Tag Archives: Real Women of Philadelphia

The Hosts With the Most

Just swimming in a sea of Philadelphia gift bags

As you may have heard by now, the hosts of Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia Canada have been announced, and I am one of the lucky four. Along with appetizer host, Angela Amati, entrée host, Lyndsay Wells, and dessert host, Laurie Pearson, I will be leading Real Women’s Canadian online community as side dish host. There is a bitter-sweetness to this transition as we leave behind our time in Toronto, but I’m looking forward to what’s in store. The four of us will be introducing the community’s next contest on July 25th, so keep your eye on www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca.

I can’t express how honoured I feel to have participated in the cook-off with such an incredible and diverse group of women. Each of you inspires me to be a better person and a better cook. Candice, Miriam, Sue, Elisa, Mandy, Danielle, Lisa, Kristen, JoHanna, Andrea, Leanne, and Althea, getting to know you has been a privilege.

Here are a few snap shots of the gala. The evening was absolutely spectacular, and everyone was dressed to impress. The winning dishes were announced as they were served to guests in the ballroom of the Thompson hotel. It was incredible to see 180 portions of my winning dish come out of the kitchen. Needless to say, the dessert finalists didn’t have much appetite, as they had to wait until the end of the meal to find out who had won.

I wish I had documented the experience more thoroughly, but my euphoria kept me from my camera. The lovely people at Eqal have uploaded photos here http://www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca/post/awards-dinner-snapshots so you can get a better picture of the evening.

After getting the news on Wednesday night, we were in store for an early morning. We headed off to the Kraft kitchens at 6:30am on Thursday for a long day of filming. Luckily, there were plenty of snacks on hand to keep us going. I have no idea how everyone at Kraft stays so slim with all of those tempting treats calling to them.

The entire filming process was unbelievable. Everyone on set was incredibly talented and made me feel so special. I learned so much from the experience, and it was amazing to see the amount of thought and planning that went into creating our cooking videos. I can’t wait for all of you to see them. Thanks so much to everyone involved!

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Filed under a party, pop culture, Real Women of Philadelphia

RWoP Hit Toronto!

The Real Women of Philadelphia have landed in Toronto, and we are having a blast. Last night we had a lovely dinner at The Counter at The Thompson hotel. Today we headed off to the infamous Kraft kitchens to prepare our recipes and present them to the judges. So far everything has been unreal. The Kraft kitchens are beautiful, and all of the staff involved with RWoP have made the experience so comfortable and welcoming. It has been surreal meeting all of the women that I have come to know and love at www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca. Here are some photos of our time here so far.

I brought homemade sugar cookie oven mitts, and Lisa made lavender bath salts for everyone.

Miriam brought adorable whisks for us!

Here I am prepping my workspace

Take a look at the kitchen where Miriam and I worked our magic!

 

Here’s the judging room:

Lisa getting her cook on

Candice and Laurie are getting accquainted with their surroundings.

And finally happy birthday to Mandy, celebrating her 24th at the Kraft kitchen!

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Filed under Real Women of Philadelphia

Big News!

So, if you’ve been following my blog over the past couple of weeks, you’ll know that I have been competing in Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia casting competition. My last post will fill you in if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Yesterday, the second set of finalists was announced (for the side dish category) and guess what? I’M IN!!!

I am absolutely elated to have been selected. I’ll be competing in a cook-off in Toronto in July against 15 other finalists for four prizes of $20,000 and the honour of hosting Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia website. The recipe that won me a spot in the side dish category is called Cauliflower Creme Brulee, and you can find it here: http://luvcrumbs.org/2011/04/25/cauliflower-cr%D1%90me-brulee/.

Before being chosen as a finalist, I submitted two other recipes to the competition that I thought I would share with you. One is an entrée, the other is a dessert, and they are both totally decadent.

First off, here is my recipe for Fully Loaded Mac and Cheese. It combines creamy, gooey mac and cheese with your favourite baked potato toppings. Holy delicious! This recipe serves about 6 people and takes roughly 45 minutes from start to finish.

