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For a little bit, I toyed with the idea of doing a non-chocolate dessert for Valentine’s Day, and then John basically said, “What are you thinking?!” And that, friends, is what your better half is for--to let you know when you’re completely off base.

It's filled pasta season in our home. Lasagna, canneloni, tortellini... all of them are good for warming up the palate and soul. With filled pasta, it's only natural to think of butternut squash in January. 

In our neighborhood, snow has given way to an icey, opaque shell. The heavy rains have passed, real winter has begun, and I couldn't be happier to stay indoors, occupied with research, cooking, and plotting future victories. We are nearly done outlining the new edition of JOY---a long, painstakingly-detailed outline---and our excitement grows as the "shape" of it comes into focus.

Since this is such a doozie of a recipe, I'll get right to the point. Making a yule log cake is a process, but sometimes nothing else will do. It's completely over the top, classic, and just a little cheesy. It's also delicious.

Of all foods that can be classified as "un-sexy"--beef stew, cole slaw, banana pudding--it is perhaps granola whose reputation is most chaste.

This week's cookbook giveaway is all about cookies. I own several cookie-centric cookbooks, and I love them all. Cookies are just plain fun to make and to eat. It totally makes sense that cookies are one of the first cooking projects for kids. But when someone comes out with a particularly playful and creative cookie book, my heart skips a beat.

At a party the other day, a friend asked us if there were any trends in pies this year. The only thing I could come up with was that chess pies have made something of a comeback. Not that they've ever gone away. This is basically why I'm not into trends--I like what I like, so for me chess pie has never been out of style.

When I first heard of Maria Speck, I believe it was on The Splendid Table. I didn't catch the whole interview, but I did get a window into Maria's philosophy. She was talking about the healthfulness of whole grains and how she is reluctant to stand on the soapbox of what is good for you and would rather just talk about how delicious whole grains are.

This week, we're giving away a copy of The Picnic, by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson.