New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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Review and Giveaway! “Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round” by Marisa McClellan

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 by Lisa


Wednesday, October 2, 2013.  This giveaway is now over.  Thank you for all of your comments!  Looks like there’s a lot of you who want to learn to can!  The winner has been randomly chosen and notified by email.  Congratulations Kenneth G.!

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter. If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

I love this time of year.  The farmers’ markets are full of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Don’t you wish you could have all of the delicious, local produce all year long?

You can!

Author Marisa McClellan shows you how in her new book, “Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round”.

I remember my grandmother, standing in the kitchen, canning tomatoes, making pickled cucumbers, delicious corn relishes and cinnamon apples!  It all looked so complicated to me as a kid and I admit I never even wanted to attempt it as an adult.

Now that I am older, I sometimes wish I had paid a little more attention to grandma!  Now that I have a copy of “Food in Jars”, I may give canning a try!

The best part of this book, is that Marisa gives you recipes for small-batch preserving.  I don’t have a big kitchen, so this would definitely work better for me!

I love strawberry jam, so the first recipe I want to try is Strawberry Vanilla Jam.  YUM!!!


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There are too many great recipes inside this book to list them all, but here are a just a few.

  •  Spiced Plum Jam
  • Small Batch Mixed Stone Fruit Jam
  • Honey Lemon Apple Jam
  • Mulled Cider Jelly
  • Apple Pumpkin Butter
  • Cranberry Conserve
  • Rhubarb Chutney
  • Tomato Ketchup
  • Pickled Zucchini
  • Bread-and-Butter Pickles (my favorite!)
  • Roasted Corn Salsa
  • Caramelized Red Onion Relish


Don’t they all sound yummy!

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This is a lovely, hardcover cookbook full of wonderful photos.  You can  also check out Marisa’s blog HERE for lots of canning ideas!

You can purchase “Food in Jars” easily online at or at any of the places Marisa lists HERE!


Would you like to win a copy?

I am happy to be able to giveaway a copy to one very luck reader!



You may garner bonus entries by:

  1. Liking Food in Jars on Facebook.
  2. Following Food in Jars on Twitter.
  3. Going to the Food in Jars site and subscribing to Marisa’s blog feed.



This giveaway will run from today (Wednesday, September 25, 2013) until Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 4pm Pacific Time.

The winner will be notified by email.


Thanks so much for checking in and good luck!





Review and Giveaway! “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Cook from Scratch to Save Time and Money” by Jennifer Reese

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 by Lisa


Monday, October 29, 2012 at 6:45 am PST.  This giveaway is now OVER.  Thanks for all of your great comments!  The winner has been randomly chosen and notified via email.  Congratulations Jacqlin!  

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter. If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

Have you ever wondered if it is really cheaper to make peanut butter at home or buy it from the store?  How about eggnog or hashbrowns?  Is it really worth the time and effort?  Have you ever really had a chance to sit down and figure it out?   Jennifer Reese has and tells all about it in her book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter!

Jennifer Reese, also known as The Tipsy Baker, decided to find out the answer to all of her questions about making versus buying.  Jennifer is a professional journalist and an avid, adventurous home cook.  After losing her job, she decided to make everything from scratch to save money.  In the process, she was able to figure out which items are actually cheaper to make than to buy, which items are a “wash” and which items are cheaper and easier to buy.

Some examples are:

It’s really nice to have someone do the math for me.  I am a bit “challenged” in the math department anyway.  While I wasn’t really surprised at most of the conclusions, I was surprised by how funny and entertaining this book is.  Jennifer is a great storyteller.  She tells stories about buying and raising chickens and goats in her suburban back yard.  How her teenage  daughter wouldn’t even step a foot out of the back door and hated it when her mother would call out, “Hey Girls!” to the hens every morning.

This book not only shows the cost comparisons between making and buying, but has some great, basic recipes for making things I probably would have never thought of attempting.  Like hot sauce and ricotta cheese and vanilla extract.

This is a great book for those who have thought about doing more “scratch” cooking, whether just for fun or to save money.   “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter” is also just a really great read!

You can purchase a copy of  “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter” at  Barnes &, and at

I am also very pleased to be able to giveaway a free copy to one lucky reader!!!

In order to enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.

You may also garner additional entries by:

  1. Following @Jennifer Reese on Twitter.
  2. Liking Jennifer Reese on Facebook.




This giveaway will run from today (Tuesday, October 23, 2012) until Friday, October 26, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time.

The winner will be notified via email!


Thanks and good luck!

Review and Giveaway! “Easy Gluten-Free Baking” by Elizabeth Barbone

Friday, October 5th, 2012 by Lisa

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 5pm PST.  This giveaway is now OVER.  Thank you for all for your great comments!  The winner has been randomly selected and has been notified via email.  Congratulations Sandi O!

  Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter. If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!


This is a review that makes me extremely happy to write.  I actually did a little dance around my office this morning!  Why?  Because my review today is a cookbook written by someone who I admire greatly, Elizabeth Barbone.

