Date Night In // Not Without Salt


photos by Boone Rodriguez

I had a dream the other night, a nightmare really, about seeing my book for the first time. I ripped into its yellow parcel pouch with the same enthusiasm as my four-year-old at Christmas. I flipped over the cover so I could take in the culmination of three years worth of work but inside I found hideous beige and fabric textured paper with a similarly beige font. Instantly any hope I had of people actually reading the book were dashed. They made a last minute change to divide the book by meals which made no sense for a date night book (let’s just say the breakfast chapter was very lacking) and there was one whole section dedicated to the fried chicken and biscuit sandwich (maybe that’s not so bad after all). The narratives were tucked in the back like an afterthought and the images were small and often distorted.

The rest of the night I lay there trying to convince a very nervous and anxious self that “it was just a bad dream. They wouldn’t really print beige-on-beige. Go back to sleep.”

It feels surreal to be at this place. Less than two months from the pub date, I mean. It seems like I’m the only one who feels like this time has flown by. Perhaps that’s because I’ve been deep in the process of actually creating it as I’ve watched the due dates come and go and poured myself into the project every step of the way. So much so that while I’m absolutely thrilled to finally be able to share it with you all, I’m also a bit terrified.

You may have noticed a lull here over the past couple of years. Those of you who have been reading the site for years may have noticed posts that were a bit more light, quick and airy. I’m still proud of those posts and stand by the recipes they served but I tried real hard to save all of myself for the book. I wanted to stand at the point where I am at today and say, “I am damn proud of this book.” And guess what guys, I am really damn proud of this book.

I have tears in my eyes as I write that because I am so happy with how true that statement is and I also know how hard it is for me to say that about anything I create.

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Date Night In // Not Without Salt Date Night In // Not Without Salt Date Night In // Not Without Salt

I’m proud of this book for many reasons; the food is ridiculous (I’m convinced that the Salted Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream Pie with Bourbon Butterscotch and Pretzel Crust is worth the cost of the book alone) the photos make the food look as good as it tasted, and this book was created by a village. But what makes me the most proud is that this book is about so much more than the food. As much as I love food what I really love is what happens around the table and what happened around our table last year gave us the absolute best year of our marriage.

Side note: Writing a book about date nights is the best accountability to actually having a weekly date night. I highly recommend it.

A couple weeks ago I was speaking at a Food Blogger’s conference about being vulnerable on the blog; the importance of that and why I do it. Inevitably the book came up because this book is quite possibly the most vulnerable I have ever been. Tears streamed down my face as I stood up on stage and told the audience about this project. I found myself anticipating the question of “why do it if it makes you so scared?”

This is what I told them; “I’m terrified. I’m afraid of this book being judged or me being judged because of the book. I’m very afraid of bad amazon reviews. But I will take that fear any day if it means that I get to share my heart, my passion and myself with others in the hope that someone may find help, hope and inspiration in it.”

I don’t want to live a safe life, I want a meaningful one.

Last night I got an email from my editor that the book is one its way. The moment I’ve dreamed (nightmared) about is happening in a matter of days and I couldn’t be more excited and yes, terrified. You all will have to wait a bit longer before you get to hold the book in your hands but just as I reward my own children for their patience I plan to do the same for you.

While the book has over 120 recipes I couldn’t stop there so I went ahead and created five additional recipes that make up what we are affectionately calling our “Holi-DATE”.

Date Night In // Not Without Salt Date Night In // Not Without Salt IMG_3218

The Holi-date is the perfect menu to celebrate surviving the craziness of the season that is right in front of us. Here’s the menu:

Classic Champagne Cocktail

Gruyere Gougeres

Stuffed Pork loin with Prosciutto and Prunes

Cranberry and Cabbage Slaw with Orange Ginger Vinaigrette

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread


*Bonus* The extra Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread that you don’t eat for date night makes a great holiday gift.


I want you to all have these recipes but first I need you to do something for me: Pre-order the book. Please and thank you.

For the first 150 people who pre-order and then fill out this form I will send you a set of five beautifully designed (thanks, babe!) and photographed recipe cards along with a downloadable PDF of all the recipes from this menu. If you aren’t one of the first 150 don’t worry, you’ll still get the PDF.

You can choose to pre-order the books where ever you like (if you do so here it’ll be a signed copy!) the important thing is that you pre-order. I’m new to this whole book making and selling process but apparently the pre-orders are a big deal because bookstores like to see that the book is legit and people are totally into it. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is all just so huge for me, my family and my sweet friends who are ready and waiting to pass the tissues, raise a glass of bubbly and give me loads of hugs and eager pats on the back. All that to say, your support means so much to me. I can not wait to share this book with the world and to finally start the conversation that I’ve been writing about and thinking about for such a very long time.

Once you pre-order the book go to our book page (here) and fill in the form.

(The book page will be the home for all book tour events. I’ll be updating it regularly so don’t be afraid to become friendly with that page.)

Looking for where to pre-order? I’ve got you covered.


Indie Bound

Book Larder (pre-order here for a signed copy!)

Powell’s (the cover here is not the most recent edition)

Running Press







36 Responses to “Date Night In: Pre-Order!”

  1. Brian

    I can’t believe it’s almost here! I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release since you first announced it. No doubt it’s going to be a book that I’ll read, reread, and share with family and friends.

