DMBLGIT December 2010: The Winners

It has been such a pleasure for me to host the DMBLGIT event. Seeing all of the lovely entries has been so inspiring.

First, let me introduce you to the wonderful panel of judges for this month’s event:

Meet the judges


Asha Pagdiwalla, of Fork Spoon Knife, is Indian by birth and now enjoys life in New York. She started her blog in 2008 as a distraction from the impending recession, but it turned into an obsession. There, she shares delicious dishes accompanied by gorgeous photos.

Jennifer Bartoli is a food writer and photographer. She has been running her blog, for 3 years and is an online editor for She absolutely loves anything to do with cooking, food styling and photography.

Emma Gardner, of Poires au Chocolat, is a 21-year-old student who spends most of her free time baking, trying to attain some kind of perfection in the kitchen. She resides in Oxford (England) during term time, where she studies English Literature, and returns home to the Swiss Alps in the holidays. She was taught to cook by her mum and grandma, along with many cookery books.



Prerna, of Indian Simmer, is a learning wife, a learning new mom and a learning cook. She was born in a small town of central India. She met her wonderful husband and moved to the US where she cooks in the tiny kitchen of her small apartment in Charlotte, NC. She started her blog as a way to organize her recipes and make Indian cooking a little more approachable for everyone.

Overall Winners:

The judges scored each of the 39 entries in three categories: aesthetics, originality, and edibility. The overall winners were chosen by combining the scores from the three categories.


First Place: Pomegranate Rubies by Dario Milano of Food Pixels. Taken with a Nikon D700 and Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 lens.

Exposure: ~ ISO: 200 ~ Shutter: 1/200 ~ Aperture: 6.3 ~ No flash used ~


“Love this. So rich and seasonal. Unusual too.”

“Great styling and perfect lighting brought the subject to life.”

Second Place: Spaghetti with Tomato Vodka Sauce by by Xiaolu Hou of 6 BittersweetsTaken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS with EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens.


“Beautiful compositon for a simple classic- especially when it can be difficult to capture the beauty of a plateful of spaghetti.”

“Gorgeous lighting/background tone. Like the styling too, especially the way the pasta is twirled. “

Third Place: corn bread, avocado, summer salad by Cathy x of aficionadoTaken with a Canon 450D with a 24-70mm lens.


“This photo really caught my eye – very unusual. Love the colours. “

Individual Category Winners:

Excluding the overall winners, these are the highest scoring photos for each category.

Aesthetics Category Winner: Candied Orange Peel by Cookie of Cook, Snap, Repeat. Taken with a Canon T1i at 50mm.


“Great composition – I like the choice of landscape. Lovely colours and depth of the white background. “

Originality Winner: Masoor Dhal Ingredients by Ananda Rajashekar of Pinch of LoveTaken with a Canon EOS 450D and an 18-55 Lens.

Edibility Winner: Shrimp with Scallions in Chile Tamari Sauce by Soma of ecurryTaken with a Konica Minolta Dimage A200 at 40.3 mm.

Host’s Award:

As host for the DMBLGIT event, I am allowed to choose one winner that I think deserves a mention, even if it didn’t win in the main categories.

Noodle and Prawn Stir Fried by Asri of Food and Story. Taken with a Nikon D700.

My comments:

This is is very appealing to me. The lighting is very cheery and appetizing. I love the way the noodles and prawn are speared by the fork.


There were so many other wonderful entries not mentioned here. Please check them out here: {link}

Thank you to everyone who entered!


Next month’s edition of DMBLGIT will be hosted by Katharine of A Girl in Madrid

If you would like to host an edition of this event, please mail Andrew.

19 Responses to “DMBLGIT December 2010: The Winners”

  1. congrats to the winners

  2. so inspiring to see the creativity of others!gorgeous…
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  3. Miriam says:

    Certainly well deserved, all of them! Congratulations to all! And Happy New Year!

  4. Congrats to all the winners! I love the noodle and prawn stir fry! The lighting, focus and styling are great!

  5. Asha@FSk says:

    Congrats to all the winners! It was so great reviewing all the fabulous entries and sometime making difficult decisions.. Thanks Erica for hosting and coordinating the event this month!

