A Romantic Connecticut Getaway

Now that our kids are away in sleepaway camp, it’s time to plan some romantic summer getaways. Since we didn’t plan a trip to Paris or even Pennsylvania for that matter, I decided to take my chances and search for a fun road trip for the day that wasn’t too far from home. And after perusing the Connecticut Tourism website, I discovered a few quaint New England towns and mapped out our adventure.
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First stop…Niantic. According to Connecticut’s tourism bureau, Niantic made the top 10 villages to visit this time of year. Nestled on the water, Niantic boasts great restaurants, a massive book store called the Book Barn, a beach area and plenty of places to fish, kayak or go boating. Since the skies were a bit overcast, we decided to opt out of a historical kayaking tour that would have taken us back to revolutionary times. Since Niantic is not really gigantic (that was our running joke throughout the day), we took a brief stroll on the boardwalk, watched a couple of people fish and then turned back around, hopped in the car and headed to destination #2.
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Second stop…Mystic. One of my favorite places to visit in Connecticut is Mystic. Partially because it is the home of Mystic Pizza — the legendary pizza joint that was the inspiration for the classic 80’s film starring Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, Lili Taylor and Vincent D’Nofrio. Mystic is actually a great family destination too due to its incredible aquarium that we didn’t visit this time around since we were kid free and all those cute shops selling Vera Bradley handbags, earrings, summer clothes, furniture, home accessories and much more. And did I mention the fudge and waffle cones? While we didn’t indulge in sweets, we did hit Mystic Pizza and shared a salad and a small pie. Yummy!
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Final stop…Wallingford A romantic getaway wouldn’t be romantic without a little wine tasting and the Gouveia winery in Wallingford fits the bill perfectly. The winery is absolutely spectacular — there are plenty of outdoor spaces by the lake or overlooking the mountains where you can have a picnic with the one you love while sharing a bottle of wine. We opted to go inside for a wine tasting. For $8, you get to sample five delicious wines. You can also purchase wines by the glass or bottle and there’s plenty of seating indoors too. While we only visited one vineyard, there are more nearby if you are in the mood to take a mini wine tour with your significant other or best girlfriend.
So there you have it. If you’re in the mood to take a last minute road trip, try this one on for size. I’m sure you and your partner will absolutely love it as much as we did. What’s not to like? Beautiful views, shopping, great food and wine. All the ingredients needed for a picture perfect day.
To find out more about planning a fabulous Connecticut getaway, visit their tourism website today!

Win Tickets to: SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure Drops Anchor at New York City’s Discovery Times Square

NYC Premiere Offers Visitors a Rare Look at Some of the Most Valuable Treasure and Artifacts Ever Recovered Beneath the Surface of the Ocean

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Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. and Discovery Times Square invite you to travel beneath the surface and explore SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure, an interactive, multi-media exhibit containing more than 500 artifacts from deep-ocean expeditions around the world. This not to be missed exhibit brings the world’s most amazing deep-sea discoveries to the crossroads of the world at New York City’s Discovery Times Square.
If you plan on visiting New York City or live in the tri-state area, you should bring your family to this wonderful exhibit. Children ages five and up will be fascinated with all the original artifacts from actual shipwrecks!
With the help of Odyssey’s unparalleled deep-sea archaeological and technological capabilities, SHIPWRECK! offers visitors a unique look into the depths of the ocean through a mix of actual historical artifacts and hands-on, interactive computer games and exhibits. Artifacts found at the exhibit, such as rare bottles, porcelain figurines, and a 300-year-old carpenter’s folding ruler, will transport visitors back in time as they get an up close and personal look at over 2,000 years of nautical history. Treasure seekers will find a stunning collection of gold and silver recovered from the deep, including the first ever display of silver recovered from the SS Gairsoppa over three miles deep.
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“We’re really excited about bringing SHIPWRECK! to Discovery Times Square in New York City. During the past 20 years, our team has discovered hundreds of shipwrecks in the deep ocean ranging from 2,000 year old Roman wrecks to WWII U-boats, and last year set a world record by recovering over 40 tons of silver from a shipwreck nearly three miles deep. One of our company’s goals is to share our amazing work in the deep ocean with the general public and Discovery Times Square is a premiere venue.  SHIPWRECK! allows visitors to get up close and personal with the artifacts we’ve discovered and to learn about the team, tools and technology necessary to explore the deep ocean,” said Greg Stemm, Odyssey Chief Executive Officer.
One of the highlights for the children is the hurricane simulator! They can feel what it is like to sustain 75 mile per hour winds. They will want to do it again and again.
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SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure is on display at Discovery Times Square, located at 226 W 44th St New York, NY 10036. For more information, please visit http://www.discoverytsx.com/exhibitions/shipwreck
*For our Role Mommy readers we are offering 4 family fun packs of tickets (4 tickets for each winner) so you can see the treasures yourself. Here’s how to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

