New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Monday, November 29, 2010

two quick giveaways, a new recipe on the way!

How was your Thanksgiving? We had a great day. The food was perfect, the kids behaved, and all of the relatives got along.

win win win.

We're pretty much recovered, and the kids have begun decorating for Christmas. There is a garland of kid-cut snowflakes hanging over my head. I'm pretty sure our living room will never look like it was taken from the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog.

but it's perfect. I love it.

I do have a new slow cooker recipe to post----I made this chocolate creme concoction with a layer of ganache on top. IT'S WONDERFUL.

but the pictures are on the desktop, which is in the room where the baby is napping. And I'm not going to disturb that scenario for anything.

In the meantime, I've got two giveaways to share with you in honor of Cyber Monday. 

1) an Olay 7-in-1 review is up on Totally Together Reviews because I'm getting so old I now need an anti-aging moisturizer. And! Olay is giving away a $100 Visa giftcard just for reading all about it.

2) I'm done holiday shopping, thanks to Uncommon Goods. I fell in love with this catalog even before they decided to give me free products to host a giveaway. That's up on Totally Together Reviews, too.

Do you have  a turkey carcass in the house? (I type the word carcass way too often. It's kind of morbid.)

I will write about the crockpot chocolate pots de creme as soon as I can. 
maybe after the well-baby check up.
or clarinet lessons.
or the PTA silent auction meeting.

oh, that reminds me. Does anyone have any good ideas for silent auction items? Or how to best organize a silent auction? Or how to best not lose your mind while trying to organize a silent auction?

Happy Cyber Monday!

[If you read my site regularly through a feedreader or through email, you'll notice that I've enabled a shortened feed. I'm not happy about this. I HATE shortened feeds. I've done this because my site content has been taken directly from the feed and posted on other sites without my permission. The quickest and easiest way to keep content from being stolen is to no longer publish a full feed. The good news is that everything is still up on the website, and is only a click away.  I'm terribly sorry for any inconvenience, and greatly appreciate your support.]
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jrhod711 said...

It's a shame people steal your content, but it won't hurt any of us who read through a feedreader to click on your site. You're doing a great job and I LOVE your site!

Caite said...

HI Stephanie

Silent auctions are pretty simple if you have enough folks to help with the leg work.

step 1 write a letter - This should be who you are? what you are raising funds for? and When you need their donation ( feel free to contact for a sample)

Step 2 give everyone on the committee a stack of letters.

I send my kids into restaurants with the letter and info about the event and they usually come out with donations in hand.

PERSONAL contact works best!!!IF you do mail letters FOLLOW UP!

Send message out to people in your organization... business owners can donate services, items, etc. follow up

The week before the auction gather all donations and mix into baskets or collections to be bid on.

We assigned themes to classrooms and the classroom went together to put together baskets. Ie a movie night basket with dvds, instant popcorn and sparkling cider and a blanket. OR a gardening theme etc.

Go to :

coffee shops
theatre companies in you local vicinity
restaurants of every type
hotels ( will give get away packages)
Gourmet gift shops
Home business ( Mary Kay, pampered chef, creative memories etc)

Ask among your families if anyone owns a timeshare week they would donate

I could go on and on

Email me I will give you pointers

Jennifer said...

Maybe it's my browser, but it appears that your blog is stuck in your left side bar rather than in the center of your layout. I'm using google chrome.

Liz said...

I'm sorry your words were stolen! But the only thing that showed up in my feed reader was the title - maybe you could give us just a few words? I'll still click through - and I don't do that for just anyone - but a little teaser would be nice...

Now I'm off to check out the giveaways!

Remnant said...

I am weird. Part of my contribution to the family Thanksgiving dinner was your "The Best EVER Brussels Sprouts." I don't even like these little things. Have cooked them only twice in 30 years.

Now I am in love. Thank you. They were a huge hit.

Odd that. But I'm not arguing with success!

Sheryl said...

So sorry people are stealing. Would love to be included in your giveaway. Love your recipes!


Laura said...

I tried your slow cooker pumpkin pie for the first time on Thanksgiving! Bravo! It was yummy, a hit with the whole family. Even my husband who isn't a PP fan, kept raving about the wonderful smell in the house : ) Our first gluten free holiday...

Cassie said...

Hey! No problem to click through to your site. I love your site! By the way, I work in a supermarket, maybe even the one you shop in since I recognize the products in your pictures. I'm always recommending your site to my customers. Thanks for all you do!

