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2021 – almost time for new Worst Cooks In America Bingo!

As 2020 draws to a close, we start looking to the new year with hope and anticipation. For me, that means working on more recipes, reading more cookbooks, and watching Food Network for Worst Cooks In America and playing WC Bingo. Allison Wolfe and I have so much fun creating the bingo cards to go along with the show. Just to be clear, I am not affiliated with Food Network or Worst Cooks. I am simply a food groupie and fan, and found a fun way to interact with the show. The bingo cards have proven to be popular, so we are gearing up for the new season that starts Sunday, January 3rd at 6pm PT/9pm ET.

The new season bring a new(ish) chef to Team Blue – Carla Hall. She was a judge on the recent Halloween redemption episode (I see you, Brett Azar!), but has not had to run the gauntlet of boot camp recruits. I don’t know if she knows what she signed up for, since the redemption chefs had already been through the drill before. Both chefs are amazing in the kitchen, and it will be great to see what they can do with people that can burn water.

I hope you have fun playing bingo along with us. I don’t get to see the show ahead of time, so I am just as surprised at the shenanigans that go on. You can print up an individual card or play a few, the choice is up to you.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Food Network, but I am a huge food groupie. Watching food competition shows is my idea of a sporting event.

Want to play along? Click here to pick a bingo card after December 24, 2020.

Bingo card archive

What are you thankful for?

It is hard to believe that the end of the year is right around the corner. As someone who has been working (mostly) remotely, all of the days feel like they run together. There isn’t a demarcation between work and home like when I leave for campus during the week. There are good things to working from home that I really enjoy. Today I was able to test/troubleshoot a recipe for someone to see if there was an issue, and it timed out well during my breaks and lunch time. The election is over (and no more campaign ads for awhile!), and the vaccine for Covid-19 looks promising. Positive steps for sure.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com

November is a little sad as it gets closer to Thanksgiving. My mom passed away just before the holiday several years ago, and I miss making some of the dishes for her that she enjoyed. You have never met anyone that loved potatoes as much as my mom did. She would literally do a dance of happiness when I made her a batch. If you haven’t made potato salad for the holiday, give it a try. You can make it a day or two ahead of time, and it will be even better than if you made it that morning. The key to less stress for family gatherings is to plan ahead, and try to make some of the dishes a day or more in advance. In this year of the pandemic, the gatherings might be smaller or virtual, but you can still catch up and visit over food.

The cooler days and longer nights are great times to reflect on the year. What are you thankful for in 2020? Friends, family, finding a new job or staying employed? Did you learn a new skill or talent, or were you finally able to complete something you’ve been putting off? Me? I’m still trying to get all of my cookbooks cataloged and sorted. That will be my main goal over the Christmas/Winter break from the university. I am thankful for my family’s health, that my kids are doing well, that my husband is so supportive of my cooking adventure (he gets to taste all the food), and I have a good position at the college. I am really enjoying learning how to stage and film food videos at home for the local library, and might try to upload some on YouTube beginning next year. I just need to get a cabinet moved to the wall first (surprisingly, it is not an easy task to find someone to do it).

When life is getting stressing and down, try to find something positive. It is difficult for many people to stay isolated, but a little patience and prevention now will pay off. If you can, go for a walk outside. Bake or cook something, and share with a neighbor or family member. Grab a coloring book and color. Make a list of the good things that happened this year, and set your sights on something new and different for 2021. Then work towards it. You might just surprise yourself with all the terrific things you can accomplish.

One last thing, and this is a big one. Remember, life is too short for bad food.

Halloween time is here!

Happy October everyone! I hope life finds you doing well. It hard to believe we are at the tail end of the year already. Fall is my favorite time of year, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. Since I am working mostly remotely I don’t know if I’ll dress up or not, but you never know. Halloween is also my wedding anniversary. When we got married, I had to specify on the invitations that only the wedding party would be in costume (wedding dress, tux, etc.). In fact, before my wedding, I had never seen my brother in a tux. He walked me down the aisle, and my mom was there to see me marry my best friend. Ten years later, we are still going strong.

