, as the winner of the signed copy of Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living. Send your mailing address to Thanks!

  29. Bobbie Laughman on November 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you for explaining all this – I was a little confused when i talked to you on Friday! And I’m so happy for you regarding the book’s success. Go you! (I’m so glad to know you, and hope I get to meet you in person some day!)

  30. Anderson on November 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Congratulations on making the 2011 list for Best Home and Garden! Well deserved!

  31. Jo Bo on November 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

    You don’t have to worry about bragging at all. Your blog is great, you volunteer with an amazing organization doing something you know really well, and you gain wonderful opportunities to be involved. I think it sounds like a fabulous time, and that you actually deserve it-you really earned it.Congratulations, and keep having fun!

  32. NilZed on November 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Congrats, and somehow I missed the post about Cooking with the Troops so I’m off to study up on that and see if it’s something I can help with.

  33. acarter on November 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Congratulations Heather! The care and hard work you put into this is so evident. Please brag away!

  34. vickyb77 on November 16, 2011 at 9:48 am

    That’s awesome, Heather! Congratulations, and you deserve it – you’re fantastic!!

  35. Linda_Sellers on November 16, 2011 at 9:39 am

    So proud of you heathersolos and glad you enjoyed the day. Looks amazing!

  36. frankissane on November 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I don’t read it as bragging — you’re bringing awareness to some very important causes. I’ve got your book on my Amazon wish list, but I’d LOVE to win a copy!


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