Thursday, August 14, 2014

Extended Stay America Away From Home Recipe Contest

If you know me, or have visited this blog before, you know I have a thing with recipe contests. I love to enter them and I really love to win them. When I am looking for a new contest to enter I usually look to see what the prize is, and if it requires voting. I really try to stay away from voting contests as much as possible, but sometimes the prize is so good I just have to go for it.
That was the case with the newest voting contest I'm entered in.
EXTENDED STAY AMERICA “AWAY FROM HOME COOKING” CONTEST had a prize offering I just couldn't help but try for and, to my utter surprise, they picked 2 of my entries to be in finalist spots!!
Two trips to NY are up for grabs along with the chance at $5,000 and to be featured with Sunny Anderson at the Network New York City Wine & Food Festival sounds like a dream!
is what I'm hoping will get me enough votes to get to NY!
If you have a moment, and wouldn't mind helping me out I'd love for you to vote for my recipe and help me get there! Each email address can vote once per day and it is a super quick and easy vote. As always, it is very appreciated!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Campfire S'mores

S'mores and summer just go together
And, in my opinion, so does tart granny smith apples and biscoff spread
so when I saw the ad for the Campfire S'mores Non-Traditional S'mores contest I knew what my entry would be.
Luckily, they liked my entry just as much as I did and I won second place! A $300 Visa gift card and a S'mores box set!!!
4 Tablespoons crunchy cookie butter spread
4 slices granny smith apple, cored
2 Campfire Marshmallows Giant Roasters
Spread 1 Tablespoon of the cookie butter spread evenly on each of the apple slices.
Roast the Campfire Marshmallows Giant Roasters until toasted and browned and place the warm marshmallows on top of two of the apple slices.
Top each with the remaining apple slices and press gently to spread the marshmallow.
Serve Immediately.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Blessings and Blueberries

I have hit a bit of a lucky streak lately and I'm loving every minute of it! I have a lot of exciting news to share starting with this sweet gem.:
Hi Lauren,
Congratulations! You have been selected as the 1st place winner in Our State's Blueberry Recipe Collection presented by the NC Blueberry Council.
$500 prize
I am so thrilled that the North Carolina Blueberry Council loved my Blueberry Brie Stuffed French Toast With Blueberry Rosemary Syrup as much as my family did! An easy to make, sweet and savory update of a breakfast favorite this first place winning recipe blends the smooth flavor of Brie with the sweet Hawaiian bread, rosemary, and of course blueberries!
Be sure to download the entire recipe collection HERE
Apparently, blueberries and I have a little thing going on. If you need any more blueberry inspiration check out these delicious ways to use them up:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blueberry Crostada with Rosemary Tangerine Glaze

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has come up with a super fun new blogger recipe contest and they're calling it  "Blueberries Meet Their Match"
Entries are supposed to combine blueberries with your choice of: balsamic, rosemary, coconut or banana. For me, it wasn't a question which one I would pick to play with. I love sweet and savory combos and frequently add herbs to sweet recipes and drinks, so rosemary and blueberries it was!
This crostada is so easy to throw together and I love how impressive it looks after very little effort.
The cornmeal on the crust gives it a little texture, the blueberries are sweet, plump and deliciously juicy and it pairs so perfectly with the tangerine and rosemary in the glaze.
I see this as a perfect addition to a brunch table, especially since it is truly magnificent served with a mimosa on the side!
It's so good, my husband told me it was "the bomb" after shoveling his first slice down.....
we don't even talk like that, but I actually had to agree with him!
Blueberry Crostada with Rosemary Tangerine Glaze
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 refrigerated pie crust
3 cups frozen blueberries
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon tangerine zest
1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons tangerine juice
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the cornmeal on a large stonewear baking sheet or non stick cookie sheet.
Unroll the pie crust, lay it on top of the cornmeal and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornmeal evenly across the top of the crust.
In a medium mixing bowl stir together the frozen blueberries, sugar, zest and flour. Pour the mixture in the center of the pie crust leaving a 1 inch lip around the rim uncovered.
Lift and gently fold the edges up around the filling, loosely forming with your hands.
With a pastry brush, brush a layer of the heavy cream over the pie crust.
Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven when the crust is nicely browned and allow to sit aside and cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
In a small bowl stir together the rosemary, powdered sugar and tangerine juice to form a glaze.
Drizzle glaze evenly over the crostada and serve.
If you are interested in other delicious ideas for blueberries visit here

I am SO excited to say that I won the "runner up"
$500 prize for this contest!
Thanks again to the US Highbush Blueberry Council for another fun contest!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Herb and Honey Goat Cheese Tart with Fig Preserves and Prosciutto di Parma

Recently I was contacted by the lovely people at Legends from Europe to try my hand at creating a dish that would highlight one of their deliciously high quality products. I jumped at the chance and was very excited to find out that my assigned ingredient was Prosciutto di Parma.
I mean, really, who doesn't love Prosciutto di Parma?!
I decided to make a delicious appetizer that would be perfect for the upcoming holiday season. It's delicious, impressive and totally easy and quick to make.

