Happy Blogday to Me + Cookbook Giveaway

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I find that I have little attention for personal projects in the long term. For a while they put me into a vice grip; I hunt out the source and absorb all knowledge about the subject, read everything I can get my hands on, and commit myself body and soul to it. That is, until the fascination wears off. Like the thrill of tossing a puff of colorful confetti where after a few minutes watching the delicate paper dance in the air, transporting you to somewhere more jubilant, it becomes less and less exciting as more of it falls to the ground. Eventually those happy feelings fade away completely until it all just lies there on the floor to be cleaned up.

Those pots I bought for a little shade garden sit outside my apartment barren and hungry for green after a frost killed their verdant holdings back in November. I have a pack of tarot cards collecting dust, the deck apparently unable to divine its eventual fate wedged between the works of Jane Austen and Arundhati Roy on my bookshelf. My attempts to teach myself Italian were laughable at best, I still can't count, let alone ask for a restroom - I was relieved when I learned during my last visit to Italy that every native under 35 speaks English fluently (and always prompted with "My English is not so good.").

In fact the only major project I started and finished was the programming of two video games back in the first two years of college, each one took about a year, the first being a learning project, the second resulting in an epic 30+ hour RPG.  (I am still very, very proud of those. And yes, I am kind of a nerd.)

So it shocks me that blogging has brought me along in its own for three years today. But I don't think that I can consider blogging merely a project anymore. It has become an extension of me, in fact I can't imagine myself or my life without Vanilla Garlic anymore. It would be as if you removed an integral piece of me. This blog contains sweat. This blog contains tears. This blog contains joy. This blog contains hard work. This blog contains soul. This blog has been with me through the good and the bad. This blog has become a source of knowledge and discovery. A source of amazing opportunities and experiences. 

But best of all? Best is that without this blog I would never have met so many amazing, inspirational, intelligent, creative, soulful, passionate people who have all become such cherished friends and, indeed, even family. The people in the food blogging community shock me to no end in their warmth and affability and talent. 

So with that - thanks to all of you who make blogging such a part of me. 

Ah, but the blogday! I almost forgot! Now, I've always been more of a gift giver than receiver. As such, I've decided to offer a new copy of one of my favorite and cookbooks, The Sweet Spot by Pichet Ong. Of all my cookbooks this is one that I turn to time and again for inspiration and as a mean to impress. In mine the pages are wrinkled in spots from my sake soaked fingers, smudged where I accidentally allowed caramelized palm sugar to sputter, stained where the juice of so many plums dribbled off my knife and onto the instructions which no longer mattered as by then I knew the recipe by heart. Indeed my copy when opened bombards you with the heavy aroma of dessert and cooked fruit from being so loved and having met the rigors of my kitchen. A fusion of Asian style ingredients with Western techniques. It's one of my faves so I think someone else should fall in love with their one of their own.

Want to win? Leave a comment by midnight on May 30th. I'll put the names into a random number generator and announce the winner on May 31st so be sure to check back in and see if the winner is you. Good luck!

150 comments:

  1. Happy Blogbirthday to you, Garrett! Been entertained by your posts and tweets, I must say! You're quite the innovative cook!

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  2. and all this time i thought you were a girl, go figure, love reading this blog though, keep it up!

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  3. Well, I'm just new to your blog so I may be terribly presumptuous leaving a comment and hoping for the prize (and, to be honest, when does 1 ever get drawn out of a random number generator anyway?), but hey. It looks like a good book, and I like your blog - it's nice to see an academic cook!

    Cheers,
    Chastity.

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  4. Nothing like a longtime reader coming out of the woodwork, huh? But anything for Pichet Ong - that's definitely a book I've wanted to get for a while! Happy blogday!

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  5. Happy Blogday to you too! I love the image you painted of a stained, tattered cookbook where every stain and crease is a symbol of how much it was used and loved. I feel the same way about any cookbook that has a food stain, and feel bad for the library cookbooks I check out that will never really get down and dirty in the kitchen with me because I have to return them as pristine as they arrived. I'd love a copy of The Sweet Spot :-) for my own!

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  6. Hummm....sounds like a wonderful cookbook to add to my collection. Love your blog - I'm bookmarking it now.

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  7. I just found your blog through Simply Recipes, and I've bookmarked you so that I can keep coming back. I'm thrilled by the number of cupcake recipes alone! Happy Blogday!

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  8. I understand perfectly the projects started with intensity and then largely ignored before ever finishing. That's me to a tee... had I been 50 years younger I would probably been diagnosed as ADHD!

    I'm not familiar with the cookbook you mention, but the cover photo s Devine!

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  9. I am always a sucker for a good cookbook. I am a more recent follower of the blog, but I do always sit down to enjoy reading. Happy Birthday!

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  10. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    lilacbutterfly [at] earthlink.net

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  11. I love cookbooks! Pick me! Pick me!

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  12. Happy Blogday Garrett! I always enjoy reading your stories, I feel like I can relate to many of them and live vicariously through some of them!

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  13. OH, me me me! Cookbook looks like a good one.

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  14. It's better to give then to receive! Happy Blogday!! Enjoy every moment!

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  15. Oh how sweet!
    Happy, Happy blogday to you!

    I feel the same way about my blog....it has changed me (for the better I hope, haha!) and I don't know what I would do without the ability to put my thoughts and recipes out there. :)
    Keep it up - you have wonderful ways with words (and foods), and I always enjoy stopping by this here site.

    xo -
    chanelle

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  16. Happy blog day to you.
    Oh yes i have books in my shelf which i still have to read, my excuse is that i don't have time, which is not true ofcourse.
    I did read the first book from Arundhati Roy.

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  17. Congratulations. I have come to quite adore your writing.

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  18. Happy Blog Day to you! Thanks for a great giveaway. Keep the fabulous posts coming!

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  19. Happy Blogday to you! Looks like a great cookbook :)

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  20. Hapy Blog Birthday Garrett! Looking forward to many more years of this!!
    Believe it or not but I truly *covet* this book. Can't believe I have not gotten it on my shelves yet (well, I know...by the time I got what I *needed* on amazon, there is never enough for I *want*, ahaha!!)

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  21. I've made a few of your cakes and loved them. Especially the chocolate chipotle! Here's to many more years and many more recipes! Happy blogday to you! (clinking of crystal glasses inserted here) :)

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  22. Just came across your blog today -- it's lovely. Looking forward to reading it in the future! :)

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  23. Hard to believe another blogversarry has come and gone!

    I've been following you for quite a while myself but it still comes as a shock that another year has passed.

    You have some real talent Garrett.
    Don't stop now!

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  24. I came over from simplyrecipes.com, beautiful website--happy blogday!

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  25. Happy Blogday Garrett, and thanks for 3 years of great posts!!

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  26. Happy Blogday! I've only been following your posts and tweets for a couple of months, but you're already one of my favorites. Love your writing and your sense of humor!

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  27. Happy blogbirthday! I love your blog. And I knew you weren't a girl. I mean, I know you're not a girl. I mean, I knew you're not a girl.

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  28. Ooooh, count me in for sure!


    ...And if you're ever in Edinburgh, I'll take you for a pint or two!

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  29. Happy Blogday! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  30. Happy blogbirthday! I'd love to win the book, since I've enjoyed so many of your recipes, I'm imagining that if this is your inspiration it will be fantastic...

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  31. Such generosity! Thank you!

    And thanks for writing. I really love your blog.

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  32. Happy Blogiversary! Always love reading your posts.

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  33. Happy Blogday. Please include me in your giveaway. I think The Sweet Spot looks like a great cookbook that would go great in my collection.
    Thanks
    Carlene
    iluvreading(at)verizon.net

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  34. Love the eggdrop soup recipe - thanks for your great blog!

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  35. happy blogday! if this cookbook is good enough for you it's defintely fantastic for me! keep the recipes and posts and stories coming!

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  36. Happy Blogday!! That book looks amazing!!

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  37. Happy Blogbirthday, Vanilla Garlic!

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  38. Happy blogday! I've been following your blog for almost a year now and really love the thoughtfulness and artistry you put into your recipes. I think I originally came here in search of cupcakes, but found so much more! I am also a huge a fan of your writing style and all the personality you put into your narratives. I remember this one about seeing this strung out guy in a fast food line and it just kind of stuck with me. Also all the coffee shop stories. Very satisfying. Can't wait to see what the future holds for you!

    infa1[at]cheerful[dot]com

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  39. Congrats on 3 years! I always enjoy reading your blog. I love your academic exploration of food. Plus, you're funny. Keep up the good work!

