Playing with Saffron & Lavender… and a Gourmet GIVEAWAY!

My husband was at Starbucks on a business trip recently and ordered a Mocha. When he reached into his pocket to pay, the cashier told him it was taken care of. “Really?” he asked. “By whom?” The cashier pointed to an older lady standing off to the side. My husband approached the woman and thanked her. “That’s so nice of you,” he said. “But why would you buy my drink?” The woman explained that the Good Lord says to be good to others, so once a day she always pays for the drink of either the person in front of her or behind her in line. My husband was flabbergasted. “Well… what can I do for you?” he asked her.” She told my husband that his smile was all she needed, and then she walked away.

My husband was so touched by this selfless act… that we live in such an impersonal society where people are on cell phones and keep to themselves, and to experience such a random act of kindness was just so refreshing.
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I’ve never had something quite like that happen to me. I receive a lot of emails from people who want to send me things. Sure, I’m aware that their intent isn’t a random act of kindness… that they’d probably like me to discuss their product on my blog, but I don’t generally accept things from those who offer unless I genuinely believe that it’s a product I would use. I received a rather nice email several weeks ago from Andrew at AJ Gourmet Foods. I checked out his gourmet website and was pleasantly surprised with what I found… olives, capers, various spices, olive oils, etc. I would use this stuff! So Andrew sent me a generous package of samples… along with a couple of gift baskets for giveaways. He realized that he had forgotten to send me one of the spices I had asked about and even sent that along later. It really all was quite delightful. And even more fun was that the packages arrived during the week of my birthday.

First, I played with this darling, corked bottle of saffron.

I’ve only made a few things in my lifetime with this uber-expensive spice, so I was delighted to get a fresh bottle and use a pinch of it for a Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque.

This was one yummy soup. It had a velvety texture and a great homemade flavor. The addition of shrimp was unique for a pumpkin soup… a good pairing.

Next, I played with dried lavender.

Funny… I have lavender growing in my backyard, but I’ve never thought to use it in a recipe. First I tried a recipe for Lavender Chocolate Chip Cookies that I found on some random site on the internet. Let me just say that lavender does not belong in chocolate chip cookies. I took one bite and threw away the entire batch of flowery-tasting cookies. Ick. I wasn’t ready to give up, so I decided to try it out again in Lemon Shortbread with Lemony- Lavender Icing.

Much better! This was delicious (and pretty!) I think you have to have a fondness for lavender to enjoy them, but the shortbread itself was delicious and the icing was perfect. I brought these to a neighbor’s house for a party and the husband called the next day to tell me that he was in love with my shortbread.

Now for the giveaways… !#1: Wonderful samples of AJ Gourmet Spices: Smoked Course Sea Salt, Smoked Black Pepper, Saffron, Herbes de Provence and Lavender. Cute, aren’t they?

#2: Four jars of AJ Gourmet stuffed gourmet olives. I didn’t get to try these out, but they look amazing!

All you have to do to enter these giveaways, is to comment on this post by Friday, Nov. 21st at midnight Pacific time, and tell me something nice that you’ve done for someone lately (it can be anything, really). And if you’d like to specify which giveaway you’d rather have, go ahead and note that too. The winners will be chosen randomly, but I would love to hear about all of the kind acts that have been taking place in our crazy world. You must live in the US for these giveaways… I love my international blog visitors but it would simply be too expensive to mail these to you! And if your comment won’t lead me to find you… please include your email address .

Be sure to check out AJ Gourmet Foods for additional details on these and other goodies (they have gift baskets for your foodie friends for the holidays), and good luck to all! Thank you Andrew for the giveaway items!

This contest is now closed… and the winners are posted here!

The Lemon Shortbread with Lemony- Lavender Icing recipe can be found HERE.
The Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque recipe can be found HERE.

Leave a Comment




140 Responses to “Playing with Saffron & Lavender… and a Gourmet GIVEAWAY!”

  1. 1

    Snooky doodle — November 18, 2008 @ 9:40 AM

    wow what a nice giveaway and the recipes look so sophisticated. i m thinking that I haven t been much generous lately :( i ll have to make for it.

  2. 2

    canarygirl — November 18, 2008 @ 11:24 AM

    RG I truly loved your RAK story! What a lovely way to spread happiness to those around us. The prizes look beautiful, too! I love the lavender shortbread you made! And Shrimp Bisque? Gawd. YUM.

  3. 3

    Jennifer Hamilton — November 18, 2008 @ 12:13 PM

    Amen to that older lady!!!! :)

    My husband and I stayed with my in laws last weekend, they are having their kitchen redone and as you can imagine their home was a MESS. My MIL has been soooo busy this time of year she hadnt the time. Her words to me were that she was planning to hire a cleaning lady come to clean last week. Saturday night my in-laws ended up going away (my FIL is a preacher at a church in another town an hour away), so we decided to stay the night at their house without them and I CLEANED all into late that night for my MIL. She was so delighted to come home to a dazzling clean home Sunday evening. I couldn’t justify her paying someone to clean her home when I can do it just as well. :)

    I’m adding your Shrimp Bisque to my To-MAKE list :)

  4. 4

    Jillian — November 18, 2008 @ 12:44 PM

    I was thinking of growing saffron myself. I haven’t used the herb but would like to someday. I helped two friends learn vegan baking.

  5. 5

    Bunny — November 18, 2008 @ 12:50 PM

    What a great giveaway and both the recipes you made with the ingredients looks wonderful! We have lots of senior citizens that come to the restaraunt I work at, one sweet couple were regulars, I noticed she wasn’t coming to dinner with him, he was getting take outs for her. I asked about his wife, he said she couldn’t walk real well anymore and they were looking for a wheelchair so she could get out more,but they are very expensive. I knew my mom had one stashed away so I asked if we could let him use it, we lent him the wheelchair for as long as he needed it. He was so happy to have it and we were happy to give it.

  6. 6

    Parker — November 18, 2008 @ 12:58 PM

    Really nice story that we can all learn something from. Although I am nice to all, I do not think I have done any random acts of kindness lately. But I am so inspired that I will work on making that a daily habit. thanks.

  7. 7

    fourpies mama — November 18, 2008 @ 1:11 PM

    I love random acts of kindness. Its funny to hear you talk about saffron, my BIL loves to cook and I always buy him some saffron for christmas! It is so expensive that he usually would not treat himself! Have a great week!

  8. 8

    Patsyk — November 18, 2008 @ 1:15 PM

    Wow! I've heard of people doing such random acts of kindness, but I haven't been recipient at this point.

    A few weeks ago, we went to help at our local food pantry. We sorted food and even my 5 & 6 year old got in on this. They got a chance to see where the food we donate goes, as well as some of the families who benefit from it. We all came away feeling good about what we had done and will be making this a regular activity.

    I'd love either of the giveaways… but those spices are calling my name! :)

  9. 9

    Nancy — November 18, 2008 @ 1:16 PM

    A friend of mine has 4 kids under the age of 4, so my husband and I volunteered to watch the kids so she and her husband could go out for the night. It was lots of fun, because the kids are so dang cute. Thanks for the giveaway. And if I had my choice I would choose the spices.

