Friday, August 6, 2010

Feasting Friday- Win Lunch in Your Hometown with Jen Lancaster and Me!

Welcome to a very especially delicious Feasting Friday post, complete with amazing exciting knock your socks off contest!

Many of you may know that I am BFF with the most fabulous Jen Lancaster, New York Times Bestselling author of Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights Big Ass, Pretty in Plaid, Such a Pretty Fat and My Fair Lazy.

Me and Jen at my 40th B-Day party

We met in 2006 at the Printer’s Row Book Fair when we were placed on a panel together about writing with humor. It was pretty much love at first meeting, and we quickly discovered that with a few minor exceptions, we are the same person. We decided that we would be besties and that our tabloid name would be Stennifer.

Me and Jen and Top Chef Winner Stephanie Izard...nice red eyes!

Jen’s memoirs, in which I make many appearances, are wonderful and funny and brutally honest, and if you have not read them, I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. One of the many things that is so terrific about Jen, is that she is very supportive of other writers, myself most included. So as a way of helping me gear up for the launch of my new book Good Enough to Eat, she has agree to participate in a MAJOR contest…Jen knows better than anyone that pre-sales can be the key to a good launch of a new book, and she wants my new book to do well! After all, that is her quote on the front cover comparing the book to “A perfect dish of Mac n’ Cheese….rich, warm, nuanced and delicious!” .

GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT is the story of a chef who works very hard to lose half her body weight, only to have her husband leave her for a woman twice her size! The book is funny and poignant, (if I do say so myself) and even includes a mini-cookbook of original recipes for delicious comfort foods, both healthy versions and decadent ones. The heroine realizes that she needs to lean on her friends for support as she learns to live and love in her new life and her new body.

So what would be a terrific way to celebrate those supportive friendships and great food?  How about an amazing meal with best buds...

Welcome to STENNIFER: The Lunchtastic Tour!

The winner of the contest will get lunch for themselves and a guest with Jen Lancaster and myself in their hometown, along with a gift basket of some signed books, limited edition promotional items, a bottle of Jen’s fave Chardonnay and probably some baked goods.

That’s right, Chickens, STENNIFER hits the road to come take your fabulous self and your bestie to an elegant lunch in your area. And we bring you presents! Are we not the greatest?

Here is how it works…you go (no, go NOW!) and pre-order a copy (or many) of my new book GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT. E-mail the confirmation (or receipt or a screen shot of your order) to staceyballisinfo (at) gmail (dot) com.


Order 10 copies? You have 10 entries. Want to give them out as Holiday Gifts to everyone in your company? Order 200 and you will have 200 chances to win. (The entries are connected to the e-mail address from which I receive them, so if you have a lot of friends you think might enjoy the book, but they don’t care about the contest, have them pre-order their copies, forward the receipt to you and you send them to me for multiple entries. So easy!)

Even better? You can also get entries for helping Jen and me to spread the word!  For every 20 people you tell about the contest, you get yet another chance to win! Just CC staceyballisinfo (at) gmail (dot) com on an e-mail with 20 different e-mail addresses (I will not store these addresses or sell them or use them in any insidious way, I just need to see that you actually sent it to 20 people.) with a link to this blog post and a brief description of the contest, and you’ll get another qualifying entry. Know a lot of people? Send 20 e-mails to 20 different people each and you’ll get 20 more entries. Get 20 people to Like a Facebook post about the contest with a link to this post and send me the link, BAM! Another entry. (There is no way to reward tweets, but we both hope you will tweet away about this amazing opportunity and know that we love you for it!)

The winner’s lunch will be documented on both Jen’s Blog and my own.

Already pre-ordered? Just send in that receipt! And maybe go order a second one for a pal….

On Kindle? Pre-orders now available!  And if you don’t win this contest, hang on to that receipt and keep checking in on this blog, as there will be some other contests and giveaways coming up for which that receipt will serve as a valid entry!

Lunch to take place on a date between Oct. 15, 2010 and Oct. 15, 2011, specific date based on our availability.

Contest ends at 11:59PM CST on September 6, 2010, and the winner will be announced on my blog and Jen’s and notified via e-mail on September 7.

