Thursday, June 14, 2012

I've Always Dreamed of Becoming A Pageant Queen...The Road to becomming Taste Of Home's, Mrs. Holiday

You've heard the historic phrase said by the amazing Martin Luther King, Jr, "I have a dream."  Well I too have a dream and I now have an opportunity to achieve that dream.  I know it doesn't compare to the magnitude of Martin Luther King Jr's dream and I don't mean any disrespect, but to me this is a huge opportunity.  I began a journey a few days ago to do something that is custom made for me. I am so excited to do my best to complete that journey and achieve that goal.  Please help me make my dream come true by going to the facebook page and voting!  In order to vote, you must "like" their page and sign in with facebook. If chosen, I would be an ambassador for my favorite magazine, Taste Of Home, all around the United States for one year.  After you see what is happening, I'll show you what I've done to help me along the way.  Here is what is happening....

Press release: Taste of Home Conducts Nationwide Search for Ambassador of the Holiday

Spokesperson to receive role with company and $50,000.00
NEW YORK, NY – May 17, 2012 – As we sit here wedged between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s pretty clear that America loves the holidays.  According to independent market research, more than $80 billion is spent annually on food during holidays.  That represents about 15% of total supermarket food sales in the U.S.*
There are more than 65 million fans of Taste of Home magazine, its iPad edition, website, books, and special interest publications.  They count on Taste of Home to be their go-to resource for the holidays.  For example, website traffic at increases by 25%-40% before every holiday.  Geared up with recipes and ideas, these women head right to retail to start their holiday food shopping.
Recognizing the enormity of the holidays to peoples’ personal lives and the U.S. economy, Taste of Home has begun a nationwide search on to identify candidates for the position of Mrs. Holiday, a spokesperson role at the company, which includes a $50,000 payment. “Mrs. Holiday will be a new type of pageant queen,” said Taste of Home editor-in-chief Catherine Cassidy.  “She’s an advocate, an ambassador and an inspiration who cooks for her family to bring everyone around the table at the holidays.  She’s got memorable recipes combined with a celebration attitude.”
To audition for the role of Mrs. Holiday, women age 18 or older must visit of Home to enter a virtual pageant.  There they can submit a video entry of no more than two minutes to show/tell us how they bring the holidays to life and convince us why they should be Taste of Home’s Mrs. Holiday.  They also should submit a signature holiday recipe in 200 words or less. The full entry rules and instructions are provided at  All entries will receive a free chocolate chip cookie recipe as a thank you for auditioning.
Unlike the Miss America pageant, consumers will have a hand in picking Mrs. Holiday by voting for their favorite entrant at starting on June 4 and ending on September 7.  Mrs. Holiday will be selected from among the top 100 vote getters by a panel of experts.
Once officially crowned, Mrs. Holiday will be available to conduct interviews, cooking segments, and blogging, as well as to make appearances across the country at retailers and some of the more than 300 Taste of Home cooking schools.
About Taste of Home: Taste of Home is America’s connection to the personal recipes of people who like to cook at home as a way to bring family and friends together, particularly at the holidays. Each year, thousands of people from across the United States and Canada submit more than 40,000 recipes, of which 3,000 are published. Every recipe that is published is carefully evaluated and selected by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen, which ensures that it can be prepared with affordable, everyday ingredients. Taste of Home content is available in print; online at; in books; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps and Kindle; and Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Obtain a subscription at or on your favorite digital download device.
About Reade
Taste Of Home, Taste of Home and The Family Handyman, and Enthusiast Brands Birds & Blooms, Farm & Ranch Living, Country, Country Woman and Reminisce, across multiple media platforms to provide consumers content when they want it, where they want it, to expand its Master Brands geographically, and to increase partnership opportunities. Reader’s Digest North America reaches consumers through its various print and digital magazines, websites and social media outlets, books and home entertainment products. Further information can be found at
* Based on IBISWORLD special report August 2010
I want to become that "New type of pageant queen", "Mrs. Holiday"....and this is how I am going to try to win that title.
I posted a video on celebrating Independence Day and a delicious signature recipe that I developed called  
Star Spangled Burger

I know all of you who love delicious food need to immediately rush over to home and click on the link to the Mrs. Holiday search.  When you do that, you can find me and get the amazing recipe for this over-the-top burger and while you are there, you might as well take 2 minutes to view my video and give me a vote. You can vote once a day until September 7th.  After that, a panel of judges will decide who will be crowned Mrs. Holiday.  Hopefully, that will be me, Debbie Fabre!!!!
Not only is this about a signature recipe but the contest is also about Taste Of Home having a spokesperson who can travel and meet other cooks around the country and share holiday tips, recipes and the spirit of Taste of Home.  Did you know that since 1993, Taste of Home has been sharing recipes from cooks, like you and me, from the United States and Canada.  They have their wonderful magazine and numerous amazing cookbooks which I love.  I just did a review on one of their latest cookbooks here in my blog.  Check it out if you haven't seen it yet.  