  10. 10

    Ginny — November 18, 2008 @ 1:17 PM

    I love when I hear stories like this…reminds me that people are good! :) My mother gave me a little saffron but I’ve been so nervous to use it. Thanks for reminding me! I shouldn’t let it go to waste! the bisque looks great! :)

  11. 11

    Mary Coleman — November 18, 2008 @ 1:33 PM

    What a nice thing for that lady to do for the recipe girl’s guy! and what a great giveaway. I love the idea of the lavender in the shortbread.
    beautifully done as usual, Lori!

  12. 12

    Steffie — November 18, 2008 @ 1:45 PM

    What a great giveaway!

    I work in the medical field. A patient came in yesterday. Her husband died last month and her insurance will be running out at the end of the month. I couldn’t schedule her surgery until Mid-december. I felt so bad, I moved some around and now she’ll be able to be done before her insurance runs out. How horrible would it have been if she didn’t have it in time and was stuck w/ the huge bills…. :(

  13. 13

    Lisa — November 18, 2008 @ 1:53 PM

    What a nice giveaway and nice older lady. I love hearing stories about acts of kindness. Last week I made a dinner for a family at our church whose daughter is very sick. There is a great joy and satisfaction when you do for others.

  14. 14

    sarah cool — November 18, 2008 @ 2:00 PM

    Haha. :) I bought Starbucks for someone behind me in the drive-through line 2 weeks ago. I don’t know why – I just got the urge. I drove away REALLY fast because I didn’t want them to follow me and thank me, I just wanted to disappear! :)

  15. 15

    Emily — November 18, 2008 @ 2:06 PM

    What a neat story about your husband! Better yet you made my day by sharing it! It is always nice to hear about the kindness and love of others!

    What amazing ingredients and what a generous give away! I have always wondedered what to do with lavender . . . love the scent but have never tried baking with it! It sounds like sucha lovely ingredient to use!

  16. 16

    sarah — November 18, 2008 @ 2:14 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing that… I needed a little reminder to try and do those things more. One random act I can think of is making dinners for a couple at church that I didn’t know.

    This is a great giveaway. If I did win, I would prefer the spices. That shrimp bisque looks amazing! I’ve never had the pleasure of cooking with saffron before.

  17. 17

    Sara — November 18, 2008 @ 2:18 PM

    My act of kindness was to buy some clothing for my coworker’s baby that is coming soon. All of his family is in another country, and they’re pretty overwhelmed with having a baby with no outside support.

  18. 18

    Sandy — November 18, 2008 @ 2:22 PM

    Wow, I guess my random act of kindness was putting money in a meter that was expired. Hopefully they made it out with no ticket! Love your blog, I have been following it for awhile now!

  19. 19

    Annie — November 18, 2008 @ 2:25 PM

    Very cool.

    Something nice I do daily is listen to my very unhappy office-mate and try my best to help him out.

  20. 20

    Julie — November 18, 2008 @ 2:29 PM

    I’ve always wanted to cook with saffron – what a nice giveaway!

    The last nice thing I did? Hmm.. I’m always asking strangers on the city streets if they need help carrying things that appear to be too much to handle. They always smile that someone bothered to ask. That makes me happy.

  21. 21

    thebrunettebaker — November 18, 2008 @ 2:30 PM

    I live my life by random acts of kindness…letting someone in the checkout line go ahead of me because they have fewer items, baking for hubby’s employees just because, stopping to let a fellow parent cut in the pickup line at school…it requires little effort and promotes good karma.

  22. 22

    nicole — November 18, 2008 @ 2:31 PM

    Awww, that was so nice of the lady @ Starbucks!

    I made a baby blanket for my best friend’s baby who will be arriving any day now! Fabulous giveaways! The spices look especially divine!

  23. 23

    Carla — November 18, 2008 @ 2:45 PM

    What an inspiring story – I find myself too self centered more times than I wish. Especially lately as we have had a bit of a financial rough patch in our family[but who hasn't?]. Last night I had my friend over who is way pregnant and not feeling at all like cooking after working a full day(she’s military, so I don’t know how she does it without collapsing).

    I am on my way to AJ’s website and check out all the goodies – just what I needed, more temptation! I am a sucker for spices and herbs especially in glass jars.

  24. 24

    Laura — November 18, 2008 @ 2:51 PM

    What a great story. And what fun spices, thanks the head’s up. Boy it is hard to consider it truly nice given that I love baking so much. But I bake for people a lot–does that count? I bake for my play group, I am going to do Operation Baking Gals for the troops this month, and I send my husband’s classes treats as well as his co-workers.

    That’s all I got. :)

  25. 25

    anudivya — November 18, 2008 @ 2:53 PM

    That was one sweet lady… I love saffron and we use it a lot in Indian cooking. Am yet to work with lavender, must admit it is a little intimidating.

  26. 26

    Kristen — November 18, 2008 @ 2:53 PM

    What a great giveaway. I love the story about your husband.
    My family tries to participate in random acts of kindness regularly. We often, especially in the summertime, buy ice cream cones for the people in line behind us, or coffee. One time I bought an item off of someones Amazon wish list and had it sent to them. I picked someone who had the same b-day as me. It feels good to do nice things!

  27. 27

    suburban prep — November 18, 2008 @ 2:59 PM

    My sister is expecting baby #3 any day and she has 2 and 3 yr old boys who are very active. I have entertained the younger one by taking him out on little adventures so that she can get some rest while the older one is at nursery school. In this last trimester she has been tired so any little bit of sleep helps even if it is for an or so.

  28. 28

    Melissa — November 18, 2008 @ 3:05 PM

    Those spices look so fun in their little glass bottles. And thanks for the story – I always appreciate a reminder that the world could use a little more kindness. I offered a ride to somebody who lives about 45 minutes out of the way to make sure she was able to join us for the day.

  29. 29

    Candy S — November 18, 2008 @ 3:14 PM

    The greatest commandment is to love your God with all your heart and the second is to love your neighbor more than you love yourself. I believe God calls me to live a life of everyday kindness to my husband, kids, and neighbors (friends, family, etc.). I usually fail, but pray that God will grow me in that way.
    Sure could use those spices to make some yummy goodies to share with those neighbors!
    lwtjmom@att.net

  30. 30

    lyndafitz — November 18, 2008 @ 3:17 PM

    I am searching your site now for my Thanksgiving desserts!! thanks for this giveaway- fun!!!!

    Lynda

  31. 31

    Anonymous — November 18, 2008 @ 3:17 PM

    i love ajs i made my boyfriend a yummy bday cake!

  32. 32

    thehungryengineer (april) — November 18, 2008 @ 3:17 PM

    I love the notion of being kind to strangers – in the end, it’s as much or more of a reward for you as it is for them.

    My random acts of kindness include very simple things – opening a door for a delivery person with a big load, picking up and returning an item that someone drops, etc. My favorite though is to surprise my spouse with various baked treats. He works really hard and has an enormous sweet tooth, so it’s fun to indulge him :-)

    and those spices are beautiful!

  33. 33

    Cristine — November 18, 2008 @ 3:20 PM

    What a sweet story! Makes me want to go out and do something nice for someone!

