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Recipe Box Upgrade!

Have you checked out my Recipe Box recently? I’ve made some great improvements over the last couple of weeks so be sure to give it a looksy! Dinners are now grouped by meat type (beef, chicken, fish, and pork) to help you more easily find a recipe that works with what you have on hand. There is even a vegetarian section! (It may be limited, but it’s there and growing!) I have also broken up my side dishes into starch and vegetable based dishes to help you plan a balanced meal. You will also see that Cookies and Breads are newly added categories.

To get to my Recipe Box you can use the link on the home page under “About” or you can even use the link provided below. Keep checking back as the Recipe Box will always be getting added to. Happy Browsing!

https://divadicucina.com/recipe-box/ 

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It’s Not Aspen

Back in October my friend told me about a contest hosted by Cupcake Vineyards. To enter you had to upload a picture of a dessert to Instagram and then come up with a name for one of their upcoming wine blends inspired by your picture. I was game! I figured what do I have to loose? The grand prize was an all expense paid trip for two to Aspen Colorado for the 2013 Food and Wine Classic. A foodie’s dream come true! I didn’t think I stood a chance, but what did I have to loose?

I submitted the picture below of my chocolate cherry baby cakes (chocolate cupcakes with a cherry pie filling toped with a chocolate ganache and a cherry on top) and came up with the name Black Forest. I imagined a red wine with cherry notes.  If you aren’t familiar with Cupcake wines I will fill you in. Desserts inspire their most popular wines. For example they have a red wine called Red Velvet and a white wine called Angel Food. I thought my submission was pretty basic but would make any judge’s mouth water.

4 months later… I received an email from someone at a large marketing firm in New York notifying me that I was the “potential GRAND PRIZE WINNER.”

WHAT?!?! I nearly died! No way! But what did “potential” mean? I followed their instructions and contacted them via email.  I quickly got a response. All it said was, “Can you confirm you live in California?”

I enthusiastically replied, “Yes! That is correct!”

While waiting for a response I started dreaming of what an awesome getaway it would be. Fantasies of meeting some of the greatest chefs danced through my head. My belly was delighted at the thought of enjoying some of the most delicious cuisine ever. I knew my husband and I would enjoy every minute of our getaway to Aspen. I squealed with joy and shared the awesome news with all my coworkers. I had actually won! Holy crap!

Minutes later, I received another reply saying they regretted to inform me, but I had been disqualified. Are you kidding me?!?! Dis-freaking-qualified! Apparently California is the only state in the U.S. that prohibits residents from receiving prizes from contests hosted or sponsored by alcohol companies. How could this be possible? My dream prize was at my fingertips and then just snatched out of my reach in an instant.

I begged and pleaded and asked if there was anything I could do but there wasn’t. I even told them I had family members out of state as though that would do me any good. I was grasping, I know. They did try and cheer me up by letting me know that California had repealed the law so as of 2013 I may now participate in these sorts of contests. What good does that do me right now?

Heartbroken and devastated, it suddenly dawned on me what the “potential” meant. They had to confirm I met all the regulations. Uggghhhhh… I had won, but then again not really at all. (I won’t deny, lots of profanity spewed from my mouth.)

It was a very weird mix of emotions. I was definitely devastated and really pissed off that I didn’t get this prize of a lifetime but at the same time I was pretty darn stoked. Had it not been for this one stupid California law I would have received my first recognition as an amateur cook. Won my first ever contest that was because of my talent, not just because of good luck. That is a really rewarding feeling, so I am moving on.

Cupcake Vineyards, being the awesome company they are, did send me a consolation prize. These 3 fabulous bottles arrived at my doorstep last week. And while it’s not Aspen, being the wine lover I am, free wine is pretty freaking fabulous too. I’ll take my consolation prize and drink it all thank you very much.

Cupcake Wine

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Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl Recipes

DivaDiCocina_SuperBowl

Super Sunday is right around the corner! The Super Bowl is the biggest football game in America. It’s when we get together with family and friends to watch two rival teams have it out on the field (and of course over indulge in delicious food).

Whenever we have a Super Bowl party we typically serve one dish per quarter. Appetizers during the first two, a main course for the third, and of course a super ice cream sundae during the fourth.

I have put together some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for your big bash. Enjoy the game!

Appetizers

DivaDiCucina_QuesoFundido

Queso Fundido

DivaDiCucina_Poppers

Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

DivaDiCucina_BuffaloCauliflowerBites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

DivaDiCucina_CheesyMushrooms

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Wrapped in Bacon

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpCups

Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Warm-ups

DivaDiCucina_Chili

Chili (The Classic Kind)

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladaSoup

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Meals

DivaDiCucina_FrenchDip

Crock-Pot French Dips

DivaDiCucina_PhillySloppyJoes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_HotHam&Swiss

Hot Ham and Swiss Sammies

DivaDiCucina_BBQChickenSando

Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos

DivaDiCucina_PopperGrilledCheese

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

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I’m a Guest Blogger!

Good morning Diva di Cucina fans! For the first time ever I had the opportunity to be a guest blogger on a wonderful site, Rantings of an Amateur Chef. Rantings of an Amateur Chef is made up of the creative bloggings of Pat Geyer, and amateur chef from the Cleveland, Ohio area. I shared a fabulous recipe for Garlic Shrimp and White Beans with him and his followers. I would love it if you would stop by Pat’s site and check out my recipe along with some of the great ones he has shared. You won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a little visual tease of my recipe for Garlic Shrimp and White Beans. Get the recipe here.

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Happy Blogiversary!

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my blog and this happens to be my 100th post! Hooray! I will admit starting a blog was difficult for me, putting myself and my cooking out there for criticism was not easy. Because of all my friends, family, and now followers, Diva di Cucina has become more than I could have hoped for. I would like to express my warmest thanks for all the love during my blog’s first year. It is such an awesome reward when I hear from people that they tried my recipe and they loved it, that kind of feedback makes it all worthwhile.

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the stats from my blog. Over the past year:

Please continue to share my blog with your family and friends. That is the greatest compliment of all. Cheers!

Much love,
Diva di Cucina

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Behind the Scenes

About a year ago my son became fascinated with how frequently my husband and I took pictures, primarily of him. We caught him a few times trying to get out one of our digital cameras. In a flash of genius I decided to occupy him with an unused disposable camera I had on hand. He loved it! He started going around the house taking pictures of the dog, his toys, us, you name it. We thought it would be funny to get the pictures developed to see things from his perspective.

A year later he still has a disposable camera that he whips out every so often. He has caught onto the fact that I also frequently photograph food and has become fascinated by it. I actually caught him one time lying on the kitchen floor on his belly trying to take a picture of the dog’s bowl of kibble. I had a good laugh over that one. So this week I received my usual produce delivery and got it arranged on the kitchen table to snap a photo of it for my blog’s Facebook page. He saw me doing this and he quickly went running out of the kitchen to get his camera yelling, “I take picture too!” This is a quick shot I got of my 2 year old photographing our produce on the kitchen table. I just thought it was cute and had to share. It certainly put a smile on my face. That’s my boy!

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New Feature—A Recipe Box!

Good morning and Happy Saturday! I just wanted to point out a new feature on the Diva di Cucina blog page. I have recently added a Recipe Box! I hope it makes navigating the recipes I share easier for you. If you are on the main Diva di Cucina page on the right side under Features you will see a link for the Recipe Box. Just click on it and it will take you there. All recipes are categorized and listed alphabetically. You can also use the link below. Let me know what you think. Hope it makes browsing much more of a breeze for you. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

https://divadicucina.wordpress.com/recipe-box/