Ripe Giveaway and Author Interview: Cheryl Sternman Rule

author interview, book recommendations, cookbooks, food books, new books | 89 comments

My friend Cheryl Sternman Rule, of the award winning blog 5 Second Rule, is here today to tell us all about her new cookbook: Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables.

Cheryl’s beautiful book, photography by Paulette Phlipot, is not your typical cookbook. It has recipes, stories, helpful information and pictures of food, all the while presenting itself as a coffee table book.

You’ll find it bright and colorful as the recipes are arranged not according to whether they are soups, appetizers, or entrees, nor by seasonal ingredients, but instead by color. And it is bound to get you excited about what fresh produce has to offer.

Welcome, Cheryl!


You recently won an award from IACP for your noteworthy blog just after your cookbook was released. Very exciting! How did you get involved in food writing?

cheryl sternman rule

Thanks so much, Katie. I got involved in food writing after I graduated from culinary school and worked for two different cookbook authors.

In 2004, I started freelancing for newspapers and magazines, and then for websites. I finally started my blog 5 Second Rule in 2008.

That’s when I began collaborating with Paulette Phlipot on the early stages of our joint cookbook, Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables. The recent IACP award for 5 Second Rule was the cherry on the top of an ice cream cone I’ve been licking for quite a while.


One of the very first posts I ever read on 5 Second Rule was the one about your children returning to their childhood home with their children in tow and finding a time capsule of the best ever chocolate chip cookies that you use to make them. I’ve always loved that post! (Read that post here: Capsule) Do you have a favorite post you’ve written on your blog? Why is it your favorite?

chocolate chip cookies

Photo by Cheryl Sternman Rule / 5 Second Rule / Used with Permission

Actually, the one you just referenced is one of my favorites, too. It’s one of the first ones where I just went completely stream of consciousness and spilled the thoughts in my head onto the page in a fast, frenetic heap.

My brain works that way, and in my writing, I try to convey the rush of emotions as authentically as possible.

One of my other favorites is I Want My Children to Eat Za’atar. It’s about my fascination with other cultures, and my desire to share this part of my life with my kids.

Photo by Cheryl Sternman Rule / 5 Second Rule / Used with Permission

I believe we should all be citizens of the world, or at least aspire to be even if our current circumstances (young kids at home, a mortgage, etc.) keep us temporarily rooted in one place.


I love all the gorgeous colors in Ripe and the way the book is organized. Besides being filled to the brim with delicious recipes and helpful hints (love the “simple uses” you share for featured ingredients) it is so pleasant to look at! Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your book?

ripe cookbook cover

Thanks! Paulette came up with the idea to feature fruits and vegetables in such a visually arresting way. And the inspired decision to organize the book by color was completely hers.

Paulette had dreamed of producing a photo-driven fruit and vegetable book before we’d met. Then when we got together and started brainstorming more of a joint vision, we realized the best way to collaborate and showcase each of our talents was to create a photo-heavy a cookbook instead.

The result is really three books for the price of one: a photography / coffee-table book, a cookbook, and a book of quick essays, all revolving around the natural beauty and versatility of produce.


I think many people fantasize about how cool and fun it would be to write a cookbook, but I can certainly see that it must truly be a labor of love. What was your favorite part about writing Ripe? Least favorite?

My favorite part was writing all the essays. That’s where the blog training came in super-handy. I loved letting loose and just seeing what came out when I looked at a head of bok choy or a giant pomelo.

My least favorite part was waiting a year from the time we finished the book until the time it hit the shelves.


What are your top 3 favorite recipes from your blog?

5 Second Rule Recipes / Cheryl Sternman Rule

Photos by Cheryl Sternman Rule / 5 Second Rule / Used with Permission

Ah. If I had to pick, I’d say: whole wheat biscotti with fennel seeds and chocolate; pear-halloumi salad with sherry-vinaigrette; and polenta with caramelized onions and walnuts.


What are your top 3 favorite cookbooks?

Too hard to choose. Too hard! Right now I’m cooking a lot from Good Food to Share. I also love Big Night In, Almost Meatless, and Plenty. And about 5 billion more.


How about top 3 fiction books?

Of all time??? Lordy. A few books that spring to mind are: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (which is definitely more memoir than fiction, but I still find his writing incredible); Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; and anything by Jhumpa Lahiri.


Watch the Trailer for Ripe:

Giveaway Prize (2 winners):

Each winner will receive one copy of Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables, by Cheryl Sternman Rule

Giveaway Requirements:

  • How do fresh fruits and vegetables inspire you in the kitchen?
  • Contest ends May 18, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. PST.
  • Contest open to US States only.
  • Winners will be chosen via and will have 3 days to respond before disqualified and a new winner chosen.