    I did drop off some baked goods to some soldiers today. I guess that counts! :)

  34. 34

    Julie — November 18, 2008 @ 3:21 PM

    I have always wanted to use saffron, but the price scares me! This would be a fun way to experiment.

    As for kindness, we recently gave money (anonymously) to a family in our neighborhood who’ve recently been out of work. It was great.

    And right now I’m working on extending that same kindness to my children — you know, patience, love, respect, a kind voice, etc….. (deep thoughts on a giveaway comment) :) .

  35. 35

    lyndafitz — November 18, 2008 @ 3:22 PM

    I am sorry- I did not see the part where you wanted us to mention somethign nice we did for someone……well recently I gave an ipod to my Dunkin Donuts waitress. This came about becaue I noticed she was down and she said she just didn’t have $ for the holidays. She said her daughter really wanted an IPod and she didn’t think it was going to happen. I called my husband- we discusssed it and I bought one for her to give her girl. I will say I do thinkgs like this alot- not to toot my own horn….I just know that a little act of kindness goes a long way and it makes the world a better place. Ok- there is my story! Sorry I didn’t follow the rules last time! Lynda

  36. 36

    Patricia Scarpin — November 18, 2008 @ 3:24 PM

    Anything with lemon has my undivided attention, and with lavender, even better!

  37. 37

    Elle — November 18, 2008 @ 3:30 PM

    This is such a nice contest! I feel a little silly talking about myself, but I’m a peer editor in one of my classes, so I’ve been helping some people rewrite papers that they’ve been having trouble with. (It’s a volunteer position.)

  38. 38

    creativecarryout — November 18, 2008 @ 3:35 PM

    My daughter and I just finished making pilgrim hats w/ cookies and marshmallows for her to take to school tomorrow. She’s so excited!
    Great giveaway – I’d love to take those stuffed olives home for Christmas….. yum.

  39. 39

    My Year Without — November 18, 2008 @ 3:47 PM

    My all-time favorite hot drink is called Lavender Milk. You make it by steaming milk/soy milk and adding honey. Then, throw in a couple sprigs of lavender and the result is so tasty and comforting. I keep the lavender soaking while sipping it, but I’ve been known to have lavender mustaches, as the lavender floats on top!

    Actually, I haven’t had that in a long time but reading your lavender recipes made me remember going to an old local favorite cafe where I used to live!

    Thanks for the nostalgia!

    As for doing something nice for someone….my husband and I have been delivering “Meals on Wheels” to poor/disabled seniors and just recently decided to volunteer to drive out hot meals on Thanksgiving.

    We’re talking driving way out into the boonies where seniors live in the middle of nowhere, but don’t get out anymore! Anyway, we found out that they already have plenty of drivers for that day so we will get to spend Thanksgiving with our family!

  40. 40

    Brandy — November 18, 2008 @ 3:51 PM

    My least favorite place to be during church is the nursery. That is where the 18 month to 3 year old children stay while the parents go to class. This past Sunday, they were short handed nursery leaders and I volunteered to help them out.

    I would love the saffron. I have wanted to try that spice for some time now!

  41. 41

    Reneé — November 18, 2008 @ 3:58 PM

    What a wonderful giveaway!!!

    One nice thing I’ve done lately was this past Saturday. I was to attend a wedding that afternoon at 4pm, and at ~10:30 that morning I got a call that all of the flowers in the flower arrangements died. I high-tailed it to the reception site to pitch in and help whereever needed. The bride and groom had a beautiful wedding and had NO clue that all of the flowers had died the night before. Whew!

  42. 42

    emncar — November 18, 2008 @ 4:09 PM

    I took my daughters to a city park (with their permission) to plant memory trees. We planted all afternoon until it was dark. I couldn’t believe how much it meant to my girls that they helped the environment while remembering fallen soldiers. It was an emotional day filled with sadness and pride.

  43. 43

    Jamie — November 18, 2008 @ 4:13 PM

    Wow! What a great giveaway!

    I sent an email telling my friend how great her blog is. She just started blogging and needs a boost.

  44. 44

    Cassie — November 18, 2008 @ 4:16 PM

    LOVE IT!
    I love to bake and love to bake cookies. I bake sugar cookies at least once a month. I package them in a perfect package, usually to match the theme of my cookies, then deliver them to someone. Sometime to the police station ,sometime the the libray or maybe just to a friend that we have not seen in little bit!
    Yochum@sbcglobal.net

  45. 45

    Maria — November 18, 2008 @ 4:22 PM

    Great story! And what a fun giveaway!!
    My nephew has been really sick since he was born, about a year ago. It is pretty sad, but we just pray for the best. My sister is stressed and constantly at the hospital, etc. so we frequently babysit my niece. She is a joy to be around and such a blessing to us!! It is our pleasure to help out!
    Again, thanks!

  46. 46

    Meg — November 18, 2008 @ 4:35 PM

    Wow! What an awesome giveaway!

    Love the pumpkin and shrimp bisque.

    I love unexpected random acts of kindness. I came in early to work on last minute notice to cover for a sick co-worker! That is my good deed for today!

  47. 47

    Ros — November 18, 2008 @ 4:43 PM

    I’ve always wanted to try saffron…and would love to try the other herbs/spices. I’ve made sugar cookies with lavender, which I assume would be much better than in chocolate chip cookies!

    Not too long ago I was in, of all places, a Starbucks drive-thru. I saw my sister pull up a couple cars behind me. So when I got to the window, I asked them to put whatever she bought on my card, too. Needless to say my sister was surprised. Of course she recognized my car and called me to thank me. Not only did it surprise her, but it also made me feel good.

  48. 48

    Barbara — November 18, 2008 @ 5:12 PM

    I love the story about your husband receiving a random act of kindness.
    By the way, I love the bisque recipe.
    My mother instilled in me her motto, “waste nothing, want nothing”. To make a long story short, I have a dachshund that wears pullups and I buy them by the case at Sam’s. There was a DVD how to potty train your child. I went to CCC and ask if anyone could use it. I mailed it to the first responder. She ask if I wanted to be reimbursed for postage. Of course, I said no just send it to the next person that had respond that they would like to see it. So this act of kindness is going on and on.

  49. 49

    VeggieGirl — November 18, 2008 @ 5:16 PM

    FABULOUS FINDS!!! :-)

  50. 50

    Halie — November 18, 2008 @ 5:18 PM

    Awesome giveaway!

    I recently made my brother and pregnant sister-in-law a delicious homemade pizza dinner, plus my bother’s favorite beverage, and brought homemade baked goods for dessert and made cookies. I was so happy to do it for them. Anything for the parents of my future niece!

    I would love to take home giveaway #1

  51. 51

    Kara — November 18, 2008 @ 5:19 PM

    I agree with many other commenters that your RAK story is an inspiration moreso than a reminder of what I’ve done for others lately. I do enjoy baking with the others in Baking GALS for the troops and last week sent off my box of goodies to another deserving soldier… but that’s sadly all I can think of! I like the idea of doing something once a day – thanks for the idea and as always gorgeous pictures and recipes.

  52. 52

    Patti — November 18, 2008 @ 5:20 PM

    I like to leave the leftover change in the soft drink vending machine at my office . . . it’s fun to think about someone reaching in and finding treasure.

    My dad would often get to the toll booth and pay for the person behind him. Just because.