For details on Odyssey’s activities and its commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.
Discovery Times Square (DTS) is New York City’s first large-scale exhibition center presenting visitors with limited-run, educational and immersive exhibit experiences while exploring the world’s defining cultures, art, history and events. More than a museum, DTS has featured a renowned line-up of exhibitions including Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Workshop, King Tut, Pompeii: The Exhibit, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibition, and most recently Terracotta Warriors: Defenders of China’s First Emperor. DTS is located at 226 West 44th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenues).

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Cream Cheese Frosting Stuffed Strawberries

Hi everyone! Sometimes a recipe is so beautifully simple, it makes you want to weep.
You can make these vegan by using Tofu Cream Cheese.
Also, add a blueberry on top for July 4th
I KNOW you can make these so enjoy!:
Put them together!
Cream Cheese Frosting Stuffed Strawberries:

Strawberries, washed, hulled and a hole dug out in the center where the stem was
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. packaged cream cheese
8 oz. butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients together in a mixer until smooth. Use immediately or store in the fridge
Put the frosting in a ziploc bag, cut a 1/2 cm. hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze the frosting in desired amounts into the strawberry hole.
– See more at: http://takebackthekitchen.com/cream-cheese-frosting-stuffed-strawberries/#sthash.1dssdlIV.dpuf

Bake Like Celebrity Chef Marcela Valladolid with this Sophisticated S’mores Recipe!

Picture 49.pngI don’t know about you, but when the summer hits, I become a s’mores-aholic. There is nothing quite like the perfect combination of chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers and thanks to this summer’s hit CBS reality baking show The American Baking Competition, there’s plenty of s’mores for everyone. In fact, superstar celebrity judge Marcela Valladolid shared her very own sophisticated s’mores recipe in a recent episode and we’ve got it right here for you to try at home.
So dig in and get ready to for a fantabulous dessert. And don’t forget to watch the American Baking Competition which moves to a new time this Wednesday at 9pm ET/PT. Join us on Twitter by following @BakeonCBS @rolemommy and #GetYourBakeOn. Hope to sweet tweet you there!
8 3/8 ounces whole wheat flour
1 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour
3 ounces dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
2 1/4 ounces molasses
1 1/2 ounces whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoon cold water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces oil
• Preheat oven to 350 F
• Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl . Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
• To the dry mixture, add the molasses, milk and vanilla extract.
• Stir until the dough comes together enough to form a ball. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut into circles.
• Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown on edges
• Do not start the marshmallow until the base cookies are out of the oven!
• Combine water, corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil until soft-ball stage (235 degrees F).
• Meanwhile sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
• Remove syrup from the heat, add gelatin, and mix.
• Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
• Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
• Transfer to a pastry bag and pie onto each cookie IMMEDIATELY!
• Melt the chocolate and oil together over a double boiler.
• Cool slightly
• Carefully dip each cookie into the mixture and set on wax paper.
• Place cookies in refrigerator set the chocolate.

Our “Despicable” Weekend Continued!