Optional Extra Entries:

Additional entries can be earned by doing any of the following, giving you the opportunity for a total of 3 extra entries. Leave a separate comment for each of your entries.

1. Follow GoodLifeEats and Cheryl Sternman Rule on Twitter and ReTweet the following message: I just entered to win a copy of @sternmanrule’s new book, Ripe, from @goodlifeeats #giveaway #books

2. Share this post on Facebook. Come back here and leave a comment letting me know that you did.

3. Like GoodLife Eats and 5 Second Rule on Facebook. Come back Here and leave a comment letting me know that you did.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

Email  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest

  • 1
    Kelly E. - May 04, 2012 @ 6:26 am
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    Kelly E. - May 04, 2012 @ 6:28 am

    I love fresh fruits and veggies. They always make everything so much tastier and they really add depth to what could be very boring meals. The bright pops of color also inspire me to make something that not only tastes good and is healthy, but something that’s beautiful, too!


  • 3
    Tara - May 04, 2012 @ 6:36 am

    Beautiful colors….beautiful flavors!


  • 4
    Micky - May 04, 2012 @ 6:43 am

    Using seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables inspires me in the kitchen – let the freshest item shine in that particular dish!


  • 5
    Micky - May 04, 2012 @ 6:44 am
  • 6
    amy marantino - May 04, 2012 @ 6:48 am

    fresh fruits are a sweet, healthy treat that keep me away from bad snack items.


  • 7
    amy marantino - May 04, 2012 @ 6:49 am

    i twitter follow and tweeted


  • 8
    Danielle - May 04, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    I try to make my plate as colorful as possible. It makes it more appealing for my family to eat. I also like to try to use as many new flavors as I can think of to spice things up and get the kids to try new things! I’d love to look at this cookbook. Your review and pictures make it very enticing!!


  • 9
    Jeanna Hudson - May 04, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    I have a major sweet tooth so I try to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into my desserts to try to make them a bit more healthy.


  • 10
    Cheryl Stoy - May 04, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    I used fresh fruits everyday(except winter…then I use frozen)in my oatmeal. I also do the baked oatmeal thing with blueberries, peaches, mango and strawberries.

    I also make my own yougurt in the crock pot and add fresh fruit ionce its done. We make great fruit smoothies and homemade ice cream using fresh fruit during the summer months.

    I also prefer strawberries with my nightly glass of vino instead of cheese.


  • 11
    Kalyn - May 04, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    I love fresh fruits and veggies – I always try to incorporate them into any meal I’m having, rather than just having them on the side.


  • 12
    Alicia Chafin - May 04, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    I love just about any vegetable roasted or grilled. So during the summer I fire up the grill and roast away. And we have fruit and spinach smoothies every morning for breakfast.


  • 13
    Mary - May 04, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Always have loved fresh fruits and veggies but since having a serious illness a couple of years ago, they are even more important to me and my diet. I love the fresh taste they give to everything! Raw, roasted, steamed, you name it! I could use more ideas on how to use them.


  • 14
    Mary - May 04, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    I like GoodLife Eats on FB.


  • 15
    Mary - May 04, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    I like 5 Second Rule on FB.


  • 16
    Trezlen - May 04, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    When I have fresh fruits and vegetables, I am always looking for a way to stay true. I try to eat as much raw as I can (smoothies with fresh greens and frozen raw fruit or marinated raw veggies). Or if I am going to cook it, I try to find a seasoning or method that brings out the best flavors (roasted vegetables or lightly sauteed in an omelet).


  • 17
    Julie @BananasForBourbon - May 04, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    I base my dishes every week around what vegetables and fruits I’ve gotten in my CSA box that week. It’s a great approach to food planning!


  • 18
    Julie @BananasForBourbon - May 04, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    I follow GoodLifeEats and Cheryl Sternman Rule on twitter and tweeted the giveaway


  • 19
    Julie @BananasForBourbon - May 04, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    I like GoodLifeEats and Cheryl Sternman Rule on facebook


  • 20
    Georgiana - May 04, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    The colors, smell, feel & taste of RIPE fruits & veggies inspire me to be creative and healthy in cooking meals full of nutrition! Would love to see the recipes detailed in Ripe! Thanks!


  • 21
    Georgiana - May 04, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    I like Good Life Eats & 5 Second Rule on FB


  • 22
    Georgiana - May 04, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    I also shared your link on FB too!