    Fun post, thanks.

    Pick me, please. :)

  53. 53

    Whitney — November 18, 2008 @ 5:31 PM

    I’m a student nurse right now, and I was shadowing in the ED for the first time the other day. The first patient who came in was in cardiac arrest and DOA. The family came it to be told, and I was really in shock as were they. I didn’t really know what to do with the situation, so I just stayed with them for a long time, and they talked about the patients life and what they were going to do now. I didn’t mean to get so involved, but its hard when everyone around you acts like its such a casual experience. Anyway, my birthday is coming up, and I could use a little cheer in my life.

  54. 54

    Adam — November 18, 2008 @ 5:52 PM

    Thanks for sharing that story, Lori. It’s a beautiful thing knowing that things like this are still going on in today’s crazy, fast paced world.

    Those lavender shortbread cookies look amazing, the colors are like speckled flavored fun.

    I don’t have a particular story, but with every patient that I see, I just make sure to be a good friend to them and listen. You’d be surprised to know how happy they are when I ask how their party last week went. I don’t think alot of docs do that :)

  55. 55

    Aggie — November 18, 2008 @ 6:11 PM

    Oh what a great giveaway and a GREAT recipe!! I’ve never cooked with lavender, that shortbread looks unbelievable!

    I try to always be nice, I really do, but something I did out of the ordinary the other night was give a homeless man sitting at the end of the interstate ramp a bag of apple slices that came with my son’s lunch that he didn’t eat. I felt weird giving it to him (I gave him a couple of dollars too) but the man looked so nice and I felt so bad for him…and I hate for food to go to waste, I’d rather feed someone than throw out the bag. This is such a minor thing, but it came to mind. I love the Starbucks story above.

  56. 56

    Teresa Cordero Cordell — November 18, 2008 @ 6:16 PM

    Lori, what a lovely example of kindness. We need to follow that example and offer a kind act to anyone and everyone without expecting something in return. I offer no story, only a wish for caring and kindness to be spread throughout. I think the foodie world is a great place to start.

  57. 57

    Mike of Mike's Table — November 18, 2008 @ 6:21 PM

    That’s a nice story about the coffee lady–not something you see too often! Food-wise, I’ve never cooked/baked with lavender before, so I planted some last year thinking now I would…lol, it grew quite large but never flowered once. I love the sound of this though–and that bisque! Yum

  58. 58

    Topher — November 18, 2008 @ 6:30 PM

    Thanks for the giveaway. I just did the dishes for my roommate and re-organized our messy, messy fridge.

  59. 59

    Leslie — November 18, 2008 @ 6:33 PM

    Fisrt..Happy Birthday!
    And FREE saffron??you lucky girl!
    Back in the day when I was without 2 kids..and had a full time job..I paid for the elderly ladies groceries behind me at the store. She didnt have a lot..only about $80 worth..but the was almost in tears. I am sure it helped her alot being on a fixed budget!
    If everone in the world would pledge to do something nice for someone 1 time a week..this would be a much nicer place to live!

  60. 60

    Katherine Aucoin — November 18, 2008 @ 6:38 PM

    I haven’t been to you blog in a while and coildn’t believe what a nice giveaway you are having. Very sweet Starbucks story too. Your shrimp bisque with pumpkin WOW!!! I have to try this! I can’t think of anything special I’ve done lately, I try to be nice every day, hold doors open for people and grett them with a smile, just whatever comes up.

  61. 61

    Hannah — November 18, 2008 @ 6:39 PM

    That is such a kind gesture…! I should really think to do things like that myself, but most often my acts of kindness aren’t so random. I do always hold open doors for people, though (if that counts!)

  62. 62

    Karen — November 18, 2008 @ 6:39 PM

    What a nice thing to be able to do in sharing the spices and olives! I would love the spices ;)

  63. 63

    Jurena3070 — November 18, 2008 @ 6:43 PM

    Nice! In my office, I always check the printer before going to the bathroom (as it is on my way there) and clear any jams or refill the paper. I think that is a nice thing for me to do.

  64. 64

    Deborah — November 18, 2008 @ 7:31 PM

    Although my acts of kindness are from the heart and not for rewards, I sure would like to receive the gourmet spices.

    I believe my last act of unselfishness was when I chased a car over a mile because I saw the occupants jump out and steal a woman’s purse as she putting her groceries in her car. I got the license plate info and contacted the police with the make and model and color or car and continued to follow until police arrived.

    My husband says it was a foolish thing to do, but I believed that because it was an unselfish act that the LORD would surely protect me … and He did!

    Deborah

  65. 65

    Elle — November 18, 2008 @ 7:35 PM

    Great giveaway! Hmmm, something nice…gave my niece in college a little pocket money. Lord knows, college kids are always broke, hehe.

  66. 66

    Lindsay — November 18, 2008 @ 7:45 PM

    I try to be nice, and do nice things for people every day. But instead I have to tell you about something nice that someone did for my fiance and I.

    One night after work we went to dinner at Outback. I was craving a “Bloomin’ Onion”. My fiance is Active Duty Air Force and recently came home from his tour in Iraq. He hadn’t had much time to come meet me after work so he was still in his uniform and when we went to pay, the waiter said our meals were already purchased by a gentleman at a different table who had already left.

    It was the sweetest gesture of gratitude and completely unexpected. My fiance felt terrible that he didn’t get the chance to properly thank the generous man. My fiance mentioned that he wished every guy in Iraq could feel so appreciated.

    Love your recipes!

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    gigi — November 18, 2008 @ 7:52 PM

    Hi, I’m Gigi, nice to meet ya! Thanks for popping over to my blog today and for commenting on my pumpkin bread. It was really very good and so before I ate the whole loaf I gave the other have to a dear older (75) friend who just hates to cook anymore. She called to say she and her little husband just loved it. I’m glad I did because she called last night to say she fell and broke her arm. I changed what I was doing this morning and took them some lunch and supper. I just hate it for her. It sucks getting old.

    My sweetheart does things like the lady at Starbucks. He’s just thoughtful like that. He never tells anyone not even me. I find out from someone telling me how nice it was that he did such and such for them. They are often surprised when I tell them that I didn’t know he had done that. But I so love that about him. He sees a need and just does something about it. I think I get in such a hurry sometimes I don’t look for opportunities to help others as often as I could.

    Sorry to get so long winded, but I’ll keep a check on your blog. Things look wonderful!

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    Laurie — November 18, 2008 @ 8:04 PM

    Recently I read an article about who the people find to be most inspiring and influential. There where many mentions for the Gates family and Oprah for therir humanitarian efforts.. but the most mentions where for a woman whom had very little but was willing to give it all. Sister Teresa. Her acts of kindness meant so much the more because she never expected anything in return. Like that little lady who blessed your husband.. what a reward she will get from her Master! :)

    I also wanted to say I am dying to try your pumpkin shrimp bisque!! I’ll be right down if you can save me some! :)

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    Stephanie — November 18, 2008 @ 8:14 PM

    I’ll bet that the lady that bought your husband’s drink smiles thru-out her day. A gourmet giveaway is a fantastic idea. The only thing I can think of that was nice of me was as I was returning my grocery cart to the store, I saw a lady having difficulty leaving her car (she was in a handicapped spot, so I took my cart to her and asked if she would like to use it.