NOTE:  Contest NOT open to family member of either of us.  That would be unfair.  Friends are welcome.  And family of friends are fine!

Now, what are you waiting for? CLICK HERE to pre-order your copy or copies right now!

And please follow me on Twitter @staceyballis. And Jen @altgeldshrugged.

As for the Feasting part of Friday, even though I think this contest is a pretty filling dish, I thought I would leave you with the following recipe from GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT.  Jen and I both think cupcakes ought to be recognized as a major food group, so this is the cupcake recipe from the book...

Decadent Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

8 T. unsalted butter, cubed
2 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate, (Valrhona, or Callebaut) chopped
½ C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ C all-purpose flour
½ t. baking soda
¾ t. baking powder
2 large eggs
¾ C sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
½ t. salt
½ c sour cream
10 T. unsalted butter, softened
½ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 ¼ C confectioners sugar, sifted
Pinch salt
½ t. vanilla extract
1 T. heavy cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan with baking-cup liners.  We like the foil ones because they are pretty.  Do not judge us.

Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into small bowl.

Beat the eggs in another bowl until well mixed; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and blend until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sprinkle about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined; then beat in sour cream, then add the remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.

Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, ot with an electric beater, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape seeds from into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add confectioners' sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla extract and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Frost cupcakes.  Eat one to be sure it isn't poisonous.  Call your BFF and let her know there are cupcakes.  Open the door so she doesn't make a Jen-shaped hole through it.  Eat a cupcake together. Or maybe two.

For maximum enjoyment, try my strange way of cupcake munching...gently pull the bottom half of the cake off, flip it around onto the top of the icing, making a cupcake sandwich.  Perfect ratio of cake to frosting , and no awkward icing-on-the-nose moments!

Biglove, and can't wait to meet one of you and your bestie at lunch sometime soon!

The Polymath


  1. Oh, BOO! I travel every week, and my apartment is the size of a shoebox, so I'm strictly Kindle these days.

  2. Lunch with you and Jen sounds like the most fun ever. I'm totally willing to clear my calendar on the 15th. Crossing my fingers & clicking out to

  3. Anon - you can preorder it for Kindle and Nook too.

    Hoping my Nook order counts!

  4. Wow, you are going to LOVE Dallas :) We will have so much fun! Now, let me see how many copies of the book I need........

  5. If I already pre-ordered the book and entered the last contest, am I also registered for this one or am I not eligible? Cause I want in!

  6. If you already pre-ordered, your receipt is still qualified, but you have to re-send it to me, since all the receipts for the previous contest have been deleted!

  7. I've been walking around all morning talking about wanting a cupcake! that recipe sounds like something i want to shove in my mouth ASAP!

    all entered for the contest! so excited!

  8. Hi!

    Assume no credit for mentioning on our blog (with a link back on the book/contest)?I actually have a food blog. Love it when food and writing collide!

  9. It's OK if I pre-order on my Nook, right?

    I am so excited. I loved reading about your friendship in _My Fair Lazy_. You guys are hysterical and fun!

    I've been following your blog for a long time now, and I really enjoy reading everything both of you write. Keep it up!


  10. Anywhere that will allow you to pre-order in a fashion that you can send a copy of the receipt is good!

  11. Open to Canadian residents? Please say yes!

  12. Contest open to North American residents. Unless you live someplace fabulous abroad and want to cover our airfare :)

  13. As my current blog name implies, I am sans job right now, but I have taken Jen's writing advice and got a freelance gig writing for a local publication, so i'll celebrate my 1st paycheck from them & order your book. Sounds fantastic! I recently finished Sleeping Over and have read all of Jen's books (except Such a Pretty Fat - want to buy that one, not just get it from the library) and her entire blog.
    I'll spread the word to friends too. So excited about Stennifer!

  14. OMGosh, I thought I was the only one that ate cupcakes the 'cupwich' style to avoid messy icing mishaps :-) This is a great contest, can't wait to pre-order the book.

  15. Hi,
    Are you two ladies willing to travel to Canada? Cause I'd love to enter but you didn't say whether you were limited to the states.

