win a copy of Asylum!

*Contest Closed*

My debut novel ASYLUM hits Amazon monday, and I’m giving away a FREE copy here!

ASYLUMCoverArt

Here’s the official blurb:

After being found guilty of first-degree murder, sixteen-year-old June Foster is sentenced to life at Washington Pines Sanitarium.

June remains convinced that she was right to kill a man she knew was evil, but as time goes on in the asylum, she begins to question everything she knows. Or thought she knew.

As the events leading up to her incarceration are recounted, she begins to understand that the web she finds herself in is far bigger and stickier than she ever imagined. The warden of the facility, both violent and vindictive, is intent on making June’s life a living hell.

June’s previous boyfriend, beautiful turquoise-eyed Frank, is the only one she can trust. Or is he?

Caught in the middle of child experimentation with untested drugs, arson, and murders, June Foster is reduced to two options—accept the fact that she has gone crazy, or hatch an escape plan from the asylum to get her life back.

Set in America during the 1950s, Asylum is a book you will not be able to put down. The author pulls you along relentlessly in a page-turning thriller that leaves you wanting more with each sentence—to a mind-blowing and unexpected conclusion you will not believe.

*Contest Closed*

Want to win a free digital copy for your Kindle, Nook or iPad? Leave me a comment below telling me the title of your favorite book, and you’ll automatically be entered to win. Contest ends Friday, March 29th. 

And the winner is…

Bill! Congratulations Bill, I’ll be emailing you asap ;) Thanks everyone for entering!

 

cookie dough truffles, and a giveaway!

One of my favorite bloggers, Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil, has come out with a gorgeous cookbook.

It’s entirely about cookie dough! No more sneaking naughty tastes of raw egg dough straight from the bowl: Lindsay’s recipes are egg-free, so there’s no guilt.

You can make dreamy concoctions like cookie dough cheesecake…

Mexican chocolate cookie dough tartlets…

Cookie dough ice cream sandwiches…

And cookie dough layer cake, for a special someone’s birthday.

I was most intrigued by her recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, so I gave them a go. All you do is mix up a quick, egg-free chocolate chip cookie dough…

Form into balls and dip in chocolate (I decided to make them into pops–it made them easier to dip and fun to eat)…

And swoon. Cookie dough wrapped in chocolate? Dude. This lady is genius.

The best part about her new cookbook? You can win it. Right here, right now.

To enter, just leave me a confession in the comments: do you eat raw cookie dough? Me: yes. Always. With a spoon. Or a finger. Or a spoon and a finger. And the winner is: MeganM . Congrats, Megan! I’ll be emailing you for your address soon.

The fine print: U.S. Addresses only. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner a week from today (monday, June 11). Good luck! 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook by Lindsay Landis

Makes: 30 to 40 truffles  Active Time: 1 hour   Total Time: 2 hours

For Cookie Dough:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For Chocolate Coating:

  • 8 ounces dark-chocolate candy coating

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place sheets in freezer for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler or microwave according to package directions, being careful not to overheat it. Using a fork or dipping tool, dip truffles one at a time in candy coating to cover. Tap fork on the edge of the bowl to shake off excess coating, and return truffles to baking sheets to set. If you have any leftover coating, transfer it to a piping bag or squeeze bottle fitted with a small round tip and pipe decorative lines over top of truffles—or simply drizzle coating with a fork for an abstract finish.

Refrigerated in airtight container, truffles will keep for up to 1 week, though I dare you to make them last that long.

mint thins, and a giveaway

*Contest Closed*

As a food blogger, you get offered a lot of odd things for free. My all-time favorite? Kangaroo meat. I wish I were joking.

It’s every blogger’s own decision whether to accept swag or not. Personally, I believe that my blog is all mine, and I don’t do any sponsored posts here. If companies want to send me something, I’m cool with it. I just don’t promise to write about it.

My other rule of thumb is that when I receive things that I honestly do like—things that I would recommend to you all—I have to give them away to you guys. That’s why I’m excited to be handing over this great cookbook from Quirk Books, and a little bummed that I’m not keeping it for myself.

The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando (who also writes for Serious Eats), is yes, you guessed it—an cookie encyclopedia. It’s cute and colorful and full of tips for churning out perfect cookies. I do believe this cookbook was tailor made for me.

There are recipes for chocolate lovers.

Recipes for ambitious bakers.

Pretty photos to gaze at even if you don’t bake at all. And if you love to bake, there are recipes for every cookie under the sun, from buttery to spicy to fruity.

