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Joseph’s Photo Shoot

Thursdays are always the busiest day at how2heroes. Between shoots, a newsletter launch and homepage updates, our week sometimes feels as if it revolves around this one day of the week. You could call it our Monday, because that’s when we press reset. Well this past week, Thursday got a bit more interesting with a photo shoot for Joseph’s Pasta added to the mix.

Joseph’s pasta is one the nation’s leading producers of gourmet pasta. They provide chains and independent restaurants with high quality pasta dishes made with what they call “old world techniques, cutting-edge technology and a burning passion to be the best”. We’ve tried their pasta and it is truly delicious, so we were eager to take some beautiful photos of this excellent product.

We began preparing for this shoot a week ahead, shopping for plates, utensils, and linens, pulling together all the elements we found inspiring and useful. We went out searching with a plan and did a good job of sticking to it, but we were open to inspiration as we found it. If there was an over-arching theme for this entire experience it

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would be flexibility.

Amber & Khalilah discuss the placement of red peppers

The shoot experimented to with two styles. The first was a modern take on traditional white-linen dining, while the second look incorporated color and played with texture to add warmth. Amber, the Art Director & Kate, the photographer, took the lead shaping the look of the photos, planning things like the arrangement of plates, the placement of a wedge of Parmesan cheese, even the angle of a fork! Getting the right photo requires a great deal of finesse. This means even a fleck of parsley can disrupt a shot. Parsley, however, isn’t the food I had to worry about. It’s the cheese that clumps and melts under the pressure of stage lights, the pasta that begins to sweat and needs to be gingerly dabbed with a cloth, the chicken that dries out and requires a swipe of oil to appear rejuvenated. I am constantly fussing over the food making sure the unruly strands of pasta are in their place and the sauce is perfectly ladled over them. Sometimes unruly is the look we are going for and the goal is a photograph that shows the food disheveled, half-eaten, and thoroughly-enjoyed. Creating a plate of perfectly eaten food is even tricker to style. Coercing a bowl of wild mushrooms in ordered chaos requires

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a few attempts, and results in a few causalities.

Using a toolkit of tweezers, tacky putty, canola oil and a range of paintbrushes, I help food looks it best for its close-up. I am standing by as the art director and photographer set up the shop with my tweezers in hand ready to add a basil leaf there, or move the mushroom just a little to the left. There is some intuition required to help style the food, but it really boils down to the vision of the art director, the eye of the

photographer and the desires of the client. When those are in harmony, as they were on this shoot, it makes the styling part easy. Everyone is happy and we produce a photo so beautiful it’ll be sure to make you hungry.

An Evening with Bourdain & Ripert

sustainable fish – Ripert is not a fan of farm raised. He feels like if we do right thing, there should be enough fish swimming in our oceans for us to enjoy. Bourdain seems to get it but jokingly chimes in that he’d probably eat the last tuna on earth if it came to that.

farm to table – what the f is that? Ripert & Tony both think the concept of farm to table is kind of a joke. Tony quotes Wylie Dufresne who recently said “Where the f else are you going to get your food and where the f else are you going to serve it?!”

audience member asked about jamie oliver and his attempt to do something about obesity by getting better food in schools. Eric supports him and says he’s involved with his child’s school. Tony thinks it’s a lost cause as nutritional info is posted everywhere now and it hasn’t seemed to change the way people eat. but he’s determined to keep his 3-year old out of McDonald’s even though he admits to occasionally sneaking into fast food joints for mac and cheese with no actual real cheese in it. he says it never fails someone recognizes him and tweets about it. he said it’s less embarasing to walk out of a strip club.

discussion about stoner food. tony votes for robiola cheese panini. eric votes for a burger and fries. a good burger. a step above in & out to be exact.

sustainability. eric ripert stated that it is very confusing landscape on what’s sustainable and what’s not.

