Category Archives: Pillsbury Bakeoff

It’s Pillsbury season! I smell a million dollars!

Wendy!  It’s NOT TOO LATE!  We missed the dinner category entries…but we can still jump on the dessert band wagon!  Yes, yes, we will gain weight.  And yeah, the kids will get tired of eating Crescent Rolls bent into weird shapes and slathered in Timtella (Trademark Pending) Sauce.  But WE CAN’T QUIT NOW!  We have too many years (not to mention the thousands we have spent) into this project.  We just need to tweak a few ingredients…and the million dollar prize is ours!  Unless the following is true…?
pillsbury

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Cupcake Wars

One of my daughter’s early teachers was called “Cupcake” (not to her face) by the parents, because of her penchant for celebrating every birthday, half-birthday, and holiday, including obscure-in-America British holidays, by serving fluffy cakes with gobs of frosting.  She considered sugar to be, in part, a learning tool.  It was quite effective.  My daughter does not remember the storyline to The Lace Snail, which we read a gazillion times (it’s wonderful), but she still speaks fondly of London’s October Plenty.  Attempts to form letters were rewarded with m&m’s or bits of red licorice.

Why am I thinking about this now, a few years after the fact?  Because I just spent two hours learning how to make a radish mouse to entice my daughter to eat her veggies.   Any veggie.  A no-thank-you bite of cherry tomato.  A snippet of gray green bean out of her Alphabet Soup.

For many years I was a sugar-free vegan (this was before Carolyn and I began entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off, I grant you) and regularly offered collards and kale to my daughter, who ate her greens with gusto.   Oh, yes she did.  In fact, her favorite breakfast was brown rice with butter, tiny minced carrots, nori seaweed and gomasio.  And then…Cupcake.

I love you, Cupcake, I do.  When introducing children to school, it’s a Jewish tradition to dot the pages of a book with honey so the learning will be sweet.   My daughter’s books were smeared with buttercream; I suppose that’s close.  And when she majors in British history I’m quite sure I will remember you fondly.  But I can’t help the pang of regret and frustration I experienced when she saw that adorable mouse staring up from her salad.  Raising it by it’s long radish root tail, she stared ambivalently awhile then asked, “Do I get dessert if I eat this?”

My next attempt will be carrot-cake oatmeal.  I’ll post the recipe if successful.

Wendy

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The Pillsbury Fart-off…uh, Bake-Off

As you know, Carolyn and I are addicted to entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off.  Every spring break from school is an opportunity to corral our kids (plus the offspring of anyone cruel enough to drop their progeny off at Carolyn’s place during this time of year) into one room and ply them with experiment after experiment…er, rather, delicacy after delicacy.  On this year’s menu:

Vermont Maple Cupcakes With Georgia Peanut Buttercream (going with a state theme).  This recipe required several attempts and never really came together.  The kids began eating enthusiastically then quite suddenly looked as if they’d been stricken with a deadly disease.  We gave ’em a little bicarbonate of soda and got right back in the saddle with…

Meatball Hoagie Bake.  This was not bad, though it was overly complicated and kinda unattractive.  Took three or four swipes at this one over a two-day period with eight children and four adults taste testing.  Final decision:  Nah.

Next up:  Carolyn’s soon-to-be world-famous Sweet ‘N Smoky Baked Breakfast Pancake.  OMG.  Incredible.  We all thought so.  She made it several times–for breakfast, for dinner, for a snack.  We tried other baked pancake variations, too, plus more sandwiches, a couple of appetizers and an entrée.  All together we made seven trips to the supermarket, spent…well, I can’t say on the chance one of our husbands is reading, and sickened eight otherwise hardy children.  I overheard this comment from one of Carolyn’s daughter’s friends:

“Can we stop eating now?  I’ve been farting all morning.”

“Me, too,” whispered Carolyn’s daughter.  “I think they’re getting tired.  They’ll stop soon.”

That’s what you thought, missy.

We kept at it until there wasn’t a creative thought left in our brains.  We kept at it until the smell of exhaustion overwhelmed the smells of butter, sugar, toffee and cinnamon.  And soon, very soon, we’ll be in Carolyn’s kitchen again, prepping for the next bake-off.  Why?  Because there’s a million bucks, new appliances, a trip to Orlando and the promise of fifteen minutes of Pillsbury fame riding on this one.

And because we came up empty when we Googled “Bake-Offs Anonymous.”

Wendy

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Michael and Me…THIS Is It

Carolyn, my friend, partner in menopause, outer Lucy to my inner Ethel–

Thanks for yet another opportunity to claim my fifteen minutes of fame.  Alas, I may be able to squeeze only sixty seconds out of this one.

True, I went to school with the Jacksons back in 1974…75?  76?  Somewhere in there.  However, dear Carolyn, I fear your excitement may have colored a few of the less salient facts, albeit ever-so-slightly.  First of all, the Jacksons and my family did reside in the same county, but not in the same neighborhood.  Nooo, that would be like saying Secretariat and Penny Chenery lived in the same house.  (Secretariat=barn; Ms. Chenery=rambling country estate, if you get my drift).

