Monday, November 10, 2014

Bake It Till You Make It!

 The morning of the Bake-Off I woke up at 2am, 3:15 am, 4 am and then lastly got up at 6 am. The clock in the hotel room had not been changed since day light savings time so I was constantly thinking I was late and I was super paranoid I would sleep through the bake-off completely since Louis wasn't with me to be sure I was up on time.
Totally rational, right?
 Downstairs all of the contestants met for breakfast where they had a beautiful spread waiting for us. I could eat none of it and I could barely force down half of my fruit due to excitement and nerves (but mostly nerves)
We all got on our aprons, turned in all of our belongings since you are not allowed to bring ANYTHING on the floor with you (no phones, lipstick, Kleenex-nada) and were herded into the hallway right outside the Bake-Off floor.  
I have a bad habit of doing and saying ridiculous things when I'm nervous, and this picture is a perfect example. We were trying to get as many pictures as we could while we still had our cameras and phones on us and I thought it would be just great if the two Laurens did "prom pose"
The photo is blurry because we were giggling so much and I was two seconds away from falling on my butt in the middle of the floor. My balance is not good when I'm nervous either.
Glori Spriggs, last year's winner, was there and was so sweet stopping to say Hello to us and giving us encouragement and advice right before the craziness started! The other girls with me are the most beautiful, smart, creative, supportive and talented cooking sisters I could ask for and I was so glad to share this wild experience with them two years in a row! They made my time at the Bake-Off so much more than the competition. 
After the Grand March into the ballroom we are given 20 minutes at our stations to get settled and start whatever prep is needed. After that time there is an announcement made opening the floor to media, bloggers, the TV crew of The Chew, General Mills, Pillsbury and all of the sponsor execs. Once the gates open, the room is filled with busy energy. It's hard to explain, but the buzz on the floor in those 3 hours is absolutely palpable. 
I wasn't approached for any interviews in those first 30 minutes since I was tucked in the middle aisle, so I was really able to concentrate and prep everything I needed for all 3 batches and I actually finished my first batch and was ready to turn in my food before anyone else! To be first was not my intention but I knew going in that if a batch looked good, was warm and ready for judging when there was no line to get to the judges table I was going for it. 
Once I turned in my food to be judged I was able to relax, be ready for interviews and chat for a while with Carla and The Chew crew! Carla is so friendly and bubbly it was really fun talking with her. We had a pretty long interview so I'm interested to see what clips they will use on the show on December 3!
That evening we had a Blue Carpet moment with the Golden Doughboy before dinner, a dessert buffet and FINALLY the awards announcement
Of all the meals I had at the Omni, this was my least favorite. I've never been a big fan of mass produced dinners and this one was no different. The pics look way better than it actually tasted.
After dinner we all moved to another room for the Dessert Buffet
It was beautiful and strange at the same time
Blue lights and silver trees were on long tables that highlighted all of these beautiful little desserts
macaroons, caramels, candies, cookies
that were literally dumped it the middle for us to pick through
They were absolutely delicious, but I thought it was kind of funny to spend such a long time in the kitchen making a petit four and then throwing it right on top of a pile of other beautiful bites that seemed to just look muddled together when presented like this
After getting our sugar high on we all went into the awards ceremony. The band that played was awesome and Carla was the perfect hostess
Unfortunately, this was not my year and I wasn't chosen for the top four, but I still walk away with an amazing experience that money couldn't buy and a pretty generous finalist package
Below are the lucky top 4 which are now up for online voting until the big reveal on The Chew on December 3rd
Beth Royal's Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters got my vote, but would you choose the same? Do you prefer the quick dinner Cuban-Style Sandwich Pockets, breakfast choice of Chocolate Doughnut Poppers or the Creamy Corn-Filled Sweet Peppers?
Vote Here and let me know what you think! I can't wait to see who comes out on top!


  1. You're a winner just for participating in the PBO! Sounds like it was an experience that won't be forgotten. Beth already has my vote!

    1. Thanks Jenn! It was so much fun and I was grateful to be there again!!

  2. Sorry you didn't become a finalist, but you are right, what a great experience!

    Of all of those, I'd vote for the pepper - I don't have much of a sweet tooth. :D


Pulled Pork Muffulettas

Smithfield Pork is hosting their Shake It Up Contest  and they asked for people to send in their best ideas and pictures of ways to Shak...