Last night I attended my first Taste of Home Cooking School event. If you've never heard of it, here's a trailer from their website.
I used to subscribe to the magazine, but canceled it when I realized most of the recipes were not compatible with my way of eating. But like any other recipe book, you can occasionally find that rare exception and end up with a fantastic meal.
A friend gave me 3 tickets to the event so I figured I might as well enjoy a night away from home. I also knew that while I might not be able to eat the dishes prepared, I sure might learn some new cooking techniques.
We had a great time. Even my children, who normally complain how bored they are about 30 minutes into something like this, were enjoying themselves. Karen Schwarck was our culinary specialist for the night and she really made every aspect of the experience fun.
The theme of this school was Simple Entertaining and they had some really yummy, but carby, looking dishes to prepare for us. When entering you are given a bag full of coupons, samples, and information. We also received several editions of Taste Of Home magazine. There was a huge screen above the stage that showed us every little detail of her work. Between setup for each dish we were given trivia questions and information about cookbooks and dinner/cookware available from Taste of Home.
There were also a multitude of door prizes! I think they probably gave away 30 bags of groceries from a local store, as well as cookbooks, giftbaskets, gift certificates, etc. You could also win the food, and the beautiful dishes they were made/served in, after the show was over.
Here's a list of what they made:
Mixed Greens and Citrus Salad
Thai Chicken Pizza
Buffalo-Style Chicken Pizza
Spring Strawberry Cups
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream Balls
Peach Melba Mousse Dessert
Ok.. so do you wanna take a stab at what I won? It's really a miracle my name was drawn at all with so many people there. But I did win something. Actually, my daughter did too. Rachel won a bag of groceries. I really appreciate it, but was a little disappointed to find that it was filled with sugary cereals and macaroni and cheese. There was a can of green beans in there though. :0) These bags were put together by a local grocerey store and Taste of Home had no input on the contents, so don't assume that you'll win the same thing should you attend one in your area.
Anyway I won the Sensational Sangria. I somehow knew I'd win it too. I told my kids, "You just watch. Mommy will win that drink she's making because it's alcoholic and full of sugar." Yep. I was probably the only person in the crowd over 21 who doesn't drink... and I won the booze. It wasn't as booze filled as it should have been though. They knew someone would be driving home with a huge pitcher of this stuff and didn't want anyone breaking the open container laws, so they substituted the 1 bottle of wine for 1 bottle of grape juice. They did still add the brandy and Triple Sec to it though.
I ended up pouring it in a plastic pitcher and giving it away. But I did try a taste of it and I have to say it was pretty good. I might have even enjoyed a glass before giving the rest of it away had it not had a bajillion grams of sugar in it. But I did end up with a beautiful glass pitcher, which according to the book I got, retails for about $33. I took a pic of it, with the sangria still inside, to share with you:
All in all, it was a great time and is worth the price of admission (which according to my tickets were around $12 each). If you'd like to find a Taste of Home Cooking School event near you, be sure to look at their website for the schedule. And if you go, tell me if you win anything!