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Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

This homemade Cranberry Cheese bread is for certain a WINNER. The texture is flaky and light. The flavor is smoky and cheesy with a little tart sweetness from the cranberries and pure maple syrup. This is the winning recipe from the 2015 National Festival of Breads and it was won by my friend Lisa Keys.

Lisa and I first became friends on facebook many years ago. We both belonged to Cooking Contest Central and have the mutual love for cooking contests. I suppose though I never really got to know Lisa until the tragic event of losing her only son, William. She began to journal the grieving process on her blog, Good Grief Cook. Not only did I get to know her a little better, I had the privilege of getting to know the heart of a very special young man who is now an Angel to many.

L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa
L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa

When Lisa was invited to Kansas to compete with this bread, she invited my husband and I to join her as guests. We drove to Manhattan, Kansas which is just an hour away. It was thrilling to watch her win. I also was able to meet a few other exceptional ladies I’d been wanting to meet too. Ronna Farley is also my sweet friend and she went on to win the contest in 2017.

More about Lisa. She is accomplished in everything she does. She has been successful in her 30-year career as a Physician Assistant and also as a competitive cook. She even won CHOPPED on Food Network! I admire her most on a personal level though. I think she represents STRENGTH, TENDERNESS, WISDOM and PATIENCE. I also TRUST her, especially with baking advice.

Let’s Bake this Bread. Did I mention the texture? It must be the tofu. Everything about this bread is wonderful. It’s simple and snazzy too.

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Lisa absolutely forbid me from “throwing in” the extra ounce of cheese from my block. Notice the recipe calls for 6 ounces not 7. She reminded me of the importance of weighing ingredients. She said I had to snack on that extra ounce. 🙂

For the Recipe and Video tutorial, click here. RECIPE 

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Contests and Wins

The Barns & Noble Cookie Bake-Off (Cookie Butter Cookies)

The Barns & Noble Cookie Bake-Off (Cookie Butter Cookies) - The Vintage Cook

The Top 75 Recipes From Around The Country is out and I’m so tickled to have my recipe for Holiday Cookie Butter Cookies appear in the book.  Page 29. What an honor to have my creation selected from over 4,000 entries. I will be at the Topeka Barns & Noble store promoting the book and offering some tasty samples this Sunday, Oct. 18th at 2pm. Stop by and  get your copy!

I haven’t entered many contests over the past couple of years, but when I saw the billboard at the Barns & Noble Cafe that day,  I had to enter. (more…)

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Contests and WinsCrock-PotRecipesSweets

Crock-Pot® Spiced Apple & Bourbon Upside-Down Cake

Crock-Pot chose my original recipe as a first place win! It’s a warmer and goo-ee-er version of the Rustic Apple cake I’ve been making for years. It’s slow cooked, warm, spicy, and spiked. I’m certain the use of whole wheat flour is what makes this dessert so delicious. I can’t wait for the mailman to arrive with my prize package. 🙂 I hope you will enjoy this steamed in the crock-pot cake!

Crock-Pot® Spiced Apple & Bourbon Upside-Down Cake
Author: Lanie
  • 3 Honey Crisp apples, washed
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice, divided
  • 1/4 cup fine quality Kentucky bourbon (50 ml bottle)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  1. Turn slow cooker on high heat. With 1 Tablespoon of the butter, coat inside of crock. Meanwhile; peel, core and dice apples into slices and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the brown sugar over the apples, along with 2 Tablespoons of the flour and 1 teaspoon of the spice. Toss to completely coat apples. Put apples in 3-quart Crock-Pot®. Pour bourbon over the apples.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, with beater, whip the egg, vanilla, 1/2 cup softened butter and remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar for about 3 minutes until pale in color. Continue to mix in the baking soda, salt and then the remaining 3/4 cup flour. Pour batter over apples. Secure lid and DO NOT lift,- cook on high heat for 2 ½-3 hours (when cake is evenly risen. Scoop hot and overturn onto individual serving dishes and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 4.


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Contests and Wins

Maple & Banana Sticky Rice with Sesame Wet Nuts on Mango-Maple Coulis

Here is entry #4!  Last, but certainly not least.