  6. Thanks to the judges and Erica for being a fabulous host! Congrats to all the winners and participants for the lovely entries. I’m so honored to have received this prize :). Happy New Year, all!

  7. Aparna says:

    Congratulations to the winners and all the participants. The judges have done a great job as usual. And thanks for hosting this edition.

  8. cathy x. says:

    aww.. thank you! :D it’s so nice to receive feedback once in a while as well!

  9. Bharathy says:

    Congrats to the Winners!:)
    The Judges have done a Perfect job in awarding the well deserved shots!

  10. Soma says:

    I am so honored! Thanks to all the judges and of course you Erica for hosting. Congratulations to all the winners and to all those who participated.

    Happy New Year! Have a fab one.

  11. Congrats to all who took part. Thanks Erica for for hosting and the judges…I’m overwhelmed :)

  12. sneige says:

    Congrats to all winners, so well deserved and so inspiring as well!
    Thank you judges and thanks Erica for being such a wonderful host!
    And Happy New Year all!

  13. Congratulations to all the winners! That was one tough decision we had to make and all the winners are very well deserved!
    Thanks Erica for hosting and making us all a part of this wonderful event!

  14. Congratulation to all winners, and thank you for the change I m so honored !
    Thanks Erica and judges.

  15. Congratulations to the winners! I had a lot of fun judging. Thanks for being such a great host Erica.

  16. Wow…some of them are my fave. Congrats to all winners and many thanks to judges.
    For Erica, thanks for being such a wonderful host :)

  17. What a great way to start the New Year!
    Thank you guys, thanks to the judges and to Erica for hosting the comp.
    I am truly honoured to have received such a great award, and will proudly show the DMBLGIT badge on my website!

  18. Debargha Chatterjee says:

    I am sitting with your father Mr. Barid Baran Mukherjee chatting about you….

  19. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Regards!


Cheese Ball

Almost two years ago I first published my favorite cheese ball recipe. Below is one of the photos that I proudly displayed. Ha!


We have continued to make the recipe as originally written. It’s one of our favorite snacks.

Check out my guest post on the Tasty Kitchen Blog for new step-by-step photos & instructions.


10 Responses to “Favorite Cheese Ball, Old & New”

  1. You don’t have to “Ha!” about it… maybe from that one photo you can’t really tell it’s a cheese ball, but the colors and lighting are still good. :-) Love the new photo! I need to come over and borrow your wood bench. :-)

  2. I love your blog and that cheese ball is to die for, yum!!

  3. Ok, Erica, I’m usually not one for cheese balls…but this looks absolutely fantastic. I’m gonna make this for my next big shindig!

  4. oh my!! i LOVE cheese balls~!! i need to try this out sometime!!!!!

  5. lovely picture looks fabulous happy holidays

  6. I think cheeseballs are sometimes the Rodney Dangerfield of the holiday buffet spread — they get no respect. But they’re almost always the first things to be devoured. Yours is especially enticing with all the lovely crunchy nuts on it.

  7. Amy says:

    I made this for our Christmas party and I was really impressed! I got lots of compliments on it and keep looking for excuses to make another :)

  8. […] seeing the picture for Erica’s Favorite Cheese Ball from Cooking For Seven, I probably hadn’t ever given cheese balls the time of day.  Nothing […]

  9. […] Source: adapted from Cooking for Seven […]

  10. […] Cheeseball by Juanita’s Cocina Peanut Butter Cheese Ball by the Girl Who Ate Everything Favorite Cheese Ball, Old and New by Cooking for Seven Red Velvet Cheese Ball by Taste and Tell Happy National Cheese Ball Day by […]

Wishing You All…

…a very Merry Christmas!

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

1 John 4: 9-11


Here’s what we’re serving this evening:

Molasses Spice Cookies


Homemade Lefse

What are ya’ll fixing/eating this weekend?



14 Responses to “Wishing You All…”

  1. Sereina says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Erica!

  2. Eliana says:

    I’m lucky enough this year to be spending the holiday with family in the Dominican Republic. No holiday is complete here without roast pork. I normally make it at home but today had the chance to enjoy some that came fresh from my uncle’s farm.

