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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iron Chef America Chairman

That’s me…at least for today. I’m acting as the Chairman for Heidi’s Blogstyle Iron Chef Competition at Sacred and Profane.

(OK. Maybe I did give myself “the Chairman” title, but whatev. Go big or go home, people.)

Each month Heidi posts three recipes in her sidebar for her readers to try. For the month of June, Heidi focused on BBQ/Picnic Salads. Although I do not make salads very often, I do eat them. In my humble opinion, this makes me an excellent judge.

The three recipes entered into this month's competition included: Spinach and Strawberry Salad, Ramen Noodle Salad, and Pepperoni Pasta Salad.

Let’s meet our contestants, shall we? (I hope you are all noticing how much I even sound like a judge.)

Here's Vivienne from The V Spot. For this month's cook-off, she submitted a recipe for Strawberry and Spinach Salad. In preparing for my judge-ly duties, I read through all of the competitor's sites. One of my favorite lines that I came across on Vivienne's blog was in her profile: "I am discovering the fun to be had in sharing the things that make me happy: family, art projects, cooking and a big healthy dose of smart-assery." Anyone who can use the word "smart-assery" in a sentence is just plain cool.


Shelby, from Schweri Stories, submitted Pepperoni Pasta Salad. Yum! Life is just better when it is accompanied by a side of meat, no? I like to think that Shelby appreciates this.


Finally, Stephanie, from Life is a Miracle, submitted a recipe for Ramen Noodle Salad. I didn't have to read much on Stephanie's site to know that she understands my people. She wrote that she made a big bowl of this salad for herself and ate it all week. Hello new friend!

The second part of my judgmental task was for me to make each of these recipes and decide which I like best. Not a problem, unless you forget your commitment to the lovely Heidi and end up having to perform this small miracle in your kitchen on the day that you are hosting a playdate to three toddler boys, in addition to the two kids you call your own.

To say that the scene at my house yesterday was chaotic would be more than a bit of an understatement. I naively built up my confidence in my parenting abilities, telling myself that it would be a good idea to have all of the kids help with the cooking. I'd be the host of my very own cooking class for kids and prepare for a blog post at the same time. It would be multi-tasking at its finest.

In my mind, I saw something like this:


In reality, my end result was something more along the lines of this:


Mental note to self: Three year old boys would much rather be playing in the sandbox in the backyard than inside cooking on a sunny day.

So what have we learned? Let's recap:
  1. Boys with high levels of energy should be outdoors in order to wear off said energy.
  2. I am not the Giada to a cooking class of children that I envisioned.
  3. If I had to pick my favorite recipe, I would go with Vivienne's Strawberry and Spinach Salad. In addition to being super easy, the strawberries were a hit with my posse of kids both on and off the salad.
Oh, and I almost forgot the most important point of all. I could so totally rock the Chairman's job.


Especially if it would get me my own Wii game...


I'd just need to do something about my "man hands" before I got really famous.

-Francesca

Thank you to Heidi for letting me play along. This was fun!
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52 comments:

Tranquility said...

Uhm, maybe lotion would help with the man hands, but as for the rest...

Oh my gosh - all of those salads sound so fantastic! So which one was the winner? Did you eat them all yourself or did the playgroup help out with that? ;)

Tranquility said...

Oops... you already answered that question - I just missed it somehow the first time.

Okay - strawberries it is. That's the one I'll try first. ;)

Vivienne said...

I'm your favorite?! Really?! That is almost as great as having someone think I am cool.

This is the. best. day. ever.
:)
Thanks.

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

Haha, that was absolutely hilarious!! And, the strawberry and spinach one sounds tastiest to me!

-stephanie- said...

Thanks for judging. You know what? I agree with the strawberry salad being the best. I also made a big bowl and ahem...ate it myself. It was delicious.

Jen said...

Wow how cool! I totally want to be a judge. Sounds like a yummy job!

Booklover1212 said...

Can't wait to try these recipes!!!

~ Jennifer

Shelby, Patrick and Kids said...

thanks for the props on my salad, I really enjoyed reading your post. Sad I didn't get your vote but I also really enjoyed the other two and would have had a tough time choosing. Have a great week!

peewee said...

I can't believe you made all those! Oh, and that pic of your kitchen is PRICELESS. Made me gasp out loud (that would be GOL) I LOVE judging. I missed my calling. But for the record, I would have won if I had done that contest. My Chocolate Salad is LEGENDARY. Some might call it a hot fudge sundae. Tomato tomahto I say.

Jennifer said...

In all honesty, I see nothing wrong with your end result... looks waaay better than most of mine...

Kameron said...

You crack me up girly! I will now vow to use the word smart-assery in as many sentences as is humanly possible...without sounding like an ass myself!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

I want the recipes! Share, please?

He And Me + 3 said...

My kids love strawberries too. My favorite is the Ramen noodle salad because my grandmother makes a killer one. YUM!
Sorry about the mess:) That is why I try and eat out all the time. LOL
Mimi

Grand Pooba said...

Oh man my kitchen always looks like that after I cook. I seriously cannot cook without making a complete mess of the kitchen.

And I agree, you do make a fabulous chairman and I would totally by your wii game. Without the man hands of course.

Thanks for making me laugh, my fav "Go big or go home, people."

Words to live by.

Kristina P. said...

Did you know that I can tell your post from the first line? I always know when it's a Francesca post.

And I have a KILLER strawberry/spinach salad recipe.

Kathy B! said...

Oh, Francesca. You'll really have to do better next time.

My kitchen looks like that every day, and nothing noteworthy comes out of it.

Call me and I'll send you some scary pics next time...

Helene said...

I just had a flashback to that one Seinfeld episode about the Man Hands. Even now when I see it, it makes me laugh hysterically.