  • 23
    Ray - May 04, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    When I’m around fresh fruit and vegetables in season, it inspires me to cook healthy dinners for my family instead of grabbing frozen meal or convenience foods.


  • 24
    Ray - May 04, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    I shared this post’s link on Facebook


  • 25
    Ray - May 04, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    I like Good Eats & 5 Second Rule on Facebook too – thanks for the great giveaway!


  • 26
    Lynna - May 04, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

    fresh fruit inspire me just by how they taste! i love eating fruits, hence why i bake with a lot of them. :)


  • 27
    Tracy - May 04, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    I love to try new things, and having nice, fresh fruits and vegetables around inspires that. Asparagus is up right now, so using it in new ways along with old favorites keeps us from boredom.


  • 28
    Tracy - May 04, 2012 @ 5:45 pm
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    Renata - May 04, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    Fresh fruit and vegetables inspire me to eat more healthy and nutritiously throughout my day and to be creative in trying new tasty recipes!


  • 30
    Renata - May 04, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

    I follow both Good Life Eats and Cheryl Rule and retweeted your giveaway link too!


  • 31
    Renata - May 04, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    I like Good Life Eats and 5 Second Rule on Facebook


  • 32
    Renata - May 04, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    I also shared your link on Facebook too – thanks so much as I’d love to try some new recipes!


  • 33
    Jacqui - May 04, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    Fruit and vegetables inspire me by their colors!! They come in all shapes, sizes and colors and I think it allows for such great creativity and fun in the kitchen!


  • 34
    Renee G - May 04, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

    I absolutely love cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables. They add color, flavor, and texture to any meal.


  • 35
    Karen - May 05, 2012 @ 2:57 am

    Fruits and vegetables inspire me by their taste! I used to live in the tropics (and am moving back!) and I also loved the amazing freshness and variety.


  • 36
    Patty Jensen - May 05, 2012 @ 6:38 am

    Fruits and vegetables inspire me, first, with their color. Grocery stores do lure me in with this one. Secondly, with their smell. I love to pick up the product, close my eyes, and see if I can guess what I am holding by just the smell. And, lastly, with the taste or more accurately, with the memory. I try to remember the last time I ate this fruit/vegetable and what did it taste like, how was it prepared and what can I do this time.


  • 37
    Angie McGeown - May 05, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    Having fresh fruits and veggies in the house always inspires me to choose healthier option when snacking or making a meal for my family.


  • 38
    Angie McGeown - May 05, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    I shared this giveaway on Facebook.


  • 39
    Angie McGeown - May 05, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    I Liked 5 Second Rule on Facebook.


  • 40
    Amanda - May 05, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    I never put as much thought into fresh fruits and vegetables until my daughter. Now, I see them as a way to keep my family healthy and happy


  • 41
    Corisa - May 05, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    Fresh fruit and vegetables inspire me to cook healthier options and I just love the fresh produce plain and they make you feel ten times better about yourself!


  • 42
    Julia Reffner - May 05, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    I love allowing my kids to think of strange and interesting vegetable/fruit combinations and then trying to make a dish with them.


  • 43
    cheryl - May 05, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

    Katie, I can’t thank you enough for featuring my work in such a beautiful way. I’m very flattered (especially because I love the way you presented my photos!).

    I think your site is lovely, and I’m grateful to your readers for entering the contest. I hope whoever wins Ripe loves it as much as Paulette & I both do.


  • 44
    Lisa K. - May 05, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    It’s strawberry season here in southern NC. We pick them from our favorite local farm and sneak them into everything from breakfast syrups to goat cheese/spinach strawberry salads and freezer jams.


  • 45
    Lisa K. - May 05, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    I like you both on FB!


  • 46
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef - May 05, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    i love trying new things. raw veggies are my favorite, but lately i’ve been inspired to cook them too.


  • 47
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef - May 05, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    i tweeted! @thepajamachef


  • 48
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef - May 05, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    i like goodlife eats & 5 second rule on facebook.


  • 49
    Cori - May 05, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

    I love the bright colors and fresh flavors that fruits and veggies add to meals.


  • 50
    Kel - May 05, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

    right now it would be strawberries!


  • 51
    Alyse - May 05, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

    The color and flavors inspire me to eat well and savor the flavors of fresh fruit and vegetables. When they are homegrown and fresh, their flavor is like nothing else and nothing better.


  • 52
    samW - May 06, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

    we eat lots of fresh fruits & vegetables….I will drive 20 miles to town sometimes for nothing more than restocking our fresh produce…


  • 53
    TK - May 06, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    Fresh fruits and vegetables have such a vibrant color and refreshing flavor!