Heather said...

Hi! Long time reader, first time poster. Love your site and love your book. I like to give it to my dutch oven snob friends to convert them to slow cookers.

I decided to post because I'm working on our school auction again for the 2nd year and will gladly help and answer questions. The answer above is great and here are two other ideas.

The parents in our school sign up to have ethnic dinners. No hosting, just potlucking. The bidder buys a dinner to be brought to their house for party. It also helps because we're highly encouraged to socialize with the parents in our class so then the parents bid on dinner. Example, I chip in $50 towards the Italian dinner and our class wins it and we all meet one night at someone's house for Italian dinner night. Sorry it's written a little confusing but it works.

The other idea is class bids. Again, the class pools money to bid on a group kid activity and that because an end of the year outing. One popular ($$) activity is a tour of the local fire house. It's free but we turn it into an item and then a class bids on it.

I agree with Caite that the more volunteers you can get to do the leg work, the more small items you can pull in.

As far as keeping sane, well no. That comes with volunteering right? One little tip that's helped us is to eliminate some of the tiny donations (yes, beggars can be choosers) because they are hard to package and sometimes the most work to get in hand.

The categories we found to be most profitable:
-behind the scenes opportunities (usually through parents work)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I made turkey pot pie. It was lovely. My husband smoked a turkey breast in addition to the roasted turkey and we used both types in the pot pie. PS. I would like you to tell my husband that crockpot cooking is real cooking. He makes fun of me. He says, "Oh yeah, she can cook anything as long as it's in the crockpot." And that pot pie was not done in the crockpot. So there!

Anonymous said...

After you ask for items for a silent auction you get some CRAZY things (you may specify that in your letter) There are a few places where I live that do silent auctions and the things they get donated that no one may try to bid on - they have a raffle - put buckets in front of each item with a lid that has a slit. They sell tickets 5 for $1 (or something) and then people put tickets into the buckets for the things they are interested in. At certain times they pull one out of each bucket for the winner. It's fun, you make money and people get a kick out of winning something for not too much money.

graceling said...

I am so sorry people are stealing your content. That is not cool. Your site is, and I will gladly click thru to find out what you have to say.

Um, and stop teasing us with descriptions of your chocolatey goodness. Teasing is not nice. Post post post so I can make it today!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Steph--Chocolat pots de creme??? OMG, woman, there's absolutely nothing you can't make in the crockpot--LOVE IT! :-)

Great ideas on silent auction here. As one who bids on silent auction items (from small to big items), one idea for big ticket items is for folks to give something that is not money directly out of their pocket; e.g., folks who have vacation homes can give a week (or weekend). We bought a week like that once. It was one of our best vacations ever. Still went far cheaper than if we'd had to buy it on our own, but the amount was a big boost to the total fundraising efforts.

Off to check out the giveaways and no, I don't mind on the feed at all; that's one reason I went to the shorter feed at gfe. ;-)


shannon_in_love said...

i don't know what is going on with all the blogs now... my tatting circle is also have huge problems with people stealing their content... i wonder why they are doing it... it seems kinda pointless... i mean your stuff is already here... whats the point in duplicating it?

apls4tchr said...

LOTS of ideas for Silent Auctions as well. Caite has good ideas! Our biggest items are "Teacher Treasures". Each teacher offers a 'party' type event for up to 5 or 8 kids. They can bid as a group "Your child plus 5 friends" or individually [$50 buy in, $35, etc.] Teachers have done pottery painting, movie & lunch, mini golf, pizza party at a kid cooking place, bowling, etc. etc. Also, the Principal offers a walk and lunch to the local Middle School [for 5th or 6th graders appropriately]. This is a HUGE sell-out as she offers it to a max of 16 kids and it's a free dress day. We also auction off parking spaces for half year [bid on both for full year!]. This brings in hundreds for just one spot! A group of moms and I hosted a summer party [for 50] with a catchy title "Moms & Margaritas". It's a $50 buy in and we host all food and drink and also have a raffle. Some other couples group together to host a dinner for 8, etc. Hope these ideas help!! Have fun!

budget menu lady said...

For the silent auction, if you do baskets: How about a crockpot with ingredients, ladel and your cookbook inside instead of a basket? Or just a couple of signed cookbooks? I would bid on those.

Amy said...


I received your cookbook for my birthday. :-) I am excited to try more recipes!

Mimi said...

Oh, my gosh. I am so glad to only have the feed. I had only had my emails and never come to read the comments. How great. Hello everyone.