tony grilled eric first, asking questions based on what he read about him on wikipedia.high school drop-out. working in front of the house and getting thrown into the kitchen after he spilled drinks and then dinner on a general. eric not a fan of gordon ramsey’s style although he admits he used to throw plates at employees and was not a nice guy. he realized about 15 years go when he was going through a lot of staff that he should change his ways. and so he did. with more michelin stars than any chef ever, it shows you don’t have to scream at people to run a world-class restaurant.

julie child – single most influential person in America – changed the face of how people cooked. reason anthony pokes fun at Rachel Ray is because he compares non-professional chefs to Julia. Of course they pale in comparison.

other fun topics – guy fieri (anthony’s puzzled why eric is a fan), giada (tony’s okay

with her), ina garten (anthony’s okay with her)

top chef talk – what happend to eric’s female chef. she choked and he said when he watched her on the show, he probably would have cut her too. she regrets the way she handled the loss, storming off the show.

mario – tony agrees to crossing the line.

ferran adria – they both have the utmost respect for jim. and they respect molecular gastronomy and say it will one day just be part of everyone’s repertoire. certain people don’t do it well and probably should stay way from

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it. what ferran does is use it in a way that represents his catalonian culture and cuisine. sadly this aprll ferran’s restaurant will close but we’ll be able to live vicariously through tony as he’s doing one more show there. tony says eating there was one of the most incredible experience of his life. eric said he was skeptical but amazed by the 38 course tasting menu he had there.

eric jokes – did you ever work at a great restaurant? tony admits no. what makes him qualified to judge on top chef? he’s been eating for about 20 years all over the work.

finest moment of the event to me came out of a tirade he went on after a woman asked him to talk about what he thinks are vegetarians. he basically said that when you travel, you should eat what they serve you. it’s part of who they are. he talked about how he gets a dry butterball chicken with terrible stuffing at his grandmother’s every year but he eats it. why? it’s her f’ing house! showing respect…speaking of which, he talked about one of the best things he learned was to be on time. he was told to show up 15 minutes before his shift or you’d lose the shift. he showed up 14 miutes before and learned the lesson the hard way. to this day, he shows up 15 minutes early to everything. he said it shows respect and i couldn’t agree more.

Africa. warthog. tasted like ass. he knew he was going to get sick and did but he ate it. funniest moment of the night was when eric said, “i think they were just f’ing with you” suggesting that they don’t actually eat that way traditionally. hilarious.

what makes tony mad?! olive garden. furious. how can they not be able to make a simple plate of pasta without f’ing it up. he says you have to pay top dollar and go to cipriana to get a plate of pasta that’s not f’d up.

chilis. nachos. hate. mexican food is fresh, simple, made by someone who actually cares about you and what you’re eating.

Meatless Monday Night with Dr. Christopher Gardner of Stanford University

how2heroes and Rival Marketing were honored to host Dr. Christopher Gardner and the Stanford Club of Boston Monday night. Dr Gardner, who holds a PhD in Nutrition Science and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford, gave a dynamic talk on eating healthier and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He enlightened the group by informing them that eating healthy for health’s may not be enough motivation for some people. But if you bring in social, ethical, cultural and environmental issues of food and food production, food choices become more important and effective.

After Dr. Gardner’s talk, we escorted Dr. Gardner and all the attendess to our Kitchen Studio where we created and served some of our favorite healthy, simple, meatless recipes. how2heroes and Rival CEO Lynne Viera gave a cooking demo on Romesco Sauce and discussed its versatility for serving it with just about anything (on vegetables, shrimp, chicken, etc) much like our other condiment of the evening, Greek Tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt condiment). She discussed how the best way to eat healthy is to use what’s in season and therefore most flavorful. Based on the positive reaction of the guests and the lack of leftovers, we think we were successful in demonstrating that you can eat healthy and fully enjoy your food without adding unhealthy fat and extra calories.

We’d like to thank Stanford alumnus Addie Swartz and Stanford Boston President Brian Mariscal for coordinating the event and inviting Dr. Gardner and such a fun, engaging group of Stanford alumni to our office & kitchen space. We’d also like to thank Chloe Rosen and Brianna Burg for being Lynne’s sous chefs. They were such a great help!