I love to decorate for all the holidays and create tablescapes to accompany the theme and capture the holiday spirit.  Things are always more exciting and festive when you have decorations and favors on your table and in the house for ANY holiday.  You don't have to decorate on Christmas can do a small amount or a huge amount for every holiday to make it memorable for your family and friends.  We have so many traditions in our home that started with a small decoration or two and have ended up becoming something that my boys will never forget as long as they live...and they will pass these things on to their children as well as creating new memories and traditions.  Check out some of the special things I did to make my table fabulous.
I got this cute dish at the Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1.00.
Love it and the blueberries and raspberries just POP against that
beautiful red color.  Added a flag toothpick in the center and look
how beautiful that is.  A fun dish for sure and quick and easy to do.

What is more fun than POPCORN????
Red, White and Blue Candied Corn!!!!
These popcorn boxes are 2/$1.00 at Dollar Tree and I am going to
 share the great recipe with you later in the blog!

My very favorite food is Strawberries!!!
These are dipped in white chocolate and the tips are dipped
in blue sugar.  You can make your own colored sugar if you
don't have or can't find the color you desire.

This is my Star Spangled Burger with an ice cold lemonade.
It isn't a great shot of the straws in the glass, but I made little
flags from scrapbook paper and glued them on the straws.
Also in the background is red, white and blue potato salad.
You can get the colored potatoes in the produce department
of your grocery.  Now they are not inexpensive.

This was a shot as I was setting up.  Wanted you to see
the gumball machine.  Got it at my thrift store for $2.99 
and gumballs are inexpensive. You can change the color 
of the gumballs to go with the theme of your  holiday or 
occasion.  The kids love it!
This wooden boat is one of my favorite pieces.  Again, 
thrift store for $5.99.  It is actually a wall shelf, but am
using it on my table.  Use your imagination and re-purpose
things.  I line it with either paper bowls or plastic liner if 
I want to put food in it.  I just put my dishes on top of it for 
this display!

Everyone loves to take a favor of some kind home from a party.  These little jars are so adorable and you can find them at Hobby Lobby.  Again, waited until they were on sale for half price.  I think I paid about 75 cents each.  Then I used my Cricket machine to cut out the shapes for the lids.  You can do this with out the machine, but it's easier of course. You could just buy stickers to use if you want.  I love a "3-D" effect so I buy foam stickers that are sticky on both sides at the scrapbook dept. of the hobby/craft store.  Just put what ever candy you want in the jar and there you have a really special favor to send home.

I picked this brand new picnic basket at our local thrift store.  It still had the tags on it.  I think I paid about $7.99 for it.  Love the blue gingham lining and it even had silverware, dishes and a cutting board in it.  Notice the bread knife.  So I couldn't resist a big warm loaf of Italian bread!  The red and white gingham dishcloth was purchased at Dollar Tree for $1.00. I love the American Flag sticking out as well.  Got those at Hobby Lobby for about $1.00 each as well.  Shopped when they were on sale.  A picnic basket can be used like this even when you stay home.  It's just adorable.

And Last, but not least, my banners.  I used some pre-cut stars for the top banner.  But the bottom custom "Taste Of Home" banner was primarily made by using my Cricut Machine. I bought scrapbook paper that had patriotic themes.  If you don't have one of those, and I didn't have some of the shapes, then just print out coloring pages of the shape you want and cut it out yourself.  You can also buy a coloring book with the shapes you want and use them for templates. Use glue sticks and some ribbon and you have it. You can EASILY make a banner for any occasion that says just what you want it to.

Now for the Candied Corn recipe I promised you.  It is delicious.  