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum
MinionMayhem.jpg My family and I were lucky enough to spend a SUPER fun weekend at Universal Orlando with our new best friends, the minions. Universal Pictures gave us the royal treatment for our amazing VIP “Despicable Me 2 Adventure”. As I wrote in my last post, we saw a screening of Despicable Me 2 which was absolutely hysterical. (Go see it next week!) We went to a dinner party and danced with the characters from the film. Click HERE to see the minions dancing to Gangnam Style, with my little minion in the blue. We were treated to breakfast with the characters and then we were ready to start our day at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure!
p1641898049-o524649985-3.jpg A ridiculously funny “director” came to give us our instructions for the day. We were going to participate in a scavenger hunt around the park! Our mission was to follow the clues, take creative pictures to share via social media, and have a blast while doing so. Mission accomplished!
Thumbnail image for Universal 0653.JPG We began the hunt by riding Minion Mayhem, SUCH a fun ride! My kids loved it so much we went back to ride it again that night! When you get in the ride you are greeted by Gru and his girls and they tell you they are going to make you all minions. They blast a “fart gun” that smelled like bananas! On our VIP tour, the guide gave us the inside scoop and told us they actually pump the banana smell through the hand rails so if you hold your hand underneath and then smell it – you will have banana smelling hands! Next you walk through a room and sit down with your 3-D goggles. Then the ride starts! You soar through the air (or feel like you are), following Agnes, Edith and Margo on an incredible adventure. Everyone was laughing the whole time, it was amazing. Once we are turned back into humans, we got the chance for a little “boogie fever” time with the minions.
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Once we finished the clues at Minion Mayhem, they sent us to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My kids freaked out! The place was amazing. We completed the task at hand and were sent all around following clues and taking creative pictures. Once a clue was completed we were given a pin to put on our VIP pass…
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After the scavenger hunt we went with another family on a VIP tour, and I have to tell you, it was the best thing! If you can do it, I highly recommend having a VIP guide take you around the park. First of all, you don’t have to wait on any lines (huge +) and they give you all the little secrets and tid bits you want to know! After we rode the Spider Man 3-D ride, our guide took us to the back room to show us how the ride actually works! It was awesome! Since my daughter has read every Harry Potter book (twice), she loved exploring the castle at Hogwarts and walking around Hogsmeade. You need to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see all the magic in the store windows and the incredible rides!
After a quick rest and shower we were back at the hospitality suite for a carnival themed dinner! The room was adorable and the food (corn dogs, soft pretzels, curly fries) was yummy. Our favorite part was the dessert- cotton candy and minion cupcakes, how cute are these?
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My son was over the moon when one of the creators of the new game Minion Rush came in to tell us all about the game and actually let the kids try it out before it was available! You can download the app now! My kids LOVE playing it! Universal 1177.JPG
TransformersRideA.jpgAnd THEN the most exciting thing happened for my son! One of the creators of The Transformers 3-D ride came to tell us all about the new ride that was opening at Universal Orlando on June 20th. My son absolutely loves Transformers – he can name all of them. Much to our delight, he took us himself to the ride, and it did not disappoint! My six year old son could not believe how fantastic the ride was, his favorite part was “getting wet and helping defeat the bad guys.”
“Prepare for the greatest battle you’ll ever ride! The new TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D is an ultra-immersive, next generation thrill ride that blurs the line between fiction and reality!”
From seeing Despicable Me 2, to partying with the minions and Gru, to great company, great meals, VIP Tour of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and so much more… this was a weekend my family and I will never forget! Here’s my son and his love, Fluffy, he sleeps with it every night because it’s just SOOOO FLUFFY!!!
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If you haven’t done so already, check out Despicable Me 2, it’s guaranteed to put a big smile on your face! Coming to a theatre near you next week, July 3rd!!
Like Despicable Me on Facebook
Follow @DespicableMe on Twitter
Watch the trailer on YouTube
Follow Despicable Me on Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Follow on Instagram
About the film
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In summer 2013, get ready for more Minion madness in Despicable Me 2.
Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of (former?) super-villain Gru (Steve Carell), his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions…and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Genre: 3D-CG comedy adventure
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias
Directed by: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Based on Characters Created by: Sergio Pablos, Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Produced by: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

Alma’s Grilled Steak with Cilantro Garlic Sauce

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Sometimes a dish is all about the sauce! This cilantro garlic sauce will make anything taste delicious. Keep some on hand all summer in the fridge!
Grilled Steak with Cilantro Garlic Sauce:

8 oz. steak (I use flank), thinly sliced
One TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed through a garlic press or minced with a knife
Pinch of kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Drizzle the steak with the olive oil until coated and rub the crushed garlic all over the sliced steak with your hands
Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste
Grill on an indoor or outdoor grill until cooked to desired taste
Cilantro Garlic Sauce:

1 cup washed cilantro leaves
1 minced scallion
1 large garlic clove
2 TBS Greek yogurt
2 TBS mayo
pinch salt
Puree in a food processor until smooth and place in a small serving bowl alongside the grilled, sliced steak