I even found a recipe for one of my all-time favorites: mint thins. Or in Girl Scout land, the über popular “Thin Mints.”

It would be irresponsible of me to not test out a recipe from the book before handing it over to one of you. So I just *had* to make them. And as it turns out, they weren’t as labor-intensive as I thought they would be. And worth every minute of preparation.

You begin by churning a thick, buttery dough in the mixer.

After letting it chill, you roll it out and cut into circles.

Bake, then dip in a blissful blend of chocolate and peppermint…

…and twiddle your thumbs as they cool.

In Lucy’s case, twiddle your tiny, very impatient thumbs.

Savor. Lick the melted chocolate from your fingers.

They are, in my approximate estimation, about 11,957 times better than the Girl Scout version. No offense, little ladies.

Try them for yourself using the recipe below. And if you want to try your hand at other types of cool cookies, enter to win The Cookiepedia in the comments. I’ll announce the winner next week!

Contest Rules

  1. To enter to win The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando, simply tell me in the comments: What is your favorite type of cookie?
  2. U.S. addresses only, please. I’m paying for the shipping myself, y’all. One entry per person.
  3. A magical random number winner picker computer thingie (that’s it’s technical name) will choose the winner next week.
And the winner is…
Karen! Karen said, “My favorite cookie is chocolate chip. Maybe a little boring but eating one while still warm from the oven with a glass of milk always makes me smile.” Karen, you’re my soul sister. Soul. Sister. I’ll be emailing you with the details. Thanks everyone for entering!

Mint Thins from The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando        printable version

Nobody you know will not come by when you say you’re baking homemade mint thins. (If they don’t so much as ask, consider defriending them immediately.) The question is: Do you want to share? The baking and dunking takes no time (especially if you taste as you go), but these bite-sized treats do hold up best (and taste yummiest) once the mint chocolate has had ample time to set. If you’re protective of your stash, store them in the freezer. They’re best with a chill anyway.

Preheat oven to 350F. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint flavor
1. Cream the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture by halves, beating to incorporate after each addition.

2. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and form it into a disk with your hands. Split the disk in half and place them in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour.

3. Working on a floured surface (you’ll need a decent amount, since the dough is sticky), roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Shape the cookies using a 1 1/2-inch round cutter and place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then let cool completely.

4. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and set it over a small pot of simmering water* (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the butter and the peppermint flavor and stir the mixture steadily until it’s fully melted and looks glossy and smooth. Remove the bowl and let the chocolate cool slightly.

5. One by one, drop the cookies in the chocolate, then scoop them out with a fork to let the excess drip off. (Tap the cookies against the side of the bowl to help drain the extra chocolate). Move them carefully to a wire rack or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. When they’re all coated, move the sheet to the refrigerator or freezer to set.

*Note from RDG: If the chocolate gets too hot, it will harden. To reconstitute it, add a little vegetable oil and/or milk and stir until it comes back to a smooth consistency.

 

a giveaway

I get a lot of promotional emails. People offer me everything from free cookbooks to kangaroo burgers (yes, I’m serious), as long as I review and/or plug their product on this blog. Most of them I ignore. Some of them I giggle at. But a few I take advantage of, and today it could be you reaping the benefits!

Jamie from CSN Stores is offering one lucky winner a $55 gift certificate to any of CSN’s online stores (including Cookware.com!). You could use it for anything from dining chairs to high chairs, but naturally I’d use it for some new kitchen gadgets.

Here are some of my favorites under $50:

Le Creuset baking dishes. Colorful and they last forever.

A pretty tea towel…

…or some pretty kitchen towels.

A hefty cutting board with a juice tray, perfect for carving meat or anything messy.

A toaster oven. Just because I want one.

A set of silicone spatulas. This one’s a little over the $50 mark, but so worth it. They’re very durable unless you leave them over an open flame. Then they will catch on fire. Not that I know from experience.

To enter:

1) Browse Cookware.com or any CSN store.

2) Leave a comment below telling me what you’d use the $55 for.

The winner will be randomly selected on Monday, September 27th (no more entries after 10 pm Sunday night). One entry per person, please. U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Good luck!

-RDG

We have a winner!

Author: Jennifer McLachlan 
Comment: i would love to get the Rachael Ray Lasagna Lover™ and 2 Piece Set Bubble & Brown™ Individuals – 55735

Congratulations, Jennifer! Looks like you’re going to order yourself some new bakeware. Thanks everyone for entering!