Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Campbells Cook Off- Part II

Hazzard shenanigans -recipes- general chatter..it's been a while.  Came back from my Campbell's Cook Off week and it seemed like I just couldn't catch up.  Life is good, life is full, especially when your a "Hazzard".
I really think it captured the experience and highlights the fun we had when all of you visited us!  Here is the link to the YouTube Video.
While it is still fresh in my pea-pickin' brain, I am going to give you a real quick peek at my week in PA and the surrounding areas, friends and family I re-connected with {thank you Campbell's!}.  As you know from my previous blog post Campbell's was a wonderful experience.  After the three  Finalist completed their "Campbell's Store Shopping Spree" we said our good byes and headed on our way to airports and train stations.  I had a "Driver & A Car" to take me from Campbell's Headquarters to the train station.  I had made plans to rent a car and head an hour and a half away from Philly to N.J. and have dinner and drinks with my MIL.  Her name is Chris and without a doubt one of the kindest people that walk this earth.  My sister in law joined us from Maryland, her name is Johanna.
Anyway, we had a wonderful dinner in Mt. Holly NJ, where the food was French-Meets American Cuisine!
If you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods, you simply must stop by, even if its just for dessert and coffee. Totally charming!                        2 Washington Street
                                     Mount Holly, NJ 08060
                                       Phone# 609.261.6149
                                        Fax # 609.261.9628
Sooo of course being the total Foodie that I am, I was indeed taking pictures of our meals that evening.
I had the fabulous Homemade Ravioli stuffed with Sweet Pumpkin and Creamy Ricotta Cheese, tossed in a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce topped with Toasted pine Nuts.  The two other Entrees that arrived at our table were: Roasted Rack Of Lamb & Shrimp Alfredo with pasta.  Just outstanding, it was a great evening for just the girls!

I spent the night in NJ and headed back to Penn Station the next day where I was to catch a train to Harrisburg PA, but first I was meeting my dear friend Anne.  We have been friends for over 30 years, that's a long time!.  We worked together for TWA back in the day, were married just 7 days apart from each others wedding dates, and get this we delivered our first born children in the same hospital, 3 days apart.  How's that for timing?  Anyway, Anne took the train in from Villanova where she works and met me for lunch and a glass of wine, right in the station. I am remiss to say I forgot to jot down the name of the restaurant, BUT I did have the waiter take a pix of the two of us.  We spent a great 3 hours together, just chatting away like there was never a lapse in time from the last time we got together.
I had a great train ride from Philly to Harrisburg through snow cover hillsides, farms and clapboard houses. 
I have forgotten how beautiful the are is.  I had also forgotten how dang' cold it gets!  That evening we arrived at my brother Steve's house, had a great dinner with my Mom and my other brother Ed {I have 8- yes, 8 brothers!!}.  Steve had made a beautiful loaf of homemade Italian Bread..it was simply to die for.  He had slow- roasted a beautiful roast of beef - called Tri Tip Roast. Something I wasn't familiar with but planning on  "finding that exact item" somewhere here in Florida.  This roast comes in a marinade and packaged in a vacuum sealed package by Morton's!  It truly was tremendous, and what a great evening!  There is nothing like getting together with family.  The next day my Mom and I spent the day together, catching up, laughing and chatting.  She is another person I just don't see often enough.  What an amazing woman she is.  That evening my sister Jeanne came into town from Baltimore area, which is about 2 1/2 hours from Harrisburg.  The plan was out to dinner, with "just the girls" spend one more night in Harrisburg and then head to Baltimore for another extended stay and family roundup!  On the way from Harrisburg to Baltimore we stopped at the in-famous Wegman's Market.  I LOVE THIS PLACE!!  It is huge.  It is sooo big the market has it's own sit-down Eatery, and the food is amazing, great quality.  Well, it just happens to be my brother David manages Wegman's Eatery which seats 400 in Hunt Valley, MD.  Can I tell you how surprised he was to see us "stop by"!  We had a quick lunch with him, did our grocery shopping and hit the trail blazing to Baltimore, our next stop.  I spent a great 3 nights with my sister Jeanne and her family.  Over the weekend I was there we planned another family gathering of Aunts, Uncles, brother and sisters.  What a great time, eating drinking and laughing so hard we cried!!    Within my family of 10 siblings, there are just 3 girls, myself, Jeanne & Patty.   After the family party that evening Patty decided to spend the night rather then drive back to  Delaware.  What a great time "we three sisters  had.. til 3 a.m. that morning.  A  PJ Party to remember.  Just the three of us.  So, so much fun. I miss my sisters living near by. :{