Some of the great silent auction items I have seen are irked from the hardware store. Anything they send is a hit. And items from the antique stores. Big seller... Therapeutic massage.

kathy w said...

I'm sorry you have been having problems with you blog content. Some people would rather steal other blogers work than do it themselves. Great giveaway! said...

Silent auctions are TONS of work but I've always had most luck with the local businesses that are closest to the auction site/fundraising family or whatever you are raising funds for. Our local grocery store is always good for a few small gift cards or deli trays. We've also hit up the elderly women in town for their homemade pies -which often times go for more than a savings bond from the local bank! Good luck!

nancyc20 said...

Hubbs was visiting his dad and fixed your split pea soup recipie from your first book. He said it was wonderful and his dad loved it!!! I can't wait to try it when he brings the book home! :o)

Yvonne Hall said...

I'm a fairly new fan of yours and just want to say thanks for the uncommon goods link on this post -- such cool stuff!!!
Yvonne Hall

Kat said...

There appears to be nothing you can't make in a good slow cooker ...... no wonder why I like it so much well ok that and all your wonderful recipes!

Can not wait to see this next recipe - I swear we will be licking the crock pot with this one I am sure.

Purple Echo said...

We did a silent auction a few weeks ago and made almost $2000. We did a giftcard basket. It was easy to get people to donate because everyone has one lying around that they have not used. We also got some from local businesses. I used floral tape to attach a fake rose to the top of wooden skewers with a couple of leaves on it too then taped a gift card to each "stem". I poked them into floral foam that I put in a basket with moss on top. We called it "bloomin giftcards". Make sure to have a list on the outside with all the cards and the total value. We also had a spa type basket with teeth whitening from a local dentist and various other items that would go with it. I packed it all in one of those "Caboodles" beauty cases (bought at Target) and it looked really cute. We also did great with a couple of vacation weeks that people had donated - one up in the mountains and one in Hawaii. The principal auctioned herself off to make a gourmet dinner in someone's home. Good luck!

Becca said...

I still like you even if you do need oil of olay to stop time. :-P

Kimberly N said...

Thanks for putting some real info in the short feed... enough to know whether I need to click through. The sites that have just a title... well let's just say I have limited time and only read things that interest me.

Elizabeth said...

Steph - for your auction, see if you can talk the principal into an item called "principal for a day" or "librarian for a day". "Janitor for a day" probably wouldn't be a good seller, but maybe a good punishment (sorry..."negative consequence") for a parent to purchase.

We also have a prime parking spot reserved for an auction winner...highest bidder wins the coveted spot for a year, and we post a sign ("Reserved for auction winner").

One good moneymaker was a parent luncheon. No "winner", but everyone who wanted to participate paid $15 to attend a luncheon with other parents. It was hosted by several moms at a home.

Remember to invite people from your board members, principals and staff of other schools, PTA board members from other schools, especially ones that might feed into yours. We offered free tickets to other PTAs. (Our auction was part of a larger event...dinner, band, bar, etc.) Yes...adults only.

Each classroom also does a big art project, and those are the biggest money makers. Some parents will pay anything to win THE piece from their kid's class. Sometimes every year! Some of ours sold for $750+.

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

I loved Uncommon Goods so much, I ran down my laptop battery! The science pillows are fabulously creative!

TZel said...

I have always loved your recipes and encouragement. Thanks to you!

Connie said...

I've been to silent auctions that were also bingo game fund raisers. In advance, the hosts would visit local shops of interest (jewelry, rugs, handmade crafts, soaps, candles, restaurants coupons, etc) and ask for items for donation ... to support your cause, and in return, they'll get the free advertisement. Make sure bidders know who donated! Get the business cards to display, at the event, etc (which, I assume you could also do online in some version of a silent auction) Invite the shop owners to the bingo game. Have folks attending pay an entry fee, plus a reasonable fee per bingo game card. Prizes are a must. Funds are earned through the bingo game, and also, between rounds, people would go around the donations table and place their bids on the items, which would be displayed, with a minimum bid noted if required. One event that I went to had three rounds of bidding. After each round, when people went back to play more bingo, volunteers read the secret bids, found the highest amount, noted that amount publicly, and then let people bid again, etc. I haven't hosted one, but as for my attendance, I thought it was good fun, a good way to shop for something nice!, a good way to give to charity, and a good way to see what local merchants have to offer (and which ones give to charitable causes).

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