  16. Dear Stacey - please make me some of those cupcakes.


    Your Friend Tracey Who Had No Business Eating Cupcakes

  17. Lunch sounds grand. And I have the perfect spot for lunch, drinks, and chocolate. And I have been dying for some good reads. I am going to place my order on Amazon asap! And I think Miss Jen is divine. I have wanted to create a one of a kind piece of jewelry for her for years. If I win, I think that would be something to do for sure! (Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I would do it for her even if I didn't win. Something with pearls, no doubt, my very favorite of jewels!)
    Enjoy the day!
    Your book looks delish!

  18. I just got completely overexcited...and then saw it's USA only? Utter sadness. I'll buy your book anyway and already bought Her Plaidness's tome. Happy Weekend!

  19. Not USA only, North America only unless you are prepared to pay for our Business Class tickets to your home country. These tushies cannot go Coach unless it is Domestic :) If you are in Canada or Mexico, you are all good! If not, your entry is entirely at your own financial risk :)

  20. You had me at Lunchtastic

  21. Just ordered!!! Meeting you and Jen would be the most awesome thing ever!! Keeping my fingers crossed! Marietta, GA needs come cool chick authors to come pay us a visit!

  22. I will look for it for my Kindle! it sounds like a great book! and your cupcakes sound delicious....but who doesn't love cupcakes!

  23. I ordered the book this lunch would be the top list off my bucket list. Lunch with two of my favorite Authors would make uo for the fact that I only look like a victoria secret model in my own mind and no one elses.

  24. Stacey, will you and Jen come have lunch here in Hawai`i? or is this just open to the lower 48?

  25. Ordered. Sent. Hoping for lunch, but anxious for the book no matter what!

  26. In saying that you'd travel to someones home town, would there be an issue if that home town was say, in Australia? :)

  27. Again, no problems with coming to see you outside contiguous North America if you are footing the bill :)

  28. Okay, so I have pre-ordered and sent out a huge email blast! I would love to win for two reasons...first, you sound like a hoot and a half to hang with. Second, I write a cheese blog called The House Mouse ( and would love an opportunity for an interview. Stay Cheesy!

  29. Wish I had the amount of friends and money to get an awesome feast with you and Jen, but I unfortunately do not. I have yet to read your books, but am SO excited to do so!! Maybe I will be able to meet you two crazy mo'fo's another time!

  30. Preorderd on Kindle. I live in Paris but, should I win, I can visit my mother or son in the States. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  31. Just ordered! And my family owns a chocolate, I know what we could do for dessert!


  32. I'm SO excited you will be coming to Oklahoma! However, let's work out a date after my ginormous pregnant belly starts to flatten out. Say, any day after Miss Munchkin arrives. That way, I can drink! Great contest - how fun.

  33. Ordered books, blasted my friends with an email, now just crossing my fingers!!! :) xoxo

  34. A year long lunch with S&J...including drinks and dessert. SCORE!

  35. Welcome to Canada, eh? After we brunch... cause you can't miss out on pancakes and maple syrup, and pancakes aren't usually served with lunch, we can enjoy a little Canadian poutine, maybe some bison burgers and finish off with a saskatoon berry pie.

    I hope I'll get the chance to meet Stennifer. I know it will be the best brunch ever. (Because in my mind I'm a bit like Jen in thinking that everyone will want to be my friend once they get to meet me!)

    Good luck to me!

    P.S.... I love chardonnay, baked goods and presents, so you truly are the greatest!!

  36. Dude-what if I win? Will you travel to Sydney, Australia? Awesome.

  37. ANY Friday between Oct 15th and Oct 15th?! Love it...
    I'm clearing my schedule! Must win this lunch! October is a wonderful time of year in Phoenix.

  38. I just pre-ordered my copy. It shows up the day before my birthday. What a nice treat for myself! :)

  39. Lunch AND presents?! Y'all are the greatest and definitely need to come to Winter Park, Florida. Park Avenue is perfect for lunch and cocktails.

    Is there just one winner or will you and Jen be making it a lunching tour?

  40. Stacey...I love the contest idea, and I look forward to reading your book(s)... my BFF Amy and I are the same high school class as Jen and we grew up about 40 miles from her home near "Cow-town," Indiana...if we don't win the contest. Amy and I are hoping to get Jen to meet us somehow! Amy says I'm her "Stacey"... Hugs!


  41. How exciting!!! Totally planned on pre-ordering the book anyway, but this is just the icing on the cupcake! Yay! :)


  42. I am so gonna win this! October 15th is my birthday... if that isn't kismet, I don't know what is!

  43. I am ordering my copy NOW! What better way to get my fun on?! I wish there were a witty or unique way to say I just adore your humor and you and Jen both inspire my writing (currently only in blog format but gently evolving into something that will become a book - purchased, very likely, by my parents, my cloest friends, and a few hopeful suckers who WILL be drawn in by whatever detraction technique I put on the cover!). But there you have it - I adore your humor, I idolize your wit, I am desperate to talk to writers doing exactly what I want to do with my life, and I am as committed to baked goods and lunches out as Sarah Palin is to her insistence that Russia is just a backyard away. No matter what, thank you for sharing your awesomeness through writing! (And I love what a beautiful friend you are to Jen in *My Fair Lazy* and the way you embrace the hilarious and rich qualities that make her so funny and enjoyable!)

  44. I was supposed to go to Hawaii, but I just ordered 3 books and cancelled my will so be having lunch with me and my sister!!
    PS I am only anonymous because I don't know what a URL is....but I do know all the Housewives and several of the Teen you can see how much I would have to contribute at lunch...

  45. I can't wait to show you girls how lunch is "done" in South Carolina! Y'all are gonna love it, bless your hearts!

  46. Yes, Kerri, we would come to Toronto!

  47. Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!! I pre-ordered and emailed a screenshot to you forever ago. I hope it's not lost in the inevitable shuffle!

    Come to have lunch with a poor teacher in Oklahoma! Sounds like tons of fun, right?!?!

  48. OMG!! I love this contest! I will blast all my friends via email and pressure them into buying a book. :)
    You ladies will LOVE Chattanooga Tennessee!!
    My husband is a dentist, you can get some work done for free if I win!

  49. Lunch with the Stennifer?? OMG...I'd feel like I'd died and gone to heaven!!! Toronto awaits you with open arms!!!

  50. Love, love, love this idea and am keeping my fingers crossed!

  51. This was all in my email...but I'm dying to have you here...So I'm reposting to your blog too.
    I got so freakin excited I may have peed...or at the very least girl-squealed loudly enough to scare my dog off the couch. I would LOVE to have lunch with you and Jen. I imagine belly laughs and snarky comments flying around my odd midwestern town. I dream of going to Chicago and running into you two (we'd be besties instantly).

    I should win because

    A. My name is Stac(e)y too, though my mother spelled mine wrong. (Thankfully she had a last minute change of heart and did NOT name me Anastasia).

    2. because I am a chef, on my way to losing (almost) half of my body weight. I was 280 a year ago and am at about 220 now. I cant wait to read this book. Being a (pastry) chef and losing weight is a damn hard challenge. I started working toward being healthier after reading Such a Pretty Fat. Being able to talk to two authors whose books inspire me, and cause me to laugh hard enough that wine shoots out of my nose would be amazing...we're talking experience of a lifetime amazing for this girl from South Dakota.

    I realize that Sioux Falls may not have the most amazing restaurant choices (I know, I've worked in a few) but I can gaurantee I will be appropriately squeal-y and excited to see you both. I also promise to bring my hilarious sister, or one of my equally crazy bestest friends. I will also tell you the story of the time a tooth flew at me under a bathroom stall, and the story of the time I fell down the grand staircase, in high school, in front of most of the school (people still talk about it, and I'm many years out of school) well as some equally strange, yet funny things. I also promise to have wine ready and waiting. Please, please pick me!

    Stacy F.

  52. ahhh, I missed the deadline! Would totally have had lunch in Ft Wayne just to give Jen a chance to revisit the "Paris of Indiana"! I darn near choked to death when I read that the first time I was laughing so hard!