  • 54
    saniel - May 06, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

    the bright colors-I saw some organic blueberries in the store front and wanted them so bad just based on the color thru the window.


  • 55
    Tammie B. - May 07, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    I love the fresh fruits and veggies to can and put in the freezer so you can enjoy them even after the season is over.


  • 56
    Tammie B. - May 07, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    I shared this on my facebook page also.


  • 57
    Tammie B. - May 07, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    I liked on 5 second rule on facebook


  • 58
    Tammie B. - May 07, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    I already like on Good life eats also


  • 59
    Connie Bolick Lee - May 07, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    It’s a pleasure to create something with fresh fruits and vegetables especially in the summer when you get them from your own garden. They just inspire you to cook or bake more goodies!


  • 60
    Connie Bolick Lee - May 07, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    I followed Good Life Eats adn Cheryl Sternman on twitter and tweeted the giveaway!/ConnieBolickLee/status/199597809291370496


  • 61
    Connie Bolick Lee - May 07, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    I shared on facebook


  • 62
    Connie Bolick Lee - May 07, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    I like Goodlife Eats and 5 Second Rule on facebook


  • 63
    Erica - May 07, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    I like you both on FB


  • 64
    Erica - May 07, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    I shared this post on FB


  • 65
    Erica - May 07, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    Having fruits and veggies in the kitchen inspires me to cook and eat healthy. They work wonderfully for kitchen decor as well.


  • 66
    Dynamics - May 07, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    I love fresh vegetables. Just planting my garden makes my mouth water for some great recipes.


  • 67
    Rob - May 08, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    I shoot for a rainbow of produce whenever I eat.


  • 68
    jacquie - May 08, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

    love fresh produce both fruits and veggies and use as often as i can – so in some ways it is how don’t they insipire me in the kitchen?


  • 69
    jacquie - May 08, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

    i don’t have a facebook account nor twitter – can i get an additional chance because i follow your blog?


  • 70
    Tyra - May 08, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    We love to make a random salad mix to go with our meals. Whatever veggies we have in the fridge that sound like a tasty mix at the time get sliced and tossed together! Easy, healthy, and delicious!!


  • 71
    Amanda Thompson - May 08, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

    My husband isn’t a big fan of veggies so I let fresh fruits and vegetables inspire me to find ways to make him love them as much as I do!


  • 72
    Laura F. - May 09, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

    Fruits and vegetables in the kitchen inspire me to try new recipes. When our garden starts producing, it is always fun to find new ways to use the bounty.


  • 73
    Siri - May 10, 2012 @ 6:05 am

    Nothing beats the vibrant colors, freshness and crispy texture of raw vegetables. By cooking them as little as possible, we restore their nutrients, in turn ourselves. :-) . Have been reading 5 Second Rule for a while and the cover of the book is indeed stunning!



  • 74
    Siri - May 10, 2012 @ 6:06 am

    Following you and Cheryl on Twitter..


  • 75
    Allison - May 10, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    I rarely make anything in the kitchen that doesn’t involve fresh fruits and veggies. Right now, we are all about the smoothies!


  • 76
    Allison - May 10, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    i follow both on twitter


  • 77
    Allison - May 10, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    I like both on fb


  • 78
    Allison - May 10, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    I shared on fb


  • 79
    Jamie - May 11, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    I need to be more inspired, I love fruits and veggies but need more ideas on how to make them tasty delicious!


  • 80
    Jamie - May 11, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    I like you on facebook


  • 81
    CP - May 12, 2012 @ 5:51 am

    I love to cook with fresh foods – especially in the summer. However I get in a rut and use the same ones. I would love some inspiration for more ideas!


  • 82
    Kristin - May 13, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

    I love using fresh fruits and veggies while cooking…they make up the majority of my grocery bill!


  • 83
    Kristin - May 13, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    I’m following both now on Twitter and just left a tweet about the giveaway!


  • 84
    Anna - May 14, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    It makes me think about what to make and I have to make it right a way so they will not go bad! I love to go to the market and there think about what I am cooking that week! Winter is harder….


  • 85
    Anna - May 14, 2012 @ 10:48 am
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    Anna - May 14, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    I Like GoodLife Eats and 5 Second Rule on Facebook


  • 88
    Kristen M. - May 14, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

    Having fresh fruits and vegetables in the house makes it convenient for me to eat right during the day. Taking it one step further, having fresh fruits and vegetables in my garden helps me be more intentional – I wouldn’t want my garden labor to be for nothing!


  • 89
    Julie - May 16, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    I base most of my meals around the fresh fruits and veggies in my fridge.


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