general information and events

random things + a Just One Question Project-inspired experiment.

snow day, 2013.

It snowed this morning! I was greeted by the severe quiet early this morning, before normal people are awake. I love it before everyone tries to channel Rambo out there with the shovels and dig their way to civilization. Overeager, I think: it’s the weekend. chill out. Drink some coffee, leave my snow.

snow, early morning.

So I don’t know if you’ve noticed the utter lack of food coming out of here right now, but it’s mostly going to continue on as such for the next week. Besides, all of you really seem to have this holiday food down, and the minute I think of something, one of you posts something better. If you don’t believe me, just know that I’m making things from some of your blogs this year for Mr. Table’s treats trays, and I am certain they’ll be adored.Thank you for that: next year, I’ll make Christmas food right along with the rest of you. And I may still this year, if something hits the mark. Right now it’s really a battle of simultaneously wanting to do everything and nothing, and if I start to work on holiday food posts, no one is getting presents this year.

I did run through my holiday archives, and if you want some holiday options from the past (and don’t mind looking at some genuinely bad photos, in some cases), here are a few of my annual holiday favorites, including:

holiday cookies.

My first ever holiday cookies post back in 2011, featuring my no-fail sugar cookies and royal icing combo which will get you through anything, along with a my family and friends’ favorite, the raspberry shortbread bars.


Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, which are still my far-and-away best soft ginger cookie, and one which will show up again this year, because the recipe makes roughly a billion.

millionaire's shortbread (the homemade twix bar.)

Homemade Twix Bars (or Millionaire’s Shortbread), which are trickier but swooningly delicious. Their success hinges on your ability to be patient and follow instructions; baking-rushers need not apply.

winter bark.

Winter Bark, my first really big hit on Serious Eats’ site, thanks to a cover photo on their Share your Sweets slideshow and a member making big hay about how delicious they were. So easy and so elegant-looking, it’s a no-brainer for gifts.

toasted coconut, almond + millet bark.

On the bark subject, my healthier Toasted Bark may be a good alternative for you this year: i’m thinking of making it as a food gift. It’s the one with the dark chocolate, coconut, almonds and millet. Remember nature’s sprinkles? They may show up this year under the tree.

chocolate peppermint wafers.

Katherine (Eggton) asked me about these Chocolate Peppermint Wafers a few weeks back in search of a good cookie recipe. She wanted a softer variety, which these are not (although they are extremely tender), but they’re a darling cookie for the chocolate-mint fanatic in your life. Also fabulous for those of us (me) who only like chocolate mint things mid-winter; not too harsh and full of muted peppermint candy-cane flavors.

mexican wedding cakes.

So much chocolate! There’s also other flavors to the holiday: for instance, Mexican Wedding Cakes, which were my wedding favor back when i was married. Rather, i’m still married, but back when the deed occurred.

holiday cake truffles (the momofuku milk bar birthday cake, in a ball.)

And then there was the time I went absolutely rogue and made Momofuku Milk Bar holiday cake truffles, my one and only foray into anything even remotely resembling a cake ball, which I believe, considering how crazy good these were, can be forgiven.

So there you have it: it’s like I made all the holiday food, and yet I did not. If I think of more, I’ll let you know. Brain = food tired.

Excuses: I think what happened is this: somewhere in the middle of November, Feast asked me to do my – wait for it – first feature article for the magazine. Like the big ones that people read before getting to my normal column; that kind of feature. I can’t tell you any more than that, but just know it involved quite a big of recipe creation and an abundance of overthinking and anxiety. It was so much fun to do, and I love a challenge, but a challenge is really the best way to describe what I did. My materials (along with my normal column) were due in at the beginning of this past week; for those of you with calendars, this means I was crafting and testing oodles of recipes the same week as I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner. So much kitchen, friends; SO MUCH KITCHEN.

So that’s all wrapped up, the second Just One Question Project post is up, and this weekend, I’m trying to make a Ginger house for Movita Beaucoup’s Ginger 2013 competition. If I have something done by entry deadline (that’s tomorrow, by the way) it’ll be an absolute miracle. In fact, I think just given bake and drying time, there’s no way I get it done. I’m going to try. I have some inside information which seems to indicate the entries will be amazing this year, so even if I don’t have an entry, I’m going to be pumped to see what crazy Ginger-ness has gone on. I still have to finish making the Wee One’s teacher gifts for this year, and as you can see, they’re only halfway finished.

teacher gifts, halfway.

Someone finds this very amusing.

Television: so this is the time of year when seasons are wrapping up and giving themselves over to new ones in January. Most of the shows I watch (of which there are few) finished out this week. I talked about “The Returned” in my last random things post, and if you never started watching it, you missed out: it’s the creepiest, most well-written zombie show ever, and almost completely devoid of any sort of violence or gore. It’s only when necessary, and it’s extremely restrained, which almost makes it scarier. It’s really something, visually, and in a cool storyline way. That closed out this week, as did my secret favorite show, “Sons of Anarchy,” which really did a number on me emotionally this season: it is a gut-wrenching, rip-your-heart-out thrill-ride of a show. If you’re wondering if I’m some biker chick, I’m not: I don’t even know that I’ve been on a motorcycle. That being said, that show is incredibly well-written, with highly-developed characters and deep-like-the-sea plot lines, and if you can handle the subject matter, it’s like watching a movie each week. A movie that breaks and then sews back together your heart with every step. Evidently it’s gained in ratings with each season it’s on (this was Season 6), which is almost unheard of. Season 7 is the last: in my opinion, Sons of Anarchy should be everyone’s Breaking Bad-style binge-watch of 2014.

Speaking of the TV transition, there’s a show that just started that’s gotten really great reviews, and it’s very good. It’s TNT’s “Mob City,”, and it’s only 2 episodes in. It’s about that really glamorous “first era” (my designation only) of gangster in America: the fedora’d, Tommy gun-toting type. Centered around Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen, it’s very stylized and moves along at a good clip. Ed Burns (one of my all-time favorite actors; if you’ve never seen his “The Brothers McMullen,” you should) plays the part of Mr. Siegel, and the whole thing begins right around the time he decides he’s going to invent Las Vegas. I’m a sucker for (decent) mob films and television (The Godfather will always be one of my favorite movies, so much so that I have both I and II’s soundtracks), and for any of you who feel the same, this one may be a decent pick to get you through the sea of holiday specials.

one of many trees.

One of several trees around here. I’ll do more photos of the house in upcoming posts for you stalkers out there.