Our “Despicable” Weekend

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum

Thumbnail image for DM2-Poster.jpg Recently my family and I were lucky enough to spend a SUPER fun weekend at Universal Orlando with our new best friends, the minions. Universal Pictures gave us the royal treatment for our amazing VIP “Despicable Me 2 Adventure”. We arrived at the beautiful Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal and went right to the “Beach Pool”. The pool had a ridiculously fun water slide and sand for the kids to play in. We enjoyed a yummy lunch poolside and then got ready for the screening of Despicable Me 2!!!
With popcorn, drinks and our 3D glasses we settled in to watch the movie. Before the movie started we were greeted on screen by Steve Carell (who voices Gru) and Miranda Cosgrove (who voices Margo) telling us to enjoy the movie. How cool is that? I’m not sure who laughed harder through the movie, my husband and I, or my kids. I know we were all smiling ear to ear throughout. You seriously need to run to the theatre on July 3rd to see Despicable Me 2. It may even be funnier than the first one!
After the movie we were escorted to a fantastic dinner party with the characters from the film! We enjoyed specialty drinks (a minion martini – lemon drop with blueberries – yum!) and delicious Mexican food (as you will see in the movie, there is a major connection there).
Here we are with our new friends!
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Speaking of new friends… my kids hit it off with the other children on the trip and had a blast playing with the mini minion toys, minion games and dancing!
And then… the minions came in. You should have seen my 6 year old son freak out! I don’t think he left their side for the rest of the night. He was following them around and dancing his tush off with his new best friends. Here is a taste of my little man having the time of his life…
My nine year old daughter was having a great old time as well hanging with the girls and enjoying some yummy desserts!
Here I am with the fabulous bloggers we were there with, what a fun group!
It was not easy to drag our kids away from the fun, but by 9 PM we had to get them to bed since we had an awesome busy day coming up! After all the swimming and laughing and dancing, they were out cold the second their heads hit the pillow.
The next morning we were brought to the hospitality suite at Universal Studios for breakfast. The room was decorated to the nines with minions galore! Gru was there to greet us and cause a little mischief too 🙂
Then we were reunited with our minion friends! I seriously love those guys, but not as much as my son does…
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Then, the evil Vector swaggered in. He actually didn’t seem so evil, he even sat with the kids and watched himself in “Despicable Me”.
p1671776652-o524649985-3.jpg After breakfast they gave us adorable minion backpacks filled with goodies. Minion hats to block the sun, Universal water spray fans to keep us cool and minion goggles because who doesn’t need a pair of minion goggles? They really thought of everything!
We were ready to go! Don’t miss my post next week when I take you on our amazing adventure through Universal Studios Orlando. A scavenger hunt, rides and surprises galore! You don’t want to miss it and you will probably book a trip for your family to go there as soon as you read how much fun it is!
If you haven’t done so already, check out Despicable Me 2, it’s guaranteed to put a big smile on your face!
Like Despicable Me on Facebook
Follow @DespicableMe on Twitter
Watch the trailer on YouTube
Follow Despicable Me on Google+
Pin on Pinterest
Follow on Instagram

Make Sure Your Pet RIP with Rest in Pets

By Role Mommy’s Danielle Feigenbaum

My family does not have any pets, actually I take that back. My daughter’s betta fish, Potter, is very dear to her heart. Besides Potter, I can’t really relate to people’s undying love for their pets. But I see it all the time. In fact Role Mommy’s very own Beth Feldman had a death in her family just this week. Her son’s hamster was killed by her daughter’s hamster. Unfortunately her son was the one to discover the crime scene, and of course was very sad about his loss.
The death of a pet is often a child’s first experience with life’s tough questions, and the sadness and confusion that death brings. Rest In Pets helps start conversations about death – while commemorating very special little lives.
Mat and Jane are the creators of this unique product. They live in New Zealand where they are pouring their hearts into Rest in Pets. Their range of personalisable, biodegradable pet caskets allow children to say farewell their pets in a meaningful, dignified manner. “We’ve designed and tested a set of products that finally gives pet lovers an option. Our smaller designs use a classic coffin shape, a well known visual metaphor that everyone can relate to. It adds a sense of solemn dignity. For the large casket, we designed a new hexagonal shape. At the end of their lives, Cats are best farewelled curled up… maybe remembering one of their many afternoon naps. The hexagonal shape suits this best.”
Please watch the video here to learn more and lend your support to them via Kick Starter.

