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5-year Blogaversary? 5-Cookbook Giveaway!

My friends, today is a momentous day. Words to Eat By is five years old. I’ve known for some time this was coming—when I updated my “about” page a while back I was actually editing my very first post, so the date kinda stuck in my head. But even with all that time to think about the proper way to mark such an important occasion, I still wound up scrambling. See, that might be the number one difference between me now and me then: Free time. Back then I was a newlywed, freelance writing from home and spending hours every day doing research (ahem, procrastinating) by reading cookbooks, food magazines, and other food blogs. Did I feel like experimenting with batch after batch of chocolate chip cookies, adjusting until I found the cookie of my dreams? No problem. These days, on the other hand, I’m lucky if I have half an hour during Harry’s so-called “quiet time” to consider what we’ll eat that night. It might be a while before I can come up with another Roasted Pears with Sugar & Spiced Pecans and Poire William Caramel Sauce.

Not that I’m complaining—this here life of mine is pretty darn sweet, and oh am I in love with my houseful of men: Stephen, Harry, and Samuel kitty. I’m thrilled to be back blogging again (taking almost two years off sorta makes this my 3rd anniversary, but I won’t tell if you won’t), and in honor of WTEB’s birthday, I’ve rounded up five of my favorite recipes. These are all dishes I consider my own—some were inspired by specific recipes I found elsewhere, and others were the result of tinkering and adjusting and tinkering some more. All of them are old reliables, friends I turn to again and again.

  1. Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Figs, and Mint: I know, it sounds weird. But holy cow do those flavors work together nicely.
  2. A Quick Sauté of Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini: I make this at least once a week, all summer long.
  3. Polynesian Flank Steak: It’s got three ingredients, people, and that includes the steak.
  4. The Simplest Herb Marinade Ever: Good on chicken, good on fish, light, fresh, lively flavors.
  5. Spicy Sautéed Tilapia with Olives and Grape Tomatoes: The only fish recipe my fish-hating husband actually asks me to make.

I wouldn’t be true to myself or to Words to Eat By if I didn’t include my favorite dessert recipes, too. You’ll notice, they all include chocolate. Of course.

  1. The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World: Far and away, the most popular recipe on this site. Try them; you won’t be sorry.
  2. Chocolate Yogurt Loaf: Oh so rich, but shockingly not-bad-for-you.
  3. Samoas: Others have followed, but I do believe I was the first to make (or at least blog about) a homemade version of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies.
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake: For his birthday one year, Stephen asked for a Carvel cake; I went him one better.
  5. Chocolate Pizzelles: Not too sweet, wonderfully crunchy, and you get to use a nifty gadget.


In keeping with the whole Five Favorites theme, I’m celebrating my blogaversary with a gift to you, dear readers. One lucky person will win copies of my five favorite cookbooks! Brand-new copies, not my broken-spined, food-spattered ones, of: How To Cook Everything,The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook,The New Doubleday Cookbook,and Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.

That’s right, here’s your chance to win five fabulous cookbooks, each of which I rely on regularly, as a thank you for reading along with me. All you have to do is leave a comment in which you name a favorite Words to Eat By recipe. New to the site? Browse through the Recipe Index for inspiration! The giveaway ends in one week—on Saturday, October 31, I’ll announce the lucky winner.

By now you’re probably wondering if I’m going to include a new recipe in this post. Of course I am, silly! It’s for those very delicious-looking (and tasting) German Chocolate Cupcakes you see up there. For the cupcakes themselves, I used a recipe I’ve grown to love: Dark Chocolate Layer Cake. It’s moist and very, very chocolaty, inspired by a recipe in one of my favorite dessert books, Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. To top them, I returned to that book for what may just be my favorite frosting of all, German Chocolate. That mix of dulce de leche-like sweetness, toasted coconut, and toasted pecans gets me every time. I like it so much, in fact, that until now I’ve resisted even making it—I was afraid I’d just sit down with the pan of frosting and eat it all, cupcakes be damned. But for you, my dear readers, I’ll sacrifice. I’ll make German Chocolate Frosting. I’ll put it on cupcakes. And I’ll eat them. All for you.

Thank you for reading along with me for all this time. I do appreciate it, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And don’t forget: Pick a favorite recipe and leave a comment about it by October 31, and you could win five of my favorite cookbooks!

German Chocolate Frosting

From Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk [I used skim]

2 egg yolks

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 heaping cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Combine the first four ingredients (through butter) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes—watch carefully, as a light that’s a little too high will make it boil over. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Spread it on cupcakes while still a little warm.

