From Wine Country to “Whine” Country
October 25th, 2011

What a week! From the wine country in California to the "whine" country in Orlando, I feel like I have been on a roller coaster...literally.

Bobby and I had a gorgeous trip last weekend to Napa Valley as we hosted the finale of The Great Steak Challenge. Ten of the top home cooks in America competed for the grand prize of $25,000 dollars and it did not disappoint. This being the second year allowed Beringer to tweak it a little bit and there were ten solid finalist who all had a shot at the money. The finale will air on the Cooking Channel this spring and I promise the stories and recipes are worth a look so stay tuned! The entrees were so good I pinched every recipe for my self and have already this week used my first recipe.

After taking the red eye Saturday night it took me, oh, 3 days to catch back up, we loaded up everything and drove down to Orlando for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. When I say everything I mean Everything....Y'all ever pack to go out of town for 5 days with a five month old? I had more stuff in the car than things we left in Savannah. Jack is old enough to travel light and Matthew is old enough to basically load up his entire room. Pack-and-Play to sleep, chair to eat in, play mat for tummy time, jumper for exercise, bottle warmer, bath stuff, 42 changes of clothes.....I just finished unpacking the car and I've been home three days.

It was all worth it of course. The two shows I hosted were sold out and our play time in the parks was tremendous. If you get a chance to visit in October you have to check out the Not so Scary Parade, Jack goes completely bananas. And the weather this year! Mid seventies in Central Florida! We usually roast down there even in October but boy were we happily surprised this year. I am already looking forward to next year.

Here's a picture of Jack goofing as one of the characters from Disney's Toy Story:

I have to brag on mom a little bit....#1 on the NY Times best seller list! I am so happy for her. Who ever would have thought my little ole momma up in the rarefied air of the best seller list. Dangerous woman indeed.

Big week for my Dawgs as we travel down I-95 for our match up with the hated Gators. This is a huge game for us and a must-win if we hope to make it to the SEC title game in Atlanta.

Look for me down there, I'll be carrying a cocktail wearing a red shirt and barking my head off.

Thanks for checking back in.....

Y'all do good things-

This week's column made me smile. I fondly remember traveling with babies, but we didn't have all of the doo-dads they do now.
Jack is SCARY!! :D
Your mom's cookbook is AWESOME!
Just 'cause we live in Ocala doesn't mean we like the Gators.... I'll be rooting for your team, Jamie! Hope they can get the job done ~~


Kay McCullough on October 25 2011

We were down at the Food & Wine Festival last weekend as well. I TRIED to get tix to your demos but all sold out, bummer...oh well, I am from Savannah too I can try to see you at Lady and Sons, I will just call Ranae to see when you are down there. We had a blast there as well, you are never too old for Disney.....Looking forward to next year as well....


Angela Williams on October 26 2011

I was so tickled to see your picture with my niece Heather. You signed your chef's coat and gave it to her this past weekend at the food and wine festival. You are always so gracious. My brother and I saw you last year and you signed our cookbooks. I watched you interact with everyone while we waited our turn. You were so nice to each person you met.
I said it last year and I will say it again, your momma done good!!
I have to agree with you that the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party is a blast. Great parade and awesome fireworks. We try to go every year. Glad you were able to enjoy your time in the parks.


Carol Anne Hastings on October 26 2011

Jack is way to it....Love your mom's new cookbook just got it yesterday, I see half my Thanksgiving dinner in there. I hope you and the family have a wonderful holiday season. One question I need a good receipe for a cranberry relish any thoughts? Don't forget your men and women serving in the military during this time of year...Love you guys....


Carol B. on October 26 2011

The Wine country in California was fun. It took an act of congress so to speak to get away. Between my friend and I we have four children and its no easy task to prepare our families when we get away. We drove five hours and thought we were going to be late, but fortunately we were not late to the event. Tell your Moma Congratulations on being #1 on the NY best sellers list!! Well have to get my husband and son off to their away football game tonight and I am helping my girls with their Girl Scout sleep over. A parents job is never done!! Thanks for all you do!! Paula


Paula on October 28 2011

WOW - the memories of traveling with babies, all good and glad it's over smile I'm so sad I missed you in Napa, life is busy busy busy - it's Samantha's senior year in high school and so far "never a dull moment" I couldn't possibly come to see you without her, that wouldn't be right. Plus, I told my husband and kids next time we will ALL go as a family, to whatever "Deen event" it is the whole Lopez family will be there.

So glad you had such nice weather in Florida. Very very excited about your Mom's new cookbook, preordered it and try a recipe a day (at least) sometimes more than one recipe.

I have a visual of you barking smile Hugs to Brooke, Jack and Matthew - and yourself of course!

With much love and admiration - Tracey Lopez/Turlock CA


Tracey on October 28 2011

Hope you are at the up coming Food and Wine Festival 2012. I try everytime we go to get there while you all are there. We have booked for the weekend of Octt 12-15, hopefully we guessed it right this time. The demostration are great fun as is the festival. We make this girls weekend away.
Hope to see you there!


Janet on January 24 2012

OK. Here is a very EASY recipe that anoyne can prepare, even small children. Crock Pot Chicken W/ Black Beans4 -5 frozen chicken breasts1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans (drained)1 can (15.5 oz.) corn (drained)1 15.5 oz. jar salsaPut in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 5 hours. 1/2 hour before serving, add 1(8 oz.) package of cream cheese. Stir. Serve with rice or just eat with a couple of flour tortillas.


Anabel on July 22 2012


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