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  40. happy blogday! the book looks yummy

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  41. Love you blog!!! So, Happy blogday to you! I hope you'll keep on going for a long time :)

    (Oh, and btw, hope you can ship to Canada ;)

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  42. What a wonderful blog you have.
    I hope that your blog anniversary is a wonderful one as well.
    I love reading new recipes and seeing how they turn out.

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  43. Happy Blogday! I'd love to win a cookbook!!

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  44. Oooh that cookbook looks amazing!

    I lovelovelove your blog. I love your writing, the recipes, everything.

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  45. Thanks for the giveaway! I love cookbooks!

    jennifercausby at hotmail dot com

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  46. Happy birthday! As my husband can attest, I'm always up for a new cookbook -- thanks for the rec!

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  47. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  48. rhubarb and nectarine crumble! can't wait for summer to roll back around to the southern hemisphere to try it out!
    and yeah i wanna win a cook book!

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  49. Happy Blogday! Perusing your recipes always inspires me to try something different--so thank you.

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  50. Happy Blogday! Tried the Tomato Soup Cupcakes a few weeks ago...went over really well!!

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  51. Looks like a great cookbook! And happy happy birthday!

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  52. Happy blogbirthday!!

    What a fantastic cookbook!

    bsyb100 at gmail dot com

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  53. Happy 3 yr Blogbirthday! Can't believe you're growing your own lemongrass. Now you have me wanting to grow lemongrass too. I'm sure it beats the tube of minced lemongrass I buy at the store. Just curious, how are your 2 stalks doing?

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  54. Happy Blogday to you! It is fun knowing you and reading your blog too!

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  55. Happy Blog Birthday! Enjoy reading your blog!

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  56. happy blogday! ive just discovered your blog recently and i cant stop coming back to read further through the archives!
    keep up the brilliant writing!

    Mikki

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  57. LeeYong from NJ...anything for a free giveaway for a Pastry Book!!! YIPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEE! and Thank you!

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  58. Garrett- congrats on your blogday! Three whole years? I have just started last year! I want you to know that I look to you for inspiration on blogging, and you motivate me to get off my rear and do something I like to do ~ write about food.

    I can attest to stains all over my recipes as well. I write a lot of them as an extension to my job, so I can relate to the stains all over the place. It is not unlike owning a 4 X 4 truck... It is a sin to have it clean all the time. What do you need it for then.

    Here is to another 100 years! I know I will be reading you.

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  59. Happy Blogday....I've enjoyed all your entries (both literary and the fruits of the recipes!)

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  60. Happy birthday! My cookbooks end up in similar condition, but the worst are when you print something off the internet and fall in love with it. Eventually the non-water safe ink becomes utterly smeared and when someone else tries to make it they have no clue.

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  61. Mary
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    HAPPY BLOGDAY!!!
    Please come and cook for me :) lol
    although, maybe if I win this I can learn to make something yummy!

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  62. Congrats on your blogaversary!
    Thanks for all of the wonderfully insightful and entertaining posts Garrett!

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  63. I found your blog through Simply Recipes, now I check back everyday! Happy Blogday!

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  64. Love to have this.

    Thanks,

    darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  65. Happy Belated Blogday Vanilla Garlic!!! One of my favorite bookmarks!!!

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  66. Oh, but I am a great starter and slow finisher too! I recently dipped my toe into blogging and I'm hoping that I can someday post as passionate a toast as you just did. Thanks for sharing yourself with us!

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  67. Happy Blogday, Garrett!

    I've been following you for more than a year(well, lurking)...I've flipped through The Sweet Spot at the library where I work(I like to take them home and check them out before I commit to buying), and it's fabulous. Thanks for offering it to all of us!

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  68. Happy Blog-day! Sounds like a good cookbook - I would love to win it!

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  69. Congratulatoins & Happy Blogday.

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  70. i love your blog and am so glad that you have stuck with it all these years, happy blogday!

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  71. Happy Blogday! Congrats to you Garrett. I'm a fairly new follower, just this past year. Happy to hear you've been blogging for so long now! Congrats!

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  72. I am always looking for new things to cook.....

