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Monday, June 4, 2012

Voting for the Home Grown Chef Contest & How to Eat When You Travel

First, I want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to our ALL of our contestants for entering my first ever Home Grown Chef Contest. You all submitted some wonderful recipes and got a little taste of what it was like to be a food blogger, comments and all! Some of you really have a competitive streak in you based on posts I saw on Facebook and Twitter this week...I LOVED IT! :)

Now it's time for my readers to decide! I've listed the recipes in order of the most page views on the TOP LEFT CORNER of this blog. Please select YOUR favorite recipe. You can only vote once and you have until Wednesday, June 6th. (If you're reading this through email/rss feed, please come to the blog so you can VOTE, it only takes a moment!) The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 7th and will win a $50 Williams Sonoma Gift Card and a customized bamboo cutting board. The remaining four contestants will win a customized Bamboo Cutting Board. 

And now, without further ado, here were the Top 5 Viewed Recipes! (If you missed the original post on Tuesday, click on the name for the recipe)

With 136 Page Views: Jenn Cedeno's Chicken with Roasted Peppers

With 129 Page Views: M.J. Vitelle's Nana's Chicken Ravioli Filling

With 87 Page Views: Patty VanKirk's Caramelized Snack Mix (aka Crack)

With 62 Page Views: Karin Hung's Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream

With 39 Page Views: Lily Zhou's Steelhead Trout with Balsamic Strawberry Salsa

And now for some travel tips!

It's June (I can't believe it, can you?!). Schools are slowly letting out state by state for the summer and vacations are just about to get underway. So I was excited when I saw an article in Martha Stewart Magazine (not the regular magazine, but a small version and I can't remember the name of it now, sorry, they gave it to us at the convention last month) about how to eat well when you travel. If you’re like my family, then you know how taxing it can be to eat the right foods while you’re on the go. Here are their suggestions and a few of my own!

At the Airport: Terminal food can be expensive, high in sodium and usually don’t offer the healthiest selections. Bring instant oatmeal packets and nuts to keep yourself sustained.

My tip: Depending on the length of the flight, we usually like to arrive even earlier than the suggested departure time so that we can eat a regular meal at one of the sit-down restaurants. They generally offer healthier meal options and we also don’t fall victim to eating the airplane food selections.

In the Car: Skip the drive-through and make wraps with tortillas. They suggest PB&J or hummus with shredded vegetables, as they are portable and don’t require refrigeration.

My tip: We travel to FL by car at least once a year to visit family and it is a 21 hour drive to our location so I have a little bit of experience with this one! We purchased an inexpensive fabric cooler that fits in the middle of the back seat or on the floor, and load it up with sandwiches (like our family favorite of grilled chicken with fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette on crusty Italian bread), fresh fruit, granola bars, yogurt and juice boxes and water. We then add in resealable plastic bags with ice to keep items cold. You can always get ice  at any gas station stop to fill up the bags if it is exceptionally hot or if you stop overnight, like we tend to do.

At a Hotel: If your hotel doesn’t have a mini fridge, request one prior to check –in. Then, fill it with yogurt and berries for a quick, healthy breakfast

My tip: If that’s not an option, the instant oatmeal packets, like mentioned above, are a good choice.

In a Rental: Make grilling easier at your vacation home. Prep spice rubs and marinades before you go for effortless flavor without a stocked pantry.

My tip: It’s all of those additional items you don’t think of when you go to make a meal while you’re away that you don’t think about. For example, if you know you’re going to eat dinner in at least 4 times while your away, then plan your menu ahead of time and pack non-perishable items from home to bring with you. Vinegars, oils, condiments, spices can all be placed in smaller snack sized bags or sealable containers. You will also save a TON of money at the local grocery store and not be left with full bottles of these items, which usually get thrown out or dispersed by the cleaning staff after you leave anyway! You then only have to purchase the perishable items you are going to consume while you’re occupying the rental.

Out and About: Add a farmer’s market to your itinerary so you can enjoy local food and learn about the area. Visit to find a location.

My tip: If you're just going out for the day, pack a lunch! You can buy an inexpensive insulated lunch cooler and fill it with sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, drinks. Simply add a frozen ice block or a sealed sandwich bag of ice and it will keep for hours! 

Wishing you all safe travels this summer! Now...go VOTE!!


  1. I am voting for the crispy caramelized snack mix... And wouldn't that be a great idea for a car trip snack!

    this is a terrific idea for a contest. Hope to see more next year!


    1. It would! Thanks for stopping by Dave and I hope so too! :)


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