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archive for good cause

menu for hope vi

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Long-time readers will be familiar with Pim’s Menu for Hope event each holiday season. Food bloggers the world over are once again gathering awesome bid items this year for the sixth Menu for Hope. I’m delighted to be part of that group and even more excited to bring two of my favorite local food businesses into the fold. I sincerely hope you will participate and bid on some of these great items!

In a nutshell, Menu for Hope is a yearly fundraising campaign that Pim Techamuanvivit hosts each December. Food bloggers and food businesses around the globe donate gorgeous, creative, mouth-watering, fun bid items for a gigantic raffle. ANYONE can purchase a virtual raffle ticket for a mere $10 to bid on a prize of their choosing. If you REALLY like a certain item, you can buy two, five… TEN tickets for said item or a selection of different ones. The more the better!

The beneficiary this year is the UN World Food Programme‘s new initiative, Purchase for Progress, which combines support of small and low-income farmers with addressing hunger through the UN World Food Programme’s global operation. It connects local food producers with those that need the food.

The tax-deductible donations are collected by a third party organization, FirstGiving.

Bidding is open from Monday, December 14, 2009 through Friday, December 25, 2009.

Winners shall be announced on Chez Pim after the two-week campaign ends.

To learn all of the details, please visit Pim’s page.


I encourage you to also refer to the Master List of bid items.

***(UW23) Choice of one original photograph by Jen Yu***

Select one of four original 12×18-inch photographs shown below. Photo will be matted to 18×24-inches (winner’s choice of black or white matboard). All archival materials. Ships anywhere.

summer aspens

blue columbines

fall in the colorado rockies

golden aspens

***(UW24) $100 gift certificate to Culinary School of the Rockies***

The Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado offers professional culinary and pastry programs plus a full calendar of home cook classes throughout the year (they also offer corporate team-building classes). Learn to make Thai food, take a week-long vacation course, enroll in a weekend cakes class! The subject offerings will make your mouth water. I’ve taken the knife skills class (1 morning) and the pastry skills program (10-weeks). It’s fair to say a lot of that has helped me become a better cook, a better baker – just look at my recipes on the blog to see for yourself! CSR has the friendliest staff and they are SO MUCH FUN! It’s not just a school, it is a dedicated and integral part of the local community. Discover what’s fresh. Discover CSR! Thank you, CSR for your generous donation of this $100 gift certificate!

***(UW25) $100 gift certificate to SALT the Bistro***

SALT the Bistro is situated on Pearl Street in beautiful downtown Boulder, Colorado. They were recently featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the bright lights of Boulder’s hopping restaurant scene. Bradford Heap’s SALT serves up local and organic food. Serving brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. SALT: civilizing taste for over 6,000 years. Huge thanks to SALT the Bistro for stepping up to the plate and participating in Menu for Hope with a $100 gift card to your fine restaurant!

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

Here’s what you need to do:

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.

Check back on Chez Pim on Monday, January 18 for the results of the raffle. Thanks for your participation, and good luck in the raffle!

catching up with the seasons

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Recipe: cornbread

Sometimes the recipes I post here are completely out of whack with the time of year (although completely in whack with the southern hemisphere, so it’s not a complete bust). I’m probably more guilty of posting summer recipes in winter than the converse. If I could have my druthers, I’d eat summer food in winter. Is that crazy? Don’t get me wrong, I really do love those slow cooked winter stews, soups, and braises. I like to make those in the dead of winter, when temperatures are cold… very cold. Lately it has been feeling like the dead of winter and yet it’s still technically autumn. We’re a little ahead of the curve here in Colorado, I suppose. Time for some food to warm the soul.

Last month my friend introduced me to her favorite charity The Women’s Bean Project in Denver, Colorado. It’s so much more than a charity. The Women’s Bean Project is a non-profit organization that tackles the issues of poverty and hunger by empowering women with the skills to be self-sufficient. When I inquired about sending a donation in, I had a lovely email exchange with Diana Lachiondo who offered to send me some of their products to sample. The Women’s Bean Project gives participants entry-level training in their gourmet food business, turning out packages of soup, chili, bread, dip, iced teas, or cookie mixes. (They have jewelry now too – great ideas for holiday gifts.) What I got was a beautifully wrapped gift basket with several packaged mixes, each one signed by the individual who made it.

i picked the firehouse chili

I had chili on my brain and gave it a spin. The packet contained a gorgeous assortment of dried beans and spices. I merely followed the recipe instructions and added the fresh ingredients like ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers. It had a nice kick and received the thumbs up from both Jeremy and myself. Imagine my delight the other day when we were walking through the grocery store in our little mountain town and saw Women’s Bean Project soup mixes on the shelves! Don’t fret if your grocer doesn’t carry their products – you can order online directly from their website for a very good cause.

Making chili also demands cornbread. A friend of mine recently asked if I had a cornbread recipe I could recommend. I had plenty of cornbread recipes, but none that knocked my socks off (the socks, they were still on my feet). Even though there was a mix included in my WBP packet, I had been itching to test drive a version I had dog-eared long ago.

a little sugar never hurts


**Jump for more butter**

thoughts on the past week

Monday, October 19th, 2009

NaBloWriMo day 19.

I thought we would have time to think up some clever new way for Kaweah to randomly select the winners of the Macy’s $25 gift cards (two of them), but we didn’t have much time. Last night, after our guests went home, Jeremy placed a treat in the Kong and timed in tenths of a second how long it took Kaweah to retrieve the treat… twice. Then he took the two numbers, modulo 108, and our winners are:

#33: Erin who listed The Women’s Bean Project in Denver.

#100: Sophia W who listed Glide Memorial Church.

Congratulations, ladies! Please email me with your mailing addresses and Macy’s will be shipping your gift card right away! Thank you to everyone who entered and listed a favorite charity. It was great to read about your connections, your discoveries, but most of all, your compassion. xxoo

Eat on $30. We did it. You can read about it here. I have posts for each day except day 4 (Daring Cooks post): 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7.

I said in my introductory post for Eat on $30 that my biggest challenges were the planning and the price comparison. This was in part, because I insisted on keeping our menu as close to normal as possible. I wanted fresh fruits and vegetables. I wanted meat. I had to forgo organics, sweets, snacks, beverages. My only gimmes were salt, pepper, and oil. There was no prorating of anything. It’s supposed to be a challenge. Even if I had a garden (gardening at 8500 ft can be a challenge in and of itself, m’kay?) I don’t think I would have allowed myself to run out and pluck from it. The start of the week was fine and then mid week I began to crave sweets in the evenings. It was probably because we were eating just enough for our meals, but not enough to feel satisfied. I’m sure I was also feeling the absence of a few hundred calories of my daily glasses of juice not to mention all of the snacks we take for granted.

elation and dread
By the end of the week when I was shopping for our big dinner party on Sunday, I felt a sudden lifting of a vague cloud from my brow. I didn’t have to EAT anything, just the act of shopping cheered me up. I am a foodie (and I really don’t care if you hate that word) and I like to shop for food and prepare food and cook food. I think about food ALL OF THE TIME. It was wonderful to be able to spend the extra $.50 on the flat-leaf parsley at Whole Foods rather than on the wilted equivalent at Safeway. And I didn’t have to worry about it sending me over my budget! I think those limitations from the Eat on $30 week wore me down – the constant stress over money. It was… demoralizing. And it was just a measly week with an end in sight. I cannot imagine how it would feel to deal with that stress as a constant in my life. Well, actually I can imagine it a little bit. It feels like a nagging dread. Chemo was like that – the nagging dread. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Even chemo had an end.

more than $30
We as a group made far too many assumptions. $30 per person for the week. It was an issue of time, resources, transportation, skills, knowledge, equipment. I had assumed people had refrigerators and stoves, but this isn’t true for everyone. Far too often we tend to think of hunger as a monetary issue, but it is so much more than that. If it were just an issue of money, I think the solution would be far easier to target. If you live in an insular world and you only see the life you lead, it’s not unlikely that you believe everyone else lives the way you do. I am guilty of it, to be sure. That’s why we did this seemingly silly little exercise – because in the end, it wasn’t so silly and it made us recognize the obstacles that many people face.

it’s not about you
I loved the discussion from my readers and I hope that we all learned from one another, that we got around to thinking about the problem of hunger rather than just reacting to it. One thing I noticed about some commenters, even those who had the best of intentions – much of the discussion was based on their experiences which is totally understandable. What we must recognize is that hunger and poverty in this country, in this world IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Not to sound callous, but it just isn’t. Some people like to think that if they can somehow muster along for under $30 then everyone else can too. That’s like Jeremy telling the rest of you if he can do astrophysics, it should be easy for you. Yeah, right (thankfully, he’s not one of those jerkwad scientists). Get the point?

community and indifference
Some people mentioned eating as a community and while I like that idea very much, when I think of community I think of it as a community beyond the table where we eat. We need to tackle the root(s) of the problem as a community. To do that, we first need to identify what the causes are. Of course, donating money and time and food just to feed people doesn’t solve hunger, it merely placates the problem temporarily. To solve the problem, we need to get at the root of many social, economic, cultural, educational, and political issues. That doesn’t mean you stop addressing hunger. Hunger is an immediate problem and it requires immediate attention. We need to work on both. However, I cannot for the life of me tolerate people who believe that hungry people are at fault for being hungry. That is just insensitive, uninformed, and intentionally ignorant. Awareness is key, because second to those who actively despise the poor (again, I cannot get my brain around that one), indifference is the next greatest disservice. While we certainly hope no one would be guilty of the former, let us definitely avoid being guilty of the latter.

Since I wasn’t able to fly to Atlanta to attend Tami’s lovely celebration dinner on Sunday, I hosted my own dinner with friends of mine. Inspired by Tami’s request that guests make a donation for a local charity, we did the same. As a group, our guests discussed different local charities to donate our collection to and finally decided on Erin’s favorite: The Women’s Bean Project in Denver. This appealed to us the most because it enables women by giving them job-training, skills, a way to become self-reliant, empowerment, confidence.