This Post Has 126 Comments

  1. suburban prep

    my husband and I love pasta and I loved the recipe that includes pasta and tomato soup (his favoirte). Sopa de Fideo Aguada

    msgb245 at gmail dot com

  2. Rebecca

    congratulations! I'm fairly new to the site, so I would like to try the Saucy Chocolate Fudge Cake. Cuz I'm saucy.

  3. oh_snap!

    Congrats Debbie! My family would go very hungry if it weren't for you. xoxoxoxo

  4. DeAnna

    One of my favorites is the cucumber parsley and tomato salad. Thanks for having the giveway!

    stanleychicken at gmail dot com

  5. annpa

    Your Corn, tomato and zucchini saute is also my favorite. It makes the most out of the things I have the most of in the summer.

  6. Cherry Blossoms

    The Chocolate Honey cake is a recipe of yours I have been dying to make. It looks and sounds AMAZING!

    As far as the figs with mint and roasted cauliflower and pasta…I made a great recipe with figs, lemon, and rosemary the other night and it was to die for! I will have to try your pasta recipe soon.

    Here is the one I made:

    CherryBlossomsDesign at hotmail

  7. Amber

    My favorite Words to Eat By Recipe is the Figgy Grilled Cheese on Pumpernickel – all my daughter's friends just LOVE it. It's so creative but simple.
    Thank you for the giveaway 🙂

  8. Bjetsey

    hm, gotta admit that the best homemade chocolate chip cookies are the best, but I really want to make the
    Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage and Shaved Chestnuts, when I get some time. thanks for all these wonderful recipes! yay for 5 years!

  9. Ellyn Canfield

    Ooh. Probably those fucking good chocolate chip cookies….in the words of WTEB 🙂


  10. cdziuba

    We've been eating a lot more Tex/Mex and Mexican food, and I love this recipe: Sopa de Fideo Aguada (Vermicelli in Tomato Broth)

  11. Mary

    I love the Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken.


  12. Jesse

    I always thought your chocolate chip cookies were my hands down favorite, but the apple cake I made last week might have converted me. It's sure to be a regular around these parts. LOVE it.

    Your blog rocks. Thanks for helping to change the way I cook and the way my family eats!

  13. Anna

    My favorite is the Chocolate Yogurt Loaf. I love the post that went along with it 🙂 and I love anything baked with yogurt in it- it always comes out so moist!

  14. throuthehaze

    my favorite is the black and white cookies!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  15. Vivian Deliz

    My favorite one is the Parmesan Crackers which I pair with the Roasted Red Pepper Spread. You can have the crackers by themselves or with a spread, it is equally good.

    Congratulations of your blog annivesary. It is exciting to see the lasting effect of blogging.

  16. plhill2000

    I've tried the Hail Maty Pasta. It was so simple and easy to make and so tasty.

  17. metalmomma

    The Saucy Chocolate Fudge Cake.

  18. Leila

    Ooh, this is a hard one, but I have to say Vegetarian Frijoles Negros. We have a beans and rice night once a week and this is definitely a bunch of steps up from beans, rice, salsa and cheese. =)

  19. vrtish55

    Congratulations! I can't believe you've been blogging for 5/3 🙂 years and I just found your blog! But I'm so glad I did, Unbelievably Good Chocolate Chunk Cookies are making my mouth water as we speak. I'm enjoying going back over your articles and recipes. Thank you!

  20. marthaandme

    I make a version of the corn, tomato and zuke saute, so I vote for that one, but I've definitely got to try the chocolate yogurt loaf!

  21. Tracy Malloy-Curtis

    I love the three bean turkey chili – I'm making it tonight! Happy Blogiversary!

  22. Tepary

    Hmmmm, well first thank you for blogging. Happy webanniversary. As others have said it has made a difference to how I think about cooking and food. For the past 10 months or so I would say we average two of the recipes I find on your blog a week. This week it was the lentil and brown rice soup and in about 3 hours the best chocolate chip cookies ever. The previous week we actually managed the sweet potato gnocchi and the Hail Mary pasta. I'm off to search for jacket potato toppings right now as well as finally print the cookie recipe and stop coating my keyboard with flour.

  23. dorism6220

    Congratulations on your anniversary – I'm trying the ultimate chocolate chip cookies for a bake sale this week.

  24. agordon10

    My kids love the Saucy Chocolate Fudge Cake.

