17 December 2007

21 Dec. Deadline for Menu for Hope Raffle

If you haven't donated yet, the deadline for participating in the Menu for Hope raffle is drawing near. As my raffle prize (code UE21), I'm offering a copy of Veganomicon and a six-pack of organic, raw agave nectar.

I know Amazon.com says they're out of stock on the agave nectar, but have no fear, if you are the winner of my raffle prizes, by the time the winners are announced on 9 January 2008, the agave will be in stock.

One of the questions I get a lot is "How much of my money actually goes to those kids in Lesotho?" Well, to quote Pim, the grand mistress of the Menu for Hope,

For every $100 donated to Menu for Hope, nearly $87 goes directly to the school children and farmers in Lesotho.

Here's how we came to that number:

0% go to Menu for Hope management
We don't take any cut at all from this. All the bloggers participating do it for free.

7% go to The UN World Food Programme
The WFP uses no more than 7% of their total funds raised each year for their operational overhead. You can see the entire 2006 operating report for yourself here.

Firstgiving 7.35% 6.35% go to Firstgiving
Firstgiving, the online fundraising company we use to manage Menu for Hope donations charges a service fee of 7.35%, which covers credit card processing, hosting, security, administrative, service, and all other services they provide.

Donors can make an online donation with a credit card. Firstgiving collects and processes the payments and, at the end of the campaign, transfers the donations in one lump sum to the WFP. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. The bloggers never touch the money. The WFP don't waste overheads on processing mini-donations, the majority of which were between $10-$50, that's a whole lot of tenners to make up 60K.

Last year, Firstgiving was kind enough to donate back 1% of the total amount we raised back to the campaign. This is in lieu of a discount on their already small fees, so, basically, Firstgiving only charges our campaign about 6.35% fees! Thank you so much Firstgiving!

The rest, 85.65% ~86.65% goes to the children and the farmers. You can meet them here.

Knowing that so much of my donated money goes directly to the targeted folks is one of the key reasons I participate in this raffle. You can see what I bid for here.

To find out exactly how to participate, please see this post.

11 December 2007

Win a Copy of Veganomicon and a 6-Pack of Agave Nectar

If you saw yesterday's post or the posts on Here and There, you know that we're almost two days into the Menu for Hope fundraiser.

Why are we expending so much effort? Well, while I sit here in my warm home with enough food in my cabinets and freezer for easily a month's worth of meals for a family of four, there are people who desperately need my help just to make today's meal happen.

Not only do I offer items for the raffle, but I bid on them as well. I participate in the Menu for Hope as a way of giving back and as a way of celebrating the miracles of the season. Instead of buying gifts for family, John and I make donations so that people in Africa can eat. I encourage you to give what you can to support these folks in their efforts to develop sustainable farming.

In 2006, Menu for Hope raised US$60,925.12 to help the UN World Food Program feed the hungry. Food bloggers like me host the Menu for Hope online raffle, offering an array of delectable culinary prizes. For every US$10, the donors receive a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice, which I hope for you is UE21, a copy of "Veganomicon" and a six pack of raw, organic agave nectar bottles (23-oz each).

I've outlined how to participate in Menu for Hope here.

If you'd like to see the people you would be helping, right click here and open a new window. The photos are well worth the viewing.

10 December 2007

Menu For Hope 4 Has Begun -- I'm Offering Veganomicon and Agave Nectar as My Prize!

For the past four years, a fellow food blogger, Pim of Chez Pim, has organized the Menu For Hope fundraiser in support of the UN World Food Program. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired her to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. In 2006, Menu for Hope raised US$60,925.12 to help the UN World Food Program feed the hungry all over the world.

As Pim says, "We may never eradicate hunger from the face of the earth, but why should that stop us from trying?"

Each year, an ever-growing group of us food bloggers from all over the world join forces to host the Menu for Hope online raffle, offering an array of delectable culinary prizes. For every US$10, the donor receive a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice. This year, I'm offering a copy of "Veganomicon" and a six pack of raw, organic agave nectar bottles (23-oz each) for my raffle prize.

