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Summer’s Here: Time For Giveaways Gone Wild!

[This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered!]

Summer has finally arrived, which means time for playing outdoors, fresh food, girls in bikinis. . . and giveaways! I’ve received several great products for review and giveaway the past few months, so I decided to use the warmer months to catch up by offering a summer series–I’ll be giving away something every week this month!

So. . . . Let the parties begin! [Giveaway info is down at the end of this post.]

[image source]

I. Food at the Movies. . . .

When I decided to study holistic nutrition back in 2002, I was banking on the fact that food would be my best medicine.  I’ve always been an avid student and was excited to experience an entire year of lectures, readings and online information about the links between food and health.

After seeing the film Forks Over Knives a couple of nights ago, I’m so glad to know that I was right.  The film focuses on two medical mavericks and the results of their independent studies that, over time, intersected and resulted in their working together on the film.  At turns entertaining, enlightening, horrifying and inspiring, the film provides not only information about the sorry state of North American’s eating habits, but also some impressive statistics (the results of large-scale, impeccably run studies) and concrete actions that we can take to improve our health dramatically. 

I left the theater feeling super charged, determined to revamp my own diet to be even healthier (oh, and I also developed a wee crush on Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn). 😉 

Have you seen the movie? If so, what did you think? 

II. Food In Books (ie, giveaway time!)

Of course, I also love to learn about food in its other guises. . . especially as it appears in recipes within some of my favorite cookbooks! I will occasionally receive books for review based on one or more of the criteria of my diet: they’re vegan, they’re gluten free, or they are connected to dogs (yes, I once received a cookbook full of recipes for dogs!).  Since I am the human embodiment of the old expression, “I read cookbooks the way some people read novels,” I’m always happy to receive a beautiful new culinary tome in the mail, even if it contains recipes I can’t actually make.  I love looking at beautiful photos of food, and I love imagining my own takes on the recipes, which I use for inspiration.

Recently, I received a few cookbooks (and one literary book) written by authors whose blogs I read and admire.  I quickly realized that there might not be a huge number of recipes I could use in them, but that they were wonderful books nonetheless–books that many of YOU might enjoy since your dietary habits may be different from mine.  So I’ve decided to share the love!

Below are a few of the books I’ve been reading and enjoying lately.  You can enter to win just one or any number of them; just let me know in your entry which one(s) you’re interested in. I’ll randomly choose a winner next Friday, June 10th. 

Gluten Free Cupcakes

Pretty much everyone who eats gluten free is familiar with Elana’s blog, Elana’s Pantry.  Now, in her second cookbook, Gluten Free Cupcakes, Elana has mixed up 50 recipes for cupcakes of all kinds, from White Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes to German Chocolate Cupcakes to savory Chive Pepper Muffins and even a vegan option for your veggie-loving friends.  With her trademark simple ingredient lists and low-intensity directions, Elana provides a collection of great cupcakes that are easy to make and will also wow your guests with their interesting flavor combinations and spectacular appearance.  Complete with a mouth-watering set of photos, too. 🙂

Best for: Gluten free eaters who use eggs and nuts, and prefer agave as a sugar replacement.

Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life

It may not be a cookbook, but this collection of literary quotes, fascinating facts, insights and musings about the writing life from some of the world’s best-know women writers will enchant and captivate you.  Interspersed with the written passages are stunning photos, artwork and design details, courtesy of the bestselling vegan cookbook author Nava Atlas (whose talents in art and nonfiction writing are very apparent on every page). 

As some of you know, I started my career as a college English professor after completing a PhD on American short story writer Katherine Anne Porter. And while my doctorate feels like a million years ago, I am still drawn to any work about any and all literary women. I loved The Literary Ladies’ Guide.  It’s the kind of lush, beautifully detailed volume that looks great resting on your coffee table or on display in your den.  With inspiring quotes from the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Anaïs Nin, Edith Wharton or Virginia Woolf, the book would make a fabulous gift for a friend or loved one.  And even better, Nava has graciously offered to provide a signed copy of the book to the winner!

Best for: anyone with a literary bent, avid readers or those interested in literature, or basically any woman (or man who is acquainted with a woman).  😉

Natural Vegan Kitchen

It’s always great to receive books that are in line with one’s own eating philosophy, and in my case that includes The Natural Vegan Kitchen. As the founder and owner of The Natural Kitchen Cooking School, Christine Walteryer provides cooking classes in keeping with my own ideas about whole, unprocessed, animal-free eating.  Her approach leans toward macrobiotics, which includes a few foods I’m not allowed at the moment (such as mushrooms and many fermented ingredients). I’ve been eyeing the zucchini and rice patties, sweet potato polenta pancakes, and peachy quinoa pudding. 

Best for: vegans or anyone seeking an egg-free, dairy-free, meat-free and whole foods diet.

Simply. . . Gluten Free

Simply. . . Gluten Free Desserts  was the first new cookbook I received last month, and I was blown away by the sheer gorgeousness of it.  If you’re familiar with Carol’s blog of the same name, you already know how stunning her photos are.  These are the types of desserts that are close to my heart (even though I don’t eat them any more): rich, creamy, frosted, multi-layered, beautiful.  If you consume dairy and eggs–and love classic desserts of all kinds–you’ll want this book. 

As it turned out, there was one recipe I could try from the book: Carol’s all-purpose GF flour mix! I made carob brownies and cookies with it, and  both turned out great.From Chocolate Chestnut Cake to Bananas Foster Cupcakes to Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberry Cream to Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches, every recipe in this book is a showstopper. 

Best for: Gluten free eaters who use dairy, eggs, nuts and sugar.

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents (with apologies to my international readers!).

You are welcome to enter for one or any number of the books in the list.  To enter, all you need do is leave a comment here with the name(s) of the books you’d like–please actually write the name(s) of each book you want in your comment You can gain extra entries any of the usual ways (tweet about this (include @rickiheller so I will see it), mention it on FB, mention it on a blog, subscribe to this blog, like the DDD page on Facebook, follow me on twitter, “like” any of the listed authors on Facebook, or follow any of them on twitter, if applicable).  For each extra entry, please be sure to come back and leave a comment here telling me that you did so.

The contest closes Friday, June 10 at midnight, after which time I’ll randomly select one winner for each book.  The winners will be announced the following day.

Good luck, everyone, and happy reading! 😀

Mum, I think you forgot to mention that summer is also GIRLS Gone Wild–Elsie and I can get pretty crazy with that hose, you know!”

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