  25. bcswerit

    Congratulations on your blogaversary! my favourite recipe is Cinnamon-Cherry-Pecan (and Chocolate) Coffee Ring I've used it about 5 times since discovering it and it's ALWAYS a hit

  26. randio

    Hai to the Hail Mary Pasta, Yum! Happy Anniversary!

  27. Rachel

    Lemony broccoli & chickpea pasta has saved my bacon many an emptry-pantry evening. Congrats on 5 years!

  28. Berrygirl

    Happy blog-iversary!! The first thing I ever made from your blog was the American Chop Suey, but I have to say that my new favorite is definitely the Wheatberry Salad with Chickpeas and Dried Cherries. You introduced me to "chewy" as a food texture! It will be a summer staple for us now.

  29. Leslie

    I love your cold cucumber soup. It reminds me of a similar recipe my grandmother used to make.

  30. Anonymous

    Would love to try the german chocolate frosting. Yum!

  31. Peter

    It's the chocolate chip cookies by a mile. Happy 5th and thanks for the giveaway!

    peter dot durnin at gmail dot com

  32. Deborah

    Challah! Your challah recipe demystified the process for me (including the helpful braiding guide) and the story about challah-making in your home growing up was so poignant and memorable.

  33. Cheryl

    Congratulations on the 5 yrs Blogaversary! I would give my right pinky toe for just one of those books, but mercy me all 5. Anyway, my favorite Words to Eat By recipe has to be the:

    Brisket with Dried Cherries and Crimini Mushrooms. What a wonderful combination that has to be.

  34. chromiumman

    loved the chicken chili recipe

  35. aajacques

    The apple cake sounds delicious. I love to bake and use lots of apples so this recipe caught my eye.

  36. Mike

    The Chocolate Honey cake sounds fantastic.

  37. worldsongmom

    My favorite is stuffed artichokes – stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs and romano then drizzled with olive oil and steamed to perfection. The whole family goes nuts!

  38. mensa63

    We are salad eaters and so your cucumber, parsley and tomato has become a favorite here. I have made salads with cukes, tomato and basil but the parsley was a very refreshing change and also made me try other combos such as baby spinach, cucumber and tomato which is great also but the parsley is by far and away our favorite. If you ever need a quick simple dressing for green salads my late aunt dreamed up one which is really great. I have only changed it by adding a couple of drops of olive oil. It goes as follows, 1 c. good quality mayonnaise, 1/4 c. ketchup and 2 or 3 drops of olive oil to lighten it. Simple and really tasty.

  39. Angela James

    I'm new to the site as of a few months ago, so I haven't tried a lot of the recipes, but I'm a huge hot chocolate fan (I even own a Mr. Coffee Cocomotion maker!) and I was thrilled with the hot cocoa recipe here

  40. Tina12312

    Everything sounds so delicious but I really have to try your Hail Mary Pasta, yum! Happy 5 years to you and thank you for the great giveaway!

  41. kerry dexter

    cherry chocolate oatmeal squares and cauliflower parmesan fritters are two of my favorites. I enjoyed reading about making pho, too.

    congratulations on your anniversary — this is great way to share the celebration.

  42. TX_Jen34

    Sopa de Fideo Aguada looks good.

  43. sweetsue

    My favorite recipe is the Dark Chocolate Pudding-low fat! Happy Anniversary!
    smchester at gmail dot com

  44. ezmerelda

    The challah bread is my fave. It's not something I'd had until we found the recipe.

  45. clc408

    I'm definitely going to try the Polynesian Flank Steak. I love simple recipes.

  46. Faither

    Slow cooker beef stew, for rainy hazy days.

  47. JC

    Thrilled to have found your site about a month ago! My fave so far has been the Butternut Squash Risotto you posted recently. In fact, we made a variation of it this weekend and, OMG!, I could eat that every day!

    Congrats on 5 years!!

  48. cbe

    The amazon cake is one of my faves for my dairy and egg allergic daughter. But an old favorite is the Christmas Morning Coffee Cake. Cherry and chocolate – what's not to love?

  49. katia

    Definitely the best homemade chocolate chip cookies. A surefire hit.

  50. Tarah

    I love flank steak and the recipe for Polynesian Flank Steak looks super simple yet yummy!


  51. janeh

    the Angel Hair with Garlic and Lemon-Parmesan Breadcrumbs…..yummy!!!!!