You’ll need:

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 4 cup(s) of dry pasta
  • 1 tbsp. of flour
  • 2 cup(s) of milk
  • 8 ounce(s) of Herb and Garlic Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 3 cup(s) of shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup(s) of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup(s) of chopped green onion
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
To prepare this dish, you can watch my instructional video below, or simply follow the written directions.
Steps:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place six slices of bacon in a large skillet, and cook on high heat for 5-10 minutes until crisp.
  2. While your bacon is cooking, place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil, chop your green onion, and grate your cheese.
  3. When water boils, add dry pasta, and cook it
  4. When bacon is well cooked, remove it from the pan, and chop it into small bite sized pieces. Leave the bacon drippings in the skillet.
  5. Reduce the heat under your skillet, and to the drippings, add your flour and stir quickly. Once flour is incorporated, slowly add the milk and continue stirring. Now add your cream cheese, and raise heat to medium, until it is well melted.
  6. Cook your sauce mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it thickens. Add 1/3 of your grated cheese (about 1 cup), and stir until melted.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, cheese sauce, and another cup of grated cheese. Add sour cream, bacon, green onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until pasta is evenly coated.
  8. Pour mixture into a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and cover with remaining cup of cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then broil for 5 additional minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove your mac and cheese from the oven, serve, and prepare to accept the accolades of your friends and family as they bite into your delectable concoction.
This second recipe is a dessert fondue that mimics the flavours of your favourite cheesecake. Feel free to experiment with dippers and toppings until you’ve mastered the perfect flavour combination. Depending on how much room you’ve left for dessert, this recipe will serve 4-8 people and takes about 25 minutes to make.
You’ll  need:
  • 1 cup(s) of fresh fruit per person
  • 2 cup(s) of various toppings (cookie crumbs, chocolate chips, coconut)
  • 1 cup(s) of chopped Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup(s) of milk
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 12 ounce(s) of white chocolate
Again, you can follow along with my video for directions to this recipe, or just use the instructions below.
Steps:
  1. Cut fruit of your choice into bite sized pieces, roughly one cup per guest
  2. Select a variety of cheesecake inspired toppings that you think will pair nicely with your fruit. Choose as many of as few toppings as you like, and pour them into serving bowls. If you wish to make your own cookie crumbs for dipping, pulverize about eight cookies in a food processor to yield one half cup of crumbs. You should have a total of about 2 cups worth of different toppings. Arrange the table with your fruit and toppings so they are ready for your fondue when it’s nice and hot.
  3. Zap your cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then place it in a medium pot over low heat.
  4. Whisk in milk, lemon juice, and vanilla, and continue stirring the mixture until the cream cheese is fully melted (3-5 minutes).
  5. Light the burner under your fondue pot so the pot is nice and warm when you pour in your fondue mixture.
  6. Add white chocolate to your cream cheese mixture, and whisk until it is all melted. Pour the mixture into your fondue pot and serve immediately.
  7. To eat, dip pieces of fruit into your cheesecake fondue, and then roll them in as many toppings as you like. And remember, don’t drop any fruit into the pot, or you’ll have to lay a wet one on your neighbour!

Both of these are major crowd pleasers, so give them a try at your next gathering! Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me up to this point in the competition, and good luck to all of my ladies at RWoP!
I’ll keep you guys updated along the road to the finals in Toronto. Can’t wait!

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Filed under a party, food on a stick, new flavours, pop culture, savory

Cauliflower Crѐme Brûlée

Caution: reading this post, or any other tagged ‘Philadelphia cream cheese’ may cause you to catch the highly contagious “Philly Fever”. Symptoms include cream cheese dreams, recipe-itis, and increased appetite for Kraft products. As a victim myself, I feel it is only fair to warn you.

By now, many of you have probably heard the buzz about Kraft’s “Real Women of Philadelphia” casting competition. For those of you who are somehow out of the loop, I’ll fill you in. It’s not too late to enter!

Kraft and Anna Olson have teamed up to host a cooking contest starring Philadelphia cream cheese. Entrants are asked to create recipes using the featured ingredient and submit how to videos explaining their concoctions. Last week, we had to come up with creative side dishes using our favourite Philly flavours. Here’s what I created.