Neither is it wholly accurate to suggest I hung out at Michael’s house, because…well, I didn’t.  Never saw the place.  My brother did, though.  Once.  Michael wasn’t there, but knowing my brother loved pinball machines, he invited Matthew to play in the Jackson’s home arcade. Continue reading

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My pal, Jacko

Wendy, your stick people are like...the Mona Lisa, Oooo, uhh-uhh, cha-mon, ooo, yeah!

I guess I’ve let the suspense build long enough (and, I got distracted) so I’m finally back with the answer to the stupefying question:  “What legendary pop star did Wendy go to grammar school with?”  Answer (imagine a drumroll here…thrrrrrrrrrrrrr) MICHEAL JACKSON!  Yes!  It’s true.  Back before he was an ABC Delicious super star, Wendy used to hang out with his little brother, Randy Jackson…at their house! (And, no, I’m not talkin’ ’bout the American Idol judge, dawg).  Their families–the Warrens and the Jacksons–lived in the same neighborhood.  Apparently, Randy would invite her, and her brother, over to color and draw and Micheal would be there and he’d lean over the table and study her art (he was a few years older) and make these really deep comments about the content and form of her stick people.

But, why am I telling this?  Wendy?  Get on here, woman and do that impression you do, of Micheal Jackson giving you an art lesson.  It’s priceless.  Speaking of priceless, he drew some pictures with her and gave her some and…SHE THREW THEM AWAY! 

Crrrraaaaaap.   Well, there’s always the Pillsbury Bake-off.

Carolyn

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Happy Anniversary, TooHotMamas!

Here's to another FABULOUS year of Hot Flashing!

  Wendy, I simply cannot believe  that we have been blogging for a solid year now!  And, what a year it’s been.  Wendy has sold three books and her husband has starred on LEVERAGE (on TNT). 

I managed to unclog a stubborn drain and my hubby cut off the tip of his finger.  What will the coming year bring?  I shudder to imagine.

At any rate, this explains Wendy’s rather sporadic contribution to the blog.  She’s working.  I, on the other hand, remain firmly attached to her coattails, dreaming of the day when I’m sitting in the front row at the Academy Awards, sobbing ala Chad Lowe, while she accepts the Oscar for best screenplay adaptation of a novel.  I only hope she remembers to thank me.  You know, for handling the blog while she works on a paying gig.

Since we are embarking on a new year here at TooHotMamas, I thought I’d like to try something I’m going to call: The Story Of Us.

Basically, it’s gonna be a soap-opera type serial blog.  Cliff-hangers, love, live, death, barf, marriage, menopause, kids, George Clooney, you know, stuff about our dysfunctional—and oddly identical—lives and how we met and forged a sisteresque friendship.  This is going to be really fun for me, as Wendy is too busy earning a real living to actually check in here, at TooHotMamas, and so, I’ll be able to really dish the dirt.

For example:  Wendy used to go to school with what musical super star??

I’ll have that juicy answer…on the next episode of THM’s!

Carolyn

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Another Get Rich Quick Scheme Down the Toilet

Heeeeeellllppp meeeeee!

Ohmigosh, Wendy!  Last night I had a dream that J. Lilly, President of Pillsbury wrote us a letter.  It was so terrifying!  So real!  I woke up in a sweat (could have been a hot flash) and scribbled down what I remembered on a candy wrapper I found lying near my bed: 

To TooHotMamas:

(Whoever you are and whatever your racket is)  

 Stop harassing me about winning my contest, or I’ll be forced to take out a restraining order against you both.  The only reason I haven’t contacted the authorities yet, is because my sister is menopausal and tells me you are both out of your minds. 

In answer to a few of your many and varied accusations:  No, the contest was not rigged, nor am I related to the winners and yes I eat Pillsbury products in my home and have no signs of these ‘pathogens’ you allude to.  

Also, since Jack Bauer is a FICTIONAL television character (24), I cannot take the threat that you would report my contest to the Counter Terrorist Unit seriously.  I can’t believe Jack Bauer would take it seriously.  In a shoot out, everyone knows the doughboy has no vital organs and can withstand intense heat.  Jack Bauer, though impressive, would never survive a pre-heated 350 oven for more than 30 minutes. 

TooHotMamas, I will not be bullied into, and I’m quoting here, “Taking you to the stars with your two-ingredient Pancake Sauce”, and must reiterate: Winning my contest will not solve your myriad problems.  In fact you both may wish to consider counseling.  I’ve heard this stage of life is hard on many women and can lead to delusional behavior.  

Thank you for including the pictures of your children in your missive of terror and yes, aside from needing braces, they are all exceedingly attractive. 

You will be contacted from my lawyers for your issues with our contest protocol, and must sign sworn statements to hold Pillsbury harmless, if you wish to participate in the future. 