I am no Giada either, if that makes you feel any better. I had this great idea this afternoon to let Cole and Bella help me make a huge batch of fried zucchini. If I had taken pics, it would've horrified you.

Each of those salads sound so yummy, esp the ramen noodle salad!!!!

Amy said...

How fun . Great new ideas to cook from.
Have a great day. I love strawberries.

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

All three recipes sound fantastic!

One question: what's with the Chairman's pose? It's not something that exactly screams "I'm on a cooking show." :)

Counselormama said...

Ha ha ha! This was hilarious! I, too, tried to have my kids along with my niece and nephew help, it did not go well. At all.

jennykate77 said...

Vivienne's recipe sounds delish! I remember her mentioning it on her blog...oh, and she is WAY COOL...and uses smart-assery in the best way possible. I love her! The pics are cracking me up...and the kitchen...um, yeah...you'll probably need to work on that before you become some big famous cooking star. :P Isn't it so annoying how their kitchens always sparkle and they have EVERY ingredient they need!

Fun post!

Hope you're having a great day!

Randi Troxell said...

you are so funny! and all those salads sound MARVELOUS and great fro summer though i've already tried and love the ramen noodle one!

Banteringblonde said...

I would so totally play that game!! This sounds really fun and I have to say I have never done much with ramen noodles so I may have to get into this!

Jenni Jiggety said...

I can't cook. Therefore there will be NO cooking classes with my boys this summer.

maybe I can teach them to blog?

lov said...

i love that picture of you as the chairmain! :)
totally professional
right?!?!

Kailey said...

I've actually made Kristina's salad before and it is wonderful. But I would definitely try this one too.

We are unfortunately one of the states with no Trader Joe's though. I hear about it from my sister all the time.

The other two recipes look great too, I'll have to give them a try!

rychelle said...

you totally should have filmed the cook-off/cooking class/judgery!

NovelTeaMommy said...

Lady, you are brave: cooking with 3 year olds!!!

They all sound delish, and I love to eat. Cooking, not so much. My kitchen could look like that with me just attempting Hamburger Helper!

And I would totally buy your game. Which is saying a lot considering I'd first have to buy the system...

Thanks for a great laught today! I needed it : D

Hillbilly Duhn said...

LOL @ Manhands.... They are awfully big..bwahahahahaha

as for the salads, I love strawberries. May have to try that one!

The Blonde Duck said...

Thta's so funny! I love it!

Coconut Queen is a never ending story. You saw the 8th edition. I was just too dumb the morning I was writing it to add the part about where to find it. :( Sorry!

Unknown Mami said...

You are so lucky that you got to be judgmental, but I can't believe you had to do all 3 recipes in one day with the help of kids. Crazy!

Wenbren Explains It All said...

I'm gonna be a copycat and make them all too and the spinach and strawberry will be the first one, I will also do it sans kids, it will be my "me" time!

Debbie said...

I made a "salads" dinner the other night. Just lots of different salads. I was in the mood:)

Lolli said...

You have my mouth watering. My friend used to make a ramen salad. I miss her. And I love salads with fruit in them! You crack me up with your picture in the end!

When Pigs Fly said...

Giada is not an icon you want to live up to anyway. You are much braver than me. I would not have tried all that with three small rugrats running around with sharp utensils in my hands. I particularly liked the photo of your kitchen. Your honesty is impressive.

WhisperingWriter said...

Oo I think I'd really like that strawberry salad. I am a huge fan of strawberries.

Now I'm hungry.

Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

This looks soo fun! I love the messes!! ;) Strawberries are delish!!!

Thanks for your comment on the 5 moms blog today!!!

Tarah

Juls said...

how adorable are you. Hmm, where do I sign up to judge these food creations that you speak of. Because, me and food, well--we're pretty good friends.

:) Hope you're having a great summer.... I've been out of the loop for awhile.

FrankandMary said...

Ramen Noodle Salad just cracks me up.
The first time I saw that stuff I'd thought it was ribbon candy turned white from age, sort of Great Expectations candy instead of cake. The rest of the food sounds wonderfully edible right now(has fork in hand).

I truly believe you do chaotic very well. LOVE the contrasting photos.
~Mary

Gibby said...

OMG, I am laughing so hard! Last week I posted about making muffins from that show Cook Yourself Thin and I commented on how their kitchen is all cute and neat and mine looked like a tornado went through it. For muffins!!

P.S. My vacation to San Fran was the first time I had ever been there, and I loved it! You live in a great city!

Jo said...

Yeah, I kinda hate how my expectations are rarely in alignment with reality. I haven't dumped you, I promise! Just catching up in 100's of posts after the trip.

Eric said...

Fun times!

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

Why does your kitchen look EXACTLY like mine???

Mrs. Nurse Boy

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

Those aren't man hands....they're "capable" hands. And I coulda kicked butt in that contest too. We take a lot of salads to family dinners around here and I have one that includes snickers and another one that includes cookies. A salad just isn't a salad without chocolate!

Barbaloot said...

K-that Spinach and Strawberry salad sounds ridiculously delicious right now. I totally want some---but would rather not have to make it myself. Want to send me some? :)

Julie said...

I knew I wasn't just being a bad mom by not wanting my kids help in the kitchen! You're too funny :)

Deb said...

I like man hands. On men. On me. :)

You are so much better than Giada.

ck said...

You had me at "Go big or go home, people."

My goal today, since the only thing I ever do successfully with lettuce is watch it die in my fridge, is to use your phrase (in food related instances)as many times as possible.

HER: "Mama! I only want to eat a little of my sandwich."

ME: "Go big or go home."

MY GUILT: "You really shouldn't devour that ice cream sandwich in three bites. Save some for later."

ME: "Go big or go home."

So far, it's working out beautifully.

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