Bake Sale For Japan, My Review of Deliciously Healthy Family Meals, and Ask Chef Dennis

It’s hard to imagine all the suffering that is going on in Japan at this very moment, unfortunately the worst is yet to come.  With all that the Japanese people have already endured, the damage to their homeland will last well past their children’s lifetime.  You ask what can we do, you might think there isn’t much that we as individuals can do, but together we can a difference.  That’s why when I saw the post that my friend Sabrina from The Tomato Tart made, asking each of us to help with her bake sale, I couldn’t refuse.

You might ask what difference can a handful of bloggers make with a bake sale?  I can’t say that we’re going to change the world, or begin to fix the problems that troubled island is having……but what we can do is send help how ever small, and offer hope for a brighter tomorrow.  We may not be able to pay for the damages to their homes, but we can offer safe food products, a bottle of clean water, and a few words to tell them they are not alone.

The online bakesale will take place on March 30th on The Tomato Tart site. There will be baked goods from 80+ bakers from all over the world. Bid on any item(s) you like, and the goods will be shipped to the winning bidders by April 11th.
The funds we raise will be donated to Second Harvest Japan. This is a food bank that many are familiar with. They are working on the ground, right now in Japan to respond to the immediate needs of people displaced by this disaster.

Chocolate Decadence Cookie

So head on over to The Tomato Tart and pick your favorite treats to bid on.  My donation for this bake sale will be 2 dozen of my all time favorite cookie.  The recipe comes from Alice Medrich, the Queen of Chocolate.  She calls her creation a Chocolate Decadence Cookie, but everyone I have ever made them for calls them  an OMG cookie.  The old chef is not as talented a baker as many of the talented bloggers you will find at the online bake sale for Japan, but I promise they will not disappoint.

Guest Post
Those of you that know Monet at Anecdotes and Apple Cores, know just how much she has been through lately.  I ask for your continued prayers for her family.  When you have time please stop and say hello, offer your love, and support for our dear friend.

Pineapple-Blueberry Muffins

A few of her friends have set up guest posts for Monet, just to give her a little time to breathe and not have to worry about her friends and readers.  You can find my guest post on her blog now.  
I’m not the baker that Monet is, but I do make a pretty good muffin, and I think you will enjoy it.
You can find the recipe and my guest post at Anecdotes and Apple Cores. 

Book Review
A few weeks ago I got an email from a representative of the National Institute of Health, to review a cookbook.  Its called deliciously healthy family mealsit contains 40 kid-tested healthy, delicious, and quick recipes, along with cooking tips and ways to get kids involved in the kitchen. 

I have to say I really like the cookbook it has some really great kid friendly recipes that even the pickiest eater will enjoy. The best part about this cookbook is that its a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen, and the easiest way to get them to eat is to let them be part of the process.  Check out the website, you can even download a free PDF version of the cookbook as well as register on their site where you can save recipes and even take part in rating the recipes.  I will be making a few of the recipes in the next few weeks and I will share the results with you when I prepare them.  

Ask Chef Dennis

I recently had a suggestion to go over Guest Post Etiquette from one of my friends, she had been asked to do a guest post, worked hard on it, got it too the blogger requesting it, and then nothing happened.
She asked the blogger about it and it wasn’t like it even mattered to them.

Guest Post Etiquette 101

If you would like to do a guest post for someone, it never hurts to ask.  But if you do ask, don’t be a stranger just looking for a way to promote your blog.  How do you think an email sounds, when you get one from a complete stranger saying, “Hey I would like to do a guest post for you, I don’t know you, I’ve never left a comment or do I intend to ever leave one, but I think I have something you need”  
I gotta tell you I get 3 or 4 a week, and not to be mean, some are a little nicer than that, but if this is the first time I’m meeting you, do you really think that’s the way to go about it?   Really?
In my case I try to answer nicely telling them that my guest posts, all come from my readers, and that I like to get know them before asking them to do a guest post.  I go on to say that I would love to have them become part of our community and that after a few months ( I can almost hear them push delete), we could probably work something out.  