Things Which Should Not Exist: What did you all think of the live performance of “The Sound of Music?” As a massive fan of the original, I thought it was a travesty. As in, it actually pained me to watch it. Nothing against Carrie Underwood or any of the actors, except to say this: why would you sign on to something like that? I was ready to give it a shot until they began messing with the songs, which was about 10 minutes in. To be clear: messing with the order of the songs in The Sound of Music, or creating new songs to intersperse as you see fit is like taking a Hemingway novel, ripping it up, throwing it on the floor, mussing it about, writing some new chapters, and then throwing it all back together. Bad idea. Capital-offense bad. The last straw, for me, was the performance of “The Lonely Goatherd” in the storm scene. What the dickens does a story about a goat have to do with making kids feel better about thunder?!? The entire point of “My Favorite Things” in the original was the closing line: if I think about all the things, “…then I don’t feel so bad.” Inexcusable. As was the complete absence of weird goat puppets and fat beer-drinking, lederhosen-clad man puppets.

It’s officially movie season for me. My sweet St. Louis International Film Festival came and went without me getting to see one single movie, due to illness at this house to rival the plague (thanks, Wee One). She’s better, but now I want to make up for lost time, and there’s so much I want to see. Since I know I’m not the only one who gets movie-happy this time of year, tell me: which movies did you see this year and love? Which ones are you excited to go see in the near future? If I had to pick a favorite day to see a movie, it would be the day after Christmas. I’m hoping I get to do that this year, and maybe spend some free time seeing lots of others over the coming months.

Oh! Side question/note: let’s talk about christmas movies. Do any of you have a movie/movies you can’t get through the holidays without watching? I want to know. There’s been much debate over one of my holiday favorites, Love Actually, so I want to see what some of you like to screen. And don’t judge me on that holiday pick, either; one of my other favorites is Joyeux NoΓ«l, an exceedingly beautiful and depressing film about soldiers laying down arms to celebrate Christmas. If you want to cry heavy, historical tears and discover a whole new reason to hate war, run out and get that one. If somewhere in the distance you here deep, unrelenting sobs, that’s just me watching it.

Sponsored Posts: I’ve been pondering some of your incredibly thoughtful answers to the Just One Question Project recently. It seems like there are bloggers who are open to sponsored posts, and bloggers who aren’t, without much grey area. I am the latter, but to the former, I say: you go, people. I have nothing but love and respect for you, because I don’t know the first thing about sponsored posts, but I know some of you do them, and from what I can tell, you do them very well. Some of you touched on it during Question 2 of the Just One Question Project in regard to how long it took you to do those types of posts versus a normal post.

Well, color me intrigued, because I never thought about that aspect of it. Does it take longer? What is required of you? How specifically do you go about a post like that and how does it differ aside from the length of time? Since I can’t ask that in a Just One Question post (because it doesn’t apply to all or even the majority of you; I counted) I’m guinea-pigging it. I am going to do a sponsored post because I want to experience what it’s like for those of you who do them. Will it change my mind about doing sponsored posts on the blog? Not a chance; I can already tell you that unless Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table happens to come knocking and ask me to be their official brand ambassador, I’m having none of it. Even then, I’d need some serious convincing, because this just isn’t my thing. But what I’m hoping it will do is give me some firsthand insight as to why some of you do them.

what is this?

Lucky for me, then, that the HoneyBaked Ham people innocently and unknowingly sent me an email about doing a sponsored post for them over the holiday. There were lots of flowery words, and I’ll spare you the details, but here’s what I read: We are paying for your Christmas Night dinner. Because as luck would have it, everyone insists on one of those dang hams every year. And although I myself am a fair-weather ham person (actually, their ham is an exception for me; normally I don’t eat it), the rest of the guests can’t get enough of it.

all my stress-free things!

They may have actually known that I wouldn’t be swayed by just the ham, so they came prepared: they would also throw in a Williams Sonoma hot chocolate pot with WS hot chocolate (okay, I’m listening), and Anthropologie apron (um, did I read that right? really?!) and a CD from Mr. Michael Buble, who personally wants to smooth out my holiday stress by throwing a little crooning action my way (sold!). I thought it would be the perfect offer to accept after turning down so many of them; you would think I would have been on some sort of master blacklist right now for these types of things, but I guess not. Well, yet: the upcoming post about my “Stress-Fee Holiday” (hashtag “#HoneyBakedHoliday“, which, let’s be honest, I keep wanting to add an “I’m” to) will either immortalize me forever in the wild world of sponsored posts and I’ll have to shut down my email, or I’ll never hear from anyone again. Which is perfectly fine with me.

So you can catch me and the ‘Bubs hanging out here in a few weeks. I’ll be happily wearing my Anthro apron and eating the tiny rum cakes they sent me (an unexpected treat that only makes the above hashtag idea more amusing), OD’ing on hot chocolate from my shmancy hot chocolate pot, and figuring out – in a stress-free way, naturally – what to do with my enormous ham.

All kidding aside, I’m pretty stoked: everything came in a nice, tidy box, my apron is super cute – very festive without screaming “holiday!” – and obviously the hot chocolate and rum cakes are pretty amazing. The Bubs’ music isn’t what I normally listen to (If I want a little Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, I dive into my actual Rat Pack vinyl collection), but he does have a beautiful voice, and he hails from Canada, one of my favorite places on earth, largely due to some of you. I’ll never completely forgive you for Celine Dion, really, but Michael Buble and some of your other talent takes some of the sting out.

I am actually looking forward to my #HoneyBakedHoliday Experiment, people: it’s like a sub-project of the Just One Question Project, and I feel like I’ll get to know some of you a little better in the process. The HoneyBaked Ham people are dying a little inside for unwittingly inviting me to do this, I’m sure, but I think they may really like what I do.

Are you ready to watch me try to adhere to all the things required for a sponsorship post? Don’t hold your breath, because let’s be honest, that’s probably not going to happen. What will happen is honesty: honesty about the quality of products sent, honesty about how we enjoyed them, honesty about my experience doing a sponsored post, start to finish. I chose to accept this because history would suggest that this goes really well and that I don’t hate anything. HoneyBaked Ham People: do not fear, because unless you reallyΒ screw something up with my giant holiday ham order, I know it’s going to be great, and I’m happy to spread the word. I’ve enjoyed everything thus far, and I’m excited to begin using everything you sent me.

I promise to be back soon with actual food and less rambling. Okay, you got me: just actual food, same rambling.


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  • Reply Jen @JuanitasCocina December 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I’ll be emailing you later, because I owe you one back, but I just wanted to say…

    I’m so loving you right now. You and your ham. And I wish I could hear the silence of snow with you right now. Do you think maybe we could have some WS cocoa?

    • Reply shannon December 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Girl, YES. finally. πŸ™‚ j/k
      Have you all dug out from your ice the other week? Someone needs to bring you some of this cocoa, STAT. because you know how WS does it: it’s not like, Swiss Miss powder, oh no…it’s “chocolate shavings.” for real. basically just real chocolate melted in a cup.

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:25 am

      where’s my email?!?! πŸ˜‰ certainly you don’t have anything better to do…

  • Reply Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I am very picky about sponsored posts. I have certainly received products from companies (some solicited, some unsolicited) and make it very clear that 1) nothing guarantees a post unless there is payment involved (and then I’m even more picky) and 2) it has to fit my blog niche (natural, whole foods).