    Hope you and your family are having and continue to have a great holiday.

  3. Flavia says:

    What a beautiful post, Erica! I love the first picture of the star light bokeh. Dreamy. May you and your family be blessed with a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a healthy New Year. I am so happy to have befriended you this year–am thankful for new friendships! Many blessings, Flavia

  4. Tonight: Cheese & onion enchiladas with homemade salsa.

    Christmas breakfast: Honeybun cake

    Christmas dinner: Turkey & all the fixings, mashed potatoes & gravy, croissants, veggies, and a buffet of pies *eep!*

    All of my family is here, including my brother who was able to take leave from his Naval post. We have a warm house, plenty of food, and are able to give each other gifts. Most of all, we celebrate a Savior who has blessed us eternally.

    Merry Christmas, Erica! :)

  5. Erica Lea says:

    Thank you, Sereina!

  6. Erica Lea says:

    Eliana: Roast pork? Fresh from the farm? Sounds amazing.

  7. Erica Lea says:

    Flavia: Thank you! That photo was so much fun to capture. Yes, I am happy to call you a friend! Hope we get the chance to talk more. Merry Christmas!

  8. Erica Lea says:

    Amy: Oh my. That sounds incredible. Love the sound of: ALL OF IT! Sounds like you are richly blessed. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  9. rachel says:

    A very merry Christmas to you also, Erica! May God richly bless you and yours!!

  10. Erica Lea says:

    Thank you, Rachel!

  11. cathy x. says:

    Mmm.. Those cookies look delicious :P* I’ll have to read up about unsulfured molasses, wasn’t even aware that different types existed! I’ve just pulled baked custards out of the oven that have been sprinkled with nutmeg and cooking slowly all afternoon. I’m trying out a recipe I got from a chef whose restaurant we went to for our work Christmas party. I wish you could taste the sourdough bread that he makes in a tiny room out the back of his equally tiny kitchen by the beach. I don’t even know how to begin to describe it. It’s the most amazing, flavoursome stuff. anyway I hope you’re having a wonderful evening with the family. Merry Christmas! :)

  12. Erica Lea says:

    Ah, that custard sounds so good. I love sourdough bread! We had a wonderful evening. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

  13. Andrea says:

    My family cherishes our lefse for Christmas Day dinner every year! My mother currently owns my great, great Grandmother’s lefse sticks. She and my father work together to prepare if for the family each year. I will inherit the sticks when she passes (or decides she doesn’t want to do it anymore).

    Lefse is my husband’s favorite food on the table, and that’s saying something! I posted our Christmas Eve table pictures and a few recipes on my own site. Check it out!

  14. Lovely photos, and sounds like some delicious food. We had roast pork tenderloin, caramelized brussels sprouts, and sunchoke soup. Christmas cookies for dessert.

Scroll to the bottom to see the giveaway winner…

Our family has always enjoyed a good cup of eggnog at Christmastime. Mom would carefully pour out a small portion and add a bit of milk to make it less rich. We kids would savor the little we got and agree that any more would be too much.

These days I prefer to make my own eggnog. I know exactly which ingredients go into it. And it is such fun to make.



Homemade Eggnog

Adapted from a recipe from a friend.

Printable Page


  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg + more for garnish
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream


1) In heavy 4 quart saucepan, off heat, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, and salt until well blended. Gradually stir in half of the milk.

2) Cook over low hear, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 25 minutes

(mixture should be about 170 – 175 degrees F). Do not boil.

3) Pour custard in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla extract, 1 Tsp. ground nutmeg and remaining milk. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

4) Just before serving, in a medium bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. With wire whisk, gently fold whipped cream into custard mixture. Serve with extra whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.

Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Makes about 16 cups or 32 – 1/2 cup servings

And now for the giveaway results!

Using I selected a winner:

Commenter #156 Marty Rummel, who said: “CCC’s are hard to beat! Give me chocolate chips with walnuts, please!”

Congratulations, Marty! I will contact you with further information.

Thank you all for entering my contest. May you have a Merry Christmas!


