Giveaway: Baking Tools!

"homemade" cookie stamp

My tiny little townhouse kitchen may LOOK trendy, and may well be a happy and fun place to gather, but it is atrociously annoying to actually cook in. Sadly I didn’t really cook(at all) when we bought this place, so I didn’t really think about the benefits of minor things like COUNTER SPACE. I have about 3 combined feet of counter space, broken up into 1 foot segments. Poor Sexy Husband, as you can imagine it is just impossible to cook without making a huge disaster(it’s not my fault, it’s the counter space!). Regardless of the lack of space, I still manage to cram every single drawer and cupboard full of cooking, particularly baking, knick knacks. I have a total weakness for things like cookie presses, icing tips and rolling pins. I am powerless to cake molds and mandolines. But my friends in the Village know that if they need a lemon zester, or a cake leveler, they can call me.

My mom (who is the Giver of Gifts) was recently in Seattle and brought me back a Cookie Stamp. SO FUN! So I tried out some cookies, a super basic rolled shortbread cookie, and stamped my little homemade sign into them. They were a big hit! I think I’ll be using it for the upcoming annual girls Christmas Cookie Exchange IronSister hosts(highlight of the season!)

All this got me thinking that I would like to give YOU, my friendly and lovely readers, one of my absolute favorite baking tool set. This miniature spatula set from Williams-Sonoma has by far been the most used tool in my baking life. Big spatulas are great, and I use them all the time, but these mini ones are perfect for icing things, scraping stuff off beaters, cleaning off edges of bowls or glasses displaying desserts, anything really. They are also the perfect size for the Little Hands that help me bake all the time.

williams-sonoma miniature spatula set

Here’s how you can win! Leave me a comment telling me what ingredient you would like to have recipes for(it could be that you have lots of pumpkin to use up, or are curious about cooking with beans, or what do you do with coconut milk – stuff like that), and I will enter your name into the draw. Also, if you are on twitter, which of course many of you are, then tweet about the giveaway and link the blog and I’ll enter you again! This way YOU win a prize and I find out what my readers would like to read about! Saturday night I’ll do the draw!

Happy Thursday my friends!


36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kjanzen
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:00:33

    woo hoo! does being your biggest fan get me an extra entry?! πŸ™‚ i’ll so be tweeting this, of course.
    well this is very specific, and obviously you do not need to cater to my every wish, but i have been considering cranberry-lemon scones ever since i had a very fattening one at starbucks a couple weeks ago… there has GOT to be a way to make that healthy…ish πŸ™‚
    love you.


  2. Sandi Heath
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:05:21

    Hi, Alison.
    I would love to have a good cornbread or corn muffin recipe. All of the ones I have are too sweetand,as I am aDiabetic, I really have to watch the sugar content. I really would love something with a bit of spice to it.



  3. Crystal
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:10:17

    I would like to have some ideas on what to make with Avocados. I know the basics. Guacamole and such…but some really intresting ides are what I am out for! πŸ™‚ I love those slimy green things! πŸ™‚


  4. Debbi DePape
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:16:59

    Slow cooker easy dinners! Beans for sure- I only use them for a few specific recipes (or chili). Thanks!


  5. Jessica C
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:32:54

    I would love to know more recipes to use up this 1/2 bag of quinoa I have sitting here!! πŸ™‚


  6. Tawn
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:40:01

    … ok – SO – I would LOVE ideas about yummy nut-free LUNCHBOX ideas. But that’s not really an ingredient. SO. If I had to choose – I’d love to know more about coconut milk (and not just b/c you mentioned it …). Particularly, a one-dish-stove-top meal with coconut milk.

    … and LOVE your blog design/logo. Brilliant.


  7. Heather
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:52:58

    Cute! Love giveaways. I’d like to know how in the heck I can make gluten free pastry. HAHA. Kidding, because that’s impossible (or is it?)
    I would also love to know more about exactly what you said – cooking with coconut milk. I use it for my curries, but any other ideas?


  8. Tiffany
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:53:59

    Vanilla beans! I love the look of them, and every time I go to the silk road at the farmers market I just want to buy some for the thrill of having them. I just don’t know any recipes to use them in, so maybe you can give me an excuse to purchase some next weekend.


  9. Kristy-Anne
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 11:02:51

    Hmmmmmm… tough call. I would like to see a recipe with lavender. Ha my favorite. ORRRRR lentils.


  10. Jenny
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 11:04:10

    Would you send them to England? Ok…don’t know if you’ve come across this but I have a bottle of pomegranate molasses sitting in my cupboard and I have no idea what to do with it! I’d love a recipe to use it up and possibly persuade me to buy it again πŸ™‚


  11. carolyn neary
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 11:26:47

    I love this blog.
    I would like to learn to cook more with cumin can you help out?


  12. Jeremy
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 11:29:23

    Chickpeas are something I’d like to use more!


    Oct 21, 2010 @ 12:37:41

    i have some radishes from my Organics Delivered that i don’t know what to do with! also beets and kale…


  14. Stacey
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 12:38:22

    Love that you are writing a blog and loving the recipes! Here is an idea…I have some candied ginger that I used in a recipe and now I am unsure as to what to do with the rest!


