Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's Our Second Anniversary!

Welcome to Year Three, everyone!

And we're celebrating with the skillet cookie and a giveaway! That's right: for the first time ever, there's free stuff involved. As a thank you to our loyal readers, I wanted to host a small sweepstakes, and because mailing you all a skillet cookie would be a little messy, I decided to do something a little different.

Readers who enter the sweepstakes will have a chance to win a $15 e-gift card to King Arthur Flour, a 225 year old company that specializes in baking and cooking equipment. They're where I bought my ice cream machine!

For sweepstakes rules and more information, please click "Read more" below!

When it came time to think of ideas for celebrating our second anniversary, I had a couple things I knew I wanted to do: treat my most loyal taste testers to the skillet cookie, find a way to give back to my online readership, and introduce American Girl's newest BeForever character: Maryellen Larkin from 1954!

Maryellen - called Ellie by friends and family - is from Daytona Beach, Florida, and is the middle child in a large family. Although she had polio as a child, she doesn't let her slight disabilities or anything else - be they obnoxious boys in her science club, the struggles of being a lefty when writing cursive with pencil or a lack of snow in Florida - hold her back from doing what she wants.

Although I'll miss Caroline a lot (she was sent off to the archives to make room for Maryellen), I'm excited to start digging in to recipes - both tasty and horrifying - from the 50's, an era famous for its delicious desserts and infamous for its truly bizarre Jell-O creations, among other things. Ellie's grown on me for other reasons, too, and I'd definitely recommend checking out her books! She's got one of the best series since Kaya was released... which was over ten years ago now, wow.

I wondered about what to offer as a part of this giveaway for a long time, but kept coming back to the idea of something cooking related. I know some of my blog readers aren't as into American Girl as I am, so a gift card there or a mini doll or something like that wouldn't be appealing to everyone. King Arthur Flour kept catching my attention because they offer e-gift cards, making it easier for the winner to get their prize quickly, and more importantly because they take their company history very seriously.

And don't worry, even though they're called King Arthur Flour, they don't just sell flour!

King Arthur Flour was founded in 1790 in Boston, making it one of the oldest baking companies still in existence! It originally specialized in - you guessed it - flour, and changed its name to King Arthur Flour in 1896. They've since relocated to Vermont, and while I'm not sure how far their distribution goes, we have their products in my local grocery stores. They offer classes, cookbooks, and options for people with dietary restrictions, making them a versatile, inclusive company that's got a wide range of supplies and advice for cooks and bakers of any level. Check out their website, and see what I mean!

Bonus, they do offer international shipping, so if you're not a US resident, don't worry. You can still enter the sweepstakes if you'd like to.

Keep scrolling for official rules and how to enter to win the e-gift card!


- One winner will win a $15 e-gift card to King Arthur Flour.
- No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law.
- Must be 18 years or older to enter. If you're under the age of 18, please have an adult enter for you.
- Entrants must also provide an email address to send the e-gift card to if they win the sweepstakes.
- One entry per person.
- The sweepstakes begins at 8:30 EST on September 2, 2015. The deadline for entry is 11:59 EST on September 8, 2015.
- Odds are determined by how many entrants participate, and the winner will be chosen on or about September 9th, 2015 by
- The winner will be contacted within 24 hours via email. If I do not hear back from the winner by September 16, 2015, a new winner will be selected from the remaining applicants using If, for whatever reason, you no longer want the e-gift card and wish to forfeit your entry, a second winner will be chosen from the remaining entrants using


1. Leave a comment below saying you'd like to enter and what email address would be best to contact you with


2. Send us an email at

If you want to include a note with your comment or email about things you'd like to see us talk about in this upcoming year - whether they be new ideas for Maryellen or any other character - or want to let us know you've tried out a recipe we've featured here, or anything else, please feel free! It's not necessary for entry, but I like getting feedback so I know everyone's enjoying the content we produce, or if there are ways I can improve.