Mushrooom Burgers
adapted from “Super Immunity,” by Joel Fuhrman


  • 6 cups mushrooms (cremini recommended), finely minced
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely minced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • freshly ground pepper & salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small saute pan, cook onions and garlic in 1/4 cup
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    water until onion is translucent (about 3-5 minutes

  3. Add mushrooms and peppers, cover and cook until tender (about 3-5 minutes)
  4. Add spinach and fresh herbs and cook until wilted (1 minute
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together water and tomato paste and add to mushroom mixture
  7. Combine oatmeal and walnut in a large bowl
  8. Take mushroom mixture from pan and pour into large bowl. Mix all ingredients together with your hands or a wooden spoon and form into burgers
  9. Bake mushroom burgers for 10-15 minutes each side or until very firm on the outside

Serve with your condiment of choice. We used Tzatziki (Greek yogurt & cucumber spread) and Romesco (Spanish roasted vegetable & almond condiment). Mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Staycation Cooking Series Big Success

In March, you can’t help but want to hybernate. It’s cold, dreary and you’ve had it up to here with snow. That’s why we and our sister company, food marketers Rival Marketing, decided to have a series of international cooking classes that would enable people to “get away” simply be venturing into our kitchen studio, tying on an apron and gathering around the countertop to learn delicious Irish, Cuban, Mexican and Greek dishes. Our guests chefs included Todd Heberlein of Volante Farms, John Verlinden of Mucho Gusto, Amanda Escamilla of Tex Mex Eats and Johnny Diamantopoulos of All Star Sandwich Bar. They were all fantastic and everyone attending had so much fun. All left with new techniques and recipes in their cooking arsenal and as you would imagine, nobody left hungry. We would to sincerely thank all our chefs for taking the time to come to our studio and share their knowledge. We’d also like to thank all our guests. Below are some photo montages from all four classes.

Did you miss our Staycation series? We invite you to join us for our next exciting class on TUESDAY, MAY

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21ST. Our favorite fishmonger, Carl Fantasia of New Deal Fish Market, will be teaching fish and seafood techniques - “Fillet, Shuck & Slurp.” Click here for details and to buy tickets!

Wind Chill Warmers

The temperatures are really beginning to take a dive and your layers of wool and fleece can only do so much to keep you warm. A big hot bowl of soup or stew is really what you need to defrost and feed your soul. Your house will smell incredible for days. And you can freeze the extra for the next cold spell. Here are a few of our favorite stick-to-your-ribs winter meals. We invite you to come in out of the cold and into your warm kitchen and try your favorites and welcome your feedback.

Stout Beef Stew
The Irish have a way of brilliantly incorporating their beer into hearty pub-style dishes. This Beef Stew is our favorite with a rich gravy and tender beef. Don’t forget a piece of crusty bread for dipping.

Spicy Chicken & Rice Flu Chaser Soup (pictured at right)
One of the worst years ever for the flu and we’re not out of the woods yet. “Soup lady” Marjorie Druker has put the best ingredients and lots of love into this

Hungarian Goulash
Ildiko shares her family recipe for goulash and shows you how to make easy dumplings with one of our favorite gadgets (although you can use

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a knife) – a spaetzle maker.

Beef Bourguignon (pictured above)
A French classic braised stew made with herb-marinated beef and winter’s best friend, red wine. We find this dish tastes better the next day, and the day after that…

Miso Soup
Make a nice healthy Japanese lunch at home. Start with this simple Miso Soup and accompany it with what we’ve found to be the easiest way to make your own sushi at home – Pom Pom Sushi

Stay warm everyone!