I just found out that Food Network was doing a Worst Cooks Halloween redemption. You know what that means……BINGO! Click below for this weeks cards. Just a reminder, I am not affiliated with Food Network or the show, and I have no idea what is on the show until everyone else. Pick a card (or several) and play along.

As summer wraps up….

What a strange year. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and happenings for everyone, both good and bad. I hope everyone is staying safe, wearing masks, and social distancing as much as possible. Not everyone can work from home, and I feel very much for those that go off to work every day. I also feel for those that are struggling because of a lack of work due to the pandemic. These are not easy times, and we are not out of the woods yet. It will take everyone doing their part, no matter how small, to pull us through to the other side.

Adapting to working remotely 95% of the time has been interesting, and a lesson in planning and personal determination. I like the summer hours the campus keeps, as I can get a lot of things done once I”m off the clock at 3:30pm. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, that hour and a half difference. However, when you are focused with a goal you can get a lot done. I was able to pull and write recipes, draft copy for attempting my first food videos (sorry for the packed and tiny kitchen – I’m working at reorganizing and moving things around for the future), get grocery shopping done without rushing, and FINALLY start cataloging my huge cookbook library.

I want to say thank you to Allison Wolfe for her continuing collaboration and support of the zany Worst Cooks bingo that I started earlier this year. I am not part of the Food Network family (though I’d love to!), just a big food groupie. It is fun to watch past seasons and try to guess what to put on the bingo cards. Most of the time I come pretty close, since basic skills are something everyone has to learn when they first start. Interacting with some of the contestants has been a blast, and I think Season 20 was a terrific one with Alex Guarnaschelli’s style complimenting that of Anne Burrell. The camaraderie among the two teams was above and beyond what I’ve seen previously, and it was easy to see that they all got along.

Now that summer is almost over, it is time to make new plans. The yearly fair turn-in deluge will not be happening due to the pandemic causing most of the fair to be cancelled or go virtual. I think my husband is a little relieved, because the two turn-in weekends (crafts and baked goods) are super hectic as I try to get everything possible done and turned in before 5pm. I’m a little sad because I was going to try to beat my record of 26 items baked in a day and a half (including yeast breads and candy). There’s always next year, and will give me time to perfect a few things. (I do miss having taste testers handy at work for feedback.)

I think between now and the end of September will be more about getting organized and update parts of the kitchen so we can make better videos. It has a small galley-style kitchen, next to no pantry space, and the upper cabinets over what should be a breakfast bar are hung too low to do anyone any favors. The house is older than I am, so we never know exactly what twist might happen on a project until we are in the middle of it. I will finally get the cookbook cataloging project finished and uploaded so that I quit accidentally buying duplicates, and get started on writing a cookbook. I promised myself I’d get one done before I turned 60, and that is only a few years away. I have an idea for a quirky cooking show (no, I’m not telling anything about it just yet), and will be pushing my comfort zone to do more cooking videos. You might see me tackle real-life leftover issues, or random ingredients and what to do with them (or not!). I really want people to be able to relate and not be intimidated with cooking and baking. There is a lot I don’t know, but I’m always willing to research and learn. I can laugh at my cooking blunders and figure out how to do better the next time. It’s food; if it tastes good it’s still a win in my book.

It is a tough time for the nation, and will be so until we get a handle on the pandemic. Look out for each other, check in on your friends and family remotely, practice self-care, and above all, be kind. Choose to respond to a challenge or situation instead of react. Making the conscious decision on what you do will change more than just the outcome. It will change your outlook and resilience for the better. Remember, you are living, you occupy space, and you matter.

Also, life is too short for bad food. Drop me a message or comment on what you want a recipe for or see me make. I’m up for a challenge, so let’s make it fun!

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