19 Responses to “Homemade Eggnog + Winner”

  1. You know, Erica, the first time I ever had egg nog was last year–when I was twenty years old. I had never had it before then because I…was scared of the name.

    I know…I’m a dweeb.

    But I gave it a try…and it wasn’t SO bad. I had it from a carton, which was probably my downfall. However, yours looks like something I would really enjoy! I bet it would change my life. :)

  2. Kerri says:

    Looks sooooo good. I have always been reluctant to making eggnog due to the amount of eggs, but this year I am going to go for it and try it out. I am sure it is much better than the store brands, you know it’s gotta be better tasting. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I just love your pictures. Keep up the great work!

  3. Begoña says:

    So wonderful, so so so so wonderful! Love your blog!

  4. Lovely photos :). My boyfriend’s family has a long tradition of making eggnog from scratch. Have you heard about aged eggnog? I’m curious as I hear the taste is milder and delicious but it sounds a bit unsafe to keep eggnog for months or even a year.

  5. dropfood says:

    Your recipe was posted.

  6. *drools* I looove eggnog, but I have never made or had homemade eggnog! We’ve always bought it from the store (and I still love it, so I guess I should try the homemade!). Gorgeous pics, as usual. :-)

  7. These look amazing, especially the freshly grated nutmeg! I’m not even that big on eggnog but suddenly I want some!

  8. This looks delicious! And your photography is so lovely. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. That looks amazing! I want to try eggnog before – the other kinds I’ve made didn’t really work out. =) By the way, I tried mixing chai tea leaves with our gingerbread muffins last night…I liked the touch it added. Thanks for the idea!
    God bless!

  10. […] Eggnog {This is the most delicious looking eggnog I have ever seen!} […]

  11. Anna says:

    This looks delicious! I was scared about making eggnog because of the raw eggs! But now, I’ll try it! thanks for the recipe! :)

  12. Victoria says:

    I have yet to try homemade eggnog. This year I gotta try this one!! Yum! I featured this on my blog too:

  13. […] via 1 and 2 This entry was posted in a-z to a stylish christmas, Christmas by Shopgirl. Bookmark […]

  14. […] Let’s make some Homemade Eggnog! […]

  15. […] Erica Lea on December 21, 2010 in Drinks, Holiday See this recipe post on Erica Lea’s site! December 21, […]

  16. Diana Leah says:

    Simply divine, the result was a huge hit last night! Thank you for sharing.

  17. Erica Lea says:

    Diana: So glad you enjoyed it! Have a lovely evening. :)

Tell me about it!

Product Review, Recipe, and GIVEAWAY!


A few weeks ago Tate’s Bake Shop asked me if I was interested in tasting a few of their cookies. Um, yes. Who in their right mind would refuse cookies?

Overall I was quite impressed with the quality of their products. Let me share with you what I found:



The cookies arrived in this lovely box.


Inside are three beautiful boxes of cookies: Macadamia Nut, Oatmeal Raisin, and Chocolate Chip. I love how festive the packaging is.


Inside each box are two sealed packages of cookies. Which brings me to my only quibble with the packaging: there were at least one broken cookie in each top package. However, the taste completely makes up for this:



I must admit that I generally avoid pre-packaged cookies. These are an exception to that rule. There was no strange, chemically taste as there usually is in “store-bought” cookies.

I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed all the flavors of cookies, even though I usually steer clear of oatmeal raisin. The macadamia nut were perhaps a bit sweet for my taste, but they had a lovely flavor. And the chocolate chip faintly reminded me of cookies my grandma makes.

The list of ingredients is also impressive. No weird ingredients that I wouldn’t add to a batch of my homemade cookies.

The texture of all the cookies is crispy. I enjoy both chewy and crisp cookies, so if you’re a chewy fan, keep this in mind.


I also had the privilege of testing out the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook.


There are some really fun recipes that I’d like to try.


There’s a pretty photo section.


And a section on healthy alternatives!


I have generously been allowed to share a recipe from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook with ya’ll! I baked these chocolate biscotti as written in the recipe. Another time I would add a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla. But they were overall very easy and had a good texture. They have a not-too-sweet, grownup flavor. My little brother really enjoyed them.