I had planned a day in D.C. to visit with 2 of my fantastic RWOP gals {Real Woman Of Philadelphia - that was with Sheila & Annette.  We had  great evening of laughing, wining and dining.  Fantastic food and fantastic company!  Thank you so much Jeanne" for  "Driving Miss Daisy"- what a wonderful trip!!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Valentine's Day! I packed a heart felt lunch, OK.  Breakfast too, for the man I love~

Visualize a room full of jet mechanics when you open that lunch sack and find heart shaped gingerbread pancakes.  Wait next stop Sun-dried Tomato Cajun Chicken Wraps - yes, one of them cut into a big HEART shape. ..wink.  Last but not least dessert. True love.  That would be Raspberry Lemon Love Notes.  I can not wait to hear the reactions in the lunch room, when my guy starts taking out all he heart shapes this Valentines Day.
P.S. I am a wee-bit behind schedule chatting with you about my Philly trip.  Hopefully I'll get back to you all this week.  Life IS full ya' all.   
                                         ***PART II***
So easy!  OMG on Spaghetti Pie - heart shaped for "that special day in February" add a bottle of red & your ready to go. Yes - it was Savory Garlic Cooking Creme infused. Fantastic!! 
This Little Cooker Lady was also busy making my daughter Katie and Surprise Lunch. Before she headed off to work!
 Her Fav Roast Beef Sandwich in a Cute lil Heart Shape!!!!
 And Chocolate Covered Strawberries!!! You know it's that time of year here in Fl where strawberries are coming into season!
I hope All you lovely's out there had a wonderful Valentine's day to! <3

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Campbells Cook Off!!!‏

Hi Gang!
I just have sooo much to tell you! What an exciting week!  A week of cooking, eating,competing, meeting the fine folks of Campbell's and of course time spent with my family and some friends in the North East region of the USA.  It was FAB-U-LOUS!!  This was the Ultimate Football Challenge Cook Off.  Featuring Swanson Brand Premium Chunk Chicken.
I flew from Florida to Philly on a day where most major airports were socked in due to snow storms, fog and rain. I was fortunate enough to not experience and delays at all!  As a matter of fact we arrived right on time.  I walked through Philadelphia airport to the baggage claim area .  As I rounded the corner of the elevator  there was my name posted on a sign, held by my "Driver".  YES.. Campbell's had sent a car and driver as a "Meet & Greet", and whisk me off to the amazing Lowe's Center City Philadelphia Hotel.  My drivers name was Kevin.  Such a nice guy.  We had this great conversation about food.  Well actually about cookies.  His favorite cookie is a Molasses/Ginger Cookie.  I told him I just happen to have the very best Molasses Ginger cookie recipe ever, and promised to send him a batch. 

 Arrived Loew's Hotel. Quite swanky! I felt like Cinderella!! Car, Driver, Doorman, Concierge, great Front Desk persons PLUS a welcome goodie bag for me from our hosts - Campbells!  The room was beautiful. I had just enough time to freshen up, have a glass of wine, and slip into fancy clothes..  We were heading to an Ultra Sheek Restaurant called: Tinto's Spanish Restaurant & Bar.  Tinto is one of Jorge Garces' (the Iron Chef!!) restaurants in the Philadelphia area. it was very cool, it happened to be restaurant week, so we got to sample many of the dishes there!  The three Finalist wined and dined with Campbell' s Business Directors, Brand  Managers, Project Managers and our Communications Promotional person Corrinne Upton. A really amazing evening.  Wonderful company, interesting food and another new experience under my belt. We sampled many recipes.  My favorite was  La Peral Cheese,  This was a semi-firm, bleu, pasteurized, cow & sheep's milk cheese.  I loved the Duck Montadito & Serrano ham combination with a black cherry spread. Plus the Mussels in a white wine, saffron, garlic, and tomato broth were to die for!  Then there were tender luscious Sea Scallops. Yumm!!!
7:45 am, bright and early our Driver was waiting for us outside the hotel and we were heading for the Campbell's headquarters in Camden NJ.  The new Campbell's facility was just beautiful.  I was really looking forward to the "behind the scenes" tour we would receive.  Some coffee and a light breakfast, a few introductions and the competition began.  The Campbell's Test Kitchens are set up just like any home kitchen would be.  Ten kitchens in all, back to back.  This was not your high end "Industrial Viking Appliance Kitchen that you view on Cooking Shows.  That's a bit unrealistic for the average home cook. Campbell's  wants each test recipe to take place in a home type kitchen - just like I have or you have.   This assures Campbell's it will be a true "my kitchen to your kitchen type experience" using  their products.   I call that a well thought out plan!
And here we are, the THREE FINALIST:

Let the competition begin!!

