It's Cookoff Day!

Last night all the finalists had an amazing dinner at 700 Drayton, what a good looking group!
Check out the restaurant...gorgeous!
I loved all the finalists and was especially excited to meet the uber-fantastic Cynthia. She is a bundle of fun!
In the morning, the Side Dish finalists were first off--here we are ready to roll!!
As we were prepping for the cookoff, Jamie Deen walked in the room! We had such a fun chat, you would probably think it was all about food but actually he had some genius potty-training tips for my toddler. Thanks, Jamie!!
Of COURSE we were all taking photos!
and videos...
Got my makeup and hair done, I'm ready to cook! Hopefully tomorrow I'll have pictures from the cookoff, the set was BEAUTIFUL! You can see photos right now on the Real Women of Philadelphia site.
As a side note, there are chandeliers ALL OVER the Mansion at Forsyth Park!
It's every girl's dream! I have four chandeliers in my room!!
So grateful to be here...more tomorrow!


I'm in Savannah!!

I'm in Savannah for the Real Women of Philadelphia Cookoff!!
I finally got to meet the amazing finalists in person! So impressed!

I was super excited to see our giant Paula Deen poster...
but EVEN MORE excited when she surprised us all IN PERSON!!! WHAT?!?!
I'm cooking off at 7:15 AM tomorrow, can't wait!!!


Bananas Foster Stuffed French Toast

Breakfast time! I haven't posted a great breakfast idea in awhile and this one is a winner! Rembmer this tart? Well, the filling was so good that I decided to see what it was like as stuffed french toast!
I used the Busick Court Restaurant's Banana Stuffed French Toast recipe and simply changed the filling to my own creation. YUM!

Bananas Foster Stuffed French Toast
adapted from Busick Court Restaurant
Coating Ingredients:
1/4 cup pancake mix
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

Toast ingredients:
12 eggs
1 large (1 1/2 to 2-pound) loaf unsliced French bread
About 2 cups crushed crunchy corn cereal (recommended: Corn Flakes)
About 12 tablespoons butter
caramel ice cream topping, optional

Filling ingredients:
1/3 c. Honey
12 oz. Mascarpone cheese (use cream cheese if you can’t locate any)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the pancake mix with enough water to make a thin batter. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and eggs. Whisk together until smooth, about 3 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix together honey, mascarpone, bananas, and vanilla.
Slice the ends off the French bread. Starting at 1 end, measure about a half inch down the loaf and slice the bread 3/4 of the way through. Measure about another half inch, and slice cleanly through the bread. You should have a 1-inch slice of bread with a cut down the middle. Repeat this process until the bread is all sliced up.

Take a piece of the cut French bread and stuff a few tablespoons of the banana mixture into the slit in the middle. Add a good amount, but do not overstuff so that the mixture won't stay in the center. Repeat until all the slices are stuffed.
Preheat a skillet or flat-top grill over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, coat it with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Pour the crushed-up cornflakes onto a plate. Take a slice of stuffed bread and dip it into the egg mixture, coating both sides liberally. Then press the bread into the cornflakes and flip it to coat both sides. Place the bread on the grill or skillet and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Flip the toast over and cook the other side.
Repeat the coating and cooking process for each slice of bread, and add more butter to the grill or skillet as necessary, about 2 tablespoons of butter per slice. Place on serving platter and drizzle with hot caramel ice cream topping, if desired.


RWOP Recipes!

I've got a yummy breakfast recipe coming for ya!
But first, I wanted to highlight some of the Real Women of Philadelphia that are coming to compete in Savannah next week!
I'll be there cooking up my Asparagus Pastry, hoping to impress Paula Deen and win $25,000! You can watch the live event here at 8 PM EST on June 30!

A lot of the finalists have been getting press, TV interviews, etc., but these three amazing women live in a tough market (no one seems to want good news in D.C. right now!:)). They've been trying so hard to get the word out about being finalists for the Real Women of Philadelphia and are so incredibly special that I want to make sure everyone possible sees how great they are. Also, you'll love their recipes! Enjoy!

Sheila Cutchlow is one impressive woman! She's personable, talented, and can talk ALL DAY about food. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find her scuba diving or helping out anyone who needs a hand. You'll LOVE her Chicken Bundles & Rice.

Lindsay Rudolph is an elementary physical education teacher. That in and of itslef should get her some kind of award! She's a super-cute and fun mom and her oatmeal apple cream pies are FABULOUS!

Annette Gladys is such a great example to me of what a mom should be! She's been at home with her kids for over 20 years and now that they're grown, she's finding more time to experiment in the kitchen. She's taught them to love cooking from a young age and I can't wait to see her in Savannah! Check out her Stuffed Mushrooms!

Wish me luck in Savannah! I leave this weekend for the cookoff of a lifetime!! I did an interview yesterday on New Day Northwest and made my dish, you can watch it here. It was so fun!


Zhu Zhu Pet Snacks

This week, we were lucky enough to try out the brand new Kung Zhu Pets! They are incredible! I'll be doing a fun post on them in the "family fun" section soon. To celebrate, we made Zhu Zhu Pet treats to serve at out little party. My girls had never had a Twinkie before and boy were they in heaven! I hope you have fun whipping these up with your own little hamster fans. Enjoy!