Chocolate Biscotti

From Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook

Printable Page


  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processes cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped milk chocolate
  • 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used all bittersweet)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped small, blanched or unblanched


1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets or line them with Silpat.

2) In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars till the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and beat it in for 2 more minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition

3) Stir in the flour and baking powder until they are just combined. Stir in the chocolates and almonds. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

4) Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each piece into a 10-inch log. Place the logs on the prepared cookie sheets and flatten them to 1-inch thick by pressing them gently with your fingertips.

5) Bake them for 25 minutes. Then cool them for one hour on the cookie sheet.

6) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut each log into 1/2-inch-wide diagonal slices. Place the slices on an ungreased cookie sheet, cut side up, and bake them for 10  minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake them for another 10 minutes. Cool them on the cookie sheets.

Makes approximately 40 biscotti

And now for the giveaway!

The folks at Tate’s Bake Shop are allowing me to host a giveaway!


You’ll have the chance to win the delicious package of cookies pictured above, plus the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • [Mandatory] Leave a comment on this post, telling me about your favorite kind of cookie.
  • For extra entries, become a fan of Tate’s on Facebook. Come back and leave a separate comment saying you became a fan.
  • For more entries, tweet, blog, or post on Facebook about this giveaway. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each extra entry.
  • For more entries, subscribe to my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each extra entry.


Only U.S. residents are allowed to enter.

Giveaway ends Friday, December 17, at 11:00 p.m. Central Time. No comments will be considered after that time.

I will select one (1) winner using

Good luck!

Even if you are not so fortune as to win this giveaway, you can still purchase some cookies of your own at a 15 % discount by using coupon code cookie valid through December 31st. They would make a lovely Christmas present for a foodie friend, or anyone who enjoys cookies!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. No further comments will be considered.

Does My Blog Look Good in This: December 2010

I am honored to host this month’s “Does My Blog Look Good in This?” event. DMBLGiT was started in 2005 by Andrew of SpitoonExtra. It is a monthly food (and drink) photography event open to all bloggers who have posted a food photograph on their blogs last month.

Photographs are submitted from blog posts of the previous months and these are judged, scored and the winners are selected in each of three categories (edibility, aesthetics, and originality). There will also be three overall winners.

To see the winners from last month’s DMBLGiT event, please visit My Diverse Kitchen.

General DMBLGiT Rules:

  • Only one food/drink photograph may be entered per person.
  • The photograph must have been taken by you.
  • The photograph must have been posted on your blog between the 1st and the 30th November, 2010.
  • The deadline to submit your entry is the 20th December, 2010 midnight, whenever that is in your part of the world.


A panel of five judges will choose six winners based on the following criteria:

Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.

Edibility: Does the photo make us want to take a big bite out of our computer monitor while drooling on our keyboard?

Originality: a photo that makes you stop, look twice, and think “Wow! I never thought of photographing it like that before.”

Three overall winners will be selected and one in each of the above categories. As host I have the privilege of choosing one photo that I think stands out but wasn’t chosen as a winner.

My announcement post with the winners for this month should be published by the 1st January 2010.

How to Enter DMBLGiT:

Draft an e-mail with DMBLGiT as the subject line.

Attach one qualifying food or drink photo, no more than 500 pixels in width. Please ensure your photograph does not have any text or watermarks on it.

In your email, please include the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your blog URL
  • The title of the image/what it is
  • The URL of the post where the photo first appeared
  • The camera and lens you used

Then send the email to me at ericalberge [at] gmail [dot] com

Please note that by submitting a photo, entrants agree to their photo being redisplayed and altered in size on the host’s page and on the SpittoonExtra DMBLGiT page.

I have created a gallery in Picasa where I will be adding your photos as I receive them. If you do not receive an acknowledgment from me within 72 hours, please leave a message in the comments section of this post.

If you would like any further clarification or have any questions, please feel free to send me a message.

If you would like to host a future edition of DMBLGiT,  write to Andrew.

Can’t wait to see all of your delicious entries!

The deadline for submissions has been reached. Thank you to all who entered!