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    MamaB — November 18, 2008 @ 8:16 PM

    I would love the spices!

    A friend of a friend recently lost her husband so my friends and I are buying christmas gifts for their five young daughters.

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    CookiePie — November 18, 2008 @ 8:47 PM

    That bisque looks delish! And what a nice story about that lady and your husband. :) I don’t know if this is as nice as that, but… two of my neighbors had babies last week, and I made each of them a lasagna. It’s a little tradition I have that I learned from my mom. Someone has a baby, they get a nice homemade lasagna – so they have something to eat and to feed any visitors, or they can freeze it for emergency meals in the hectic weeks after the baby is born. :)

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    Katie — November 18, 2008 @ 9:23 PM

    I’ve recently been reading your blog, it’s such a joy to read! Thanks for all of the great recipes. I haven’t really done any random acts of kindness but I have been preparing for my first ever mission trip to Honduras to build a day care center for the children over there. Very nervous!!

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    Jennywenny — November 18, 2008 @ 9:24 PM

    Mmm, what a delicious giveaway!

    I made some vegan cupcakes for my friend’s son who is allergic to eggs. It sounds like they went down well as he wanted to eat them all himself in one sitting!

    Its wonderful to hear all the wonderful acts of kindness from everyone, so I think you can say that your act of kindness was to make us all think about being kinder. Thank you!

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    Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer — November 18, 2008 @ 10:41 PM

    What a great giveaway – Funny you should ask I just bought a bunch of Toys Today for Toys for Tots!!

    If the temp here in California would drop below say 90′ soon so I can make that killer looking shrimp bisque!!!

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    Brindi — November 18, 2008 @ 11:21 PM

    Thanks for the nice post to remind us of how easy it is to do nice things. Last week, I made mini-pumpkin cakes and dropped them off randomly around work.

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    Lyss — November 18, 2008 @ 11:54 PM

    I teach preschool… My profession requires me to be nice!! Haha. But other than that…. I baked my fiance a wonderful pie for his birthday, inspired by your dulce de leche caramel pie! :-)
    http://newtritionista.blogspot.com

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    HoneyB — November 19, 2008 @ 12:25 AM

    Hi Laurie, It is so rare that anyone does something so kind and it is nice it happened to your husband. I’m a really giving person and I can’t stand to see anyone hurt or suffer in anyway. I also love to make my friends and family happy by doing special things for them. Recently I deposited some extra cash in my son’s account as he has been working really hard and having a hard time making ends meet. I also just sent another round of cookies to a soldier through Baking Gals and next month I will be a group leader. It would be nice if you considered joining up this time. We will be sending to an alumni soldier who attended the university where I work!

    grumpyshoneybunch at yahoo dot com

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    CookinG — November 19, 2008 @ 12:59 AM

    A few weeks back I made a batch of your fennel, bean and chicken soup (From “My mothers soup files” was the blog title). It was amazing. I have a friend who is going through a divorce and she was on my mind. Sunday night while she was helping out with a group of teens at church I left a big container of it in her car so she could have it for dinner when she got home. I thought “Sunday nights stink as it is- with going back to work and all…how much worse to face the week alone.” She loved the soup and the gesture.

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    dani — November 19, 2008 @ 1:20 AM

    the most recent RAK i’ve been involved in was friday. I was going to a hobby store which is next door to a “get it all here” type of store. a lady who was parked a few rows over from me had just come out of the “get it all here” store with party ware and balloons for her daughter’s birthday party. It was really windy and a balloon on a stick got blown out of her hand. I chased down the balloon and walked it back over to her. :-) she was really chuffed i’d go out of my way for her.

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    Culinarywannabe — November 19, 2008 @ 1:46 AM

    What a nice story! We need more people like that in the world. I mailed my little sis a dress today for a formal and didn’t lecture her about not ruining it – that counts right!? :) It’s probably sad that that’s the best I have, I’ll try harder tomorrow!

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    Medena — November 19, 2008 @ 1:54 AM

    What a great story Lori, and a wonderful giveaway!
    When I was growing up, people were more human, and I am sure many of us remember those times.
    I love random acts of kindness, they do still happen! I make sure I do something nice for a total stranger, or otherwise, at every opportunity. We all drive a lot, it’s a way of life, and it’s a perfect way of getting my daily dose of kindness out there. It’s such a fulfilling feeling to do something nice, and also as a driver teacher, and a semi truck driver (yeah…) it is very important for me to be an example and be courteous on the road.

    Just this morning I have backed up my minivan (of course, safely, with nobody behind), so two semi truck drivers could make a safe turn on a snowy, slippery road. The kids enjoyed their fun, loud horn, and I enjoyed being nice to those who are usually so mistreated. Being on the road in a truck most of the summer, I know what it’s like, and how hard it is to be behind a wheel of an 18 wheeler, and I take this opportunity to ask all of you to show them more courtesy! Keep in mind, everything around you, and on you, at one point or another, has been brought to you by a truck! Huge thanks!
    Oh, yes, should I be so lucky to win this giveaway, I would love the herbs! :)

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    Heather — November 19, 2008 @ 2:02 AM

    ohh! how beautiful! the saffron loves amazing! sounds like a great person that your husband met. i love people like that :)

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    Judy@nofearentertaining — November 19, 2008 @ 2:45 AM

    I made cookies and gave them to my daughters teacher for putting up with what I didn’t have to all day long!!!

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    Deborah — November 19, 2008 @ 3:06 AM

    What a great story!! My husband actually started a new job about a month ago, and things have been better than expected. He came home yesterday to let me know that he didn’t charge a customer and decided to pay for it himself because he could tell they needed it. It’s not something I’ve done, but I was happy that my husband did that!

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    Aimée — November 19, 2008 @ 3:22 AM

    I could use a bowl of that soup right now…we’ve all got the sniffles around here.

    There’s a lady in our church who is undergoing chemo for cancer and I’ve been bringing her and her husband one supper a week. It’s not much, since I’m cooking anyway.

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    The Peanut Butter Boy — November 19, 2008 @ 3:54 AM

    What a great giveaway, those spices and olives look fantastic. I feel like buying people coffee now, but what I’ve already done for other people is what I just started the other day, starting a campaign to raise money in what I call: Leave A Comment, Feed The Hungry. It’s quite simple, all people have to do is tell me what they’re thankful for and I’ll donate a nickel for each one. I’m hoping to get others interested in doing something similar on their blogs.

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    Keiko — November 19, 2008 @ 4:01 AM

    I AM SO MAKING YOUR SHORTBREAD!

    I work at a Japanese grocery store in NYC, and usually I buy all the left over bakery sandwiches and pastries and hand them out to the homeless people sleeping infront of the church near my apartment, but today we had a huge sale on cookies.
    I bought a case and gave a BOX of cookies to each person.
    It always feels really nice.

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    Katie Barlow — November 19, 2008 @ 4:06 AM

    I helped someone find a new job

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    JenHunsaker — November 19, 2008 @ 4:34 AM

    I don’t like to talk much about myself or what I do for service…. but if it will help me get some free cooking stuff… well? What’s a girl to do?