  15. Terri Lynn
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 13:04:15

    I would love to have a new recipe using cilantro. The only thing I use it in is salsa.


  16. tdhncamp
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 14:27:34

    Okay, I have 2 requests! My mom is bringing me some coconut oil and am not sure what i am supposed to use it for. Cooking??? And I am very curious about some kid tempting bean recipes. Seeing as how I am done the meat fight with my kids, i would love some advice on that! πŸ™‚ Thanks!


  17. Carmen
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 16:45:45

    Hello dear friend! Here’s a couple of things that have been stumping me lately:
    Jicama, bulgur, white beans, and something new to do with broccoli! (beyond steamed, pesto, etc.)
    please and thank you πŸ™‚ ha! okay, one would even be great!


  18. Lori
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 16:46:26

    I have 2 butternut squash on my counter. Soup, I know. Any other ideas?
    Also, I have a bag of wild and brown rice. I don’t really like it as a side dish on it’s own, didn’t care for it in soup. Any other suggestions?


  19. figandfennel
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 19:23:52

    So fun!!! I am loving all your ingredients and clearly have lots of work to do!


  20. Colleen
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 20:10:31

    Recently I had a huge cabbage delivered with my monthly fruit and veggie box. I have made cabbage roll casserole and am bored of stir fried cabbage as a side dish. I’m desperate for some good ideas. I know cabbage isn’t exactly a sexy ingredient to cook with but I know if anyone can make it pretty and yummy it would be you.

    Thanks for bringing beauty to the world – I am continually in awe and inspired.


  21. Colleen
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 21:11:20

    Another idea: I need to make a fruit dip. Any suggestions for a good heathy fruit dip?


  22. Tiffany
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 22:11:13

    This ones for Colleen and Colleen’s cabbage, I bought one for making turkey soup last week, and will be using the rest for fish tacos. I like to do a fresh mango salsa, a garlic/sour cream/yogurt/cilantro type sauce, and shredded cabbage/red onion/red chili/lime juice all on a nice flaky white fish.


  23. Auntie Rosie
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 15:42:28

    I will do one better for you Ali, instead of asking for a recipe I will give you one. I tried it last night and it is SO easy and yummy and different you ahve to try it. Slice a zucchini as thin as you can with either a mandoline or your large grater (not the shredded side). Lay it out on s pretty dish. Dribble lemon juice and olive oil over top; lightly salt and peper it and cover with some nice shredded parmesan cheese. Finely cut lots of fresh mint leaves and toss on top. It can be eaten right away but is better if it sits for a while. It is called Zucchini Carpacio …mmmmm


  24. Christie Pruden
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 17:35:47

    Alison: I so enjoy reading your blog. I have grown a ton of mint this year and am having a hard time come up with new, unique ideas of what to do with it. Thanks, hope all is well.


  25. Holly Hykawy
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 15:03:53

    I’m trying to sneak into your draw under the wire. So, I love Avocados in a big way but my family does not. I’d love some recipes that incorporate them without being too obvious.


  26. Devon
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 15:13:44

    Everything you post sounds fabulous! Would love some recipes for barley. Aaron loves it and beyond tossing it in stew, I’m a little unsure.


  27. Angela
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 15:53:19

    Hi Alison,
    I would love some ideas for non-meat options for dinner….not a single ingredient I know, but I don’t like cooking meat all the time and my brain freezes when it comes to ideas for vegetarian options. Also, I have an abundance of apples in the freezer from our trees in the backyard and would love some new ideas of how to use them! Thanks.


  28. Jolene
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 18:38:17

    I have far too many containers of random grains in my pantry, that I really should be using up stat.
    Millet, wheat berries, bulgar wheat, rye berries, and the list goes on. Any great ideas for me to incorporate them into breakfast lunch or dinner?


  29. karen
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 19:15:16

    hi Alison,

    What about anything with an Asian flair- Anthony and I are digging Asian cooking lately.

    Pick me- I can bake πŸ˜‰



  30. karen
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 19:21:00

    I tweeted you πŸ˜‰


  31. megan
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 20:24:59

    okay, my ingredient request is Rose Water. Found it in a Persian market. Also– I have a recipe for a stew with Pomegranate Molasses. I leave it to you to test and perfect for us as I haven’t tried it yet πŸ™‚

    Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses Recipe


    One 1 1/2-pound eggplant (or enough eggplants for 1 1/2 pounds)
    1/2 cup lentils
    2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    4 medium garlic cloves, minced
    2 medium tomatoes, chopped
    2 long green chiles, such as Anaheimsβ€”stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
    2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

    1 Partially peel the eggplant so it has lengthwise stripes, then cut it lengthwise into 4 slices. Score each slice on 1 side in a crosshatch pattern. Cut each slice crosswise into 3 pieces and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 1 hour.

    2 In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils.

    3 Coat a small (3-quart) enameled cast-iron casserole with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. In a bowl, toss the onion with the garlic, tomatoes, green chiles, mint, tomato paste, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

    4 Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture in the casserole and top with half of the eggplant. Cover with half of the lentils and half of the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining eggplant, lentils and vegetables. Pour the remaining olive oil around the side and over the vegetables, then drizzle with the pomegranate molasses.

    5 Bring the stew to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the eggplant is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

    Serves 6.


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