It comes as no surprise to those who know me that I love cooking and have been entered into a cooking competition for Whole Foods Market Encinitas.  This is not like any other culinary competition I have ever been in before, in fact I am pretty certain I have never been in any kind of cooking competition.  I love cooking, but it is a learn as you go type of relationship.  I have only recently trained myself to start actually tasting as I go instead of waiting till the end to just see how it turns out.  I’m lucky that method worked for as long as it did.  I came from  household that cooked the same meals each week and they were cheap, simple and ordinary.  There was no experimentation, no creativity and very little flavor.  My grandmother, bless her heart, cooked like we were still in the great depression and fed us the bare necessities but didn’t ever seem to have fun cooking her food.  I like to have fun with cooking. I laugh at myself most of the time because I honestly do not know what I am doing, ironically enough I have many close friends who have gone to culinary school and are professional chef’s *thanks for not making me feel like an idiot guys!*.  This competition sounded like fun to me; An incredible challenge, waaaayyyyyy outside of my comfort zone and an exciting new way to share and learn some creative new recipes!

Here is the Nitty Gritty:

  • Each MONDAY I will receive a bag including FOUR secret ingredients that must be included in my culinary creation. (I almost didn’t pick mine up this week due to the sick kiddo, but thanks to my brother I got my bag off exciting goodness and spent the night tossing and turning with ideas for what I was going to create)
  • Once our dish is made I must blog the recipe and make sure to tag and link the Whole Foods Encinitas store.
  • Then I must SHARE my blog on every social media network I can think of  (Pinterest, twitter, facebook, Instagram… heck is myspace still up and running??)
  • At the end of each week  winner will be chosen to then compete in a live cook off at the store location December 8th (Um, yeah EXCITING!!!)

We are judged on the following criteria:

a.      Originality / Use of Ingredients

b.      Plating / Photography

c.      Likes / Tweets / Pins

So as you can see, all the LIKES, SHARES, TWEETS, PINS and whatever else is out there would really truly help me get ahead in this competition.  Oh yeah, which reminds me… The Prize!

  • First place will receive is a Whole Foods Market Pantry Makeover, a Vitamix blender and dinner for 2 at Solace (prize valued at $700)
  • Second place will win dinner for six catered by Whole Foods Market (prize valued at $200)
  • Third place will receive a holiday meal for six (valued at $130)



My four secret ingredients this week were: Organic 356 Chicken Broth, Smoked Gouda Dip(made right here in their store!), AND Whole Foods Market Cranberry Sauce

           So first thing off the top of my head I thought was, the last thing I need for a Holiday inspired dish is yet another turkey entree with stuffing and cranberry sauce garnish on the side.  That is always our problem in our household during the Holidays; my husband and kids get tired of all the same food and end up not even wanting to see it in the fridge.  So I tried to think of something fun, simple and unique that could be served during a holiday season when you’ve got a full house and not a lot of time or space to prep something big….  I thought of a few weeks ago when I had 5 adults and three kids in my tiny little house (with one bathroom) and the breakfast casserole I decided to make one morning for the first time.  I googled a few different recipes and merged them to make use of the ingredients I already had in my kitchen.  It turned out GREAT!  So, I decided to do the same here. I was having trouble finding a use for the cranberry sauce though… a friend suggested a very creative version of a Mimosa; a cranberry mimosa.  Apparently after looking up a few different recipe’s I learned that it is pretty popular and can be made many different ways.  To tie in the cranberry Mimosa’s I grabbed some Cranberry-Orange Muffins that were already made to serve on the plate with the casserole.  It looked wonderful, festive and super easy to recreate.

Here is what you will need to create this wonderful meal yourself:


8 eggs

1 1/2 C chicken broth

1 1/2 C milk

Two potatoes diced

1/4 C green bell pepper diced

1/4 C red bell pepper diced

1/4 C  onion diced

2 C cooked bacon, crumbled

1 container smoked Gouda cheese dip


garlic powder

1 bag of Whale Tail Hawaiian tortilla chips; smashed into crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. chop/dice up everything and toss in a casserole dish, including the crumbled bacon.
  3. in a separate bowl crack eggs and add milk and chicken broth and beat until mixed.
  4. pour over the ingredient waiting in casserole dish
  5. sprinkle in some pepper, salt and garlic powder and gently stir it into the mixture.
  6. cover the top of the dish with the crushed tortilla chips.
  7. place in the oven and bake for 60 minutes or until you can stick a knife in and have it come out clean (you will be able to see if the egg yolk is still runny or not in the center of the dish when you stick a knife in).


1 bottle champagne

1 jug orange juice

1 container cranberry sauce

a drink shaker


orange garish if you choose


  1. put ice in the shaker
  2. place 1-2 tbs cranberry sauce in the shaker on top of the ice
  3. pour in orange juice 3/4 full
  4. shake vigorously.
  5. use the lid of the cranberry sauce container to coat the rim of the drinking glass with a small amount of cranberry sauce (you can also dip the rim of glass in sugar at the point as well, I opted not to)
  6. pour orange/cranberry mixture into the glass at the same time as the champagne until glass is full.
  7. garnish with orange slice if desired.

SO THERE IT IS FOLKS!! It was super easy and could be adjusted a number of different ways to cater to specific likes or dislikes.  For example, I chose not to put tomatoes in it… but they could have been  nice addition.  Same goes with the Mimosa, if you need a virgin one you can obviously use sprite or ginger ale .. you can also add more cranberry sauce to make it thicker and have more cranberry flavor, or even toss in a couple whole cranberries if ya wish!!

Anyway, if you like these delicious ideas… or you just like me Please SHARE, LIKE, TWEET, PIN and whatever else you can think of to help me WIN THIS THING!!!  



***By the way if you didnt see the link to the Recipe for the Cranberry Orange muffins GO HERE***

Here is a link to PIN IT


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