I have gotten a few positive responses, but for the most part I never hear from them again.   That being said it never hurts to ask, but don’t ask a stranger, ask a friend.

Now the problem my friend had was with someone requesting a guest post.  If your going to have guest posters, be responsible!!  If you ask for a guest post, give your friend a day when it will be up, and make it happen.  I can’t understand how someone could forget they asked you, or after you sent it too them forget that you sent it.  Now I did lose a guest post once, well I didn’t lose it as much as left it at school on another computer….sigh….I was so embarrassed asking for it again.  I also had someone ask me to do a guest post for them,  I got it ready, emailed them and never heard from them.  Then weeks later I got an email saying, oh yeah I’ve had lots of request from people to do them for me, so I decided not to do any, (now wait a minute you asked me), and the next sentence was but I would love to do one for you. Kind of makes you wonder….

Ok so here is the etiquette for guest posting:

1. Don’t randomly ask a someone you don’t know if you can guest post for them, build relationships first.
2.  If you ask someone to do a guest post for you, be a responsible adult, post it on time and do it right!
3.  If you do a guest post, don’t repost the entire post on your blog, it kind of defeats the purpose of doing a guest post.  (Now I do understand if  no one told you, you wouldn’t have known)  
4.  If its not something you want to do, by all means be honest and just let the person asking know, it’s better to be honest that to just throw something together
5.  If you do a guest post have it be worthy of your own blog, don’t send out anything you wouldn’t post on your own blog.  

I think that about sums it up, basically just be professional, and if you don’t know, just ask.

Kate from the Diethood also passed on this link to me, its called Adopt a Blogger  it’s a site that connects new bloggers to experienced bloggers.  We all remember how hard it was when we started, this 
is definitely a share you knowledge moment!  Just act responsibly and teach them well.

Well my friends thats actually all I’m going to leave you with today, I had so much more to tell you, but it will have to wait for another day.  That’s the great thing about blogging, there is always another day.
I hope your week is going well, were freezing here in Philly, but spring is on the way!  I keep telling myself that….sigh

Remember to take some time to stop and smell the roses……do one act of random kindness…..and hold the ones you love close, because you never know………and of course don’t forget!!

Share Your Knowledge-Together We Are Stronger   

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  1. A little bit of everything says:

    Another wonderful post Chef.
    I wish I could do more about Monet and Japan (already donated to Red Cross). The muffins looked great and the post bought me tears.

    I have to look into the kid friendly book since I have a picky eater :((

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge about blogging.

  2. Christina says:

    For guest posting for Monet, and all the other thoughtful, kind, and fabulous things you do, THANK YOU!

  3. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says:

    It seems like common sense not to ask to a stranger to do a guest post. Or to publish a guest post you asked for. But I guess it is not… I'd expect some people to do it but I would never have guessed that you receive 3-4 guest post offers from strangers a week!

    Those cookies look delicious!

  4. The Harried Cook says:

    WOW! I learned so much reading this post! I think I'm going to see if Adopt a Blogger can help me. My blog is only a little over a month old and I sometimes get so confused!

    Also, I never really understood guest posts – and now I do! Thank you, Chef Dennis! 🙂

  5. scrambledhenfruit says:

    I hope those gorgeous cookies bring a pretty penny at the bake sale! That's a great way to make money for a great cause. 🙂 Thanks for the lovely post for Monet.

  6. mangiabella says:

    Dennis your guest post for Monet was just perfect, and touched my heart in places deep within. Your cookies are marvelous, but most importantly, your spirit of giving & kindness echos in all that you do. You are what this community is all about….and the guest post etiquette was right on target…have a wonderful week friend!

  7. Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen says:

    It's supposed to snow here tonight!!:( I'm sitting in my living room wearing a down jacket I got on clearance for next year! oh well- spring will get here eventually! Your cookies look fabulous and I hope they go for a high price! Hopefully there will be some GF shoppers who will enjoy my teacakes. Can't wait to see what's on the plate tomorrow- cheers!

  8. says:

    Spring??? What is that? LOL we had like 4 days of spring and after that snow, wind and so cold… It's awful!

    I love your tips. For me I get emails from companies and PR agencies asking to guest post and they just don't give up LOL no matter how nice I go about answering to them they always think that I'm making a mistake and that they should by all means post on my site with 3 or 4 links going to their client or company 😉 OK!?! LOL

    Now onto the yummy food, I love your feature. The cookies look so amazing and yummy! Love them, chocolate always makes everything better!
    And the muffins…Yummy!!! They look just perfect!

    I'll need to check out that cookbook, I can never have enough of kid friendly meals, especially since my daughter decided to become a picky eater in the last six months. All of a sudden she dislikes everything!

    Great post as always 🙂

  9. Boulder Locavore says:

    Great post as always Dennis. Glad to be comrades in arms tomorrow for the Bake Sale. Hoping for good profits. Cookies look delish! 'Ask Dennis' was characteristically thoughtful and instructive this week. Thank you for the time and thought as always!

  10. All That's Left Are The Crumbs says:

    I was touched by your post for Monet too. My heart just break for her.

    Your cookies look amazingly decadent. I can see why one bite would have you saying OMG. The blogging community has been so wonderful in pulling together for the people of Japan. The distance kind of puts me out of this loop for this since mail is never consistent to or from Hawaii. I have a few other ideas though on how I will help.

    Thanks for the guest post info. There is only one circumstance that I would ever offer to do a guest post for someone. I have always though of it as something that a blogger would ask you, not the other way around. I am going to check out the link for Adopt a Blog.

  11. thecompletecookbook says:

    As always, a wonderful and informative post Chef. It's wonderful that so many are so willing to help others in a time if need and you are so right that every little bit helps.
    🙂 Mandy

  12. Cristina says:

    Wow Chef! You've been busy. What a great idea many of the bloggers are doing by getting together and organizing a bake sale. I'll be sure to check it out and will stop by to check on Monet. Informative and enjoyable post, Chef! =)

  13. Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    I love the Adopt a Blogger idea! I've learnt so much from others over the 10 months I've been blogging. Your etiquette is very helpful and I direct newcomers to your Ask Chef Dennis posts so that they can quickly get up to speed.

  14. I, too feel so helpless about Monet, and continue to pray for her family.

    Your guest post for her was very moving. You are such a giving and caring person,an ambassador for our community and all that you do.

    Those cookies look amazing and anyone would want those.

    Have a great Wednesday.

  15. You have such a big heart, Dennis…a good friend to us all. Lovely guest blog.

    And thanks for the timely pointers about being a guest poster 🙂

  16. Like Lizzy said, you have such a big heart, Chef Dennis and generous in sharing your knowledge. We should have more of you in our communities. My prayers goes to the people of Japan and you are right, we should donate even though it is a small amount to the people of Japan. Will continue to pray for Monet and her family.

    Thanks for sharing those pointers on guest post 🙂 It truly benefits us and now we can act more responsible , be it being asked to do a guest post or asking people to do a guest post. You know something Chef…we have so much to learn from you…love " Ask Chef Dennis " and looking forward to reading more and learning more from you 🙂

    Have a nice day Chef..Spring is here !

  17. I love the bake sale idea! I will definitely make sure to participate..thanks for the 411!!
    Great tips on the guest posts's all about respecting each other 🙂

  18. Chef Dennis – it is people like you who make this world go 'round! You are always so very encouraging and kind and full of fact. It's refreshing really. I was moved by your guest post for Monet. My heart breaks for her family. ♥- Katrina

  19. RavieNomNoms says:

    Every little bit helps right? I think the bake sale is a great idea…

  20. Your guest post over on Monet's blog was lovely. Thank you for being such a kind human being. You have stepped up into a role as a community leader that, perhaps, you didn't look for, but you are doing well.

    I have to ask, and this isn't part of the "ask Chef Dennis" program, but are all of your guest posts from people that you sought out or from people that came to you? I really enjoy that feature on your blog. It's been fun to meet new bloggers and read their posts.

  21. No need to apologize for your baking skills, Dennis – your cookies look fabulous! I'm sure they'll be a big hit at the bake sale!

    Thumbs up to all who are participating in the bake sale – the bakers and the buyers.

    Sometimes the needs in the world, and in our own communities, can be overwhelming. I try to remember that, although I can't help everyone, I can help someone. And that can make a difference!

  22. Jennifurla says:

    Thanks for laying out great freamework! It's good to get some etiquette out in type.

    I will continue to pray for Monet too, such a very special blogger.

  23. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow says:

    Looks delicious! I'm sure it will bring in lots of bids!

  24. Treat and Trick says:

    Gorgeous cookies and muffin! Will continue to pray for Monet and family. Thanks for sharing useful blogging tips with us, Dennis..

  25. Wow…People actually just randomly e-mail you and ask to be a guest? I thought it was some sort of application process/personal request from you (Chef Dennis) that only the VERY experienced got to participate in honestly. That is a little shocking, I must admit. I have also heard of the adopt a blogger site. It looks very interesting. I'm a new blogger, having only been doing this since late January and I must say that these tips are very helpful, but even *I* know you're not supposed to be rude and irresponsible. These things shouldn't have to be said.

    I will ask, though…Chef Dennis, will you adopt me? hehe. 😉

    p.s. Obviously the food is perfect as always. Great cause too. kudos.

  26. Free Spirit Eater says:

    Your cookies look irresistible! What a great cause to raise money for, very touching post =]

  27. Michael Toa says:

    Great post as always Chef!
    Great idea with the bake sale. It's so painful to watch the news and see what the people are going through in Japan.
    Your cookies look so inviting.
    I am praying for Monet as well.
    Have a nice day.

  28. Wow. Adopt a blogger is such a great idea. As always, thanks for your wisdom Dennis!

  29. Wendy Irene says:

    Chef Dennis,
    How you respond to others requesting to do a guest post for you really helped me! I have not found a great way of responding yet, but I love how you handle it! Thanks for the advice.
    You always make me smile 🙂 Have a beautiful week!

  30. Susi's Kochen und Backen says:

    Your guest post for Monet was beautifully written. My heart breaks for her and I really feel helpless. All I can do is continue to pray and let her know I'm thinking of her.

    Your cookies for Japan are gorgeous and I'm hopefully they will raise a nice chunk of money :o)

    Thanks for your etiquette outline. I haven't received guest post offers, but it will be good to know how to react.

  31. says:

    Great post, Chef!
    Thank you!!

  32. Lovely, compassionate posting. I do hope we remember our friends in Japan long after they are not headline news. I thought your post for Monet was filled with love and support – which is what she needs. The blogging world has had me touched by so many lives – people I have never met – and yet there are now connections. People are astounded when I mention a blogging friend – when they find out I have never met them face-to face. More than counting comments, more than sharing of information – it is the connections that bring me to the computer.

  33. Kim - Liv Life says:

    Dennis, I think you need to do a blogging handbook! The blog world is indeed a better place and easier to navigate with all of your advice and tips.
    I read your post on Monet's blog, simply beautiful. She is in our thoughts and prayers as well.
    I'm eager to check out the book you reviewed as well! Even though my "little" guys are not so little anymore (my son is 5'10!) we still use some "kid approved" recipes on occasion.
    Spring really is coming!! I say that as I sit here with my windows open and my Iris blooming! The roses are growing and we will have blooms in a few weeks. i can't wait!! Hang in there!!

  34. Thanks for another great post and your inspiring words. I feel like I need to take notes after reading your posts just for all the wealth of information that you share. Thanks Chef Dennis!

  35. I really hate to disagree with you Chef Dennis, but after perusing the offerings for the Bake Sale for Japan I honestly think you all could easily fund the entire recovery effort based on the amazing items on offer at the bake sale!!! What an amazingly talented group !!!

    Thanks so much for posting the information about guest posting. I've been hesitant to ask someone to do a guest post for me but since you provided such great guidelines I think I am going to "jump in"!!!

  36. Tanantha P. says:

    You pineapple muffins looks so wonderful! I love pineapple very much and this could be a hit in my family. We've raised fund to help Japan in our Asian-American here in Seattle too. Yes, even small amount can help them. That cookbooks makes me think of my friend who is a picky eater. Her mom should have this cookbook when she was young!

  37. Torviewtoronto says:

    enjoyed reading your post
    will surely check on Monet
    yes not knowing anything about blogging and finding out a whole new place in the start was hard glad I met friends like you
    it is freezing in Toronto as well but some flowers are already blooming
    muffins look good so does the cookies
    regards to you and family

  38. lostpastremembered says:

    Ah Dennis, I have recently gotten requests from people I have never heard of to share my blog list… now I see it is some kind of form since the wording is the same. I wrote one back and it was a conspiracy theorist blog… I mean seriously… what does that have to do with food and history… thanks for your perceptive advice on guesting… wise as usual!

  39. Sweet and Savory says:

    Thank you for writing what you did about guest posts. It was sensitive and important to be said.

  40. The Harried Cook says:

    I just read your guest post on Monet's blog. It was such a kind and generous thing for you to do. I join you in praying for Monet during this time.

    It is such a comfort to see what a wonderful sense of community exists among the circle of bloggers. Thank you for all you do! God bless you…

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for mentioning the cookbook. I hope you and the students love the recipes. One of my favorites is the parmesan green beans. Yum. Okay, I'm off to read your guest post at another blog. Cheers! Deborah


    Great info Dennis. I love the way you keep us in check! 😉

    Your cookies look sensational.

  43. Parsley Sage says:

    Brilliant post. I'm heading over to try my best and get a snap bid on at The Tomato Tart! Oh, and thanks so much for including the bit about blog manners. It's all so new to some of us and it really helps when someone takes the time to explain 🙂

    And I'm sure I'd have made you proud in NYC. I ate EVERYTHING!


  44. Wow. I never knew people did that with guest posts. I thought it was common courtesy to not expect a stranger to let you guest post, to give your best work and to get the post up when you say you will. But, I guess not everyone knows those "rules." So it's a good thing we all have you to tell us…and you tell it so nicely.

    What an amazing person you are. Participating in the bake sale AND helping out Monet. The poor dear needs so much love and support…especially today. I can't wait to check out your guest post over on her blog. Though I wish the post was there under better circumstances.

  45. Great post Chef. I love the idea of the cookbook you are reviewing, getting kids involved in the kitchen is so much fun (yes it takes patience but if you are armed with a plan it can be a great time). I cook with my 6yo nephew and 9yo niece. Thanks for the great tips and let me know when that cookbook is out.

  46. savoringeverybite says:

    I always enjoy and learn so much in reading your posts. You have a heart of gold to touch so many people and offer support and encouragement through your knowledge. I know it's time consuming to post as you do and wanted to let you know your work is very much appreciated.

  47. Spicie Foodie says:

    Dennis your guest post at Monet's was so touching. All of our hearts are breaking for her at this tragic time.
    The bake sale is such a wonderful idea and I hope you guys raise loads of money. Your tips are always so helpful. I can't believe the audacity of some people, really.

  48. This was such a sweet and thoughtful post for Monet. My heart really goes out to her and her family and they've been in my prayers.

    Thanks for the delicious muffin recipe and for all you do to encourage all of us as bloggers!

  49. thehungryartist says:

    There is also a national Bake sale for Japan taking place in the US tomorrow, April 2, at different locations throughout the country. It is to raise money for the relief efforts in Japan.
    Check out:
    to find a location near you!
    I will be in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Flea. 🙂

  50. Jenny (VintageSugarcube) says:

    I always love reading your sage advice. And all your guest bloggers have been wonderful! 🙂

  51. Hi Chef! I find it odd that some of these little things, also known as 'common courtesies' are so overlooked by people! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. I truly hope those who need it, read it, and take it with them.

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