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  73. Congrats on the anniversary!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  74. Congratulations! Sounds like you've had a wonderful time with this thank you for sharing your enthusiasm!
    Sam
    superbutterfly12@yahoo.com

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  75. Congratulations, I love your blog.

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  76. Three great years! Mazal tov!

    ~M

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  77. Happy blogday! I'm so glad you didn't quit!

    And, you'll be proud, I tracked down some kumquats today. I had to cross state lines to do it, but I found them!

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  78. What a great idea! Gotta love desserts, especially the way you write about them!

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  79. Happy day! You are great fun to read. The cookbook looks amazing...

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  80. I just found your blog and Love it!!!!

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  81. Happy Blogday! I really enjoyed the pear & fennel cupcake recipe.

    Best,
    Andrew

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  82. Happy blog day. I love your site and visit it often.

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  83. I find I have the same problem - I'm a novelty junkie and usually fine myself starting a lot of these personal projects but actually completing very few.

    Congratulations on your blogiversary :)

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  84. Happy Blogday to you, happyblogday to you, hpappyblogday,happyblogday, happyblogdaaay to you!

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  85. Happy blogday! You are great fun to read. And oh, Pichet Ong... I sampled his chocolate and Vietnamese coffee tart once, courtesy of a friend. Would I ever love to have that book.

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  86. Longing for the prize (and enjoying your blog, of course)...

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  87. I would love to win! (I love RPG games too, BTW!)

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  88. happy blogday! I always look forward to reading your posts and tweets.

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  89. I am new to your blog but am enjoying it tremendously. Keep writing and taking those photos. Thank you. Book looks great!

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  90. Happy Blog Birthday. I love reading your blog. Great give-away!

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  91. Happy Blogday! I love Pichet Ong, and I'd love to win his cookbook.

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  92. Happy blogday! I've read for about a year now and always look to you for new and interesting posts. I love how you mix up ingredients that commonly would never be thought of as a good combination. I also LOVE the snippets of your day, when you share them with us. They are written in such flair! I've shared your link with my husband, who, as a writer, admires your style as well. Keep up the good work!

    Kat L.

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  93. Hey, didn't I meet you at the chocolate shop the other day? Keep up the good writing!

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  94. I can relate to excitement passing in the wind on many items but the blog. I was an avid reader of your blog before I met you. Now, both relationships are nice to have :)

    How'd the orange ice cream turn out?

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  95. Sounds like a awesome cookbook. Thanks for the chance

    jason@allworldautomotive.com

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  96. Happy Blogday! I love reading your posts and I'm so glad this is one project of yours that you have stuck with :)

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  97. Hi There!

    Completely new to this blog. Got referred through a Simply Recipes application on igoogle.

    Keep it up!
    Thank you!

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  98. Congrats Garrett! It takes a lot to be a full time grad student and a blogger, so I'm certainly impressed!

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  99. Yeah happy day. My sister and I love reading our blog. The things we never knew like Freegans and dining on February 13, has been very educational and kept us laughing until we cried. Thanks!

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  100. Your blog has been a key distraction for me in my own graduate school adventures, Thanks for all the fantastic stories and recipes!

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  101. Just found your blog through Tartelette and immediately bookmarked it. Happy blogoversary!

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  102. I came in search of rhubarb recipes, and I'll be back. Lovely blog!

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  103. PICK ME PICK ME!!! (that's me yelling)

    I just LOVE this blog! (that's me sucking up:)

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  104. Wow, over 112 comments already! I've followed for over a year after seeing you mentioned on "Hunter Angler Gardener Cook".

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  105. Hi, My first time in this blog, love to get the book "The Sweet Spot", Thank You.

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  106. Happt Blogday! I love reading this- it's insipring when I'm feeling like the cooking equivalent of a giant toad. Sometimes, you need a little shot of creative cooking to your soul.

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  107. Happy blogday! Blogs do become part of us. I'm always thinking about mine whenever I'm in the kitchen.

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  108. I've been lurking for sometime now. A giveaway seems like the perfect time to finally speak up! Love your blog!

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  109. Happy Blogday! I love your recipes!!

