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.
EVERY BOOK YOU ORDER IS ITS OWN ENTRY.
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
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!