Since we’ve had our turn at the internet voting box, we’re hoping you’ll consider placing your vote, too. Because – be prepared for bragging – it’s just been announced that our daughter, Rachel Ruiz, is one of the Pillsbury Bake-Off’s Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts semi-finalists.
Proud? You bet we are -- even if we’re a little confused. Where did the girl get her cooking genes? Renee’s favorite dessert is No Fat Chocolate Pudding, found in the bakery aisle of our local mega-mart. Peel off the top lid and the brown goo is good-to-go. Harrell’s favorite breakfast is Maruchan Ramen at 15 cents a packet. Add boiling water, let the block of pressed noodles steep for 60 seconds, and it’s a meal. As you can see, we’re pretty casual about the meaning of the words, dessert and meal.
In our house, “home cooking” meant we were having dinner at the neighbor’s house. So, when our teenaged daughter blew the dust off of our pots and pans and starting preparing real food, we were more than a little surprised. (Also, more than a little pleased. Shhh, don’t tell her.) Then Rachel went off to college, joined the Air Force, met Ben, the man o’ her dreams, married and moved away…and we returned to a life of non-refrigerated desserts and sodium-laden noodles.
Meanwhile, Team Ruiz produced two of the world’s cutest grandbabies. In between diaper changing, still ongoing and ever so much fun, Rachel began developing her own recipes. She frequently provides treats for Ben and his co-workers but a stay-at-home mom has limited opportunities to display her skills. Wanting to stretch her culinary muscles, she began to enter on-line cooking contests. She told us, “I love, LOVE to bake and recipe contests give me an outlet for my creativity.” The Pillsbury Corp offers the biggest recipe contest in the world.
There are thousands of entries chasing the million dollar prize so it’s an honor to be selected as a semi-finalist. Truly. However, as we learned during the Disney Fellowship Competitions, life rarely rewards the world’s semi-finalists. There are three categories in the contest and the first two (Appetizers and Dinners) have already been completed; only Breakfast is still in play. Sixty recipes were chosen in the contest’s breakfast category and only 33 of the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfast contestants will be going to Las Vegas to continue competing for the prize.
Those 33 contestants are chosen via internet voting. The one person = one vote is in full force but you can vote for as many recipes as you like. As it happens, we think her recipe for Spicy Tortilla Breakfast Empanadas is really inventive and pretty terrific. (No, we haven’t made it ourselves. Haven’t you been paying attention? We wouldn’t make it even if the ingredients included No Fat Chocolate Pudding and Maruchan Ramen. Also, it’s not take-out pizza. On the other hand, Rachel has made it and it tastes wonderful!)
“It’s pretty much a twist on one of Ben’s and my favorite breakfast dishes, the Tex-Mex version of migas,” she told us. Tex-Mex migas traditionally include scrambled eggs, tortilla chips and salsa. Her version? Even with only seven ingredients and a 20-minute prep time, it came out really different and fun. “It just came to me one day and I decided to try it. I liked it, Ben really liked it, and I decided to enter it in the contest.”
So that’s where we are today. Since it’s a short contest – it runs September 12th through September 26th -- we’d appreciate it if you’d swing by the Pillsbury site and sign-up today. (Go here.) It’s pretty easy; if you’re 18 years old, you give ‘em an e-mail address, make up a password, and you’re in. Then go to the Voting Gallery, review the 60 different breakfast recipes, buy all of the ingredients, make every dish, and then vote for Rachel Ruiz once you’ve decided you like her creation best. Or, if you’re a little busy, just check out Rachel’s recipe and, if you like it, cast your vote. You can finish the other stuff later.
Thanks. And happy eating!