The season of giving..

Things have been a little quiet here. Oops! With two blogs, I usually find my stride with one and the other kind of just suffers. Since it’s the holiday season (aka baking season), I’ve been a little busy in the kitchen, so I’ve had a good bit to share on the other blog because of it. At the same time, I’ve been working on quite a few things non kitchen-wise, which I want to share with y’all.

One of the biggest pieces of news I have is that I entered a recipe contest. It was a local one that my newspaper held, and I stumbled upon it sitting in traffic reading one of those billboards that seems to flash from one ad to another. I immediately started brainstorming in my car when I saw “Holiday Dessert Recipe Contest”. I had two ideas in my head and the idea I tested out was a peppermint bark cheesecake truffle.

I ended up making one batch and brought it to my coworkers. I thought it was a decent dessert, but I mean, you are your own worst critic…I just thought it could be better. However, my coworkers started raving about these truffles and quite a few of them wanted the recipe. So I thought, maybe this truffle is perfect just the way it is. So that evening, I submitted the recipe.

To become a finalist, you had to be in the top 10 popular vote-wise. The hard thing about it was that if you wanted to vote, you had to register on the website. So, that made begging for votes even harder. I was in 7th or 8th place with votes in the end, so I barely squeaked by as a finalist. Whew!  (Thanks to all of you who voted for me!)

After I was selected as a finalist, I had to bring my truffles to the newspaper’s office for a taste test. I can’t tell you how nervous I was to bring those truffles to the office. What if they all HATED them? I started to doubt my recipe. So, I thought…maybe if I put them in a cute tin with some paper shreds, I might get some presentation points? (I have no clue if this was part of the judging criteria, but to me, a pretty dessert never hurts!)

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles

I was told that they were announcing the winners on Saturday at a furniture store, which was 40 minutes away from our house. H offered to bring me, since he knows that I ::really:: needed to know and waiting until Monday for a possible phone call would just KILL me. So, we went.

I can’t tell you how nervous I was. My palms were sweaty, I had butterflies in my stomach and I kept telling my H that there was no way I placed. No way. Listening to some of the finalists, you could tell they knew what they were doing.

They announced 3rd place (wasn’t me)….2nd place (wasn’t me)…so, at this point, I told H at least I tried. The 2nd and 3rd place winners won gift certificates to a local grocery store, which to me, would have been completely awesome to put towards the Christmas dinner we were hosting! But yeah, didn’t win 2nd or 3rd place.

They go to announce 1st place, and my H is just smirking. I was 99% sure I was just going home empty-handed, because the 2nd place winner made a cheesecake. Why would they choose another cheesecake-type dessert to win? However, they said “Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Truffles”.



I looked at H and started tearing up like a dork. I’m such a dork. I couldn’t BELIEVE I won!

The prize for 1st place was a $1000 for Paula Deen furniture at the store. I already discussed with H that if I won, I really wanted to get my family a new sofa for Christmas. He was totally on board with the idea since my family’s sofa is/was about 20 years old and had DEFINITELY seen better days.

Sadly, the store didn’t carry Paula Deen sofas, but thankfully, the clerk who helped me allowed me to use the credit towards ANY sofa. SCORE!

So, my H and I finally found this sofa set that was discontinued on major sale. Not only were we able to get a sofa, but we also got my family a loveseat. I tried to keep it a surprise from my Mom as long as I could, but in the last few minutes, I had to spoil it, since we had to clear the old sofa and the stuff around it before the delivery people arrived.

Blurry shot, but here is the new set!

My family absolutely loves the new furniture, which makes me so happy. When it comes to the holidays, I care more about giving gifts than receiving them. I truly love to see the reactions of those I give gifts to, and this one just had me beaming.

Thanks so much to The Advocate for having this contest! Winning this contest was one of the big highlights of 2011 for me, and I’m sure it was for my family too!


  1. Wow, this post made my heart swell, big time. You are an amazing daughter. Congratulations on winning the contest!! Your recipe sounds really delicious (I love peppermint bark) and the fact that you gifted your prize is amazing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (I’m a former Weddingbee reader)

  2. Amy you are such a sweetheart! What a wonderful thing to do for your family. Those truffles are something I’m going to have to try making for myself.

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