"Veganomicon," by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, is the third book by the famed Post Punk Kitchen Duo of Brooklyn. The recipes are very easy to produce, tasty and easy to alter, if necessary. Because there are so many different types of healthy and delicious recipes, it's a book everyone should have in their kitchen, not just vegetarians. The recipes use easy-to-find ingredients and most take fewer than 10 steps to make. Makes a great gift for a new cook as well as a seasoned chef.

Madhava raw organic agave nectar is 25% sweeter and one-third as glycemic as sugar. It's a vegan, delicious, and natural processed sugar substitute. It has the consistency of honey, but without the heavy flavor profile. It's perfect for
drizzling over Greek yogurt. Comes from agave cacti in Mexico. Kosher.

To Enter

If you're interested in participating in the raffle, here's what you need
to do:

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from
our Menu for Hope at http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2007/12/menu-for-

You also could visit the East Coast regional Menu for Hope 4 page to see what others in my region are offering (some pretty big stuff!).

2. Go to the donation site at http://www.firstgiving.com/
and make a donation.

3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the
'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your
donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please
use the prize code. VERY IMPORTANT INFO: MY CODE IS UE21. Example:

Basic Order

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize
of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for
EU01 and 3 tickets for UE21. Please write 2xEU01, 3xUE21. Example:

Advanced Order

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
Wednesday, January 9, 2008 for the results of the raffle.

Thanks for your participation, and good luck in the raffle!

06 December 2007

Tag! I'm It!

The lovely Ricki, of Diet, Dessert and Dogs tagged me earlier today for a meme. I have a vague memory of doing one like this on my other blog, but it's nice to re-think some things now and then.

Off we go...


* In high school, I worked as a jewelry expediter for Service Merchandise, a department store of sorts.
* During college, I probably had the most conversation-worthy jobs. I spent several semesters working as a camera operator and audio engineer at CNBC in Fort Lee, NJ. Back in the late 1980s when I used to (gasp!) smoke, Morton Downey used to bum cigarettes off me. Boy could I tell you stories about the stuff that went on there. But I won't.
* Also, right before college graduation, I worked for a friend in Burbank, Calif. We worked on "special effects" for some pretty bad movies.
* Another interesting job was writing about new foods for a BBS. If you're too young to remember, that's where folks used to chat online before there was a World Wide Web. Makes me feel old just saying that, and I'm only 38.


* Sacramento, Calif., where I was born.
* Allentown, Penn., where I once graced the cover of "The Morning Call." However, you could not see my face. It was obscured by a giant Lincoln hat in honor of the U.S. bicentennial.
* Danbury, Conn., but only for my first year of college. That year, Danbury was home to a man who ran his wife through a woodchipper after murdering her. It was also ranked the number 1 place to live by "USA Today" that year. A federal prison is at the opposite end of town from where I spent my freshman year of college.
* North Caldwell, NJ, where I spent my teenage years.


* Venice, Italy. Ah Venice.
* London, England. Great fun.
* Acadia National Park, Maine. You must go. You simply must.
* Zion National Park, Utah. Again, you must go. Especially if you're a tax-paying American. For Pete's sake, it's OUR LAND!


* Baked goods. Hehehe. My absolute favorite is the Halvah Shortbread.
* Pizza. There's a good place within walking distance, but there's nothing like making your own and having it fresh from the oven.
* Mom's matzo brei. It's like a giant mazto and egg pancake. Mmmmm. It's just the way she makes it. I can't duplicate it.
* Garlicky guacamole and hummus with chips tie for 4th. The lemony, the better.


* Well, if I could always take John with me, anywhere is fine with me. But, if I must choose, here are my four: anywhere in Italy; Zion, Utah; visiting Dawn in Nashville; and northern California, driving along the coast.

04 December 2007

Graham Crackers Redux

One of the nicest things about recipes is that you can always go back and tweak them. Here's another take of the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion's "The Best Graham Crackers." They're better this time around.

The movie is in two parts: