A Challenge

May 28th, 2014 · 52 Comments · Uncategorized

You guys know the story about how family dinner got majorly kick-started in our house…way back yonder when the girls had to stand on stools to reach the stove…right? For those of you who don’t, a superquick refresher: To bust out of a pizza-pasta-nugget rut, we challenged ourselves to cook 30 brand new meals over the course of 30 days. It was like dinner bootcamp — we thought it might get the kids to try a few new foods, as well as re-ignite our fast-waning love of cooking. (Which is what happens when you eat pasta with butter sauce five nights a week.) It worked on both fronts, and Dinner: The Playbook out in August, will tell the long version of the story, but for now, I want to issue forth a mini challenge. A dinner bootcamp lite.

So who’s ready to bust out of a recipe rut? Or who just wants to inject a little sumpin sumpin into dinnertime again?

If that’s you, pay attention! We will be picking 50 readers and bloggers to partake in a challenge. NO! NOT A THIRTY DAY CHALLENGE! All you have to do is cook at least three meals from Dinner: The Playbook over the course of ONE week (June 22 – June 29) and share the results on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr page. (Or just call up a friend on the phone and tell her about it. I’d like that very much, too.) Whether you think the meals were successes or failures, I want to hear about them all.

Participants will receive an advance copy of Dinner: The Playbook, a coupon for Applegate products, and a $50 Target gift card to help buy groceries for a week of cooking.
Are you man enough? Woman enough? Cook enough? (If I was, anyone is!) If so, join me!
Update: The deadline for applying has now passed. Those selected to participate will be notified the week of June 16.
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52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Maggie // May 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I can’t wait to participate via twitter! Real question though- if the Playbook doesnt go on sale til August 26, but the challenge is this June, where do we find the recipes? Will you be posting some on the blog?

  • 2 Jenny // May 28, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Maggie – if you are one of the fifty chosen, you will receive an advance copy of the book (as well as gift cards for Target & Applegate). Sorry if that was not clear! Thanks!

  • 3 sally mae // May 28, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I am super excited and hopeful to be chosen!!!

  • 4 Allyn // May 28, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Love this! So hoping I get selected. Huge fan of what you guys do, from one obsessive meal planner to another.

  • 5 Annie // May 28, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I’d love to participate! I hope I’m chosen.

  • 6 Janet // May 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

    checked the official rules, no Canadians allowed, eh?! Disappointed here. Looking forward to your book very much though. As a dietitian working with young moms and offering lots of cooking classes, I am always looking for new recipes and new ways of making it all happen. Love getting my views refreshed at DALS when I head into a slump.

  • 7 Natalie // May 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Love, love, love this idea! Like somehow, there’s going to be this little community of people trying the same recipes and talking about them! It’s like a book club, but with recipes and about food. And I’m sure that all of the recipes are going to be fabulous. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  • 8 Amy @ Kid Cultivation // May 28, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I am so game for this! We need a kick in the dinner pants.

  • 9 Jenny // May 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

    REMEMBER: You must click over to the contest page to officially enter. (While I will never object to comments, I just want to make sure you guys know that you have to do more than comment in order to be eligible.)

  • 10 Jaclyn D. // May 28, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I would LOVE to be part of this challenge!!! What a creative way to get feedback! I am very willing to be part of the review squad anytime….! Hope I am selected!

  • 11 Marianne A. // May 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

    i’m in. my love of cooking is fast-waning.

  • 12 catherine // May 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    dang it… submitted and now see above comments that Canucks are out. Guess we shall take our free healthcare and sulk til August 26th :(
    Love the site and the cookbook- can’t wait for the new one. I have no doubt it will be a great success!

  • 13 Tiffany // May 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Just submitted my application, I would squeal with glee to be picked. I’ve been counting the days till it publishes since you announced this book! So So Fun to do a challenge like this!!

  • 14 Marsha Wietecha // May 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I would like to volunteer to eat whatever you come up with!! I’ll be happy to bring my own plate and fork!

  • 15 CB // May 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

    What an exciting challenge. I am your target cook/family so look forward to potentially being chosen!

  • 16 Amanda // May 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I am all over this challenge and would love to be picked! I have been the sole dinner maker in the house for over 15 years but this Fall my husband, dinner making neophyte, will be taking on the dinner making duties two or three days a week due to evening schedule changes. If picked, I would definitely include him in this challenge because if I can do it, he HAS to do it. :)

  • 17 christi // May 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I would love to participate in this challenge. We cook at home every night and while I love to try new things we are in a rut too. Our son is home from college for the summer so during the week we’ll have 3 diners and on the weekends we have my parents and my in-laws over for family time and meals – this would be fun to do with extended family!

  • 18 Molly // May 28, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I’m in! DALS is my go-to for dinner and for gifts; can’t wait for the new book!

  • 19 Emily // May 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    OF COURSE you pick the week we’re actually packing up our house and moving states. Literally – we drive away from our house the 27th of June. Does it count if I do the challenge after we’ve unpacked our kitchen? (I will anyway – I can’t wait to get my paws on this book!)

  • 20 Katie Rose // May 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Just submitted my entry. Would be honored to participate! Can’t wait to read The Playbook. I go to DALS constantly when I feel drawn to my drawer of take out menus. Congrats on the new book!

  • 21 J.J. Killins // May 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I’d love to blog about it! If it can be done from vacation with 4 adults and 5 kids then you will truly get your honest feedback! Way cool!

  • 22 A Life From Scratch // May 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Would LOVE to participate but we are in Montana on vacation that week….darn! Can’t WAIT for the book!!

  • 23 Awads // May 28, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    i hope i get picked! i already make at least 3 DALS a week (last night was the pork with mustardy apples; tonight is burrito bowls; tomorrow salmon with yogurt dill sauce!)

  • 24 Maggie // May 28, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I can’t wait for the new book. I would love to participate!

  • 25 Divya // May 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Entered! PLEEEEAAAASE pick me! I am a huge DALS fan, and I will rock this challenge!
    Thanks and sending much love to you from California!

  • 26 Jen // May 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Jenny, I entered the challenge, but didn’t enter my pinterest/instagram/facebook, etc. If it matters, if I was selected (and I would love to be selected :) , I would post the results of my challenge on pinterest and/or instagram. Hope my failure to fill in those fields doesn’ t put me out of the running! Thanks.

  • 27 Nilu // May 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    So excited about having the chance to get picked!! Yipeeeee!! Sounds right up my alley!! Love Food, Have Kids, Love trying out new recipes!! You Rock, I Rock, We all Rock!! Got a little carried away:)!!!

  • 28 Susan // May 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Sign me up! At the end of the school year (and my kids still have over three weeks to go) we are all looking for something new and fun. For them it is the beach, or Maine or anything not school – this would be that for me!

  • 29 keely // May 28, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    This excites me soooo much- it’s just what I need to get me out of this rut!

  • 30 Stacy // May 28, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Guessing this is a no, but is there a way to modify an entry? I want to add my Instagramand FB pages as I would share using those also.

  • 31 Ashley in MD // May 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm


    Your other books and this blog are a regular part of my meal-planning rotation, so I’m excited for the chance to possibly get my hands on the next book a little early.

    P.S.-Last night we made the grilled steak tacos at our community pool (pickled the onions and made the sauce at home and brought it along in the cooler). Everyone around us with their hot dogs was jealous. :-)

  • 32 Jason // May 28, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    We’re totally in!

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  • 34 Allison // May 29, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Hi Jenny!
    I am an unwavering fan of DALS the book and your blog and would like to ask that if my only means of electronic communication is email will my submission be considered valid? Thanks!

  • 35 The Countess of Nassau County // May 29, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I would love to take part. I am a big fan and my family really enjoys your recipes …. and I will never, ever buy Shake n’ Bake again after trying your homemade version!!

  • 36 Justine // May 29, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I entered and am super excited at the possibility of being chosen…but I didn’t get any notification if my entry went through, just got a blank screen. Is there any way to check to see if my entry went through? Not sure if I should re-submit my application or not. Sorry to be a pain!

  • 37 Sara // May 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Love to do the challenge!im tired of the rut!

  • 38 Jenny C // May 29, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I found myself hoping my contest-entry comments were cool enough to be chosen! We really are all about cooking here, but with a very DALS mellow vibe. Nothing too fussy here.

  • 39 michele // May 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I got DALS for Christmas………….I immediately hid away in my quilting studio reading it. My 11 year old daughter calls me a cook-book nerd, of course this is while she is salivating through one herself!

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing The Playbook – hopefully in June!

  • 40 Kelly Reyes // May 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Wow! I’d LOVE to participate!

  • 41 Suzanna // Jun 1, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Just entered, I am dying to be chosen for this. Sounds like the most fun I’d have in the kitchen all month!! I love your blog and book. (Is this overkill?!) Happy picking!! **wink, wink

  • 42 angie // Jun 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

    crossign my fingers! would love to get my hands on this book early! i can then gift my pre-ordered one! :)

  • 43 Richelle // Jun 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Pick me, choose me, love me
    –Grey’s Anatomy (or me, trying hard to get in on this!

  • 44 Mary // Jun 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Very cool! I entered and am so hoping I get to participate – how fun! And perfect timing, since I’m in a rut and haven’t tried a new recipe in too long.

  • 45 Colene Barlow Durocher // Jun 5, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Jenny, is it too late to enter? I just clicked and saw a
    ‘This SnapApp is no longer available’ message.

  • 46 Divya // Jun 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Have you chosen the participants?!
    I hope I was one of the chosen ones!!

    Thank you,

  • 47 Suzanna // Jun 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Have the participants already been chosen/notified?

  • 48 Michelle W. // Jun 9, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Hi there – did you select and notify all the participants yet?

  • 49 Shelley // Jun 9, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I would love to enter this challenge~ the message I keep receiving is that “the snap app is no longer available” but I see in the post that we have until the 16th to enter…a techno glitch maybe?
    I’ll be watching for some info~ Thank you for the opportunity!!

  • 50 Michelle W. // Jun 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks for the update! Hope to get selected!

  • 51 domonique @ a bowl full of simple // Jun 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Hi jenny
    I would LOVE to participate if you haven’t reached your limit yet. Big fan of yours. Just had yet another dinner with kids not eating and parents doing everything from begging to crying in hopes someone would eat! Really need a few goodies added to our repertoire these days.

  • 52 aneelee // Jun 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Well… now I am sad that I have been taking a break from the web for the past couple of weeks. Would have LOVED to participate. Maybe… I’ll pester some local friends that *might* have received an advanced copy and cook along any who. ;)

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