When I first was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007, I really had no idea what I was doing.  I bought some gluten-free bread at the market.  Yuck!  Store-bought gluten-free bread was not all that wonderful back in 2007.  I happened to be diagnosed right before Thanksgiving and was not at all sure how I would survive without my favorite, gluten-filled, holiday foods.

Along came Elizabeth Barbone.  I saw an ad in our local newspaper for a book-signing that Elizabeth would be doing at one of the natural foods stores in my area.   A gluten-free cookbook, “Easy Gluten-Free Baking”.  She was even bringing samples of gluten-free baked goods!  Well, of course I went and I became a huge fan.   That Thanksgiving, I made “Rosie’s Perfect Pumpkin Bread” and have been making it ever since.

Elizabeth is the founder of and is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and of Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, WI.  Elizabeth was born with severe food allergies.  She knows what it’s like to go to a party and not be able to eat anything.  She also knows how to make gluten-free foods that are every bit as good, maybe even better, than “regular” foods.

“Easy Gluten-Free Baking” has so many wonderful recipes in it that I really don’t know where to start!  There are recipes for breakfast foods,  delicious muffins and quick breads and easy-to-make yeast breads, not to mention all of the glorious desserts!

Some of the great recipes in this book are:

  • Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Cinnamon Coffee Cake
  • Apple Cider Muffins
  • Blue Ribbon Banana Bread
  • Easy Sandwich Bread
  • Thin-Crust Pizza
  • Thick-Crust Pizza
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • New York Black and White Cookies
  • Roll-Out Sugar Cookies
  • Eggnog Cookies
  • No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls
  • Cheesecake Brownies
  • Mile-High Chocolate Birthday Cake
  • Brown Sugar Cupcakes
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Chocolate Pie with Pretzel Crust
  • and that’s just a FEW!!!

The last chapter in the book, called “Tastes Like”,  is dedicated to recipes for goodies that you may really miss after going gluten-free.  In this chapter, there are recipes for gluten-free Oreos, Twinkies, Devil Dogs, Thin Mint Girl Scout-Style Cookies and more!

This week, I had a lot of ripe bananas around so I decided to make Elizabeth’s Blue Ribbon Banana Bread.  So yummy!




“Easy Gluten-Free Baking” is available at

I am also very pleased that Elizabeth has offered a FREE copy of “Easy Gluten-Free Baking” for one very, very lucky giveaway winner!

To enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.


You may garner additional entries by:

  1. “Liking” on Facebook
  2.  Signing up for Elizabeth’s FREE Newsletter on
  3. Following @ElizBarbone on Twitter.


This giveaway will run from today (Friday, October 5, 2012) until Thursday, October 11, 2012.

The winner will be notified via email.


Best of luck to all!


episode 7: Amy Turn Sharp– professional writer and entrepreneur

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea

Real Moms Making Real Money (at home, in their pajamas) And How You Can, too!

I had the wonderful experience of meeting Amy last month during the Coca Cola Live Positively blogging event.

Amy is joyful and fun-loving. I was drawn to her humor and open heart right away, and was thrilled to learn that she was the co-owner of Little Alouette, the natural baby toy company that I have seen advertised pretty much all over the internet for years.

In this new episode, Amy shares how she quit her full-time job to become a professional freelance writer and novelist. She helps her
husband with the toy business by managing the company’s social media and fulfills orders as they come in. They are a cottage

industry, and I’d highly recommend their toys the next time you are searching for the perfect baby gift.

Amy discusses how she juggles her writing, the family business, and baby-wrangling— all with humor and grace.

enjoy the interview!


You can find Amy online:


Amy Turn Sharp blog

Little Alouette blog


GlutenFreeTV with Amy Green: Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

Monday, June 27th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea

Amy Green: Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

Welcome to another edition of GlutenFreeTV! Our last episode was with Shirley Braden, of Gluten Free Easily (GFE), and I’m so happy to have with us today Amy Green.

Amy Green completely revamped her diet after being plagued with migraine headaches that wouldn’t go away, lethargy, and an overall feeling of ickiness.

She cut all gluten and refined white sugar. The end result: no more headaches, no more brain fog, an uber-impressive 80 pound weight loss, a successful website, and a new cookbook! GO AMY GO!

Amy shares her story and answers questions that newbies have when they first decide to completely change their diet. It’s scary!

Amy and her publisher have graciously agreed to host a giveaway for her new cookbook. If you’d like to enter, please leave a comment below. I’ll pick a winner (randomly) on July 5th at 5pm pacific.

Enjoy the interview— Amy is wonderful, and I know you’ll think so too.

Sugarfree crockpot ketchup recipe mentioned in the video: Home-Made Sugar Free Ketchup


edited 7/5/11: The book giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! The winner has been contacted via email.

episode 6: Laura Wittman, I’m an Organizing Junkie

Friday, June 10th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea

Real Moms Making Real Money (at home, in their pajamas) And How You Can, too!