The winner will be announced on September 9th in a post hosted by Maryellen!

Good luck! And thanks for being such great fans of A Peek into the Pantry!

If I could mail you all a skillet cookie, I would!


  1. I would like to enter the contest! I can be reached at aislin.cross (@)

    I especially enjoy your takes on Molly and Emily recipes and the war cake has become a favorite with my family! Next up: Trenchcake when I manage to get together what I need for it and some of the Edwardian type recipes for treats to go along with Downton Abbey Sundays with Mom once it starts airing again here.

    Now that MaryEllen is around, I'd LOVE to see some of the savory jello recipes produced if anyone dares do it! Seriously, it would be interesting to see those come together.

    1. I'm always excited to meet another war cake fan, that's far and away my favorite thing I've ever made for this blog. :) And you've totally reminded me I need to break out my Downton cookbook for when the series starts up again!

  2. I would like to enter!

    shoeflee [at] yahoo [dot] com!

    I wanted to say that I can't wait to see what horrifying things you can find to do with aspic (seriously, celery flavored Jello. *shudders*), so I asked my mom, who would have been exactly Maryellen's age at the same time Maryellen was, what kind of stuff she ate. She couldn't remember much, she said that most of what was made at that time was just your basics, but that her favorite was goulash. Given the times, it wasn't fancy, but she still makes my grandmother's recipe and it's the best I've ever had. So that's what I'd like to see you try! Goulash.

    1. Oh awesome! Is it American goulash with like, macaroni and stuff, or goulash from Hungary goulash? Either one I'd definitely be interested in making, I've kind of been meaning to do an American chop suey style dish for a while.

    2. Don't know how I missed this back in the day, but it was American goulash. Macaroni and hamburger. But I remember my grandma's and it was DELICIOUS.

  3. I'd love to enter!

    Tombkeeperhikari (at) yahoo (.) ca!

    Oooh I'm so excited about the jello, I can't help it I love weird stuff and the idea of jello with stuff floating in it is just hilarious to me. I mean just make all of the jello, maybe you'll actually find something that you like in all of that.

    And of course more desserts. I love desserts. All of the desserts.

    1. I've been told my dad's mom actually used to make a gelatin salad that people really loved! I found the recipe and I definitely think I'd like to give it a go. Maybe we'll both be surprised by it!

  4. I'll enter!

    starwenn (at) yahoo (.) com

    I've been reading this blog for over a year, but this is my first comment. One of my favorite Christmas presents ever was the Betty Crocker Cooky Book from my aunt 20 years ago. Though it's originally from the early 60's, most of the recipes are definitely something Maryellen would have had (when it wasn't too hot in Florida to bake).

    There's a section in the back dedicated to "The Best Cookie of" time periods going back to the 1880's. "Salted Peanut Crisps" are listed for 1950-1955 and candy-like "Bonbon Cookies" for 1955-1960. While I've never tried either, they don't sound that difficult, especially the Peanut Crisps. You might be able to find the recipes online, or at Betty Crocker's website.

    1. Oh man, thanks for the tip! I do love me some cookies. :) And vintage cookbooks are always fun to look through, so I'll definitely keep my eye out for that, too.

  5. My entry is for ruggclan at gmail dot com

    I'd love to see more Kaya and Josefina recipes, if possible.

    1. I have a Josefina post waiting to get written up as we speak! And another Kaya one in the wings. Hopefully they'll be something up your alley, they're some of my favorites to cook for, too. :)

  6. Gwen,
    Congrats on your second anniversary. It has been fun reading about your adventures and your progress in the kitchen. As well as watching your AG family grow. Looking forward to another fantastic year!

    1. Thank you! Let's hope I am actually making some progress, haha.

  7. Happy Blog Anniversary!

    You really have a unique spin on the usual cooking blog, so congratulations on hitting the milestone and on making this blog what it is!

    1. Thanks very much! Glad you're still enjoying it. :D