Farm to Shaker Cocktails

By this point, pretty much everyone has heard of Farm to Table which is all about taking full advantage of your delicious in-season farm-fresh ingredients at your dinner table. But why limit yourself to meals? We think farm fresh ingredients in your cocktails is an equally great idea. Recently we took a walk around our local Farmers’ Market in Central Square, Cambridge and found lots of herbs and fresh fruit to mix into our Farm to Shaker how2 videos featuring thirsty staff members Carolyn Waldron-Parr, Jeff Fritts and myself. We also hit up my backyard garden for some herbs.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

We were most inspired by perfectly ripe and delicate raspberries, succulent peaches, sweet watermelon, fragrant thyme and a twist on the classic, Thai basil. Following are the refreshing drinks we created. We hope you enjoy trying them and sipping them on your back

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porch, deck or wherever your cocktail hour finds you. And we hope you experiment on your own using some of the basic techniques we’ve shown.

Farm to Table Cocktails pictured left to right above:
• Jeff’s Raspberry Thyme Rickey
• Lynne’s Watermelon Flip
• Carolyn’s Peach Cobbler Cocktail

Other Garden-Inspired Beverages you might enjoy:
Tarragon Soda
Basil Lemonade
Raspberry Mojito
Blackberry Sparkler

Fruit Infusions & Cocktails:
Raspberry Vodka
Raspberry Summer Crush
Blueberry Gin
Blueberry Thrill

For more ideas, view this week’s how2heroes newsletter.

Cheers, all!

Our New Kitchen Studio is Complete!!

We have been producing cooking videos since 2007 and have created over 3,000 videos for our award-winning video cooking website,

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how2heroes as well as for clients with our sister company, Rival Marketing. It has been a dream of ours for several years to build our own in-house kitchen studio to produce quality content in a more controlled environment with an adjacent photography studio. After extensive planning and a relatively quick construction phase with the best contractor in the business, CAFCO construction, our studio is now complete and ready to roll.

Video content is critical these days for bringing food brands to life, differentiating from the competition and generating ad revenue on sites and foot traffic in store. Let us help you with your video content strategy! Visit the Rival Kitchen Studio page for more info. To experience the process that goes into building out a kitchen studio, be sure to watch the timelapse video featured on the Rival site, using over 3,000 photos that were shot over the course of construction.

Best of 2011 and “Hero of the Year”

We’ve filmed and featured so many incredibly delicious dishes, fascinating farm field trips and creative techniques this year. It’s almost impossible to pick favorites, but there are a few that have

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stuck with us throughout the year. Below is the list of Staff Picks for 2011 we hope you’ll enjoy. But before we unveil our favorite videos, we wanted to announce our HERO OF THE YEAR.

Each year, we chose a hero who has inspired us and our audience in and out of the kitchen. And of course someone who has done a bang-up job on the videos we created with them. The recipe for success on shoots is: 1) timely & accurate recipe delivery – check; 2) mise en place and swapouts ready to go – check; 3) dish incredibly delicious – check; and 4) hero incredibly easy to work with and overall “good people” – check! While they are many that fit the bill, there is a clear stand-out this year we all here at how2heroes agree on: AMANDA ESCAMILLA!

How do we love Amanda? Let us count the ways. She comes to life in the kitchen creating truly authentic Tex Mex food made from scratch and with deep love and affection for Mexican cuisine and local Massachusetts ingredients. Everything she makes we want to go home and make the next day and we talk about it for weeks. Fans have come to know and love Amanda as well and are always asking what she’ll do next. From Tortillas to Fajitas, to a fresh Ham w/ Citrus Glaze, thanks to Amanda, you can learn how to make genuine Tex Mex fare by watching all her videos on this very site. Last but not least, Amanda is probably THE nicest person you will ever meet. She’s ALWAYS in a good mood, eternally optimistic and positive even at the crack of dawn on her daily runs (follow her on Facebook and you’ll see her daily photo postings). And in true Amanda spirit, she’s always willing to jump in and help whenever she can. We are thankful to have met her and for all of you to get the chance to get to know her and her recipes. Check out Amanda’s 17(!) how-to videos. And next time you want a bright and lively catered dinner or hands-on cooking class, contact Tex Mex Eats! Keep an eye on Amanda in 2012. We think she’s onto something big!

how2heroes 2011 Staff Video Picks

Kate’s Pick
Video: Chicken Tortilla Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Hero: Cathy Walthers, author of “Raising the Salad Bar”
“I love this salad all year round! It’s so easy and delicious. A perfect mix of bright tangy flavors and an incredible crunchy texture that you’ll have trouble saying no to for second and even third helpings!”