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  110. Happy Blogday! I love looking at cookbooks for inspiration in the kitchen.

    madamerkf at aol dot com

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  111. Happy Blogday! Congrats on sticking it out for 3 years.
    I know I'm the same way with so many projects--I always get passionate about them and then they eventually fizzle out. However, I've found that my passion for food just keeps growing and growing and I don't think I'll ever get tired of it! Thanks for continuing to blog and to help further my knowledge and passion.

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  112. You make the book sound so irresistible...I'd love to have a copy!

    Happy Blogday!

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  113. I really want that cookbook!

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  114. I check your blog when I get home from work and your posts always make me hungry! I love it!

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  115. congrats on your anniversary!

    i love that you call Sacto "shibby,"
    and that you watch Justice League.,
    great stuff, eh?
    orange-date ice cream too.

    keep up the good writing.
    cheers,
    --Bryan

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  116. Happy Blogday! This sounds like a wonderful cookbook! I love unique cookbooks!
    digicat{AT}sbcglobal{DOT}net

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  117. Happy Blogbirthday to you! I just love your blog!
    Hopefully you will have many many many more blogbirthdays in your future!

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  118. Happy blogbirthday to you!I love your blog posts! I found you through Tarlette! I would love to win the monthly cookbook giveaway. Pichet Ong is a fabulous writer, the recipes are amazing and I would be honoured to have the new book!

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  119. Happy blogday, and many happy returns! Your posts always make for a refreshing break (and almost always make me hungry!).

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  120. Happy Blogday, indeed! I started following your blog maybe 6 months ago and enjoy immensely. I share your frustration with idiots and rudeness, and find myself shaking my head at some of your run-ins with the clueless. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts, stories, and recipes with all of us!

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  121. I almost never comment, since, well, all the sign-in craziness on Blogger kind of annoys me. But I do love your blog, ever since I was introduced to it (and enormous belly-laughs) via "Did Jesus Drink Bourbon?" And I would like the book. Happy Blog-day.

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  122. Love your blog. So very entertaining. I absolutely love the coconut cupcake recipe you posted--it's become somewhat of a staple in my baking repertoire.

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  123. Just discovered your blog. I love it! Can't wait to try some of the recipes. And wouldn't winning a cookbook be a great way to start.

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  124. Sounds like an awesome book to have. Love your blog - especially the vanilla bean post (great reading before embarking on my first home made vanilla extract project)!

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  125. I'm fairly new to the cooking blog world, but I loved your recipes featured on Simply Recipe, and I'm more a dessert girl myself, so I thought I'd drop by to see if there was anything I could whip up this weekend. BTW, I love your peppermint bark cookies and all my friends and coworkers do, too, so it's now a seasonal staple. Thanks!

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  126. Aloha Garrett!
    Happy Blogday to you!
    Me ke aloha pumehana,
    Pat H

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  127. I love your work! Being a graduate student as well, I find you as such an inspiration!!

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  128. Happy Blogday! That cookbook sounds awesome (the things you made from its pages sound even better!)

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  129. Happy Belated Blogday Garrett. I have heard really great things about Pichet Ong

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  130. I wouldn't mind a free cookbook either^^;; Happy Blogday!

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  131. Happy Blogday..I really enjoy your blog!

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  132. Happy Blogday. A delicious cookbook, oh boy!!

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  133. Happy blogaversary! Love reading your writings, your creativity really shines through.

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  134. I don't comment on your blog usually, but I do read it! (I'm terrible about commenting...sorry!) Nothing makes me want to comment more, though, than a good giveaway! :D Thanks for the interesting reads as always! (I like when I can get a good chuckle out of your humorous posts!)

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  135. Garrett you are the man!!!! Love love love your blog and most of all your recipes totally captivate me. Followed a link from your aunts Banana Nut Cookies (delish!) and here I am. I would love to win that book!

    stelletta7@aol.com

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  136. That cookbook looks so wonderful! I love trying new recipes! Happy Blog-Birthday!

    CherryBlossomsDesign at hotmail

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  137. Congrats! I love your blog, and the cookbook sounds wonderful. I hope Vanilla Garlic lasts for many, many more years.

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  138. As a writer, I love your blog - and as a cook I appreciate it even more.

    I can't count the times you have had me rolling on the floor laughing at some little thing.

    Keep writing, it'll turn into something big!

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  139. Happy Blog birthday Garrett...have always enjoyed reading..so can't imagine how must be for you without this blog..:)

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Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.
~Garrett

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