12 cups popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup popcorn kernels and 6 tablespoons vegetable oil)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup whole milk or half and half
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract1 drop red (super red) gel food coloring, or enough drops liquid to get a nice red color 1 drop blue (royal blue) gel food coloring, or enough drops liquid to get a deep blue color
To pop the popcorn on the stovetop, in a large pot with a tight fitting lid, add the 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 kernels of the popcorn and heat over medium heat, uncovered. When the kernels pop, add the remaining 1/2 cup of kernels and fit the lid on the pot. Shake the pot on the stove to heat the kernels. Shake a few times and keep the kernels moving. When the kernels start popping keep the pan moving until the pops are about 2 seconds apart and slowing down (it will take a few minutes to get up to heat, but don’t be tempted to turn the heat up or you’ll scorch the kernels).
Remove the popcorn from the heat and divide into about 4 cups per bowl in 3 large bowls and set aside.
In a medium sized saucepan combine the sugar, milk or half and half, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring the mixture to a low boil until the temperature reaches 230 degrees F (soft ball stage – this is where if you drop a small drop of the sugar mixture into a very cold cup of water it should form a soft ball in the water that flattens out when it is out of the water. Don’t rush this part of the process or turn your heat up and get impatient because you’ll end up with caramel instead of a well cooked sugar syrup that you can color with the food coloring. Still tasty, but not what we’re going for here. This part of the cooking process took a good 15 minutes for me on a barely medium flame (at high altitude).
Once your sugar syrup has reached the soft ball stage at 230 degrees, stir in the vanilla extract. It will bubble and hiss, and that’s ok. Once it is all stirred in, pour 1/3 of the mixture into a small heat proof bowl. Add another 1/3 of the mixture from the pan into another heat proof bowl. Add the red food coloring to one of the bowls and the blue food coloring to the other bowl. Whisk the food coloring quickly and carefully into each bowl separately to get your colored syrups.
Working as quickly as possible so your syrup doesn’t cool too much pour the colored sugar syrup each over one of the bowls of popcorn you separated earlier and use a rubber spatula to fold and stir the candy over the popcorn gently to coat. Repeat with the other two syrups in the other two bowls – if your syrup has cooled too much to pour, reheat it quickly in the microwave for a few seconds to make it more pourable, but not enough to bubble it – it should be about the consistency of corn syrup and still warm.
Spread the stirred and coated popcorn out onto a large piece of parchment to cool and dry for a few minutes. Toss the colors together (or line them up on a pan in stripes!) and serve.

Recipe and Popcorn photos were adapted from Phemomenon Blog

VOTE       VOTE            VOTE       VOTE     VOTE     VOTE     VOTE     VOTE     VOTE    VOTE     VOTE  



  1. What a beautiful post, and I will definitely be making your popcorn recipe. Thank you so much for posting it. I'm voting for you everyday :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thank you Shannon and Paula!! I really appreciate your checking out my blog and voting for me. If you haven't become a follower of my blog, please do so. I am really excited for the upcoming posts and I have giveaways pretty often.

  4. The "Mrs. Holiday" gig looks like so much fun! Good luck!!!

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Strawberry Heaven

“The “Debbie” recipe – the recipe that is authentically me.
My absolute favorite dessert recipe.”
All I ever talk about loving is strawberries. I am to strawberries as Paula Deen is to potatoes and butter.
When thinking about my absolute favorite dessert, it had to combine cheesecake, strawberries, and chocolate. Chocolate covered strawberries to be exact!!! So I developed a pie that features all my weaknesses. I love a regular pie crust instead of graham cracker so I have used pie crust, topped with a luscious layer of Kraft Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling, followed by 1 pound of ripe, juicy strawberries enveloped in strawberry glaze topped with creamy, dreamy Cool Whip, and followed by 6 GIANT chocolate covered strawberries. This pie would be a strawberry lovers’ most decadent dream. It is mine…now you know what I dream about.

Strawberry Heaven
Prep time: 50 minutes Cook time: 9 minutes
Serves 6 - 8
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 ½ c. Kraft Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling
2 lbs. of strawberries
14 oz. strawberry pie glaze
8 oz Cool Whip
¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place pie crust in pie pan and flute edges. Bake at 450 degrees for 9 minutes.
3. Cool pie crust at room temperature for 10 minutes and follow in freezer for 10 minutes to cool quickly.
4. While pie crust is cooking and cooling, prepare other ingredients beginning with strawberries. Wash strawberries, core, and slice in half. Save 6 LARGE strawberries for top of pie. Eat a few and enjoy them while you are working so hard. Save enough for the pie.
5. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for approximately 1 minute stirring every 20 seconds. Dip 6 large strawberries in chocolate about ¾ of the way up the strawberry. Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate and cool the strawberries on the paper in the freezer.
6. After the pie crust comes out of the freezer, spread the cheesecake filling directly on top of crust.
7. Place strawberries directly on top of cheesecake and pour strawberry glaze over strawberries.
8. Pipe Cool Whip over strawberries and glaze and top with chocolate covered strawberries. Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Strawberry Heaven

Strawberry Heaven
This pie is for the true Strawbery ADDICT and lover.

Mounds of Joy Whipped Pie

Using My Blog

This blog is intended to show you some wonderful recipes and highlight what is happening in the food world. In order to see the recipe demonstrated that is pictured. Click on the photo and you will get to see just how you can make this in your own kitchen.

Cinco de Mayo Layered Black Bean Dip