Zhu Zhu Pet Treats
Mini M&M's (for eyes)
Butterscotch chips (for tails)
Yellow Starburst Candies (for ears)
Pink Jelly Belly Candies (for noses)
White Icing
uncooked thin spaghetti noodles, optional (for whiskers)

Set twinkie on plate and add two dots of whit icing, as shown below.
Smooth icing dots together to make your Zhu Zhu's face.
Gather your goodies and get ready to decorate!
Cut a yellow starburst candy into four pieces and microwave for 5-8 seconds. Use each piece to shape an "ear" (one candy will make four ears). Attach to twinkie with icing.
Using icing, attach M & M candies, butterscotch chip tails, press jelly bean into face, and add whiskers (optional). Pipe out icing "wheels" on each side of the Zhu Zhu treat. If your kids want to go crazy, you can let them make some BATTLE ARMOR for their Kung Zhu treats! (My kids used fruit roll ups and pringles:)).


Cookoff Results & Suddenly Salad Giveaway

My friend Alli needs your help!
She's trying to win a $25,000 grant from Pepsi to help her with her children's nonprofit, Project Goodness.
Anything to help out kids gets my vote, please go here and vote for her every day!
We've heard back from all the judges and the results from our
Finger Lickin' Grillin' Cookoff
here! Thanks to all who entered!

Also, you can download the 10 finalists' recipes here. They are amazing and great to add to your summer grilling lineup!

  • Speaking of summer grilling and get-togethers, we had the chance to try Betty Crocker's Suddenly Salad® mixes this week. Rather than bringing the usual potato salad or coleslaw, add excitement to your party plate by spicing up traditional summer salads with Betty Crocker´s Suddenly Salad® mixes!

We used the Greek Salad variety and added kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, fresh chopped tomatoes, diced zucchini and topped it with a sprinkle of feta cheese. DELICIOUS! I loved that you can whip up this salad in the time it takes to boil pasta.

For great recipe ideas and to learn about the different varieties of Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad mixes, visit http://www.suddenlysalad.com/. There, you´ll find great recipes, including one for Greek Tossed Pasta Salad, using Suddenly Salad Caesar pasta salad mix, and Garden Ranch Pasta Salad, using Suddenly Salad ranch & bacon pasta salad mix.

We want you to see for yourself how versatile and quick these salad mixes are! We're giving away a "Suddenly Delicious" prize pack that includes:
-a sample of the newest variety, Suddenly Salad Greek
-a storage container
-a serving bowl
-an insulated tote

-Leave a comment here telling me what you'd like to mix-in with your Suddenly Salad Mix.
-For an extra entry, follow me on Google Friend Connect, Facebook, or Twitter (leave a comment)
We'll pick one random winner on 6-17. Open to US Residents.

Disclosure: This product, gift pack, information, and giveaway were all provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed, as always, are my own.


Stuffed Turtle Rolls

I'll be with 24/7 Moms tonight talking about Picky Eaters
& making some "School's Out!" Edible Crayons. You can watch live here at 7 PM Pacific Time. Download my "School's Out!" crayon labels here.

How about some Stuffed Turtle Rolls tonight?
Your picky eaters will gobble up these adorable turtle rolls so quickly that they won’t realize they’re filled with vegetables! Stuffed with cream cheese, spinach, carrots, parmesan and artichokes, these delicious rolls are a favorite with adults and too cute to resist for the younger set. Perfect for everyone!

Stuffed Turtle Rolls
1 tsp. dried minced onion
¼ tsp. garlic powder
8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 C. Kraft grated parmesan cheese
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 large carrot, shredded
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, packed in water
2 pkg (16 oz each) ready-made pizza dough
2 Tbs. whole cloves (optional, for garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Drain artichoke hearts and chop coarsely. In a medium mixing bowl, combine artichoke hearts, cream cheese, garlic powder, minced onion, parmesan cheese, spinach & carrot. Set aside.

3. Divide one package of dough in thirds. Divide each in thirds again.
4. Take one piece of dough and divide in half. Roll one half into a ball, then flatten down into palm.
5. Place a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mixture into center of flattened dough. Bring ends toward the center and pinch to seal, forming a round “body”. Place on greased baking sheet.
6. Divide second piece of dough in half. Roll one piece in to a sphere and place at one end of the stuffed roll as the “head”. Divide remaining pieces into four parts and roll to form “legs”. Place on either side of turtle body. Use one small pinch of dough for a tail.
7. Repeat with remaining dough until you have made 6 turtles (they should fill one baking sheet). Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes while you assemble the remaining 6 turtles.
8. Repeat steps 3-7 with other package of dough.
9. Place any remaining filling in a pie pan and bake along with turtle rolls.
10. Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Serve leftover baked filling along with rolls for dipping.
Optional: Press two cloves (“eyes”) into each turtle head before serving. Remove cloves before eating.

Holiday Playlist

My grandmother hasn't been doing well...to cheer her up, I rounded up a few of my musical friends and made an album of Holiday songs fo...