    I’m helping to organize a big service project to help with foster teenagers and their graduation this coming April. I’m also putting together a big thank-you gift for a friend.

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    Louise — November 19, 2008 @ 4:57 AM

    I read this blog often and always puruse your recipes when I am looking for a new dish for entertaining. If “Recipe Girl” thinks the recipe is good, I’m eager to try it! Your photos are also always mouth-watering and creative. Thanks for providing this giveaway.

    The one thing I can think of that I’ve done is take my elderly next-door lady to Emergency a couple of weeks ago. I spent several hours w/ her there, and she couldn’t get over the fact that someone she doesn’t know well (we just moved into the neighborhood recently) would do such a nice thing. I felt it was the least I could do to make sure she was comfortable and not alone.

    I need to rethink doing little routine things (like the Starbucks lady), as I can’t think of anything I’ve done for a complete stranger to make their day. What a nice gesture!

    The spice giveaway would be awesome!

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    FAMILY FIRST — November 19, 2008 @ 8:10 AM

    The nicest thing that i did for someone lately is ….. I did not scream at my kid! Serious! He drives me nuts! How can I not scream! But for this gift, I am most willing to. Thank you!

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    brr9270 — November 19, 2008 @ 1:04 PM

    I raise lavender myself, and like the looks of the lemon recipe. As for acts of kindness, my children and I filled shoeboxes with toys and stuff this weekend. They will be sent around the world to children for the Holidays.

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    Grace — November 19, 2008 @ 1:42 PM

    something nice, something nice…hmm. i made some terrific food for my co-workers, even though they rarely thank me. that’s all i’ve got. :)

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    Josie — November 19, 2008 @ 1:45 PM

    Lori- I took a cooking with lavender class once and we made the yummiest brownies!! Chocolate and lavender can pair up nicely! I swear :)

    I am currently collecting items to send in a Shoebox for a Soldier. I am having too much fun searching for goodies to send overseas. It helps remind me that the holiday season is more than just what am *I* going to get!

    I have also recently sent a couple of surprise packages to friends on the CLBB – that is so much fun! I highly recommend it if you ever need a target for a RAK ;)

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    ebonizer24 — November 19, 2008 @ 2:34 PM

    Wow, thank you so much for offering these wonderful goodies to your readers! I was riding the train to work this week and a fellow passenger couldn’t find his ticket and didn’t have any cash on him, so I paid for his fare to Chicago…

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    Leslie — November 19, 2008 @ 2:38 PM

    My neighbor was diagnosed with lung cancer and has been suffering through chemo and radiation. Since his throat hurts too much to eat normal food, I have been making him various soups and stews that I have pureed so that he can swallow them.

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    jenvmurphy — November 19, 2008 @ 2:39 PM

    I made a two weeks worth of meals for a family friend that is expecting her second set of twins. She has a 3 year old son and 2 year old twin girls and they are expecting a new set of twins in December. The two weeks worth of meals was fun to make.Having a frozen meal has been a real blessing for them she told me. She loves having a meal ready when she is exhausted at the end of the day.

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    Nikki — November 19, 2008 @ 3:03 PM

    What a great story. Thank you so much for a much needed reminder. Sadly, I realized that I have been pretty self centered lately.

    My husband and I have been letting my sister, her husband & three children live with us while their house is on the market in another state….its been 7 months now!

    Those spices look pretty amazing!

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    Joan — November 19, 2008 @ 3:18 PM

    I love the starbucks story! That has actually happened to me once and it just inspired me to do it to someone else! What a great feeling, it made my whole week! Love those recipes, I have never cooked with those kind of spices but want to get there someday!!

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    clrickey — November 19, 2008 @ 3:31 PM

    Wow, random acts of kindness, love the idea! Need to be more intentional in doing this. I guess the latest was this summer – mowing a single mom's yard when she was out of town. It was very overgrown & in much need of a haircut.

    I would go for the spices, I've been wanting saffron.

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    Alexa — November 19, 2008 @ 4:12 PM

    Wow, your creativity is showcased here… I enjoyed reading all about it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. :-)

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    Anonymous — November 19, 2008 @ 4:56 PM

    a lady I work with had her niece coming for a visit and was fretting because she knew her niece liked tea in the morning made with loose tea and she didn’t have any. I’m also a tea lover so I brought her a bag filled with organic darjeeling from my stash at home.
    ktstarre@hotmail.com

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    ro — November 19, 2008 @ 5:59 PM

    My grandmother recently passed away at the age of 99. And I had a tea, coffee, and freshed baked desserts day for my mother and her sisters. The sisters do not hsve the chance to get together much. They sat around and talked about memories of my grandmother, while sipping a warm drink and enjoying diffrent desserts.
    I would like the spice set. I love your blog.

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    DogRiverLady — November 19, 2008 @ 6:02 PM

    Lori,what a wonderful idea to share random acts of kindness! I make a point of letting drivers from side roads out into busy roads, take empty grocery carts back to the storage rack so they won’t roll into cars, let shoppers with less items go in front of me, and pick up trash along the river and beach. These things help me feel good and brighten someone’s day. I also volunteer with a local charity and am active in local environmental groups. I’m glad you’re sharing the spice website “find” with all of us and that you’re selective with the companies and products. Thanks for the detective work and the great recipes!

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    Dayna — November 19, 2008 @ 6:04 PM

    What a great thing, to remind others how to be nice… & how nice of it to share too. On your birthday of all weeks!
    One of the nicer things we've done around here was make jam. You see, our neighbour is 88 and has been on her own for about the past 6 years. She absolutely loves my kids and tells them many stories of her dad & husband and growing up in (what's now our house) and the neighbourhood.
    One of the recent stories that stood out was about her late husband, Harold and how he loved jam, plum jam. She described his sweet tooth and need for toast and his plum jam in the morning before leaving for work – she expressed it had to be two pieces, no less.

    When my kids and I came across late season blue plums at the market, we all knew what they'd become…
    Now that it's chillier, our neighbour doesn't venture outside much anymore. When we saw her yesterday, my daughter & I made a dash for the pantry to grab the jam we'd made. She was delighted, slipping extra "thank you's" into the porch-lit conversation as we chatted and she told us a few more tales as the sun began to set.

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    Katrina — November 19, 2008 @ 6:05 PM

    What have I done for someone else lately? Hmm, I make goodies ALL the time and often surprise unsuspecting people/friends with them. Last year for Christmas, I surprised our garbage men and handed three of them each $100.

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    cjcoppola2@yahoo.com — November 19, 2008 @ 6:12 PM

    We have an upscale grocery store in our area called AJ’s! Every year when our son was younger and we’d take him for the annual picture on Santa’s lap we would pay for the picture of someone behind us in line. If was a nice way to get in the holiday spirit. I try to find things like that throughout the year and the Starbucks idea is right up my alley!

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    JennDZ - The Leftover Queen — November 19, 2008 @ 6:53 PM

    Wow, what an inspiring story! :)

    Well my story involves food, no surprise!

    I went to the farmers market and came home with too many greens. There is this super nice man that does the landscaping at our condos and he commented on the abundance I had. So I asked him if he would like some. He said his wife loves making greens, so sure!