Chatting with Whitney from CBS’ American Baking Competition

whitney.pngIf you’ve been watching the American Baking Competition on CBS, then you know that college grad Whitney Beery was the latest contestant whose desserts just didn’t make the cut with judges Paul Hollywood and Marcela Valladolid. Despite the fact that she missed out on the chance to win $250,000 and a book deal, Whitney gained so much more from her experience…she fell in love.
We recently joined Robin from Simply Southern Baking to find out what she’s been up to since leaving the show.
Simply Southern Baking: What would you say was your most special moment in the competition?
Whitney: Meeting my boyfriend, James. We realized we like the same music and all the same books and stuff while we were on the show so it kind of started then. Once the show was all said and done we started to hang out, without the competition involved. Meeting everyone on the show was also amazing and being able to get the insight from the judges helped with learning how to handle the pressure. Also, since we’re amateur bakers, we normally only hear feedback from our family and friends so they don’t critique like the judges, so it was interesting and helpful to hear how professionals see your bakes.
Simply Southern Baking: You studied restaurant management in college. What are your plans now that you’ve graduated? Are you going to go to graduate school, start a blog?
Whitney: I actually already have a blog. It’s called Appletondesserts.com because Appleton is my middle name. It has all my favorite desserts on it. I’m actually now living in Sonoma, California, and I’m working at a winery. I am using my degree, but I’m doing wine because someday I want to do a dessert wine themed bar. So I’m getting my wine education.
james.jpegRole Mommy: Does James live in Sonoma with you or is it still a long-distance relationship?
Whitney: He is here with me. He’s actually in the room with me (laughs). It’s official.
Role Mommy: You’ve obviously impressed all your friends and family with all your different desserts and you made the show, but you had some difficulty in those first few weeks. What was the biggest challenge for you?
Whitney: I think the biggest challenge was having everything so limited. The limited time, the limited resources. At home, you’re so used to baking and if it doesn’t turn out alright then you do it all over again because you have all these resources and all this time. On the show, it’s a lot more pressure than you would think being under that time limit when you’re not used to that stuff, using that equipment. A lot of things in baking are temperamental like when my cookies spread too much. When I was making the batter, it looked like every other batter I have made. So at that point, I didn’t know that I should add anything, because to me it looked the same, but with all new equipment and all these temperamental factors and then not having time to go back kind of messed me up.
Role Mommy: I tweeted you during the show and I remember that the combination of chai and mocha you were using for the macaroons seemed like it was destined to be at Starbucks. Can you tell us about that particular bake?
Whitney: I did that because it was inspired by my endless studying days in college. There is actually a Starbucks a block away from where I was living. When I first started drinking coffee, mocha was the only thing I had. Of course, I loved the combination of chocolate and coffee together: two of my favorite things. Chai is also one of my absolute favorite drinks because I usually wake up every morning and have coffee or chai, and I usually eat chocolate at some point throughout the day. So it was kind of inspired by my studying days in college and at Starbucks. I never went to the library to study, I was always at Starbucks. So yes, you read my recipe mind!
Role Mommy: I saw your sorority was tweeting during the show. Tell me about that.
Whitney: I’m a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha. I joined when I was a freshman and recruitment was a week before school even started. I went to Texas Tech and I didn’t know anyone so I wanted to meet people, and it was a really great place to make friends. Throughout the whole show, the sorority has been super supportive and great, retweeting and promoting the show. I’ve gotten a lot of tweets from Zetas from across the country. The entire organization has been amazing and extremely supportive throughout it all which doesn’t surprise me because I know Zetas are wonderful women. It’s cool to get connections through the whole country because of the show.
Role Mommy: When you were in college, did you study anything in terms of culinary and pastries, or was baking just more of something you loved as a passion?
Whitney: I just loved it as my passion. For hotel restaurant management, we did have some food courses, but we didn’t really dive into practicing any of it, it was kind of more book studying so that as a restaurant manager you would understand something such as what the different types of sauces are but you didn’t really dive into making anything. But one of those classes got me interested in it because I was reading so much about pastries and I watched Food Network and followed everything on Pinterest, so that all furthered my interest and made me really want to do this on my own. An oreo cheesecake was the first thing I made from scratch and it was really good, and I was like “I’m not that bad so I’m going to keep doing this.”
