Organized Simplicity Giveaway

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Heather says:

Sometimes the world is a very small place; this can be especially true on the web where the physical barriers of geography have been stripped away. In January, I had the pleasure of meeting Tsh Oxenrider at a the BlissDom Conference in Nashville. I knew our books were published by the same publishing house, but I had no idea that we shared the same editor. I know many of you read her site, Simple Mom and if you don’t? You should.

In our culture -and here I make the assumption that most of you reading are part of Western culture- it takes conscious effort and planning to live simply. It sounds counter-intuitive, but for the most part popular media is funded by companies that live and breathe consume or die. This concept rubs off intentionally and unintentionally into popular culture, it’s so prevalent that most of us never bother to notice the race we’re running is a treadmill.

Tsh’s book Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living is an invitation to stop, sit down, and change your perspective.

I know many of you have already opted out, you ride your bikes, you use a CSA, you’re simplifying and reducing the clutter in your life. Still, isn’t it nice to have a companion on that journey? Someone whose eyes aren’t going to go wide, who won’t shut down, when you mention your latest project working toward simplicity. Tsh is that confidant, that friend you want to emulate. You know, the one whose bathroom cabinets you want to peek in, to see if there’s a secret.  There’s no need to sneak, Organized Simplicity is a hard cover, spiral-bound manual for consciously reducing the unnecessary busyness of your life.

I believe  Tsh and I share many of the same ideals, she just strikes me as a more graceful, centered, and calm person.

You can’t wait to move into the “perfect” home to declutter and organize. You’ll be waiting a long time because the perfect home doesn’t really exist. You may eventually move into the perfect-for-you home, but don’t wait for that elusive day to create the home you truly want. Choose now to make your current living space work to the best of its ability.

I think my favorite part of the book is a ten day walk through your home, where you ask “What is this room’s purpose?” and then you begin working toward it.  Unfortunately buying the book will not make the organizer fairy visit your house. If it did, it would probably be a lot more than $10.45 on Amazon.

Tsh doesn’t only talk about decluttering your home, it’s also about decluttering your life, what are you doing that doesn’t contribute to your well being? How will you eliminate it?

Other things I love about the book? It has an index and a step-by-step illustration of the nearly impossible to explain how to fold a fitted sheet. There are checklists for organizing, there are sample pages for creating your own home management binder, and budget worksheets, too.

To put it simply /*insert rimshot*/ I’m a fan.

Giveaway details:

I have been given the opportunity to share 3 copies of Organized Simplicity with you. Entering is simple and each reader has up to three entries.

  1. Comment and tell me one area of your life that you’d like to simplify.
  2. Share the contest on Facebook or Twitter.  – Leave another comment with a link to the tweet or post. On both Twitter and Facebook you can get the link by right clicking on the time stamp of the post / tweet. (Usually the time stamp says something like one minute ago or the date).
  3. Mention the giveaway on your own blog or website. Again leave the link as another comment.

The comments will be closed at 9pm EDT on Sunday May 8, 2011.  This winner will be chosen at random and announced on Home-Ec 101’s Facebook Fan Page on Monday May 9, 2011 at 9am EDT. Winners will have 48 hours to submit their contact information or a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Good luck.

Blissdom Conference Ticket Giveaway

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Heather says:

Have you heard of the Blissdom Conference?

You haven’t? Well it’s a fantastic blogging conference held in Nashville, TN.  Blissdom 2011 will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel and it’s two days of sessions, networking, and community like no other. Don’t believe me, check out the schedule.

It’s actually 3 days when you add in the Wisdom Workshops on Wednesday. I’ll be presenting in two of those workshops and I’m very excited. I’m speaking on blogging in the food niche with the lovely Rachel Matthews and on Tools for Bloggers with the most excellent Molly Thornberg. Both are areas where I tend to get my geek on.

I have been working with Alli Worthington and Barbara Jones for a few months, helping with the Blissdom Conference website – here you thought I only did domestic stuff- and now I am giving away one full Blissdom Conference Pass including access to Wednesday’s Wisdom Workshops.

Pretty cool, huh?

How do you enter?

Leave a comment. Yes, it’s that simple.