    What ultimately makes it onto the blog are products or companies that I believe are true to their word and make products that I want people to know about. As much as I don’t want to address it, let’s face it: people buy things. And if I can influence that for good, why not?

    Also, sponsored posts tend to push me outside the box as far as what I’m cooking. My most recent one with Safe Eggs (which I had my reservations about to begin with) forced me to make something with eggnog, which I NEVER would have done otherwise. So that’s a benefit, no?

    I am certainly not against them but I do become more-than-slightly annoyed when they take over a blog completely. I have no desire to read your blog if every post is influenced by a product or company in one way or another. I want to read blogs that are about their authors and written FOR their authors, not for whatever company gave you the most money this week!

    • Reply shannon December 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Stacy, you touched on something that is also a pet peeve of mine: when blogs go totally sponsored. I really do say hey: if that’s what you want to do or need to do, more power to you, to those people. I’m not at all hating because everyone’s goal with their own blog is different, and i’m not a judgey person. I personally echo your sentiment: it’s hard for me to stick around with a blog that’s solely sponsored posts. I feel like if i wanted to read about a company’s product most of the time, i’d just head to their website. I don’t mind reading the occasional one, especially if it really fits in with that specific blogger’s point of view, but it does make it difficult to want to stay a regular reader, if that makes sense. and i like honesty, too: tell me something is good and mean it, or tell me something is bad and mean it, but don’t make me wonder if it’s really good or you just are supposed to say that. I’m always skeptical of that, i think.

      • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends December 16, 2013 at 12:28 am

        I agree so much with this — I don’t mind when bloggers do sponsored posts, but when a I come across a blog and find that many or most of the posts are sponsored, I start to wonder if the author is being authentic or not. To me, the most important thing is that I’m true to myself. If a company I love offers to sponsor a post, I’m all in! But I want my readers to know that I won’t promote something to them if I don’t truly like the product or brand myself. I get a lot of offers from companies like Kraft, or Bertolli… but my blog’s focus is on whole foods, and from-scratch recipes. I don’t care how much money you offer me, but I’m not going to rave about your frozen ravioli when I have three recipes detailing how to make your own pasta.
        That said, I’m not opposed to doing sponsored posts, either. It’s just that the ones that fit for me are few and far between. As of only recently, I have done just one sponsored post. I have also done a couple of posts where I’ve given away product — one for some tea samples from a small, local company I really enjoy, and one of some cheeses from a brand I love — but I wasn’t compensated in any way for these. Just me, sharing something I like with my readers.

        • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:27 am

          Agree: authenticity in blogs is everything to me: i want to know what YOU think, and i want to know if really you liked a recipe, and i don’t want to wonder if you “mean it” or if you feel like you should say it because of the brand you’re sponsoring. And i love the idea of helping out local companies, too: that’s perhaps an easier decision to make, especially if you like their product.

      • Reply Emma December 16, 2013 at 8:21 am

        Seems like that’s when a blog stops being a blog, and just becomes a general website of sorts?

        • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

          couldn’t agree more: I always think a blog is about/should be about you and your personal thoughts and opinions, and too much product turns it into an informational site about brands. Now, if you want to be an informational site about brands, cool: fine by me, but i hesitate i suppose to call that a personal blog sometimes. big grey area, i think.

  • Reply mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry December 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Welcome to the world of sponsored posts! It’s fun to get free stuff in the mail and then get paid (sometimes) to write about it. The key is to not sell your soul over it and retain your own voice – which of course you will. I think companies actually prefer that – your readers are more likely to check out or trust a product that you recommend when they know you are being brutally honest about it’s pros and cons. A reputable company with a good product won’t be scared off by that – they know they’ve got good stuff and they can’t wait to hear you tell the world about it. And if you find a flaw, they are usually happy to have it brought to their attention so they can improve their product. If not, I won’t work with them – and you can usually tell right away when they approach you if it’s going to be an issue. There are red flags, like when they have a lot of rules and requirements, phrases that are off limits, etc. If you’re interested in occasional sponsored posting, you can also sign up for programs like Tapinfluence where you put together a brief media kit (don’t be scared, it’s easy to do – you simply input some stats into their online form) and they bring companies to you to consider. So far I’ve worked with Walmart and Kraft foods through them and it was great – very professional and they handle all of the details and have great support people to help with any technical issues. Ok, blah de blah about sponsored posting complete. Next, I just have to say (admit?) that I watched Love Actually on TV the other night (again) and I DO love that movie! Not for the Christmas theme, or the acting, but because it is a little silly at times, and fun to watch because there are so many intertwined stories that wrap up tidily by the end. Sometimes I just need some pure escapism with an Awwwww at the end – it makes me happy. You know what doesn’t make me happy? Saw the commercials for the Sound of Music remake and felt immediately violated and ill. SO. WRONG. I don’t know how a bunch of people got together and thought that would be a good idea. HOW? Now I wish I had some of that rum cake to cheer me up. So sad…

    • Reply shannon December 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Ha, Mellissa, don’t welcome me just yet: i doubt i’ll be staying for long. πŸ˜‰ I think i’m just going to be going rogue for this one and then running back to the sanctity of my unsponsored blog, but you do bring up something i dig about sponsored posts: when bloggers are 100% honest about the product. i LOVE that, and i love it when they do it in a professional way, good or bad. I think it’s great when people set out to do it and pick and choose (like stacy said) which ones they do based on their personal feelings and the perspective of their blog. I suppose i’ve always thought the bloggers who do sponsored posts all the time must feel overwhelmed with all the “to-do’s” and responsibilities of it. I was struck by this one i’m doing in regard to how many details they give you that you’re supposed to follow in one way or another: if i had more than one i was doing, i’d LOSE MY MIND. πŸ™‚ so although this particular one will be fun, I imagine it’s a one-time shot. If there’s another, it must be something i REALLY LOVE. πŸ™‚
      Who can resist Love, Actually?!? Well, lots of people, but i’m happy you like it right along with me. I don’t know about you, but i enjoy a good British Rom-Com, and you add either Bill Nighy or Colin Firth to a movie i know is UK-based, and i’m IN. Also Hugh Grant, really.
      I can’t even think about the Sound of Music remake. i think in my linking it up i saw something about a rebroadcast of it and a tear slid down my cheek before i could stop it. NO. If that happens, i’ll need rum cake minus the cake. Cake on the side.