  52. Jenna H.

    I found your site because of the Apple Cake recipe. Haven't had a chance to make it yet but I'm sure my husband will love it. Thanks for the giveaway!
    jmhamlin826 AT yahoo DOT com

  53. Deborah

    Happy blogaversary! I'm making your Baked Potato Chips recipe right now (but I'm using one white potato, and one sweet potato). asthenight at gmail dot com

  54. courtneystoffel

    One of my faves is the Slow Cooker “Roast” Chicken. Quick & easy!

    hebert024 at aoldot com

  55. Arien

    The sweet potato gnocchi with sage and chestnuts sounds phenomenal! Anyway, I'm new to the site but I like the approach and the recipes. Thanks!

  56. turboterp

    Your Quick Tomato-Rice Soup is going to get me through the winter! Thank you!

  57. Carolyn

    Your blog is the first food blog I ever read – I even kept it in my blog reader during your hiatus in the hopes you would start it up again (I had a baby about the same time, so knew how little time you had!)
    Anyway, my favorite, hands down, is the quick saute of zucchini tomatoes and corn – I have made it, on average, at least twice a week since you posted it. It is my go-to recipe for summer parties. I eat it hot, cold, and room temperature. I adore it!
    So happy blogaversary, and thank you for blogging. You've definitely added to my cooking repertoire, and I'm sure my husband would thank you for that, too!

  58. Nickolay

    The Chipoltle Turkey Burgers sound rockin


  59. amy mayer

    actually I have made and love the Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Brussels Sprouts–they become sweeter and less bitter and perfect for fall evening dinners (comment by

  60. Shaheen

    5 years? WOW! That's long.. I've been blogging for 2 years now… Quite new to your blog and just returned from your recipe index to find that I'm having a tough time deciding which recipe I like the most. But I totally want to try the mushroom risotto and parmesan crackers.

  61. Daniel M

    roasted vegetable lasagna looks good – regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  62. Katie

    That's amazing, debbie! Congratulations.

  63. ky2here

    I could make Sopa de Fideo Aguada. Congrats!

    Oh OK, the first poster selected this, don't want to look like a copycat so let's add the caramel apple pastis.

  64. kimbly

    I love your Turtle Tart recipe and my goal is to make that for a birthday in two weeks. Wish me luck!

    kimbly at gmail dot com

  65. Heather

    Wow! Amazing giveaway.
    My fave is the Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta. Everything I love!

  66. Melanie

    this is so awesome! thanks! I think my fave recipe is gonna be the mushroom risotto

    melanieinaz2003 at yahoo

  67. Monica

    Happy Anniversary!!

  68. Anonymous

    Just landed on this blog for the first time- you sound like such a foodie!I am bookmarking your site. Hail Mary Pasta will now be my birthday dinner contribution for my sister.
    kaytewatts AT aol DOT com

  69. Christina

    I am a relatively new follower, but I tried and loved the slow-cooker butternut squash risotto. I have told several people about it!

  70. Audreysmama

    Figgy Grilled Cheese on Pumpernickel sounds AMAZING!

  71. Smooshy

    i like the saucy chocolate fudge cake!

  72. chlorinebrain

    My favorite Words to Eat By Recipe is the Chocolate Yogurt Loaf!

  73. Eve

    My favorite recipe is by you is the Savino’s Quality Pasta with Chicken, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

    shopgurl101 AT gmail DOT com

  74. Happi Shopr

    I'm new but the cucumber parsley and tomato salad sounds delish! trinitygsd at yahoo dot com

  75. mom2anutball

    The Potato Kugel looks good! Thanks!

  76. Jennifer Margulis

    Pick me! Pick me! My favorite recipe is the apple cake one that you posted around Rosh Hashanah. It was awesome awesome awesome. And I can't wait to try the pasta with cauliflower and figs (though we all don't love cauliflower in our house)… I REALLY need a new cookbook!!

  77. Alisabow

    I'm not entering. Just wanted to wish you a rocking BLOG ANNIVERSARY.

  78. Gabriel J.

    I like the black and white cookies.

  79. Jammie

    I am going with Debbie’s (formerly Mom’s) Beef Stew. I mlove beef stew and never tried it in the slow cooker I am for sure going to try this recipe.

  80. Delaney

    I would make all of the pasta recipes and the chocolate ones as well…yummm

  81. Pamela S

    I think the Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket is a winner! Easy & yummy! Thanks so much! pamelashockley(AT)netscape(DOT)net

  82. Pamela S

    I just wanted to say I can't wait to try your German Chocolate frosting recipe. My mother has passed away but she used to make the GREATEST German chocolate cake ever! I've never had it as good since. But your icing "looks" just like hers. So I'm hoping it "tastes" just like hers too! Thanks for the recipe.