 There was a photographer there and a videographer both from Campbells.  ABC & NBC Networks were there as well.  The word was we were to "make the Fox Channel News" in Philly that evening.

*{I'm sorry to say this is a "partial plate" of what was presented to the Judges,
the full presentation plate disappeared rather quickly!} 

First up presentation "ME" & my dish, in front of the Judges Panel.  

And the winner is.....Laura with her Quick Chicken Enchilada Nachos!!
Win or lose, you just can't beat a great experience and good time.  Interesting to meet other Food Bloggers like myself, and here what they do and how they do it.  Another feather in my "Chef Hat" & a great trip to boot!  OH - I almost forgot & certainly a "HIGHLIGHT" for my trip to Philly, and a not to be missed item!
How bout' an authentic Philly Cheese Steak from GINO'S of South Philly.  Yep!! The great folks from Campbell's came through with just that.  The Cook Off was completed and into the kitchen walks Eric Christiansen, the Business Director of Sauce & Simple Meal Makers.  He was carrying a paper bag still warm and toasty from Gino's just for the three of us.  My Utah competition Barbara & Laura had never tasted the real deal before.  HOW thoughtful was that!!! Let me tell you - that earned him a big hug and kiss from yours truly!.
Here's the three of us digging into that yummy famous Philly Sandwiches..  Thanks Eric for the special trip to Philly!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sunset Hummus

 Sunset Hummus 

Don’t you just love the title of this recipe?  The inspiration of the name came to me once I combined the roasted peppers and golden garbanzo beans together; it becomes this gorgeous sunset color.  The garlic cooking crème replaces the yogurt and five cloves of garlic that’s usually added to this recipe.  Enjoy!  You are going to love this delicious Mediterranean spread.
PS: If you want to skip the calories of the yogurt or cooking creme, then I suggest adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil, and pulse a little longer to catch that creamy quality!

Prep Time:      10 minutes
Cooking Time: 0

1- 10 oz. tub Cooking Crème, Savory Garlic flavor
1 – 16 oz. can of Garbanzo Beans - drained
1 Tblsp Sesame Seed Oil
1 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ to 3/4 Cup Roasted Red Peppers-drained, using the jarred variety
1 lemon – squeezed – {you need the juice of 1 fresh lemon}
¼ Tsp. Red Pepper flakes {optional…for heat!}

Using  a mini-chopper or food processor add in the garbanzo beans, red peppers, olive oil, sesame seed oil  and lemon juice.  Blend on high speed about 4 minutes more or less.  We want the texture of the beans to resemble the size of minced garlic.  Now add in the Cooking Creme blending til smooth, about another minute.  Add in a few pinches of sea salt and black pepper. Wah la!
NOTE: I serve Sunset Hummus with fresh roasted Whole Wheat Pita Chips, their just so easy and quick to bake rather then purchase a bag.  Here’s what you do: preheat oven to 400, line a cookie sheet with foil, spray the foil generously with cooking spray {I use olive oil cooking spray} then salt and pepper the cookie sheet.  Slice your pita pocket in ½ vertically, take each pita ½ and cut into ¼ s making small triangle shapes.  Separate each pita triangle peeling them apart.  Place on cookie sheet, spraying the triangles with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Bake 5-7 minutes til edges are golden.     

PS: Friends! Just received a nice note from my sister Patty.   Patty is the Director Of Catering @ Delaware State University.  Her Chef' Louis featured my Sunset Hummus recipe for a Reception held at the University Presidents Home.  The Celebrity Guest iof Honor at this affair was Dr. Ian K. Smith.  Dr. Smith has been featured on programs alike  "Biggest Looser".  Anyway!  this is EXCITING.. Dr. Smith kind of hung by my Hummus most the evening snacking on it.    He then sent his Assistant over to my sister Patty to ask for  the recipe.  The next day Patty received this note from Dr. Smith's Assistant: 
 We certainly enjoyed our visit to the campus.  Also, Dr. Ian wants to send his compliments to the chef.  He loved the roasted red pepper hummus!
Sooo.... I responded to the email with the recipe above using a bit more olive & sesame oil rather then the dairy products, and forward it with the picture to Dr. Smith's office.