      • Reply mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry December 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        It does get overwhelming doing the sponsored posts – this week I had two because everybody is rabid to get their product out there and I hated it! I get multiple emails weekly, sometimes daily about doing product reviews and things like that – I instantly respond with a form decline letter to at least 50% of them (NO I don’t want to promote your frozen challah bread dough on my low carb and gluten free blog WTH?) but then even the ones that fit my blog I’ve had to start saying no to because I just don’t have time to do them all, and the more of those I schedule, the less space I have to create recipes that I want to create! When I first started getting asked it was exciting – like I must be doing a good job if companies want me to promote their products – now it’s more of a hassle than anything so I will be limiting it to Jones Dairy Farm for the ambassadorship and occasional other big name products. I’m consolidating the other random products into some favorites posts and then I’ll be back to doing what I want to do when I want to do it! So my advice is, have fun with this one, pick and choose others that are lucrative/fun but DON’T FALL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE like I did! ha ha! Totally random side question – are you a Downton Abbey fan too? I am and super excited for the next season to start!

  • Reply Brianne December 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I was catching up on the Joy the Baker podcast this week and Joy and Tracy had a lengthy discussion about sponsored posts that gave me a lot of insight on the topic. ( )

    I don’t remember the original Sound of Music–I saw it when I was 7 in music class–so I was intrigued by the live version. However, the lady I stay with during the week was not, so I only saw the first 45 minutes. She was real mad about it.

    We’re forecasted to get 10-15 inches of snow tomorrow. BRING IT ON!!!

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:30 am

      i need to check out that podcast: perhaps as i do some holiday baking! πŸ™‚

      you haven’t seen it since you were 7?!? i don’t know why i’m like, the way i am about it: i should obviously know that everyone hasn’t done their lives in the same way, but i think for some reason i cling to a childlike theory that everyone had the movie on VHS and watched it over and over (as me and my sister did) for their entire childhood. obviously i need to shake that line of thinking. πŸ˜‰ i bet that lady you stay with watched it like i did when i was little. πŸ™‚

      go snow!!! i just always pictured you guys up there covered in a blanket of it, always. probably because of emma and her dang instagram videos of beautiful snow-covered pines. SHOW-OFF. πŸ˜‰

      • Reply Emma December 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        How else am I going to spend my time! πŸ˜›

  • Reply Deb December 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Ah sponsored posts… I’m at the place where I want to post what I want to post, when I want to post it. I enjoy free product am as easily flattered as the next blogger. But. Here’s the thing with most products, it takes more than the “free” product to produce a blog post. More resources: more groceries, my kitchen gets used, my camera, computer and other equipment gets used AND my precious time gets used. I will still do them if the product fits. But I would very much like to be be paid for my work. That said, I’m looking forward to the HoneyBaked Ham post as it seems to be a great company with a superior product!

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

      so true, all those intangibles you mention which go into sponsored posts: it’s not just as simple as free product equalling blog post, end. You do pay for it in lots of little and big ways, from time spent to ingredients purchased. It’s great that you mentioned that, because i hadn’t thought of it like that before.

  • Reply John@Kitchen Riffs December 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    We’ve gotten into the habit the last couple of years of doing cookies and cocktails on the blog because we’re already doing plenty of both, so it’s easy to write about them. Thus we don’t have to stress about what to blog about! Re sponsored posts, I’ve resisted the siren call. If I ever start running ads and so forth, I might rethink that, because I’ll be reporting income to the tax people. But the swag the sponsors give you is a form of income, probably, and I don’t want to worry about having to figure out how to translate that into $$$ on my 1040. Congrats on the big deal article for Feast. That truly is terrific. And a big deal. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:22 am

      I love your cookies and cocktails routine: it’s super-practical for readers, i think, b/c that’s what we’re looking at doing, most of the time, especially this time of year. I always need ideas for drinks, and i’ve loved your offerings this season (and plan to execute some of them very soon here at the house!).
      You bring up an excellent point about sponsored posts: the financial/reporting ramifications and responsibilities: it’s a weird area and one i’m not wanting to have to figure out. πŸ™‚ AT ALL: i have enough problems wrapping my brain around taxes, so i’m not about to make it more complicated.
      thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kathy G December 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    When can I look for your article in Feast?

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Hi Kathy! My feature article will appear in the February issue of Feast, so look out for it right at the beginning of the month and snag a copy anywhere you normally see them (I typically get mine at Dierbergs or Schuncks). I know it’s awhile to wait…i wish it were coming out RIGHT NOW. πŸ™‚

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats December 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I’m the same with the honebakd ham – we have it EVERY YEAR for christmas (or thanksgiving) and then the rest of the year…. not so much. But for that one time of year all i think about is enjoying that dang ham! i’ve never had their rum cakes or sides though (scary!) so i’m interested to see how they are…. i’m also happy that you’re exploring the world of sponsored posts! i know you’ll definitely be able to do it while remaining totally authentic πŸ˜‰ congrats on holding out for the “right one” πŸ˜‰

    i don’t think i consider ‘love actually’ a “CHRISTMAS” movie, but … I can see how it COULD be considered one….. i think i see both sides of the argument, but i’m a “grinch” girl through and through … 30 minutes of pure seuss-ian bliss. and island of the misfit toys…. basically if it was made after 1970 then i’m not watching it “for christmas”.

    i LOVED the sound of music… i saw about 40 seconds of the ‘live’ one…. and I couldn’t handle it. i just COULDNT. HANDLE. IT.

    i totally don’t miss snow, i like looking at clean snow through the window but that’s about it…. i don’t want to walk in it, drive in it, or shovel it (which was always my job for some reason when i was little)

    and omg teacher gifts, OF COURSE you’re making them gifts! i love it. adorbs.

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:18 am

      You have to wonder with HoneyBaked how much of their business is done from thanksgiving to easter, right? like do people order ham randomly in June? it seems very “holiday,” like a Turducken or gingerbread: it’s not like it’s not good any other time of year, but it feels festive. too festive for, say, sitting poolside. with a ham.

      now i totally want to sit poolside with a honeybaked ham.

      it is considered a “christmas-themed” movie, i think. it has christmas in the background; snow, lights, christmas crowns, and i think it was originally a thanksgiving or christmas release in theatres. THE MISFIT TOYS! omg totally one of my favorites. have you ever watched those pre-70’s “kids” specials or cartoons and thought about how todays kids are pansies compared to what we watched when we were little?!? EVERYTHING WAS DEAD SCARY or scary-looking. My mom and i happened upon some old cartoons from like, i think the early 50’s on netflix last year and we had to turn them off. nightmare-inducing. in an awesome way, but still.


      you. don’t. miss. snow?!?!? *tear forms in eye* *sniffles* i can’t talk to you right now.

      of COURSE i am!! hey: listen, i don’t know what it’s like in other places, but i fully plan on stella going to private school like i did. when you do that, you MUST make wonderful teachers’ gifts; it’s a requirement. when i was in first grade, my mom made a SCALE MODEL OF MY SCHOOL IN GINGERBREAD for my teacher. obviously i need to start practicing now if i’m ever getting to that level. GAME ON.

      • Reply Emma December 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        When we meet up, I hope that it will be poolside, with a honeybaked ham.

        • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm


  • Reply Monica December 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I would love any and all of those treats. The chewy chocolate gingerbread are possibly our favorite Christmas cookies – I just baked a second batch a few days ago. And I’ve wanted to make that winter bark with the peanuts for ages and here’s another great reminder because yours came out perfect. Good luck – and have fun – with your sponsored post.

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:10 am

      aren’t those chocolate gingers SO good! for me, they’re in the “I HAVE TO HAVE THEM” category each year. so easy to grab…TOO easy. πŸ™‚
      beware: peanut bark = addictive tendencies of family members will come FLYING OUT, so have plenty on hand. it’s like when you eat a Snickers mini, and you know that you should stick with the one, but then after about 837, you realize that you’re sick but it may have been worth it. AND you still want more.
      thanks! i’m going to need the luck, for sure, but i plan to have loads of fun with it. so far, so good: ham is officially on order as of yesterday.

  • Reply elizabeth December 15, 2013 at 10:50 am

    You are the fourth person to recommend SoA in the last few weeks, so we may start watching it while we wait for other shows to come back, as it’s streaming for free on Amazon Prime so we have little excuse not to give it a try. RE: The Sound of Music, well, I managed all of five minutes combined (three in the beginning, and two while waiting for Scandal to come on) and it was not great. Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti were apparently quite amazing, but Carrie Underwood is neither an actress nor a great singer of musical numbers.

    The only holiday special/movie that is essential to me this time of year is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’ve never seen Love Actually, but from what I’ve read I don’t think it’s for me because I cannot handle a movie in which it is implied that someone cheats on Emma Thompson. That is *not* okay! It also doesn’t sound as terrible as the movies it later inspired Valentines Day/New Year’s Eve, which are literally the worst. πŸ™‚

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Elizabeth, i swear that every time an episode ends, i say to myself, “this is the best show on TV right now.” With the obvious disclaimer of the need to have a tolerance for tv violence, because there is no holds barred with that particular show. It’s a show that stays with you, and i’m sad that next season will be its’ last, but i love it when a show has enough of an audience and a network to support it that it gets to tell its entire story, start to finish. i can’t tell you how many shows i’ve started and loved (John From Cincinnati, Deadwood, Life on Mars, the list goes on endlessly) that have been cut short by cancellations. HATE that.
      Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti (the latter especially) were very good; unfortunately lots of stiff performances surrounded them, and they just couldn’t save the ship. even if they had, the general tone and song switcharoos were inexcusable, in my opinion. I would have been more sad, but i have the DVD of the real thing, so i availed myself of it the next night and considered my brain cleansed.
      LOVE all the Charlie Brown specials: we watched the Great Pumpkin and You’re not Elected, Charlie Brown this year, as well as the Thanksgiving one. CB Christmas is my favorite; is it weird that it makes me tear up a little when they go into that very serious part? I get holiday over-emotional. πŸ™‚ And yes, that Emma Thompson gets cheated on is NOT okay; that makes me cry, also, but i do think the outcome of that particular storyline makes the initial sadness feel better. i won’t ruin it if you ever watch it. I completely agree about the V-Day/NYE Love Actually-inspired “films…” i have not seen either of those, nor will i. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats December 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    So jealous of all your snow!!! It snowed here last week which was really nice but it didn’t really stick. I’ve been slowing trying to do some holiday baking starting this weekend. Since I don’t have my nice new kitchen and double ovens yet, I’m sticking to a lot of candy this year. I’m always looking for new, favorite, sturdy recipes and I’m totally going to mark those raspberry shortbread bars down!
    Shannon, you certainly do NOT need to apologize for not posting so much food lately. That’s absolutely amazing about your Feast article!!! Oh man, I’m so excited to find out what it’s about and read it πŸ™‚ I can’t believe that amongst all this plus the holidays, you’re attempting the Ginger competition. You’re a better woman than I am, that’s for sure.
    OH MY GOSH, the Wee One is SO CUTE!!! πŸ™‚ Also, totally psyched to see more of your house (obvs). And I’m majorly jealous of your Honey Baked Ham gift basket. Wowzers.

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Normally i’d be saying that to you, since you all usually get it before we do! we got lucky this year, and it was good snowman snow, too, which is always fun. I’m happy it’s still piled up everywhere, and from the looks of the temperature, it’s not going anywhere this week. πŸ™‚
      candy is the BEST way to go if you don’t want to constantly be baking: great idea! that’s what my bark is for: it’s so easy and like, 10 minutes and a whole sheet of it is done (or two, if you really can work quickly and do a double batch). sometimes it’s extra cost depending on the ingredients in the candy (and the absence of flour), but worth it, in my opinion. smart girl! And those raspberry bars? delicious. i seriously get requests for them year-round. they make a bunch too, so i think those are a good one if you are baking. Those are nice b/c you can use blackberry, apricot, cherry….the list goes on. they work pretty awesome with any sort of preserves, so long as it’s got a little tartness in it.
      I’m excited/nervous about my article: like i think i said on another comment, i file it and then it’s like Overthinking Central around here with all the things i could have said, etc. i suppose that’s why deadlines exist, b/c you have to just let it be at some point. I wish i could tell you more, but you’ll have to wait: i’m anxious to reveal it too, b/c it’s about something that i want everyone’s opinion of.
      Well, so you’ll see that i didn’t really make my Ginger 2013 deadline, although i tried super hard: life got in the way this year and i couldn’t get it done. i wanted to. there will be a ginger house here by christmas, but it may not be until like, christmas eve. πŸ™‚
      She’s a keeper, thank you. πŸ™‚ those future house photos are for you, and i hope I get some sun here at some point (versus the winter haze) so i can take some decent photos. looks like today i’m out of luck, but i may have some easy crafts in the hopper we can talk about until then. πŸ™‚ and isn’t that HoneyBaked Ham box awesome!?!? could. not. resist.

  • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends December 16, 2013 at 1:04 am

    So much to say… where to begin! First of all, sponsored posts: I’m no expert on the subject (I’ve only done one so far, and it hardly counts), but I’ll talk about it anyway. As you know, my big thing is doing stuff from scratch on my blog — homemade pasta, homemade eggnog, homemade vanilla extract, etc. — and I get a lot of offers from companies / brands / products that don’t really fit that. For example, I got an email a few weeks back from a company asking me to review their pre-made frozen ravioli (ahem — did I mention I do all from-scratch recipes?), and when I mentioned this to T-Hubs he said “you should’ve taken the offer, then told your readers that you threw their ravioli away and do a recipe for homemade ravioli instead.” It would have been rude, and I probably would’ve been put on some kind of bad-blogger blacklist, but it pretty well sums up how I feel. I’m not going to promote something to my readers unless I truly love it myself. Nor am I going to write about something that so clearly falls outside the realms of what my blog is about. Not only am I true to myself, that way, but I think my readers know that I am being genuine with them, so when I do promote something they know they can trust me. When I get an offer, I think to myself “would I promote this product to my friends?” if so, it doesn’t hurt to get compensated for dropping the company’s name, but if not, I don’t care how much they’re offering.
    As for freebies, as Deb mentioned in a previous comment — I do occasionally get offered and sent a product to try out, but I try to make it clear that this in no way guarantees that I will write about it. Getting to try something out is great, and if I really love it I’ll email the company back to discuss the possibility of doing a sponsored post, but it has to be something I myself enjoy and think my readers will enjoy, too. It’s more important to me to be honest than to make money.
    Okay, other things — I have not seen the new SoM, but I am already horrified that they have made one. I need to rewatch the original, but I remember loving it as a kid. Speaking of which, when I was a kid my brother and I used to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas every Halloween, and sometimes every Christmas, too… that’s the only thing I can think of in terms of an annual holiday movie for me.
    Michael Buble = incredible voice = yay Canada!
    And you need no excuses not to be cooking/baking here on the blog this holiday (by the way, all of those treats you linked to look and sound INCREDIBLE). So excited that you’re getting a full-on feature in Feast! You’ll have to let us know when/where to look for it. Congrats!
    Okay, I think that’s it… I think my comments are morphing into mini-blog posts of their own. Oy!

    • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends December 16, 2013 at 1:06 am

      P.S., I love that you’re talking really openly about how you feel about doing sponsored posts, here. I think you’ll do a great job with whatever the Honeybaked Ham people want, but I just love you for being so honest and open about it before hand. You rock!

      • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:32 am

        thank you, Willow: i promise to always be honest, and i frankly really hope the HoneyBaked people like the approach. Certainly i’m not going to be canned about it, and i like a company who appreciates “outside the box” thinking.

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:47 am

      That’s one thing i meant to ask about, or bring up, and i may do it in a future post/question: what happens if you accept a sponsorship post for a company and then do as T-Hubs suggested; honestly dislike the product and say “hey, this isn’t nearly as good as what you could do easily at home?” Are there consequences? I mean, i don’t know about all sponsorships (i’m no expert either), but there was nothing in any of my materials in terms of a contract or agreement to say certain things (although full disclosure, “notes of interest/speaking points” were suggested, which i expected). I never had to agree to say those things, however, nor did i have to agree to paint their product in a positive light. In fact, when i sent the initial email back, i explained to them that the ONLY reason i was doing this is because i’ve enjoyed their product during the holidays for years, as has my family, and that i would be completely honest in my post. So i don’t know: i’ve not received many offers to do things like this (now i’m self-concious: WHY DOES NO ONE WANT ME?!?! πŸ˜‰ ) but i have had a few “offers” where it did sound as though if they were to give me x thing, then i better say y thing, you know? i have obviously turned those done. The only other post i’ve done like this was Eluka Moore’s Rainbow Fruit Salad book (remember that one, from summer?) for kids. She is a local author (or rather, they are all local authors) and i actually had the chance to meet her at that food conference i attended. I told her up front that i would review it honestly, she sent it to me, and i did just that. I also told her that if for some reason i wasn’t excited about the book, i’d tell her ahead of time and we could call the whole post off; thankfully i didn’t have to do it, but my point is that it’s always nice when people WANT honesty. She did, and i will always appreciate that.

      let me go off on TONS OF TANGENTS. πŸ™‚

      and freebies: simply put, not that worth it to me. i get why for others they would be worth it, and if someone were to offer me a lifetime supply of All-Clad, okay…yes, perhaps. but who’s doing that? No one, at least not at this point. But i ADORE my All-Clad pans, what few i have, so that would be an easy answer (All-Clad, call me *makes imaginary hand phone*)

      the Nightmare Before Christmas! also a big favorite of mine (Willow, between Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton, maybe we have a little thread of sameness aside from cooking, yes?) In fact, there’s an ornament of Jack on my dresser as we speak.

      thank you for that: it means a lot when people say “hey, it’s okay!” to thinks i’m worried about. I hate to have that whole “will i lose people by doing this” feeling hanging over me, but it’s certainly not for lack of trying. There’s so much in my head i WANT to do: like if i could cook all day long, morning and night, and post things? i totally would. but i have to whittle some things down a little, and i’m happy you all understand. πŸ™‚

      • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 9:47 am

        JEEEEZ, longest comment ever. how about i write another blog post IN THE COMMENTS. no wonder i don’t have time to bake things. πŸ˜‰ you all are just too dang fun to talk to.

      • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends December 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

        I’d be curious to hear what people have to say about that, too — what if you don’t like a product and are honest about it? I’d assume the company might just not want to do business with you again, but could it be bigger than that? Can they come after you somehow? In most of the “offers” I’ve gotten (and don’t feel bad, I don’t get many) it has seemed like a pretty open-ended thing. No contract, like you said.
        As for the Rainbow Fruit Salad book, I didn’t even think of that as being “product for post” — it just felt like you telling us about something you like. I’ve done a couple things with small brand/companies/people who are local, who I really love, where I received nothing at all in return. For example, the tea giveaway I did a few months ago for Arbor Teas? They’re a new(ish) company right in my home town, and I really like their product and what they stand for. I contacted them (not the other way around) and asked if they would be interested in supplying a sampling of teas that I could use in a giveaway. That was it, and I was so happy to spread the word about them.
        Also, I think you’re right — Neil Gaiman, Tim Burton… what else do we have in common?? I’m not a big tv watcher (except the Food Network, which seems to suck me in constantly), so I can’t speak to the shows you mentioned, but I’m sure we share many more interests. If only we could meet at a cafe and chat in person, I bet we could go on for hours!

        • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm

          i was just pondering this…i can’t imagine that unless you enter into an actual, signed agreement of some sort with them that they could come after you legally. definitely not work with you, definitely let other affiliates know that you’d be a bad choice for things like this, etc. but probably not sue you, i guess?
          see? okay, so i accomplished my goal with my End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad post: i loved the book, as did the Wee One, so i was happy to promote it via blog because i love the concept and i can’t wait to see the future books, but i never wanted it to be all “oh, someone gave her a book so she feels obligated,” because it wasn’t at all that. i liked that Arbor Teas post, and i could echo your sentiments: it sounded very much like a shout-out rather than a “sponsored post,” if that makes sense. they should all be that genuine.
          i know!! i was a big tv/movie person, than wasn’t b/c hello, newborn in the mix, but now she’s going to bed earlier and i have more time on my hands at night. I still need to be here with her, so i’m catching up on shows i missed or finding new ones i like. also movies: sundance channel has been GREAT for me as of late. πŸ™‚ I bet we do share lots of similar interests: it’s one of the only downsides of blogging: finding people you’d LOVE to meet for coffee, but they happen to live like, millions of miles away. πŸ™ i bet we could go on for hours, too.