The sweet fig, creamy goat cheese and flaky pie crust make the salty deliciousness of the Prosciutto di Parma really shine!
Herb and Honey Goat Cheese Tart with Fig Preserves and Prosciutto di Parma
1 good quality, refrigerated prepared pie crust
4 ounces room temperature goat cheese
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons fig preserves
4 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
1 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
First, pre heat your oven to 425 degrees. Unroll your pie crust onto a baking stone or cookie sheet. In a small mixing bowl combine the goat cheese, honey, lemon thyme, black pepper and garlic.
If you don't have lemon thyme, traditional thyme is a perfectly fine substitute. I just happen to have a gorgeous lemon thyme plant growing in my garden so that's what I cut today!
Spread the goat cheese mixture over the pie crust evenly and then place dabs of the fig preserves sporadically throughout.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the crust and cheese is nicely browned
Once the crust is done layer the Prosciutto di Parma on top and sprinkle with parsley
Slice and serve.
The great thing about this tart is that it is equally good warm fresh from the oven, or cooled to room temperature. If it lasts long enough to come to room temperature that is....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cooking Up a Storm

It's been embarrassingly long since I've sat down to blog, but I have very good reasons, I promise!
 I have been so blessed lately, and I'd love to share a small glimpse of my food adventures and what I've been up to lately.
First up, is quite possibly the biggest and best. At least in the world of competitive cooking, that is. The day after my birthday I found out that I made it as a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake Off and am looking forward to leaving, in just a little over a week, to meet this guy
haha!! Yes, I finally, after 7 years of trying am going to cook for a chance to win $1 million!
To say I'm excited wouldn't even begin to describe it. At all.
Here is what I'll be making:

Then I got news that I was a finalist in the Mushroom Council's Swap it or Top It Contest 
I was lucky enough to get enough votes to win First Place!!
The prize was a $1000 Williams Sonoma gift card, a ton of Mushroom Recipe Books and an "adopt a classroom" Fruits and Veggies Matter kit for my son's classroom!
Next on the list is the Minnesota Wild Rice
The "Get Wild with Wild Rice" contest
It got wild, alright and it was a race the entire time! I wasn't able to pull through and win, but I placed as a finalist and got a hat, t-shirt, assorted recipe booklets and 3 pounds of Wild Rice for my

I also entered a fun little snack for the "One Ingredient Can Change Everything Recipe Contest" put on by Grapes of California and placed 3rd!
My PB & Pretzel Snack Sticks with Grapes won me a $100 Visa giftcard and a signed book from Ellie Kreiger!
And last, but certainly not least- a BIG win!
A week ago Louis and I got to go to the NY Wine and Food Festival - I still am surprised I won and was given such an amazing opportunity from Colavita, Food and Wine Magazine and al Fresco
I entered my Smoked Andouille and Date Jam Flatbread and I'm thrilled they liked it as much as I do!
A trip to NY (somewhere we've never been before), a few nights in a beautiful boutique hotel, tickets to the NY Wine and Food Festival, a Colavita Sampler Tote and an al fresco “bag o’ loot” plus one year of al fresco all-natural chicken sausages!!
 We wandered through walls and walls and walls of wine, spirits and gourmet samplings all day long. We watched Iron Chef Morimoto break down a tuna that weighed more than I do in about 5 minutes.
I got to meet Rachel Ray, someone I've followed and loved for years, and get a book signed by her 
 And here are the two girls from Colavita that helped make our trip so successful
Seriously almost too good to be true!
New York was a dream and I'm hoping that Vegas will be just as thrilling!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Monday

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend! 
I participated in my first Holiday Open House of the season yesterday and had a great time meeting so many new people, sharing kitchen tips and easy entertaining ideas.
Today, on my Facebook page, I am sharing 5 new delicious recipes to get you through the week
will you hop over there and follow me? I post a new menu with recipes every Monday and kitchen tips throughout the week to inspire you to gather with your family around the table.
Here's the link, I hope you enjoy it!

On the Menu this Week:
Bacon, Linguini & Tomato Toss
Baja Shrimp Tostadas
Barbecue Chicken & Onion Pizza
Braised Chicken in Wine Sauce
Blackberry Balsamic Pork Stir-Fry Salad