When we go out for Thai food, we always share a dessert of sweet sticky rice and mango, it’s called (Khao Niaow Ma Muang.) Usually it is just that, some sticky rice with chunks of mango on top of it. Not very complicated but still one of my favorite desserts for it’s delicious simplicity. I wanted to make a spin on this classic dessert.

I started my recipe thinking all things maple, as we don’t usually think of Asian food when Maple Syrup comes to mind.

Rather than sugar-sweetened coconut, I’ve sweetened the rice with maple syrup which gives it a warm and natural but not overpowering sweetness. I’ve added fresh banana to the rice because I love to eat with chopsticks and little squares of banana are the perfect size for grasping. Not to mention, banana is found in many Asian dishes, but not usually this one.

The second component is the wet nuts. Again the maple syrup is featured in one of my favorite banana split toppings, but here, without any added sugar.

Finally, keeping with the necessary flavor of its roots, I added a mango-maple coulis. All three components star maple syrup for one spectacular dessert!

Usually my husband and I order one dessert about this size and share it. This recipe, makes three desserts, serving a total of six people. It could be divided into six separate portions or smaller if you like!

Re-Purposing Idea for left overs: A Tropical Rice Pudding! Whisk together an egg and regular milk, plus all of your left overs and cook stirring for 10 minutes.

My rounded measuring cups came in handy for this one. I really hope you have enjoyed my recipe creations using Maple Syrup!  whisper…this was my favorite entry 🙂maple_griddle-logo

Maple & Banana Sticky Rice with Sesame Wet Nuts on Mango-Maple Coulis
Author: Lanie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: six
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup sweet rice (found at Asian grocery)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 ripe mangoes, peeled, diced (good quality with bright flesh like the ataulfo or champagne mango)
  • 3 small bananas, yellow no brown spots
  1. To make the wet nuts: In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup maple syrup with 1 Tbs. coconut milk until smooth. Heat a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat. Place nuts in pan and toss for a few minutes. Add seeds, toast one more minute, tossing carefully not to scorch. Turn off stove. Pour hot nuts into small bowl mixture. Stir, cover, and chill until serving time. Wipe out pan with paper towel.
  2. To make the rice: In the same saucepan which is now cooled, stir rice, 1 cup coconut milk, salt, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and water. Let soak for 1-2 hours. Meanwhile, make coulis.
  3. To make Mango-Maple Coulis: In a food processor, puree mango and 2 Tbs. maple syrup until completely smooth. You may or may not need to strain this mixture depending on the quality of your mangoes. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  4. Stir rice and turn heat to high. Bring rice to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and keep covered. Cook on low for 20-25 minutes. Stir and transfer to a bowl. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
  5. Just before serving, dice the banana and fold into the rice mixture. Press into a rounded measuring cup or small bowl and turn over onto the serving plate. Spoon coulis around the bottom, and top with the wet nuts.


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Contests and Wins

More to the Upside-Down Spurtle Saga

There’s great news. I’m not the only one who uses her spurtle upside-down.

I’m not planning to change my technique, even though I know it’s wrong. Or is it? I think I just might have to make two pots of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, one with the spurtle right-side up, and one upside-down. What if a creamier bowl of oats evolves from using it the wrong way?

I found a 2010 article by Amy Rosen, an award-winning Food & Travel Writer who was using her spurtle upside-down.

“Why are you using the handle end to stir with?” asked my brother David.

“No dummy,” I countered, “that’s the beater end of the spurtle. It helps to break down the lumps.”

“That’s just for show,” he insisted. “It’s a decorative handle.”

After learning that her technique was wrong, she concludes.

“And the more I think about it the more I realize just how lucky I am that I didn’t participate in the Golden Spurtle this year, as planned. Could you imagine the humiliation of using an upside-down spurtle during the world porridge making competition?

They would have kicked me out of Scotland!”


Well, there you have it.

Am I still holding out hope that Bob’s Red Mill will call?

Yes. 🙂

But the question remains, would they allow me to use my spurtle upside-down in The Golden Spurtle Competition?


Link to Amy Rosen’s blog post: The Curious Case of the Upside-Down Spurtle on National Nosh.

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