Role Mommy: When we interviewed Marcela, we asked her if she saw herself in any of the bakers and she said you reminded her of herself when she was first starting out, where she had this natural talent for it and needed to cultivate it and get more training , and she said she appreciated your spunk and the creativity in what you were doing. How do you feel about that? Do you think the experience on the show is going to propel you to do what you should be doing in life?
Whitney: I think it will definitely help. It definitely gave me real insight on to how professional pastry chefs see your actual products, which is very different from how your friends see it. The experience definitely helped me and will continue to help me in the future and propel me to do what I want. Obviously I will not stop baking. I made cupcakes last night.
Role Mommy: In terms of recipes, are you making them up or adapting them from the Food Network or things that you see?
Whitney: I do a lot of research online and I kind of find recipes and I change them. For example, I looked up a biscuit recipe and I used sour cream and added herbs and spices so that they tasted how I like them to taste. So I do get ideas from recipes from cookbooks or online so that I have the basic science, and then I change whatever it needs to manipulate the flavors or textures.
Role Mommy: In terms of the characters on the show, we’re starting to see people’s personalities develop. Brian seems to be a sinister bad guy, and Francine has the best one liners and is hilarious, and Effie seems awesome. Is there anyone besides James that you became really friendly with and continue to talk to after the show?
Whitney: Pretty much everyone is always in touch but I’ve gotten super close to Effie. She was like my mama for the month and I love her. Carlo and I also got really close while we were there. James, Effie, and Carlo are the three people that I keep in constant contact with. James was texting Effie this morning and I called Carlo a couple of days ago and we talked for a little bit so that was nice.
Role Mommy: What did you think about being critiqued by Marcela and Paul?
Whitney: It was hard being critiqued by them because they were looking for something other than what you like. They’re looking for what they like. It was really difficult, because for my chai macaroons, they didn’t come out like macaroons but they were also critiquing the flavor. It was like “well that’s how I like my chai to taste” and they told me it didn’t work but that’s how I wanted it to be like. So it’s kind of difficult because at the same point you want to bake something that you and your family likes but that might not necessarily be what the judges are looking for. So it’s really difficult to kind of gauge where you fall, and you kind of have to learn what they’re looking for and tweak what you like to fit what they want. It’s super difficult because you practice this recipe over and over and you don’t like the taste of it but you know what the judges are going to say, so it’s kind of a weird situation to make something for the judges palette. Normally your friends and your family see it as a different way.
Role Mommy: What did you think of Jeff Foxworthy?
Whitney: Jeff was great. He was really funny and he was really nice. Some of my favorite times was when he would come over personally to talk to each of us because once he came over there was no pressure. He doesn’t care how bad you are, if you’re having a bad time he’s going to try and give you some encouraging words. If you’re doing well he would give you a smile back. He was really encouraging, super super nice, and throughout the whole process he was great.
Role Mommy: Are you still going to be watching throughout the show and tweeting?
Whitney: Yes, I’m still going to be watching! I have to root for my man! I also do want to watch because we all have heard tidbits of how everyone has done, so now I want to watch how it all unfolds because I never got to see that stuff. I heard them talking about it so I really want to see all of it and see how everyone does because there are some surprises for me too!
Make sure you tune into the American Baking Competition on CBS this Wednesday at 8pm ET/PT. As always, we’ll be live tweeting during the show. To join in the fun, follow the handles and hashtags below! Hope to tweet you there!

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Swiss Chard

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As the warm weather becomes more of a constant, there will be more temptations at BBQs and other summer parties of not-so-healthy foods. If we focus on healthy meals at home, we may have a bit more leeway with indulgences when we are out. Swiss Chard is plentiful now so indulge in this easy and tasty recipe!
Swiss Chard with Carrots and Pecans:
4 cups washed and chopped Swiss Chard
1 large carrot, sliced and steamed until tender
2 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp chili oil (or another tsp.olive oil and a few shakes of cayenne pepper)
3 TBS chopped pecans
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sized frying pan, heat up the olive oil.
Add the prepared Swiss Chard to the pan, stir for a few minutes until wilted.
Add in the steamed, sliced carrots and stir.
Add in the honey, chili oil, salt and pepper.
Top with pecans and serve immediately.