Sincerely, 

John Lilly, CEO Pillsbury Corporation

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Nuthin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven

We like him better this way

 

Wendy: 

Today is the day the Pillsbury winner is slated to be announced on Oprah.  The Million Dollar Bakeoff Winner.  Wonder who that lucky person might be.  I wonder if they took time away from their precious children to perfect their recipe?  I wonder if their marriage suffered because their husbands thought they were stupid to be chasing a pipe dream?   I wonder if the winner has five little tykes, every single one of which needs braces? 

Well, we do know one thing for sure. 

It’s not us. 

That’s okay.  There is always next year. 

Carolyn

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Open Letter to John Lilly, head of Pillsbury North America…or We’re not bitter, part II

Dear Mr. Lilly:

Today I received yet another in a recent onslaught of emails from Pillsbury offering me “fabulous” recipes and coupons for your products so that I might effectively execute said recipes.  I believe I can speak for my friend Carolyn when I say that we are more likely to eat the goopy stuff that collects in the corner of dogs’ eyes than to slam back one more poppin’ fresh anything.

It cannot have escaped your notice that in all fifty states and parts of Canada people have been ingesting dangerous amounts of your dough boy in an effort to better their circumstances.  The Pillsbury Bake-Off gave us all hope.  Hope, sir, that even in the face of our husband’s laughter, our children’s tummy aches, unstable blood sugar and alarming increases in dental caries we might win a new refrigerator or perhaps a trip to the Magic Kingdom.  For months we fell asleep dreaming of new uses for crescent rolls then awoke like children on Christmas morning, eager as all get out to see if we had e-mail.  Did Pillsbury like the Money Bunz? we wondered.  Did the Cookie Fries make them smile??  (And by the way, I have never seen anyone work with more single-minded focus than Carolyn Zane did when she perfected Cookie Catsup.   Her kids weren’t allowed to eat anything else for days.)

But we heard nothing–not a word, not a peep, not a giggle from the dough boy–to acknowledge our hard work and self-sacrifice in making your contest a success.

Yeah, I know you’re busy; we’re all busy.  Carolyn and I should have been writing books last spring, but did we?  Nooo.   We put the 65th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off first.  We would  appreciate a little acknowledgment, not another e-mail about Topsy Turvy Apple Pie and Chicken Nugget casserole or whatever that last one was.  Yuck.  (Did you even taste our tofu quiche?  Oprah would have loved it.)

All right, look, here’s the deal:  We’ve got your dough boy.  If you want him back in one yeasty piece, cease and desist all further emails unless it’s to say THANK YOU, LADIES from the bottom of your heart.  I  mean it.  We will eat that little dough man bit by bit, starting with his puffy white fingers (where are his fingers, anyway?) for every self-promoting e-mail you send.

With all due respect, take your head out, John:  No one who has spent a hundred gazillion hours and most of their children’s college fund entering your Bake-Off wants to try last year’s recipe for Maple-glazed Green Giant Spinach crescent rolls.  I’m just saying.

Best,

Wendy


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We’re not bitter…much.

Wendy…I hate to be the one to break the horrible, nay, nay hideous news, but… we were NOT selected as finalists in this year’s $#%@!! Pillsbury Bake-off 100 Finalists.  Yes, I know, last year, we spent nearly all of our savings on Pillsbury products, slaved hours in the test kitchen (okay, my kitchen), force-fed everyone we know Pillsbury products, and yes, even sacrificed our hips and thighs.  For what? 

Oprah to announce Million $ Winner!

To say I’m bummed is like saying the Grand Canyon is just a ditch.  I’m wrecked.  And the kicker in my Pillsbury depression?  The winner will be announced on… Oprah.  Yes.  Our Oprah.  The one you and I have always fantasized about being interviewed by and whose book club we aspire to being chosen for.  I am banging my head against the monitor as I write this.

Our entire year of labor is flashing before my eyes…

Remember how we put off entering our recipes until the deadline day?  Remember how your computer was broken and I drove 450 frikkin’ miles to your house and forgot to bring mine?  Remember how we got up early and borrowed your neighbor’s library card?  Remember how, when we got to the library, all the computers had people using them?  Remember how we cussed?  Remember how, when we finally got on a computer, we accidentally submitted some of the wrong measurments…and then the computer shut off, because we’d used your alloted half hour and your neighbors alloted half hour and we were locked out?  Remember how we cussed some more?  Remember how smug we were when we knew we still had one more half hour because we had your husband’s card… and then found out that the stupid contest closed at noon EASTERN TIME??  HUH?  REMEMBER?

Yeah.  Good times.

We should do it again.

I’m including the announcement below:

Although the cooking finals will be held here in Orlando, the winner of  the 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contestwill be announced April 14, 2010, on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The 100 finalists will assemble and compete at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel, preparing their original recipes in 100 mini kitchens stocked with all of their ingredients.  The four category winners (Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy and Sweet Treats) will be announced in the evening April 12 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek.  Then, in a first for the contest,  four finalists will be flown to Chicago  to appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Winfrey will reveal the $1 million grand prize winner on her show. Visit http://www.bakeoff.com for more information, as well as past recipes.

I’m gonna go plunge a fork into my eye now.

Carolyn

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