For up to three additional entries you can:

  1. Tweet the contest: I want to go to #blissdom with @HomeEc101!
    Leave a separate comment with the URL to the tweet.
  2. Post on Facebook: I want to go to BlissDom ’11 with @HomeEc101 (Please tag in your post so that we can see it!)
    Leave a separate comment telling us you posted on Facebook.
  3. Blog about the contest – Let your readers know about this incredible giveaway! Write a post on your blog about the contest or why you want to go to Blissdom, and leave a separate comment with the URL to the post for another entry!

The comments will close at 8:00pm (EST) Wednesday, January 5th.

The winner will be selected by random drawing and notified by email. This prize is non-transferable, so please make sure you can get to Nashville for the event.

Good luck!

In case it isn’t clear, travel, accommodations, and incidentals are not covered, for those you are on your own. This giveaway is for the pass to the Blissdom Conference and the Wisdom Workshops only.

Want another chance to win? Visit my friend Angela England who is also hosting a giveaway opportunity!

The winner is commenter #97 aka Colorado_Mom. Congratulations to her.

Cooking for Geeks Review and Giveaway

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Heather says:

Do you like this site?


Do you like when I occasionally geek out explaining a concept in cooking?


Buy Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food¹. Now that was the easiest review ever.

Oh, you want to know more?

Jeff Potter’s Cooking for Geeks is a soft cover book from O’Reilly² it’s 412 pages and it has photographs, but they are black and white. It’s not the photos that sell this book. It’s the content. To put it simply Jeff Potter geeks out on food and in the time I spent flipping through my review copy, I’ve developed a harmless crush.

Here’s a quick excerpt on one of my favorite topics, the Maillard Reaction:

The nutty, toasted, complex flavors generated by the Maillard reaction are created by the hundreds of compounds formed when amino acids and certain types of sugars combine and then break down. Named after the French chemist Louis Camille Maillard, who first described it in the 1910s, the Maillard reaction is specifically a reaction between amino acids (from proteins) and reducing sugars, which are sugars that form aldehydes or ketone based organic compounds in alkaline solution (which allows them to react with amines). Glucose, the primary sugar in muscle tissue, is a reducing sugar; sucrose (common table sugar) is not.

Do you see why I’m giddy about this book? I love learning and I really dig that Potter brings chemistry into the conversation.

Throughout the book there are excellent interviews with other food geeks.

It’s taking all of my self-control to not continually insert the tidbits I’m picking up as I flip through the book. Oh, I can’t resist. I’ve known for years to crack eggs on the flat surface of the counter, not the edge of the bowl. I do this out of habit, but why?

The shell of an egg cracked on a flat surface will have larger pieces that aren’t pushed into the egg. Eggs cracked on a sharp lip are much more likely to have little shards of shell poked into them that then end up in the bowl and have to be fetched out.

So many of the things I do while cooking are habits, learned on the job. These habits are explained in Cooking for Geeks. The language is conversational, even when Potter is geeking out on the chemistry involved. I also really enjoyed that he goes into food safety and avoiding food borne illness.

A few chapter titles, just for fun:

  • Hello, Kitchen!
  • Choosing Your Inputs: Flavors and Ingredients
  • Time and Temperature: Cooking’s Primary Variables

Don’t worry, interspersed with all of the geekery, interviews, and valuable information are plenty of recipes that I look forward to trying.

Let’s get to the fun part.

I am not giving away my review copy of Cooking for Geeks. I’m keeping it; it’s going on my shelf along with my other favorites like The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners¹.


Oh don’t worry, I’ll be buying one lucky reader their own copy through and shipping it to them. Is that an endorsement or what?

How does one enter this amazing giveaway? It’s pretty simple and open to residents of the US and Canada. Each reader can have up to 3 entries and the winner will be chosen by random selection.

Only comments on this specific post count as entries. Please don’t respond by email or comment on the Facebook fan page. I mean you’re quite welcome to fan Home Ec 101 on Facebook, it just doesn’t count as an entry.

  1. A plain, old-fashioned how ya doin style comment. Just tell me how excited you are to enter.
  2. A comment with a  link to a tweet on Twitter sharing this post.
  3. A comment link to a blog post or Facebook entry referencing this post. (just copy the url of the timestamp for Facebook)

The comments will close on Sunday November 21, 2010 at 9pm EST. If you aren’t the winner, don’t worry these giveaways are now a weekly occurrence and you’ll have another chance soon.