  • Reply Emma December 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Being a theaterholic in my previous life, musicals are one of those things that I feel *strongly* about. Not necessarily in a positive way, though; Sound of Music is always one of the ones that’s been on my blacklist. Howeverrrrrr, despite all the hate this live version got, I think it’s a really cool idea! How stressful! How up close and personal! How many camera angles! I watched a couple of the musical numbers replayed online, since I couldn’t watch it live, and I think they did an okay job with it. The chemistry was sort of off, sure, but Carrie Underwood has a great voice. Anything that makes theater more accessible is a-okay in my book:)

    Woop woop, feature article, woop woop!! You da bestest.

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 8:42 am

      *gasp* *falls on floor* as i am NOT a theaterholic, i think i just always assumed that everyone, especially the theater people, loved that film. i’m stunned: i’d love to know why; like if it’s all R+H musicals or just this one? are they like, bubble gum pop music of theatre, i don’t know?
      I won’t argue that it was a cool idea, for sure: i think when someone wants to do something radically different and edgy, i’m all for it. BUT: that’s a big task. that’s a sweeping, monumental, BELOVED AND SACRED movie to lots of people, and it’s not going to be easy to pull off. my complaint wasn’t so much about the idea as it was the execution (or lack therof). now i’m not a theater buff so i don’t know much about the limits of performing on stage, but i know wooden acting when i see it. I agree that Carrie Underwood had a great voice and the singing was nice, i just think fundamental things like changing up the songs and that seemingly lighthearted approach was too much; i feel like it crossed the line from “modern take” to “makes no sense,” at least for me. I do like what you said though about making theater more accessible: if it did that, i can’t be 100% against it. i’ll play devil’s advocate (shocker) and say that i hope it didn’t do the reverse and turn people off in the process.

      thank you, emma. πŸ™‚ i’m da wordiest, that’s for sure.

      • Reply Emma December 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm

        Yeah honestly I think it’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein thing. I don’t know why I’m so picky and have so many opinions πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™

        I’m not sure what songs were changed since I didn’t see it all, but I wonder if, when the movie came out back in the day, people felt the same way about the extra songs that were added then!

        • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

          because people with picky things and a multitude of opinions tend to be the most interesting ones to talk to. AND SCENE.

          i had no idea about the added songs in the original movie! see, i’ve just learned something i would have never known otherwise, thanks to you. Although i should have put two and two together there: i have the original mary martin broadway production on vinyl, but i suppose i thought maybe the vinyl only had specific songs and left off others.

  • Reply Ashley December 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I love your ramblings, so ramble on! They’re somehow still elegantly eloquent and friendly/not-pretentious or trying too hard. In other words, a perfect balance. And I still feel like I learn something (new books, music, movies for sure…other tidbits of culture I miss in my little bubble). I’m excited to read your sponsored post and YOUR FEATURE ARTICLE IN FEAST! Holy crap, that’s amazing, and you are going to rock it’s wintry socks off!!! Woot!

    Also…I have to admit I couldn’t handle watching SOA after the second season. It made me too upset, especially with all the seemingly unnecessary violence. Sigh. But my boys (Eric and his friends) are addicted to the show. I even made him his own biker vest (which is worn while watching, with a special glass and special tshirt and even a shot of a special liquor). It’s adorable to see them so giddy πŸ™‚

    • Reply shannon December 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Ashley, i’m stealing the phrase “elegantly eloquent,” because it’s lovely. πŸ™‚ and don’t we all run around in our little bubbles, too? I know it’s nice when they intersect a bit: i envy those who seem to be able to immerse themselves completely in EVERYTHING that goes on, but i just don’t have the time/energy/amount of hours in the day. tidbits from others get me the insight i may miss otherwise, so i’m happy to do the same from time to time. I’m excited to see my feature in Feast too: although i’ll overthink and second guess it to death over the next few months so by the time it comes out, i’ll be shielding my eyes from it. πŸ™‚ I hope all of you like it when it comes out.

      SOA is tricky, especially for fans of good television writing, because there IS a huge violence factor there. I guess since i don’t know what that life is like IRL, if the violence is a true depiction and necessary or if it’s gratuitous; certainly it’s gratuitous and unnecessary on some level, but even if they didn’t show it, i feel like leaving the same outcomes to the imagination are just horrifying. i LOVE that Eric and his buddies are addicted! Evidently it has a “high male viewership” and i can see why. i’m sort of in love with the fact that he has a special outfit and accoutrements for SOA-watching. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog December 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Oh my, those cookies. Lordy, look at that bark. I remember it from last year, but I want it all over again now that I’ve laid eyes on it for the second (third, fourth…) time. May I join you by the window to watch snow and sip on hot cocoa? It sure does look magical. Don’t even get me started on how far behind I am. I’m buried under flour, glitter, card stock, and tissue paper–help!

    You know that my stalker tendencies are going to require me to see those trees. I’m ashamed (and a bit giddy) to admit that I have three trees this year: one for reals tree, one kitchen tree dressed with kitchen-y ornaments, and one sports-themed purple football tree in the man cave. Boom, that’s a lot of trees.

    I haven’t a clue what those teacher presents are all about, but I sure do love those holiday-themed spatulas.

    Can you tell that I’m listing my way through your post with my responses? I apologize. I’m trying to keep my thoughts organized.

    I can’t wait to hear about your feature in Feast! You are going to be brilliant. Let’s face it, you’re awesome, and, since there’s no switch for awesome, there’s no turning it off.

    I hate to admit this, but I don’t watch T.V. It’s not that I don’t want to; I just don’t have the time. What I’d do to sit in front of the tube and not think about anything for 30 minutes.

    Again, there’s no switch for awesome, so I’m sure your gingerbread house will be wicked amazing. Look at that Movita giving away insider info.

    Honey Baked Ham… You go girl. Love me some HBH. I’ll email you as to why I take on sponsored content. I’m sure your post will be finger-lickin’ delicious. Hey, if you don’t like writing sponsored content, at least you got a pretty apron out of the deal. Right?

    End book.

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Jennie, i’ll save us both the words: i love you. i love your book-like comment. i love that almost all of these things happened except for the gingerbread house, which sadly, never DID get made: so many other things to do! I may make a spring one. not even kidding about that.

  • Reply Sarah @ The Cook's Life December 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Okay, Shannon, you covered so much in this post, that I know I won’t be able to speak to them all. πŸ™‚

    Loved, loved, loved that the snow came on a weekend. We had a leisurely breakfast and then all went out to shovel the driveway, take pictures and play. It was nice to have snow, but to also have it warm enough to stay out and enjoy it. We had a snowball fight of epic proportions that then turned into a game of snowball catch. It was nice to have fun with the teenager in the snow. He actually let go and let himself enjoy it with no self-consiousness or false nonchalance. πŸ™‚

    So glad to hear your review of The Sound of Music. I have it taped, but I think I’m going to delete it, unwatched. I just need to rent the original Julie Andrews movie and watch it like it was meant to be. I might get the rest of the fam to watch it too – neither of them have ever seen it. Or I might just watch it with my mom and SIL so I don’t have to deal with the males rolling their eyes.

