Beth Kendrick's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Seriously you guys, we are drooling over all these books about food!  We don't know if it's because we've both been practically starving ourselves for Liz's vow renewal in Vegas later this month or if we just have a major food book fettish, but some of our faves in the last year have been delectably delicious to read! And The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick is no exception. We fell in love with her last year when she sent us Second Time Around and couldn't wait to get our hand on her latest.  It's yummy fun that we highly recommend you indulge in! (It's fat free too!)  Run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy today for your next weekend getaway.

And the best part?  Beth has written a ton of books so if you are just discovering her, you'll have lots to choose from to read next!

Suburban soccer mom Amy has always wanted to stand out from the crowd. Former child prodigy Linnie just wants to fit in. The two sisters have been estranged for years, but thanks to a series of personal crises and their wily grandmother, they've teamed up to enter a national bake-off in the hopes of winning some serious cash. Armed with the top-secret recipe for Grammy's apple pie, they should be unstoppable. Sure, neither one of them has ever baked anything more complicated than brownie mix, but it's just pie-how hard could it be?

Want a copy?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners randomly on Monday May 16th after Noon PST.

And we think you'll love her Do's and a Do-over.  And having had the pleasure of meeting her, we can attest that despite what she claims in her Do-over, she is a VERY cool girl.



1. Try making a cake from scratch. Break out the eggs, butter, flour, and channel your inner confectionista. I could barely boil water when I started writing The Bake-Off, and by the time I handed in the manuscript, I was making apple pies that could rival Martha Stewart’s. If I can do it, anyone can—trust and believe! Plus, you can tell yourself it’s “more healthful” than store-bought pastry or cake from a mix because there are no artificial flavors, colors, or unpronounceable ingredients, and therefore, you should feel no guilt about helping yourself to a second piece. Bon appétit! (Cookbook suggestions for beginners: Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, Cindy Mushet’s The Art and Soul of Baking.)

2. Host theme parties. Suggestions to get you started: “fashion victims”, “hideous holiday sweaters”, “famous couples from cinema”. This takes the pressure off guests feeling like they have to look red-carpet ready, plus the themes encourage mingling. And it’s a great excuse to force your significant other to don a trenchcoat and re-enact the Lloyd Dobler boom box scene from “Say Anything”.

3. Find something to nurture. A garden, a dog, a child, a friend in need, an elderly relative…anything that clicks with your personality. Caring for and tending to another living being benefits you both in so many ways.

4. Spend a day being a tourist in your hometown. Put on some comfortable shoes and hit the museums, landmark restaurants, and tourist traps. (And don’t forget the souvenirs. You can always host a “tacky shot glass party” later.)

5. Cultivate weird holiday traditions. When my husband and I first got engaged, we would spend Christmas and Easter dashing around to 4 or 5 different family celebrations. By the end of the day, we’d be frazzled and hungry, so we’d hit a fast-food drive-through on our way home. Our holiday schedule has changed over the years, but we still like to cap off the festivities with French fries. (And nothing says Mother’s Day like a chocolate milkshake!) Holidays are all about rituals, so go ahead and create your own—even if they make no sense to anyone outside your family.

Do Over: When I was a sophomore in college, I got my bellybutton pierced. (This was during the height of the late 1990’s piercing and tattoo craze.) For reasons that remain unclear, I thought poking a little hole through my flesh would somehow transform me into a cool girl. My roommate had hers pierced, and she was the last word in cool, so I figured I’d follow her lead. Except, my roommate was also the kind of girl who could get away with wearing black leather pants and furry leopard-print jackets to her 8:30 a.m. geology seminar, and I…was not. I was the kind of girl who spent her Friday nights doing statistics homework in the library. But somehow, I got it into my head that a little steel ring would imbue me with irresistible magnetism and mystery. I had to take out the ring when I was in grad school, because I was working in a neuropsychology lab doing MRI studies, and you can’t wear any metal near the MRI machine. (Again, not a problem an actual cool girl would have.) The hole in my skin never closed up. But I’ve come to love it, because it reminds me to be true to myself. Leather pants and leopard print is just not who I am. I wasn’t a cool girl in college, I’m still not cool today, and you know what? I’m cool with that.

To read more about Beth, check out her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks Beth!  xoxo, L&L