The Saveur Best Food Blog Awards in pictures

The lights of The Strip from the window of my limo, a mesmerizing fountain that moved to the music of ‪Andrea Bocelli‬, sipping bubbly ‪V‬euve Clicquot while touring a private collection of Picasso’s work – last week was just a little out of the ordinary for this urban homesteader.

Just over a month ago, I shared a story and a virtual award with you when Simple Bites won a Saveur Best Food Blog Award and you were kind enough to tolerate my sentiments and celebrate with me. I guess you could say this post is Part 2 of the story, as I’ve just returned from Las Vegas, where Saveur and the Bellagio hosted a group of food bloggers for the BFBA’s awards.

I’ve only iPhone images to share, as I left both laptop and DSLR camera at home in an attempt at a true mini-vacation, but they capture that full day of celebrating well enough for me to remember it for a very long time.

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Well wishes for the mothers

So many of you readers are mothers like me, in the thick of it every day, raising little people. Whether your children are grown or small, today is your day.

So take a breath, set aside the to-do list for now, and cherish your time with your kids. They do grow up so fast.

Friends and daughtes on Mother's DayAll images by Tim Chin

I am so blessed to have a close group of friends of mothers and future mothers who inspire me all the time. Their support means the world to me. Sometimes a girl just needs to vent about parenting a five year old or waking up with a baby, and my mama-friends always listen and offer encouragement.

We’re all so different in our approaches to parenting – childbirth, education, discipline – but that is what keeps our conversations lively. We have a mutual respect for each other and a commitment to honestly that is essential for maintaining a friendship as moms, not just girlfriends.

When it comes to parenting, I feel I am learning day by day. These wise words from Diane Loomans, however, are some that I try to apply in my everyday existence:

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Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Food Memoirs And Non-Fiction

It was food writer Molly O’Neil who said that food preferences, habits and rituals are also intimate windows into disparate cultures, classes, eras and places. We see this clearly between the pages of our favorite food memoirs, the latest, hottest coming-of-age stories.

This year I’ve traveled to Berlin with Luisa Weiss in My Berlin Kitchen, I donned chef whites and piped buttercream alongside Jenna Weber in White Jacket Required, and I ducked behind the scenes of Top Chef with Gail Simmons in Talking with My Mouth Full – and all from under a quilt on my sofa.

I’ve fallen hard for food memoirs and non-fiction this year, reigniting a love that began with Kitchen Confidential and Ruth Reichl’s books a many years ago.

I’m sharing a few of my favorites today; they’re certain to make a perfect Christmas gift for the foodie in the family.

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Home for the Holidays: WhyHunger

It is an honour to share with you a charitable cause that is near and dear to my heart, as today across SLM, we spotlight six nonprofits that we think are special. (I hope you’ll take a moment to check them out!)

WhyHunger is a nonprofit organization finding practical answers to the problems of hunger and poverty by connecting people to food and by supporting grassroots organizations. Feeding the hungry? I can’t think of a better cause to embrace here on Simple Bites.

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Honey Pomegranate Glazed Brussels Sprouts

All of the Thanksgiving dinners we attend (three in total, the first happening back in October) are large, with the total mouths-to-feed count hovering around 25. As such, no one person is ever left with the sole responsibility of making a meal to feed the crowd. Instead, we communally share the job, signing up for dishes and drinks, each bringing the classics or surprising everyone with a bit of a twist and a deviation from the norm.

There will always be plenty of green bean casserole, and the hosting party provides a giant roast bird, possibly even a ham depending on the side of the family. Warmed bread is served slathered in soft butter, and a bright array of side salads and vegetables run down the center of the table. Potatoes are mashed and aunts and cousins argue over whether they should be laced with garlic or kept plain jane for their gravy river.

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