cheese balls forever -- and a giveaway

Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese
Great Balls of Cheese

Note: This drawing is now closed. I'm so excited about all of the new Fall cookbooks! Here is one that I'm really loving, because I clearly remember the day when I met author Michelle Buffardi, and she was telling me about her passion for cheese balls. Fast forward about two years later, and Great Balls of Cheese is a real book, in stores everywhere!I'm as big of a fan of cheese as they come, and so the photoshoot was more fun than I can describe. The team was taste-testing everything as it came off the set. I brought along some gluten-free crackers and did some heavy eating. A fun thing about the book is that the cheese ball recipes come in both sweet and savory varieties for just about every occasion.The prop styling was done by Kira Corbin. Yes, you're hearing about her a lot on my blog now because she's just so talented. And as styling projects go, this was a really fun one. That's Kira above, taking extra care to place a napkin just right.I mentioned there are cheese balls for every occasion, right? No, they're not all just for Christmas, but these few are particularly adorable. And even though I don't have great decorating skills, I think most people could handle these designs with a little patience and care. The actual food styling for the book was by Joyce Sangirardi, and she's seriously talented.There is Joyce at work on the owl cheese ball that we ended up putting on the cover of the book.Speaking of the talented team, the real photographs in the book are by the amazing Jason Wyche. These are just my snapshots. His photos are gorgeous, and I urge you to check them out.I can't say enough about how fun these recipes are. Lots are traditional, meaning that they're simply really yummy flavors shaped into a ball.Then you've got recipes like this one. It looks like a real pizza, right? Okay, maybe an unbaked pizza, about to go into the oven. Well that "crust" is a flat cheese ball! This one was so good.And speaking of yummy, this three-layer terrine was one of my favorites.These baby eagles win the cute award.Or does the award go to Nacho Cat? I can't decide. In any case, if you live in the U.S. or Canada and want to be entered into a drawing to possibly win a copy of the book, just post a comment below. I'll choose a winner on Friday at midnight. Good luck.

patriotic pancakes

Gluten-free pancakesPlanning ahead for holiday blog posts is not my specialty. If I was good at this, I would have made and photographed these Independence Day-themed pancakes a week or two in advance and put the post up before the holiday. But instead I made these on July 4th, and  I'm just getting around to the post a few days later. Sorry! Shauna's gluten-free pancake recipe has ground flax seeds in it, and a whole grain "flour" mix. If you've got the flour mixture on hand (I made a big batch), then these aren't much harder to prepare than those boxed pancake mixes, and the result is a much heartier and satisfying texture.fruit syrupsThe inspiration for the red and blue syrups comes from a great book by Pam Anderson. Like all of Pam's "Cook without a Book" recipes, once you understand the basic concept behind something, you might just start winging it in the kitchen. For me, that's what cooking is all about. I love recipes, but I also enjoy improvising.Gluten-free pancakesI'm a little biased of course. Pam and Shauna are two of my favorite people, but their recipes always make me happy. I find myself going back to their blogs and books again and again for more ideas and inspiration. Anyway, I know it's late, but I hope you had a great holiday.