    I went upstairs and filled a large bag with about half of the greens I brought home. I think he was really excited! It made me feel good too, I must admit. ;)

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    Stacy and Brian — November 19, 2008 @ 7:01 PM

    I’ve been helping my boyfriend with the care of his mother. She just recently moved into an assisted living facility and the move has been difficult on her and even more difficult on Brian. Aside from unpacking boxes, organizing closets and decorating her new studio, I’ve also tried to listen, be patient and understanding. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful gift. Stacy

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    Rosie — November 19, 2008 @ 7:01 PM

    Doesn’t this restore one’s faith in human kindness what a beautiful post! The elderly lady really has a heart of gold :)

    Rosie x

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    jennybee — November 19, 2008 @ 8:14 PM

    What a feel-good posting. I love reading what everyone’s doing for others. I guess the thing I’ve started recently is tutoring girls at the county Juvenile Detention Center. I wrote an article about the center and was touched by all the efforts there to take these kids’ incarceration time and turn it into a time of transformation. The volunteer spirit is alive and well, there, with countless people giving their time to help these kids who would normally just be shunned or at best avoided as “bad kids” but who all have just matter-of-fact, heartbreaking stories from their home life. I started tutoring several girls in high school math (NOT my best subject) so they can pass their GED test before they get released back into society. It’s remarkable, just how rewarding it is to work with them. I get way more from volunteering than I feel like I’m giving, but they really appreciate the extra help, so it’s a win for everyone. Tutoring kids who have never had anyone take a personal interest in their academic achievement, believe in them, or give them much of any kind of encouragement has really become important to me, though I’ve only been doing it about three weeks.

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    Pamela — November 19, 2008 @ 9:01 PM

    Oh, wow! What a great thing for your husband to have experienced that lovely womans generosity. I aspire to be more like her, that’s for sure!

    It’s kind of you to want to share these goodies with your fans.

    As for me, the day after garbage pick up or recycling pick up, I bring my elderly neighbors empty containers to her garage door, so she won’t have to walk to get them. She is really having trouble with her legs now. And I always try to do this with my boys, so they can see how good it feels to help someone.

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    PamC — November 19, 2008 @ 9:18 PM

    I read your blog often but never post…today is a first. First thanks for the great blog, I do enjoy your recipes. My random act of kindness: I took the giftcare I received from work for Thanksgiving and used it to purchase food for a family that needed it. (It’s payback for the time a long time ago that someone did it for me when my cubbords and pocketbook were bare!).

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    samanthaleavitt@msn.com — November 19, 2008 @ 9:23 PM

    My good deed is kinda silly but it was appreciated so I’m going to submit it. I was chatting online with a friend of a friend who said her favorite movie was Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. I told her the book was so much better than the movie and that I had a copy of the paperback that she could have. Well I looked and looked and I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I had to tell her I couldn’t find it. Later on I was cleaning and ran across the book so I secretly got her address from a friend and mailed her the book. She was really touched that I would bother to mail it and thanks me all the time for it. Again, not much but something to that one person. :)

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    Andrew's Mom — November 19, 2008 @ 9:31 PM

    I try to do random acts of kindness as much as possible, driving an elderly friend to doctor appointments, shopping, baking for friends, neighbors, church members etc. We are only here for a short while – we should all do what we can.

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    Cherie — November 19, 2008 @ 9:37 PM

    I dropped what I was doing to drive a half hour in order to give my husband his forgotten wallet. :)

    I also try to notice positive things about people and comment on them. You never know when an honest & kind word can change a person's day for the better!

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    Carol Ann — November 19, 2008 @ 10:05 PM

    I asked a lady sitting in one of those motorized carts at the supermarket if I could help her reach anything. And, I always try to give the people I work with compliments and positive feedback.

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    Ana — November 19, 2008 @ 10:22 PM

    Oh, Prize number 1 looks awesome!
    (not a big olive fan here…!!!)
    I love your story and have actually heard of people doing things like that!
    I am a person who really likes to help people and, truly, a smile is what makes me happiest of all!
    I babysit my friend’s one year old son, who has 2 autistic (4 yo) brothers. I will never charge her anything as I know she has a lot going on and the help is always wonderful.
    I went to pick up a coworker everyday before work and dropped her off for the past two weeks while her car was getting fixed. She was very thankful, and I was happy to do it, even if it did make my way to work much longer.
    Today I went to have lunch with my son (1st grader) at school and one of the girls in his class didn’t have enough lunch money to buy her food so they only gave her the veggie and fruit, but no protein. All because of 50 cents… the teacher and the cook (yep, he came out of the kitchen) were blaming her for losing the 50 cents her mom had sent her. She was almost in tears and as I stood up to offer a dollar to buy the rest of her lunch the teacher finally gave the 50 cents to the cafeteria lady and said would sent a note to the girl’s parents. I know they need to request the money and all since there are so many kids in there, but I really wish they would have accepted my money and not be so harsh on the poor girl.
    Not that I really helped, although I wanted to, I guess I just needed to vent…
    Ana

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    Dawn — November 19, 2008 @ 11:13 PM

    that is an awesome story…nice to hear once in a while you know?
    those lavender scones are calling me! how very creative of you. I love love love them!!!

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    Cakespy — November 20, 2008 @ 1:22 AM

    The night Mr. Cakespy and I got engaged we went to a fancy restaurant, and in my excitement (and before anyone even asked) I told the waitress “WE JUST GOT ENGAGED!”. The lady sitting next to us, a solo diner, was just leaving–she said congratulations as she left. A minute later, the waitress appeared with champagne, saying the woman who’d just left had bought it but had wanted to wait til she’d left for them to serve it. Though we haven’t done it yet, it is our resolution that when we are in such a situation, we are going to return the favor and keep that good feeling going–because it made us feel so unbelievably special.

    Have I taken a loophole? Perhaps. But it’s my favorite story! So there it is :-)

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    Amber — November 20, 2008 @ 3:09 AM

    I thought I had that saffron, but the bottle is the same, not the brand. Too much fell into my risotto the other night, oh darn, too much lovely flavor. What should I do? Eat it.
    How fun to be respected enough to be offered things.
    Oh my gosh, the shortbread is too pretty to eat but isn’t it a sin to waste food, so I would force myself.
    There is so much truth in that in giving, you always get more than you give, sometimes it is in the secret, sometimes the look on the face of someone, sometimes it is blessings for your family. What a lovely day for both your husband and the woman.
    I have some acts of kindness ideas that I have some ideas about.

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    Claire — November 20, 2008 @ 3:18 AM

    The shortbreads look great! Let’s see…I worked at our medical student run free clinic on Saturday…it was fun!

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    Megan — November 20, 2008 @ 4:35 AM

    I baked a cake for a fundraising raffle for the high schools Booster club. I got to support the school by doing something I love-baking. A win-win situation! :)
    Great giveaway! I like the spices. :)

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    Natasha — November 20, 2008 @ 5:02 AM

    I really enjoy your blog! Such great recipes and I love the pictures too. Fun giveaway..it’ll be exciting. (I recently washed my roommates dishes..little thing but it was helpful to them).