If you’ve recently won a cookbook from Home Ec 101, please give other readers a chance.

Good luck.

¹Affiliate link.
²One of my favorite publishers, seriously, and they aren’t even my publisher.

Home Ec 101 Cookbook Review & Giveaway: Food & Wine Reinventing the Classics

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Heather says:

This week’s cookbook review and giveaway is Food & Wine Reinventing the Classics¹: Simple & creative ways to rethink the recipes America loves best, with wines to match. That’s kind of a mouthful, isn’t it? Reinventing the Classics is a hardbound cookbook with 100 recipes, each with a spin on a classic version. The cover price is $29.95 but it’s available on Amazon for $21.56.


Food & Wine Reinventing the Classics CookbookWhat do I love about this cookbook?

The eye candy. Pure and simple eye candy, Reinventing the Classics is a pleasure to page through. Each recipe is paired with a full-color photograph. Sometimes when I’m not in the mood to cook, all it takes is paging through a gorgeous cookbook like this one to get the creative juices flowing.

What recipes piqued² my interest?

In no particular order, these caught my eye: Peppered Beef Tenderloin, Chicken Tikka, Striped Bass with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Beet Risotto, Shrimp and Vegetable Summer Rolls, Salted Fudge Brownies.

Who do I think would enjoy this cookbook?

If you’re a moderately skilled cook, in a fairly urban area looking to liven up the weekly menu, this book should be on your list.

Why moderately skilled cooks?

This cookbook doesn’t focus on teaching techniques and the instructions assume a fairly solid mastery of basic cooking principles.

Why the geographic distinction?

Looking through the recipes I saw ingredients that I’d have to drive almost an hour -each way- to find. My local store doesn’t carry crème fraiche (I know I could use sour cream or make my own). Lamb is only available around Passover / Easter. And broccolini? I bet my favorite produce guy would look at me like I was nuts if I asked for it.

I also like that that most of the recipes don’t rely on crazy expensive cuts of meat. Yes, there are steaks, but there are also recipes for chicken wings and drumsticks, too. Oh and they get bonus points in my book for suggesting beer with the wings instead of trying to push an appropriate wine. Snobbery rarely wins in my little world.

What I really like about this book is the wine pairings that explain why the suggested wines were chosen. This in and of itself is a great education on wine pairing.

For example, this suggestion is paired with the Crab & Andouille Jambalaya:

There are lots of robust, spice flavors in this jambalaya -from both the andouille and the Old Bay seasoning -so it needs an equally robust red wine. Medium-bodied fruit forward Tempranillo from Rioja is a great choice. Look for the 2007 Marqués de Cáceres rioja Crianza or the 2007 Artadi Viñas de Gain.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t look for the specific wines mentioned in the pairings, but I would take the description “medium-bodied fruit forward” with me to the wine aisle to find something similar. Not only that, but I’d know in the future that recipes with sausage or Old Bay seasoning would likely go well with similar wines. My restaurant education is really starting to get hazy and I would like to branch out from what has become our limited selection of standbys.

Now for the fun part:

I will be giving away my review copy of Food & Wine Reinventing the Classics to a lucky reader.

How does one enter this amazing giveaway? It’s pretty simple and open to residents of the US and Canada. Each reader can have up to 3 entries and the winner will be chosen by random selection.

Only comments on this specific post count as entries. Please don’t respond by email or comment on the Facebook fan page.

  1. A plain, old-fashioned how ya doin style comment. Just tell me how excited you are to enter.
  2. A comment with a  link to a tweet on Twitter sharing this post.
  3. A comment link to a blog post or Facebook entry referencing this post. (just copy the url of the timestamp for Facebook)

The comments will close on Saturday November 13 at 10pm EST. If you aren’t the winner, don’t worry this will become a weekly occurrence and you will have another chance soon.

Good luck.

¹Affiliate link.
²Mostly I just wanted to use the word piqued. It’s fun to say.

Bissell Steam and Sweep Giveaway Winner

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Heather says:

Many thanks to everyone who entered the Bissell Steam and Sweep giveaway. chose commenter #141 better known as Mindy. Congratulations. I’ll be sending you an email requesting your shipping information.

Don’t worry, there’ll be a real post in a couple of hours.