Update

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Wow! Whoa! Wow! Can you believe it? Menu For Hope V is up to $20,000! This is simply incredible. Any little bit helps Friends Of The World Food Program. Plus you get nifty things. That is just amazing if you ask me. Will we get to what we raised last year? Who knows. But I do know that there are still tons of amazing prizes out there that are just waiting to be had!

To read some salacious details about the prizes check out David's latest. Mom, cover your eyes please.

Our amazing host Pim is talkin' it up too! Check it out here.

And remember to check out some of the latest additions I've added here.

Above: That's me bidding on my favorite prize and checking every 10 minutes to see if I've been outbid. I wouldn't mind as it's all for a great cause, but never let it be said that this boy doesn't keep his eye on the prize. Cuz I do. I also happen to blog barefoot in empty rooms. So there.

P.S. If you bid on the Food Styling Workshop (go Sean!) that I'm offering then I'll throw in dinner after the class somewhere in Culver City. How fun would that be? But it will be with me and Food Stylist Legend Denise Vivaldo so if you're sensitive to Sailor Speak then please let us know ahead of time. It will get colorful.

Menu For Hope Update

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Yes oh yes oh yes, those items for Menu For Hope are still trickling in! Please make sure to check out my other post here as the items are still be updated! Today is the last day to get things to me though as I'm afraid any last minute entries might not get enough bidding time.

I apologize for putting the following two items up for bid but they're almost worthy of their own post and didn't want to have you miss them at the end of the other post. I'm thrilled and excited over this and it's not like any other thing I'm hosting this year.

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These are two artisan "grab bags" (for lack of a better term) from the artists at 1000 Markets.  Now you may remember that I'm currently working with them and how much I adore the concept: a marketplace for those handcrafted items like food, jewelry and art. There really are so many beautiful things there. 1000 Markets' creator Matt came to my rescue when I asked about Menu For Hope items and his wonderful merchants answered the call. We're raffling off two bags filled with amazing, unique and one of a kind items. There's some jewelry, some cards, some amazing caramels (more on them from me very soon!), and the opportunity to pick your own gifts from a few merchants. Because of the nature of 1000 Markets there's no central distribution center and you're dealing with individual merchants so your items will be shipped individually. Which I think happens to be pretty cool as you'll get to know each vendor and get multiple packages based on which bag you pick. It's a bit different than everything being shipped altogether but trust me, you want all these beautiful things!

I want to thank each and every merchant for their generosity and artistry. It's you guys that make 1000 Markets such a special place and it's hard for me to convey how amazing I think you all are.

I still need to work out a few details on how to proceed once the lucky winner has been selected but I'll let the winner know personally. Let's bid on some amazing stuff now, shall we?

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Menu For Hope 5

 6a00d83451bc0669e20105365fd073970c-640wiHello everyone! I'm pleased to announce this year's Menu For Hope which launches today! I'm also pleased to announce that I'm the West Coast Host this year and it's truly an honor.

So, what's Menu For Hope? It's an annual fundraising campaign hosted by Chez Pim and food bloggers from around the world. As Pim says "Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired me to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2007, Menu for Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry."

How amazing is that?

Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of their choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim. It's always so exciting and thrilling to see the things offered each year, truly some of the most amazing and unique gifts you'll ever see.

And because I must acknowledge the obvious, let me just say that this past year has been tough for so many. The economy and our global financial crisis has been difficult but I know we'll all pull through. And even when faced with tough times it's important to realize that we're nothing but brothers and sisters, each and every one of us. No matter where you are. Or who you are. And this is what unites us and why we must help each other when we can.

If you want to read more about Menu For Hope please visit Pim for all the information.

So, want to know more about the prizes being offered by the West Coast partners? Let's do this!

(update: Because many of the donations are still trickling in I'm putting as much pertinent info as possible. Some stuff may be missing and I'll update accordingly but I suggest you visit the respective blogs for all the current listings and info. I don't want you to miss a thing!)

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The Lunchbox Auction

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December is all about giving so I wanted to bring your attention to The Lunchbox Auction, an auction and event sponsored by Gourmet Magazine in conjunction with the Food Bank For New York City and The Lunchbox Fund. Not only is it a great way to win amazing lunchboxes made by celebrities and chefs of all sorts (no two are alike!), but there’s also a kick-off party tomorrow night in New York. And it all goes to help those who go hungry, something we could all think of a little bit more throughout the year.

Me? I’m stuck in Los Angeles so boo hoo I won’t be there. BUT I must tell you that I did have a little hand in the whole project. Check it out below:

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This is the amazing lunchbox by Nancy Silverton being auctioned. I photographed the amazing vintage bread labels at Nancy’s casa and they were lovingly applied by hand (and no, it wasn’t me, I’m no good at decoupage and last time I did it there was a layer of white paste on the ceiling fan, I’m not kidding.) Call me biased but I happen to think she did an amazing job and that it’s one of the most beautiful lunchboxes ever! Even the inside is gorrrrrrrrrrrrrgeous.

It could be yours AND you’d be helping out a great cause!

Will I still have friends after this post?

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Funny how my brain works. Like one time I unlatched a screen from the second story window of our home and jumped out and landed in the bushes.

I was three years old.

Another time I thought it’d be “cool” to take a black permanent marker to my Donny Osmond doll. But what’s even more disturbing is that I had a Donny Osmond doll.

Fast forward about 30 years later. My brain is still short-circuiting and doing the strangest of things. But luckily they don’t involve bodily injury or staining Mormons.

Today I had a huge chunk of duck rillette in my fridge. I also had oil, corn tortillas and fresh salsa.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Small tortilla triangles went into hot oil in a skillet until golden brown, pieces of rillette went on top of those chips and then salsa went on top of that. And can I tell you something?

ABSOLUTELY FREAKING FANTASTIC.

No, really.

I mean, like, really freakin’ awesome.

And trust me, I’d even use the real F word if my mom wasn’t a reader of this blog.

So there you have it. Duck Rillette Nachos.

Am I strange? I mean, it’s like carnitas, no? Can we still be friends?

Capirotada

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Growing up there were just some things that this little pudgy boy would not eat. High on the short list of food items, along with sour cream and avocados, was this recipe called Capirotada. No matter how hard they tried I just wouldn’t move past the strange blend of ingredients that went into this Mexican bread pudding.

Now it’s the only thing I want to eat.

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