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    Val — November 20, 2008 @ 10:24 AM

    Thanks for the giveaway Lori! I always love reading your blog and looking at the beautiful pictures. I won some tickets a couple weeks ago to a local production of a Broadway play. I had 2 extra’s and knew of a local woman battling cancer who enjoys going to the theater. I tracked her down and gave her the tickets. It felt good to do something nice for her, and I also got to know her better at the play. She’s an amazing and courageous woman.
    Val
    Reality3@hushmail.com

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    Erin — November 20, 2008 @ 3:45 PM

    What a great giveaway! I am an absolute Olive fiend. Let’s see…a good deed…any time I see an elderly person or a pregnant woman I give up my seat on the subway. Does that count ;)

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    Sandie — November 20, 2008 @ 5:33 PM

    I love random acts of kindness, doing something kind & unexpected for a complete stranger can impact so many lives.

    Some years ago, I had a similar experience as your husband. I was in a fast-food chain drive-through line with my kids. When I got up to the window to pay, they said my order had already been paid for by the car in front of me.

    I couldn't believe someone would just up and pay for our order, but they did. When I questioned the workers about who it was, they wouldn't tell me—only that this person does this quite frequently, for whoever happens to be behind them in line, and wished to remain anonymous.

    The fact that a complete stranger would do this for me or anyone touched me, and made me think about my own random actions. Ever since, I've tried to carry on this practice. Sometimes it's at a fast-food joint, sometimes at a coffee shop, sometimes at a bakery—you name it.

    The last time I practiced a random act of kindness, it was at a pumpkin farm that had kiddie rides and the whole shebang. I bought extra ride tickets at the counter, and passed them out randomly to families with small children saying only, "Enjoy you day!"

    Who knows when your random acts of kindness might inspire people to do the same, and one small step at a time can make the world a nicer place!

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    Reeni — November 20, 2008 @ 7:51 PM

    The shortbread looks really, really good! What a heart warming story especially since Starbucks is so expensive, what a sweet lady. I helped an elderly lady at the grocery pick up a huge bag of kitty litter and put it in her cart even though my arms were full of groceries, and there were 3 or 4 other people around who pretended to be oblivious to her struggling. I would love the spices but olives are super too!

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    Jessica — November 20, 2008 @ 8:23 PM

    What a suprisingly sweet thing to do!
    I bit my tongue for my husbands sake when his mother upset me. (called me a bad mother) I think that was being VERY nice! : )

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    Judith — November 20, 2008 @ 10:42 PM

    I gave my hairdresser an extra big tip because she was having a bad day.

    judithavory at gmail dot com

    I am interested in #1, which looks amazing. Unfortunately I don’t like olives at all.

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    We Are Not Martha — November 21, 2008 @ 2:49 AM

    I’ve been helping my mom learn more about her computer…she’s actually really good with it, but wants to be even better. I know, I owe her for everything she’s taught me in life :)
    Those spices look amazing!!

    Enter the giveaway on my blog too :)

    Sues

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    LaDue & Crew — November 21, 2008 @ 7:21 AM

    I have recently found out about Freecycle.org – a fantastic site where you, in layman’s terms, yard sale everything for free. Well, as I was receiving the “wanted” posts, I was noticing that one gal, new to our state with no family here, kept repeatedly asking for Baby girl items for their first child. So I emailed her that I had some things, of which she came and picked up. But that young girl got me thinking, and full of concern… I wanted to do more; she reminded me of myself 20+ years ago. I belong to an exercise group called “Stroller Strides, Peoria, AZ”, where you can bring your children with you to participate while you get an amazing workout. So I sent out an email to the group, asking if anyone would consider donating to this young gal and her husband, that I wanted to somehow have a shower for her. How amazing the response! This awesome group of gals donated almost $2000 worth of new and used baby items for this young family! I had also scoured second hand stores and emailed many close friends and relatives, with so many awesome gifts and finds. I picked up all items, wrapped them (even wrapping paper was donated!) and invited the young couple over for dinner- to what was actually their surprise baby shower. The looks on their faces were amazing, and made me cry. Things we take for granted, lotions, soaps, bibs, brought such joy to them. She is due in January ’09, with a baby girl… We are now good friends with Mom and Dad and can’t wait to see this precious little girl!

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    gina — November 21, 2008 @ 4:10 PM

    Hi,love azafran (saffron) my mom makes paella with it! I let my next door neighbor use one of my car since hers had to go to the shop, thanks for the chance to win….Gina

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    Jennie — November 21, 2008 @ 8:10 PM

    I would choose the spices.

    My boyfriend’s brother and wife have been up in Boston the last six week as their four year old recovers at the Boston Children’s hospital. Their youngest (six months old) has been staying with my boyfriend’s mom since then. Since his brother and wife havnt seen him for almost six weeks I put up a bunch of pictures and videos for them so they could see how smiley he is. (My boyfriend and parents are not computer saavy)

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    Abby — November 21, 2008 @ 8:50 PM

    What a nice thing to do!

    I babysat my niece today. I love seeing her with my little one, and it’s so nice to have family to call when I need help. I know my sister will return the favor!

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    Jen — November 21, 2008 @ 11:14 PM

    The #1 gift is amazing! Both me and my boyfriend love to cook. Just discovered this blog and love it already, thanks for all you do!

    Something nice I did was order Christmas presents from Just Feed One charity
    http://feedjustone.bigcartel.com/
    Helps feed starving children in Africa as well as help women build business’ in India and much more. Loved the site so much I have a lot of friends now using to buy their Christmas gifts as well.

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    melissa — November 22, 2008 @ 12:45 AM

    That’s a lovely story, Lori. It made my day.

    Honestly, I try to do things like that for others as often as I can because I believe in things like this:

    They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing.
    -Hindu Proverb

    …and other such sayings from various sources of wisdom. ;)

    Thanks for sharing that, sincerely.

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    Anonymous — November 23, 2008 @ 8:31 PM

    First of all this blog is great. I think the random act of kindness deserved a posting by me. I have never appreciated acts of kindness more than I do now, since I was hit by a bus a little over a month when crossing the street. I am alive and doing well thank the good Lord but really love hearing stories like the one you shared.
    Today I was in the local big outdoor market and was spotted a woman I recognized. I thought how I knew her and it turned out about a month ago, right before the accident actually, this woman allowed me to purchase the last bag of pre-cut cabbage that didn’t have to be checked for bugs (I live in the Middle East). That is the woman I saw her. I ran up to her and thanked her profusely and she said I was welcome but truthfully couldn’t even remembering the incident. I think some of the the nicest acts of kindness are the ones the giver doesn’t even remember.
    Thanks for the Starbucks story. It should inspire all of us to go the extra mile for a stranger since we really never know how these acts of kindness come back to haunt us for the better. This blog entry is dedicated to that random act of kindness.

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    Psychgrad — November 25, 2008 @ 4:14 AM

    Great giveaways! I really like the look of the shortbread. I’m not sure if the climate here would work with growing lavender, but I love the smell and would like to try growing some. I’m curious whether any sort of lavender brand can be used in food. I’ve been to a couple of lavender farms and the sense that I get is that certain varieties are better for certain functions (e.g., oils/creams, food, etc.).

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    Ivy — November 25, 2008 @ 5:12 AM

    It’s encouraging that there are still human beings on earth!!