Monday, December 14, 2009

Support a Good Cause

Started by food blogger Chez Pim in 2004 as a response to the devastating Tsunamis in Southeast Asia, Menu for Hope is now in its 6th year. The campaign brings together food bloggers from all over the world to put together amazing food and wine related raffle items. The proceeds from the fundraising campaign go to support the UN World Food Programme.

You can participate by donating $10 to earn a virtual ticket that allows you to bid on an item of your choice. There are so many great items to choose from that you will probably find yourself donating $10 several times over for a chance to win some amazing raffle items. But don't worry, it's all going to an amazing cause.
Wondering how to get started?

Visit Chez Pim's blog for a full list of raffle items. You can also visit Alder Yarrow's Vinography for a list of great wine-related items.

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which bid item you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item, and please use the bid item code.

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 - 2xEU01, 3xEU02.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Like Eating Cookie Dough

One of the “must” stops this summer at the St. Helena Farmer’s Market was for Annie Baker’s cookies. And although every week my intentions were to save the cookies for dessert, they usually never made it past the Farmer’s Market. These moist, gooey cookies remind you of eating cookie dough and are in fact tagged by Annie herself as the cookie “for those who love cookie dough more than the cookie”.

Anne Baker married into the name. But it obviously fits her perfectly. Joking that she changed her middle name to “the”, she now has quite a following as “Annie the Baker”. But she hasn’t always been a baker. Working in downtown Chicago as an accountant in the banking industry, she began baking in her free time and realized it was her true passion. Deciding to follow this passion, she left Chicago to study at the Culinary Institute in St. Helena. After graduating from the Baking and Pastry Certificate program, Anne became the pastry chef at Mustards Grill where she worked for five years.

Lucky for us, Annie was also hard at work perfecting her cookie. The recipe is her own and it took her many trials to achieve the taste she wanted. She looked at every ingredient and researched how each ingredient affected the way the cookie spread when baked. One of her secrets – cutting the butter in half. This past spring, she finally perfected her cookie and headed to the Napa Farmer’s Market and St. Helena Farmer’s Market to launch “Annie the Baker” cookies.

Now you can find “Annie The Baker” cookies at Sunshine Foods, Yountville Deli, NapaStyle and the Oxbow Public Market. You can also ship them anywhere in the US from a great site called Foodzie:

There are five delicious flavors available – Semi Sweet Chocolate Chunk, Toffee Milk Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter with Mini Peanut Butter Cups, Oatmeal Double Chocolate Chip and Doodle Snicker. I’m partial to the Toffee Milk Chocolate Chip but you really can’t go wrong with any of the flavors.

Learn more and contact Annie at

Written by Linzi