First up: I'm a member of the Pets Blogroll (see the widget in the right sidebar), a sister community of the Foodie Blogroll, in which I also participate. As a member, I get to participate in giveaways, and I actually won! I'm very excited to read One Good Dog by Susan Wilson (check out her Facebook fan page here and find out more about their promotion and how you and your good dog can participate). I'm a sucker for a good pet story, cried my eyes out when I read Marley and Me, and I know I'll love this one:
"Fans of Marley and Me will find a new dog to cheer for in Wilson's (Beauty) insightful heart-tugger about Adam March, a Boston man recovering from the shame of a foolish crime, and Chance, a scrappy pit bull mix trying to escape the illegal dogfight circuit."
From Publishers Weekly
I also won this fantastic potato masher from OXO. They are having a contest to celebrate their 20th anniversary, where they post a close-up shot of one product of the year every week. If you guess right, you might win that product. Get more information at A closer look at OXO. I really like OXO products and used this masher to make some delicious mashed sweet potatoes. I've been using my food processor for jobs like this for a while, but the masher really makes everything fluffy and light, not gluey and dense.
I love books! I signed up BookSneeze (also on my right sidebar), a site that sends bloggers free books to review. I chose A Century Turns by William J. Bennett, because I'm severely lacking in my knowledge of American history. This book covers America from 1988 through 2008, and I have greatly enjoyed reading it, though I've barely cracked the cover, since this is the time period that covers my childhood. I look forward to reading about more of our recent history; as Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying in the book: "... if we forget what we have done, we will cease to be who we are" (p.18). The book is very accessible and engaging, and I believe one of Bennett's earlier books has been used in history classes in schools.
I was also sent a package of dried mushroom samples from Marx Foods, as a promotion through the Foodie Blogroll. And boy were they generous! I have, clockwise from the top left: Chanterelles, Black Trumpet, Porcini, Morel, Matsutake, and Lobster mushrooms to try. They also sent me Szhecuan Buttons, but I didn't see the note on the pack that they had to be refrigerated and they spoiled. I'm bummed by this since I was really looking forward to trying these strange little things (sorry, Marx Foods!), but at least I still have my mushrooms. I've been putting some time into thinking about what I want to use this bounty in since I haven't worked with dried mushrooms before, and I'm foreseeing risotto, homemade ravioli, perhaps some sort of luscious boozy sauce... I'm hoping to start experimenting this weekend!
Lori, this one's for you. This guy always makes me feel like a winner. He's shoved his head between my knees while I'm sitting here, so he can put his favorite ball in my lap so that I'll throw it for him. I've got some wrinkles to smoosh now.