Good morning! I’m thrilled to share with you today an interview with Laura, from I’m an Organizing Junkie. Laura has been blogging for over 5 years (a blogging dinosaur!) and shares how she manages her time, the art of saying no, how she handles guilt, and how her new book: Clutter Rehab came alive. Laura makes income through her site, through her relationship with Open Sky, through her booksales, and with her home organization skills.

Laura is an absolute joy, and I just loved doing this interview. I’ve followed Laura’s site for years, and her Menu Planning Monday roundups are an Internet sensation.

Like all of my interviews, this one has a few quirks. :-0 There’s some weed-whacking happening in the background, a few giggly kids, and Laura and I go off topic here and there…

which means? it’s perfect.

Thank you, Laura, for being you— in your writing, in your real life, and with us.


episode 5: Michelle Stern, What’s Cooking with Kids

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea

Real Moms Making Real Money (at home, in their pajamas) And How You Can, Too!

Hello, and welcome back! While on a brief (a bit longer than expected…) hiatus, I was thrilled to spend some time with my friend Michelle Stern, the new cookbook author of The Whole Family Cookbook and blogger extraordinaire behind the What’s Cooking with Kids website. Michelle is ALSO the owner of a certified green business that teaches cooking classes to kids (and parents!).

and she does it all from home! in her pajamas!


In this interview, Michelle shared how she went from selling Pampered Chef products as a new mom to becoming an entrepreneur. She is a fantastic person, mother, and friend.

Not only that, she’s generous! I’ve got a brand-spanking new copy of her cookbook that I will send your way. This cookbook is in full color, has over 75 recipes and is beautifully laid-out. Michelle has color-coded all the recipes and provides instructions on how to help your children cook alongside with you. This is most definitely a hands-on teaching cookbook, and my three girls couldn’t be happier.

To enter the contest, please leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner randomly on Tuesday, April 19th.

Grab yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy the interview! If you have questions for Michelle, please leave them below and I’ll make sure she gets them.

Enjoy! oxxo steph

Update: this contest has now ended. Congratulations to Lynn: This sounds like a wonderful cookbook. I’d love to have this for when my two granddaughters come to visit.
Thanks for holding a drawing!

I’ll get your cookbook in the mail tomorrow morning. –steph


related: Can You make (real) Money Blogging?

episode 4: an Interview with Leah Ingram of Toss, Keep, Sell & Suddenly Frugal

Monday, March 7th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea

Real Moms Making Real Money (at home, in their pajamas) And How You Can, Too!

Leah Ingram is one of my role models. Leah has an impressive THIRTEEN  books under her belt, and is a lifestyle, etiquette, frugal-living, and publishing expert.

In this interview, Leah shares how she went from planning her own wedding to writing books about wedding-planning, gift-giving, proper etiquette, and her new(ish) endeavor: frugal living.

Leah’s newest book: Toss, Keep, Sell is a must for anyone looking to make a little extra money (at home, in your pajamas!) by selling  the needless clutter lurking in your closet, garage, or attic. Do you have china you don’t ever use? Sell it! Leah did, and brought in an extra $240 to her family’s budget.

Leah is chock-full of fantastic advice, and my brain is still buzzing from all the great ideas she shared. Thank you so much for joining us, Leah!

as an added bonus, Leah graciously agreed to give away her newest book: Toss, Keep, Sell to one of our viewers. Please leave your comment below to be entered into the contest. A winner will be selected March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day! at 5pm, pacific). Good luck!!

this contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

an interview with Jennette Fulda, and a Chocolate & Vicodin giveaway!

Sunday, February 20th, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea

I am so happy to share with you one of my very favorite internet people of all times: Jennette Fulda. Jennette is a blogger, author, web designer, weight-loss superstar, and headache-sufferer.

and she does it ALL at home, in her pajamas! :-)

I first met Jennette through her writing on, and then heard her speak at the 2008 BlogHer conference, right after appearing on The Today Show, where she promoted her first memoir, Half-Assed.

After losing over half of her body weight (Jennette lost a whopping 180 pounds!), she developed a headache that just would. not. go. away.

Jennette’s story is fascinating and inspirational—pull up a couch, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy! I’m a little embarrassed at how often I interrupt Jennette; that’s something I definitely need to work on!

[ps: if you initially get an error, try again. the video hasn’t been deleted, I promise!]

resources/sites mentioned in the video:

InnerTalk—they have subliminal message CDs.  (I guess they changed the name to MindMint.) I own a few, have used them to help boost the self-esteem of some of the children I’ve worked with in the past, and sent Jennette one to help “cure” her headache. I have no idea if they work or not, but figure they can’t hurt. :-)

Totally Together Journal: my housekeeping shortcut site

Make My Blog Pretty: web fairies for hire! Jennette’s web design services

Jennette and her publisher generously agreed to giveaway a copy of her new book. Please leave a comment in the form below as your entry. A winner will be randomly selected on February 28th (that’s a Monday) at 9pm pacific, and will be notified by email. Good luck, and enjoy the interview!

This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!