    Sponsored posts – I so hesitated to do my one and only one so far. I know I’ve said this to you before, but I only did the eggnog one because I used and like the pasteurized eggs already. As for the agreement, they didn’t ask us to mention anything specific or give many parameters at all. They sent links to their site for us to use, but didn’t require it. There were no phrases we had to use or information we had to include. We were free to make any kind of recipe we liked, as long as it incorporated their eggs and the eggnog theme in some way. All in all, it was a good experience. I got my compensation in the mail yesterday, so I guess they waited to mail it until they saw if people actually did the posts they said they would.

    As to other companies approaching me – I have had none. No free products, no offers to do sponsored posts. Don’t feel left out. Or at least don’t feel like you’re alone. πŸ™‚

    Cookies, holiday baking and all that. I am so with you. I have been trying to find a happy medium between blogging, baking, cleaning, holiday funning and all the rest. I am ramping up to take a break from the blog, or at least reduce the post frequency over the next few weeks. I need time to just be and not write about it. πŸ™‚

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Listen, Sarah: i’m answering this like, three weeks late. I also know where you are right now, or where you just were, and i know you’re not covered in snow. SO I’M NOT SPEAKING TO YOU TEMPORARILY. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Amrita December 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I, too, hated this live version Sound of Music. I was very young when I last saw it but I thought, “it couldn’t have been THIS bad, right?!” when I first came across this on TV. Bleh!
    Also, I’m loving the snow that is falling across your page, LOVE!
    I still haven’t gotten around to watching The Returned. How creepy is it? The bf was out of town for about a month and I didn’t want to be creeped out while alone…
    I had to decline the Honey Baked Ham post because my plans are so up in the air and I’m leaving for home soon, but I’m looking forward to reading your post on it πŸ™‚

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      I think what’s even more upsetting is that evidently NBC offered the live sound of music as a DVD which would be “great for gift-giving!” HECK. NO. Just get the real one. πŸ™‚
      I’m so sick of real snow that i actually almost took it down today, and then i thought, “no. it’s cute.”

      The returned is SO creepy. Especially if you’re one that lets their imagination sort of take hold when you watch things, you know? Like it’s weird and very un-gory, but it messes with you. In a very cool, French way. After watching every one and obviously seeing the finale, i can say i can’t WAIT for next season. Like i have to know what happens. Definitely a must. I’m home at night sometimes alone too, and i would say that the first season of American Horror Story? i couldn’t watch that one by myself. The Returned? Not scary in that way. nothing will feel like it’s going to jump out at you…it’s just not that sort of (zombie) party.

  • Reply Faygie December 20, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Gosh, I am so far behind on commenting on your posts! And I don’t even have a good excuse for it since my holiday season is over.

    That second picture up there, the one with the snow? It just looks so incredibly peaceful. And QUIET. We almost never get quiet in LA (*sigh*). I think I may have to pack up my stuff and move across the street from you. Can you imagine the baking trouble we could get into together? πŸ˜‰

    I didn’t watch the live TSOM, and it sounds like I didn’t miss anything. It reminds me of when Disney made their version of Annie. I mean, Kathy Bates is a great actress, but no one can top Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, you know?

    And a big “YAY!!” for your article in Feast! That’s so awesome! I can’t wait to hear more about it.

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Well, i’m behind on commenting on my own posts, so we’re cool. πŸ™‚ It is very peaceful here, still, because are still blanketed in snow. it does dampen sound, somehow: when i hung outside my door to take that photo, it was just silent. “still” would be a good word for it…nothing was moving. everything was hushed.
      i would LOVE IT if you moved across the street from me! We could make BIG trouble in the kitchen, and then the little ones could be playmates and entertain each other, which would be so fun for them, too. I could use you up here today: we had another “dusting” of snow last night on top of the unmelted first big one – just enough to make it not worth it to skid around on the roads. so we’re homebound and i’m making a root vegetable souffle (with any luck, i should say). πŸ™‚ good times.

      exactly! That Annie remake was HORRID, and i had sentimental ties anyway to the first one (just like SoM) so it made it double bad. Carol Burnett as miss hannigan still haunts my dreams. specifically when she’s singing and like, is drinking a martini and smoking and falls into the bathtub: the seventies was like, THE BEST for kids movies. TERRIFYING. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook December 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Oh boy-I’ve been a bit distant. The reason I do sponsored posts is simple; not that I’ve done many… I do like the products I do and I like the wee bit of compensation. (On your blog, I find it easy to use the word wee.) The ones I have done are things I could see myself posting about. I try not to over think this. Though I started my blog as a type of journal recipe story book for my kids, now that it has grown I feel an obligation to the people that read it. In other words, with or without sponsored posts, this takes a lot of time. I kind of look at sponsored posts as a tip. If I can grow my blog and get more readers, it would be nice to have advertising. If doing a few sponsored posts means getting more readers, than I am willing to do some as long as they work for me. I kind of look at it as a win-win for both sides. If I don’t think I’ll like it, I won’t do it.

    • Reply shannon January 9, 2014 at 10:49 am

      We all have, Abbe (obviously, as i’m answering this two weeks out from when you commented): no big deal! It’s been so good to hear from those of you who do do the occasional sponsored post that you do them because you really love the products anyway; i think that’s so important to both the readers and the brands you promote (or it should be). I like the way you look at it – like a tip or bonus to what you already love doing – it’s a nice way to see it. πŸ™‚

  • Reply movita beaucoup January 2, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Okay. I’m very late to the party. I’ve just read all the comments. Basically, you’ve all said everything that needed to be said. You’re geniuses.

    I WILL add this: why would anyone hire Carrie Underwood to play a part that a bazillion professional musical theatre people have trained their entire lives to do? WHY? Gah! Carrie Underwood doesn’t need more exposure. Carrie Underwood doesn’t need more money. Her part should have been given to one of the incredibly talented, life-long trained, given-‘er-every-minute Triple Threats out there waiting to be discovered. I think it’s shameful. You hear that NBC? SHAMEFUL.

    End scene.

    • Reply shannon January 8, 2014 at 11:16 am

      *nailed it* πŸ™‚

      it seems an odd choice, and i think that’s why it spawned the intense amount of discussion about it. I think several of the leading roles would have benefitted from having stage actors play the parts, and it would have been less sell-outy than choosing America’s Country Sweetheart, i suppose. Not to discount miss underwood’s talents, surely: anyone ask me to so much as walk on a stage and i’d probably pass out, but it just seemed like it was unlikely to work out.

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