  2. Allison

    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to what I’m sure will be a beautiful book and amazing recipes, if they are anything like what you’ve posted here 🙂

  3. Natasha

    how very, very exciting! it’ll be great to see your fabulous voice away from the computer screen and on paper. congratulations xx

  4. Liv B

    Hi! I’m Liv. Long time reader, first time commenter. I have never been so excited about a cookbook as I am about yours!! I have never pre-ordered – until now!! Thanksfully – Amazon ship to Australia!

    I cannot wait to share this cookbook with the man that will be my husband come February next year & nourish our relationship. Your Dating My Husband series has been wonderful to read & share over the past years.

    I’d love to fill in the form but it doesn’t appear to be working at the moment – just thought I’d let you know.

    Congratulations on your book – delighted to be able to have it in my home next year xx

  5. sara forte

    you already know how I feel about this but it bears repeating, I CAN’T WAIT to watch people love your book. Your recipes, photos, words, heart and soul and dedication that is strewn through the entire thing. It’s just perfect and I admire that you are willing to say you are proud of it! I know that’s tough to say of ourselves, I understand, and I am so happy to hear you say that because you for sure have much to be proud of. Can’t wait for my copy!

  6. Tina

    Congratulations!!! I’ve been waiting for this announcement and I could not get my order submitted fast enough. I took one of your photography classes (with you & Gabe) and your stuffed things kids class at the pantry and I really appreciate your approach. Your date night posts are often my favorite. I’m certain your book is going to be just as awesome as everything else you do.

  7. Daytona

    Ashley, way to go. As a recipe tester, I can say with confidence that this book is going to be spectacular. I’ve preordered my copy and am already thinking of additional ones to purchase for Christmas gifts! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  8. Clarissa

    I remember when you first announced you were writing a book I was so excited because your date night posts are often my favorite! Even though I had hoped to be married or in a relationship and am not yet, I still plan to share the book wih friends and read it for inspiration:). Plus u know it will be full of yummy recipes and gorgeous photos so win-win! Congratulations!!

  9. Kathleen

    Many, many congrats, Ashley! I’m so glad you can let that pride sink in a little bit. Your talent and dedication are admirable. I hope to catch you at Book Larder (assuming you do a reading there), and possibly will see you around town prior! Cheers!

  10. Kristel Wyman

    Obviously I pre-ordered — in October! I can’t wait to see this book, and see you get all the feedback on how great you and your recipes are. So proud of you!!

  11. julia | all the little things

    Ashley – it’s your bravery in being vulnerable that continually inspires me to share my own passion for cooking and gathering the people I love around the table. Your determination, strength, and passion is a daily reminder of what it means to live a meaningful life.

    Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment. I couldn’t be more excited for your book – it’s on my Christmas list 🙂

  12. Louise

    Your “dating my husband” posts are my very favorite to read and always encourage me to spend more quality time not only with my husband, but with family and close friends. Nourishing these relationships is so important and I am unbelievably excited to share your wonderful recipes with those closest to me. I would have pre-ordered anyways but I am very excited for the extra recipes. Congratulations, I hope your copy is everything you want and more!

  13. Dawn Zook

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to see and feel your book — and smell the cooking it inspires! You are such a blessing. So glad to know you. (And I love the pics in this most recent post. Romantic!)

  14. Eileen

    Congratulations on your finished book — so exciting! I think it’s okay (& 100% normal) to be scared in this kind of situation. After all, you should always do what you are most afraid to do, right? And the rewards are definitely worth it. 🙂 Yay!

  15. Mariel

    Super big congrats, Ashley! We’re rooting for you 🙂

    Love, all your friends at A+E Digital Studios

  16. Erin M

    I just pre-ordered the book (even though I”m supposed to be on a cookbook purchasing moratorium…shhhhh! don’t tell!) and I couldn’t be more excited!! I absolutely love the blog and cannot wait to see what fabulous things the cookbook holds!! xoxo

  17. shelly

    First time commenter here. First congratulations! What a fantastic achievement. I got my husband’s approval to try your date nights (he’s terrified of cooking) so I pre-ordered mine. Really looking forward to receiving it! Here’s to some great food and couple therapy! 😉

  18. Lindsay

    Uhhm, I melted a little bit at that third photo. For the food at first (that chicken!), and then for you two about to make out in the corner of the photo. OH MY GOSH. I love it so much. You guys are the best. Hope you are enjoying this season of all your passion and hard work paying off! <3

  19. thelittleloaf

    I’m SO excited about your book. I love cookbooks as much for the narrative and stories behind the scenes as the recipes themselves (although I know those will be truly wonderful too). My first book publishes next year too and I totally feel you on the process, how nerve-wracking it all is but how incredibly, wonderfully right it feels. So happy for you and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy 🙂 Kate x

  20. Dianne Bibby

    A visual feast, courageously brave and so admirable to pour so much of yourself out for the world to see. A real gift to be able to inspire, encourage and bless others with your personal self. Well done!

  21. SallyBR

    Just pre-ordered your book in a Kindle format – saving trees, one at a time

    Can hardly wait…

    I don’t comment much, but love your site!


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