Kelsey’s Pick
Video: Gingerbread Pancakes with Vanilla Cream
Hero: Eli Dunn, Beehive Cafe
Kelsey is on vacation but she came back from this shoot raving about these pancakes and saying they were the best thing she ate all year. Considering the hundreds of shoots she went on and the amount of things she’s tried, her seal of approval on this recipe is good enough for me.

Dave’s Pick
Video: How to Cook with Pie Irons
Hero: Carolyn


, how2heroes
“How did I not know what a pie iron is? I’m always looking for easy meals to make while camping and ways to avoid doing dishes. The pie iron seems to meet both criteria pretty well! I’m looking forward to experimenting with different ingredients now that I’ve got the basics down.

Andrew’s Pick
Video: Tequila-BBQ Chicken Tacos with Peach Salsa
Hero: Brian Poe, Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake
“What’s better than barbecue, tequila, and tacos? Not much, so luckily this dish has it all! It’s spicy, it’s sweet and so savory! Trust me. It’s impossible to have just one!

Renata’s Pick
Video: Sweet Potato Pancakes
Hero: Eric Palilunas, Trident Booksellers & Cafe
“Lynne brought sweet potato pancakes to the office early this year. It became my favorite immediately. I make it for a weekend breakfast, especially
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Carla’s Pick
Video: South Texas Pork Tamales
Hero: Amanda Escamilla, Tex Mex Eats
“I absolutely love tamales! It reminds me a lot of the taste of an arepa (Venezuelan corn ‘breads’.) This video is very thorough and you can tell Amanda totally knows her stuff. It’s a fun recipe to make with friends and family and you can get creative with the fillings.”

Carolyn’s Pick
Video: Maque Choux
Hero: Heather Tolmie, Culinary Underground
“I think I like this dish so much because of its depth of flavor. First you experience the light crunch & pop of freshly sautéed corn, onions & bell pepper that have been simmering in heavy cream. Then the heat & spice of the dish cleanses your pallet preparing you for another bite.”

Jeff’s Pick
Video: Corned Beef
Hero: Tony Maws, Craigie on Main
“I’ve always wanted to make a killer corned beef – and this is a super simple and delicious recipe. Plus, once it’s done I have lunch for a week!”

Lynne’s Pick
Video: Growing & Harvesting Hops
Hero: Gene L’Etoile, Four Star Farms
“I am a big fan of the Farm Field trips that open our minds to the source of ingredients. We’ve all enjoyed a frosty beer but how many of us have seen how hops are grown & harvested? It’s incredible to see how the hops climb up to the sky in such a short period of time. The passion and commitment of the Four Star Farms folks to produce a quality product comes through in Gene L’Etoile’s knowledgeable and sincere delivery. And I have to give full props to our crew for their dedication as they needed to make 2 long trips out to western Massachusetts to capture the beginning and end of the growing season to give you the full story.”

Amber’s Pick
Video: Grapefruit Vodka
Hero: Dave Anastasi, Rival Marketing
“Anyone can buy flavored vodka off the store shelves, but making your own is much tastier – not to mention more fun! This recipe took the intimidation out of infusing vodka and was a hit with the many friends I gifted it to.”

Khalilah’s Pick
Video: Buttermilk Pie
Hero: Tie Lewis, Glutenus Minimus “Dessert has to be more than a sugary treat for me. It has to come with a good story. Tie’s Buttermilk Pie is an homage to her grandmother, who she credits for her love of baking. With only a handful of ingredients, this is a minimalist pie, and it’s got me covered on tangy and sweet. I like it warm out the oven with a big dollop of lemon curd.”