Breaking away from boring side dishes can be a challenge, but with this simple spin on a favourite dessert in your recipe arsenal, vegetables will soon be taking centre stage at your dinner table. This recipe will only take about 12 minutes, and makes 4 servings.
  • 1/2 to whole head cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. of butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp. of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of raw brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. of parmesan
  • 1/2 cup(s) of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. of cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of pepper
Watch my video for instructions, or simply follow the step by step instructions below.
  1. Preheat your broiler. (500 degrees)
  2. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you will need to use between 1/2 and a whole head. Remove the leaves and core, and chop the florets and stalks into small pieces until you have roughly 4 cups. Place 1 tbsp of water and a pinch of salt into a casserole dish, add your cauliflower, and steam in the microwave for 5-6 minutes until tender.
  3. Heat butter in a pan over high heat. Roughly chop onion and add to pan, stirring until covered with melted butter. Reduce heat to med/med-low and add 1 tbsp brown sugar. Stir until combined. Remove onions from heat when they are translucent and lightly browned.
  4. In a small bowl, combine raw brown sugar and parmesan cheese. Stir until completely mixed.
  5. In a food processor, combine steamed cauliflower, quick carmelized onions, Philadelphia cream cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper. Blend for a few minutes, scraping sides, until mixture becomes a smooth purée.
  6. Divide mixture evenly among 4 ramekins, and smooth the purée to create a flat surface. Sprinkle a generous portion of your sugar/parmesan mixture onto each serving, coating the cauliflower completely. Give the ramekins a little shake to level out the sugar.
  7. Place under the broiler on a baking sheet for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has created a hard, brown candy coating. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. To prepare this side dish in advance, refrigerate your ramekins after filling them with purée. Right before serving, add the sugar topping and broil. Whether you are making it for a simple supper, or an elegant dinner party, you will be stunned by how easy this recipe is to prepare. With veggies this delicious, who needs dessert?
I hope you’ll give this recipe a  try, and while you’re at it, create your own and submit it to http://www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca/.

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Filed under new flavours, pop culture, savory, super simple

Tiny Taco Salads

So, I am currently participating in Philadelphia cream cheese’s “Real Women of Philadelphia” competition, hosted by Anna Olson. So far, it’s been a blast. I have had so much fun creating and filming my cream cheesy concoctions. Here is a quick look at my first submission.

These miniature versions of restaurant style taco salad are the perfect party appetizer. Philidelphia cream cheese makes them extra delicious, and you can even eat the tiny little bowl! They only take about 30 minutes from start to finish and serve 8 guests. Get cooking! You’ll need:
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 can cooking spray
  • 1 pound(s) of lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup(s) of taco seasoning (1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup(s) of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 cup(s) of shredded lettuce
  • 2/3 cup(s) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup(s) of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup(s) of sour cream
  • 2/3 cup(s) of salsa
Take a look at my helpful how-to video to get started with this recipe, or simply follow the instructions below.
Steps
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Begin by browning your ground beef in a large skillet over high heat. Break the beef up with your spoon as it cooks. When there are no pink bits left, drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add your taco seasoning and 1 cup of water. Stirring occasionally, cook on high until the excess liquid has cooked off.
  4. While your taco meat is cooking, prepare your taco bowls for the oven by spraying both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray. Using a muffin pan to form your bowls, fold the tortillas into cup shapes by creating four double folds around their edges. Gently, but firmly press the bowl shape down into your muffin pan, making sure that the bottom of your bowl is nice and flat. Watching the video will help you to master this part of the recipe.
  5. When all 8 of your bowls are ready to go, bake them for 7-10 minutes until they are nice and golden brown.
  6. Now, cut your cream cheese into small chunks and add it to your taco meat while your shells are baking. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir until all of the cheese has melted and your taco meat is nice and creamy.
  7. Remove your taco bowls from the oven, and press a large scoop of taco meat into the bottom of each one. Layer the rest of your toppings evenly amongst your eight bowls, and serve immediately.
  8. You can serve these in muffin liners for handheld appetizers at a cocktail party, plate them up for a sit down dinner, or, serve the empty taco bowls, and let your guests fill them with their favourite toppings. This super simple recipe will soon become a fiesta favourite!

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Filed under a party, savory, super simple