    Thanks so much! pamelashockley(AT)netscape(DOT)net

  83. Anonymous

    The Black and White Cookie recipe is exactly the same as the cookies we used to get as kids at our local Italian Bakery. Delicious! Thanks so much for a great blog, and congratulations on your anniversary! What a bonanza of a giveaway! All the books I've been yearning to buy (but am too broke to do so!)

  84. momznite

    Easy gingersnap peach crisp looks like a good recipe. I'm plan to try it when peaches are in season again.

  85. Jinxy and Me

    I like the Figgy Grilled Cheese on Pumpernickel. It's an original!

  86. Reeva

    mm that german chocolate has my mouth watering! I'd love to try that and the hail mary pasta!

  87. Aaron

    My favorite is the Chocolate Honey Cake. Yum!

  88. chazvgo

    Spaghetti with Turkey-Pesto Meatballs, I think Im gonna try this out next week 🙂

  89. Aisling

    The Parmesan Cauliflower Fritters sound wonderful and I'm going to serve them for Thanksgiving. I bet even the anti-cauliflower family members will like them.

  90. ReadyMom

    I haven't tried it yet, but I'm anxious to try the Aztec Hot Chocolate pudding. Looks yummy and I love the idea of mixing dark chocolate and some chili.

    Happy Blogaversary!

  91. Amy

    Apple cake! Apple cake!

  92. jll11

    Chocolate chip cookies!

  93. Tiffany819

    Your chicken chili sounds fabulous!! Thank you and happy anniversary!!

    Tiffanys819 at gmail dot com

  94. J D

    I haven't made your Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto yet, but I will. Every time I see the gorgeous picture, I begin salivating. Butternut squash is one of my all-time favorite vegetables, and I adore risotto. Put together: what could be better? I love your blog. Best wishes to you and your family.

  95. theprophecygirl

    I adore breakfast and the Christmas Morning Coffee Cake. Thanks! theprophecygirl at hotmail dot com

  96. Grace

    Hi Debbie! Congratulations! I'm dying to try the apple cake recipe you posted and you are right, the cauliflower, figs and mint combo is to die for!

  97. Gudrun

    wow, great collection of cookbooks! Happy Blogaversary! Any of your recipes sound great 🙂

  98. Margaret

    I haven't tried your
    Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Walnuts & Dried Fruit, but I am always looking for new ways to eat quinoa and I MUST try this soon.

  99. Mom

    I am going to try the Christmas Morning Coffeecake.

  100. Jackee Ann

    I am going to be trying the Rice Pudding and Mango Parfait soon!
    happeejackee at gmail dot com

  101. elisa

    the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage (plus or minus the chestnuts). So buttery! so delicious!

  102. taxchyk

    I'd like to try the Red Roasted Peppers. Sometimes the most simple ingredients seem to make such a difference!

  103. barbara

    Potato Kugel sounds wonderful. Sure sounds like the potato pancakes my mother used to make – but much healthier since it's not deep fried like hers was!

  104. Holly B

    I of course love the The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World…the recipe sounds foolproof!

    hblaser at gmail dot com

  105. Giant Sis

    My mouth's watering for the Slow-Cooker Barbecued Brisket!

  106. Francine

    Lemony broccoli & chickpea pasta. Thanks for the giveaway.


  107. js22

    Three-Bean Turkey Chili sounds both deicious and healthy!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    email in blogger profile.


    I love your recipe for Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta.

    Lemons, broccoli, and garbanzos are 3 of my favorite foods anyway, so I knew the recipe would be good even before I tried it but wow, it was amazing!

    Thanks for all you do! Please keep the great recipes coming!

  109. brianpiero

    Thanks for the giveaway…The Simplest Herb Marinade Ever sounds great, especially with some asian chili sauce to give it a kick.

    senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com

  110. Angie

    Happy Blogaversary!! I'd love to try the Cottage Pie.

  111. msrodeobrat

    the Saucy Chocolate Fudge Cake sounds delicious!

  112. Smart Cents Mom

    The dark chocolate pudding is a great recipe. Thanks for the chance to win!

  113. dddiva

    Congrats on your Blogaversary. Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is a fave of mine. 😀 Thanks for the great giveaway.

  114. Ardy22

    I want to try Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken.

  115. Anonymous

    Pumpkin bread sounds great and perfect for the holiday.

    reallycool3108 at yahoo dot com

  116. katybug

    Artichoke and Parmesan Salad – love artichokes and this is easy and delicious.

  117. Gianna

    Marinated Roasted Peppers 🙂

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