Jason’s Pick
Video: Vegetable Minestrone
Hero: Marjorie Druker (former Hero of the Year!)
“This soup is so packed with vegetables. It’s like a full meal but also pairs great with a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Everything Marjorie makes is made with love, but you can really feel her love and passion come through in this delicious soup!”

We’d love to know what your favorite videos are and what you’d like to see in 2012. Please let us know and thanks for tuning in!

Holiday Sweepstakes

This season’s crop of cookbooks boasts a few familiar faces here at

how2heroes. A number of the excellent food stories and cookbooks published this season come from a wealth of talent and run the gamut from desserts to oysters. We wanted to share in the celebration of our author “heroes” with a Holiday Sweepstakes Giveaway. Here’s what we’ve got for you:

The grand prize winner gets some pretty swanky swag including the Oyster Pack & the Cookbook Pack. Two second prize winners get the Cookbook Pack.

Oyster Pack

  • Shucked by Erin Byers Murray + Island Creek Oysters Gift Pack (Shucking Knife, Gloves & Hat as well as 3 dozen fresh oysters, delivered to your door)

Cookbook Pack

  • Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farm by Didi Emmons
  • Notes from a Maine Kitchen by Kathy Gunst
  • Rosie’s All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg
  • Cucina Povera by Pamela Sheldon Johns
  • Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck
  • how2heroes apron

Feeling lucky? Enter here and in the meantime here’s the dish on our author “heroes”:

Erin Byer Murray left a glitzy career in online editing and spent just over a year at the Island Creek Oyster Farm learning the ins and outs of the oyster business. She’s recounted her experience in memoir, Shucked. Check out Erin’s tour of the Island Creek Oyster Farm and watch her whip up some seriously delicious Berg’s Baked Oysters.

Didi Emmons has a few cookbooks under her belt, including her latest book which chronicles the year she spent with Eva Sommaripa, Boston’s herb gardener to the chefs. She also runs Take Back the Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that teaches healthy eating and cooking habits as a means to combat health disparities AND (yes, there’s more) Didi is an amazing cook. She’s shared some delicious garden based recipes with us including this Herbed Egg Salad. Friday we’ll be filming with her again – 2 recipes from her new book. Stay tuned!

Looking for an authority on local, seasonal and organic? Meet Kathy Gunst. She’s a cookbook author (she’s been writing cookbooks with Stonewall Kitchen for ages!) and radio personality who pulls from her Maine garden for cooking and eating inspiration.

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She also raises organic chickens and can teach you a few things about butterflying a chicken and grilling it, Tuscan style. Look for her Roast Ham and addictive Pumpkin Seed Brittle videos – coming very soon!

Judy Rosenberg, Boston’s doyenne of chocolate and owner of Rosie’s Bakery doesn’t have to do much to convince you her cookies, brownies and bars are some of the best in town. Just try her Double Whammies and see why it’s an ode to brownies and chocolate chip cookies all wrapped up in one irresistible bar.

Over the big blue sea and in the hills of Tuscany, Pamela Sheldon Johns is living the dream. Between running a successful cooking school out of her farm and writing cookbooks championing the rich traditions of Italian food, Pamela made some time to share a few recipes with us. Check out out her Ricciarelli, a Sienese style almond cookie and Ceci Stufati, a chickpea stew, for a taste of Italy.

Maria Speck’s love of whole grains led to the publication of her book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals which was recently selected as one of the New York Times’ notable cookbooks of 2011. Combining keen research skills with an insatiable interest in culinary traditions, Maria’s work had lead her to write pieces for a number of top notch publications like SAVEUR and Gastronomica. She’s shared some recipes that use these ancient grains with us including, Bulgar w/ Butter Almonds & Cinnamon and Wheatberry Fools w/ Grand Marnier Figs.

So if you love cookbooks (reads them like

novels, comb though them page-by-page, with a stack on your nightstand) or have some cooks on your holiday gift list, enter our Holiday Sweepstakes today. Good luck and Happy Holidays from how2heroes!