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It’s with sadness I report my running streak has officially ended.

sad

Well, I’m sad. The 2-year old doesn’t seem to care.

Last night while lying in bed at 12:10 I suddenly realized I never got my run in. I had a loose plan in the morning on when I would go but then I got, umm, distracted in the evening and it just didn’t happen.

However, what DID happen is super duper exciting!

Let me start at the beginning because it’s kind of a funny story.

A couple of month ago I received an email from a Food Lion representative asking if I’d like to participate in a giveaway on the blogs. I thought their campaign was a good match for me so I wrote back seeing if there was a way to work together. They turned me down.

It happens. A lot.

I honestly didn’t think much of it. A week or so later they reached back out asking if I’d be interested in participating in a Frugal Cook Off that would feature Food Lion-brand products. To quote them:

The “Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off” will feature Food Lion’s store-brand products, which deliver on both quality and price – with many healthy options. To prove it, we’re inviting a small, select group of local bloggers to put them to the test in a cooking challenge.

Do you remember when I tried out for The Next Food Network Star? Yeah … this was TOTALLY up my alley. So I said I was interested and they said they’d be in touch.

About 2 weeks later I got this in an email:

Imagine this, you just found out a friend and her husband are in town. Now you must pull together a meal for four in a flash! Oh and one thing. You only have a $15 budget and 45 minutes until dinner is served. You are invited to join the Food Lion Frugal Cook-Off, where you’ll be put on a team to tackle a fun cooking challenge like the one above. Teams will then present their dishes to a panel of judges who will select the winning dish. Winning team members will get two $250 Food Lion gift cards and everyone else will go home with two $100 Food Lion gift cards. All participants will also receive a custom Food Lion gift bag.

I was excited but slightly distracted as this was all happening smack down in the middle of FitBloggin’.

All of a sudden I was assigned to a team and told to show up at Talara in Baltimore  on Wednesday. I honestly had NO idea what to expect.

When I arrived I met my teammates.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 7.43.50 AM

That’s Sara of Capitally Frugal DC, me, and Liza of (A) Musing Foodie. They were SO nice!

There were three other teams. The rules of the cook-off were explained, and before I knew it we were picking out protein randomly by uncovering a covered dish.

Each team was given either chicken, ground turkey, tilapia or pork. We ended up with the pork and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic. Have you seen how many pork dishes I’ve shared on GreenLiteBites?

We brainstormed a few ideas and settled on “stuffing” them after I brought up an old recipe I shared called Bulgur Stuffed Pork with Butternut Squash & Apples.

We were limited to the pantry items they had available to make the pork dish and two sides, and we had to stay under a budget of $10. Once our shopping was done we had 45 minutes to cook alongside all the other teams in a fairly tiny restaurant kitchen.

It was crazy, hectic and SO MUCH FUN!

Here’s a shot of us in the kitchen thanks to Liza who was on the ball with Instagraming.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 1.04.16 PM

To go along with our stuffed pork chops we decided on roasting some potatoes, and sautéing some carrots. There was a point I didn’t think everything was going to be done in time but we did it! Our final dish looked fantastic!

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 1.07.18 PM

After the photographer got his shots we had to separate the plate into 5 tasting plates for the judges.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 1.08.12 PM

We were so proud of ourselves. Everything looked (and tasted) fantastic!

Judging time!

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 1.10.32 PM

WE WON!

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 1.12.07 PM

I think I’m still in a bit of shock.

We were awarded that really cool glass plaque, gift cards for Food Lion, a gift card for Talara, and … AND … Talara is going to feature our dish this weekend at their restaurant.

How stinking cool is THAT?!

I’m going tomorrow afternoon so they can review the dish with me again before putting it on the menu. Then I’m going to sneak out to a late dinner with a friend just so I can order it! I mean I have to, right? When’s the next time this is going to happen?

Can you tell I’m excited? I got to meet some cool fellow bloggers and cook for people BESIDES “the boys.”

Winning and being featured is really just icing on the cake.

In all seriousness, this made my day. I didn’t get home until after 10. The Husband and I caught up, watched The Bridge and THAT’S when I realized I didn’t get my run in.

Oh, well. Looks like I’m going to have to start a new streak.

What did we say about ditching perfect? :)

 
  • http://www.thedailymel.com/ Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

    Holy cow, that’s awesome!! Congrats on the win. You’re right, that dish looks absolutely amazing. :)

  • Jenn Colgan

    WOW! That is so freakin’ cool! Congrats, Roni!

  • Megan

    What a fun competition; it looks like you had a blast, congrats on the victory :D

  • http://www.stellarpath.net/ Jeremy Logsdon

    First of all, the first pic and subsequent commentary is the greatest thing I’ve read all day. Thanks for making me laugh out loud during class while my students are taking a quiz. :)

    That’s an awesome story, and yes, you definitely have to go order your own creation!

  • Kimberly Anne

    CONGRATS! That looked like so much fun. I am going to have to head over to your recipe blog and check out the pork recipes. I am guessing you are behind the bacon at FitBloggin every morning. :)

  • Ann

    Oh my gosh this is so exciting! I can feel your joy through your words too….made me smile ear to ear. :) congrats!

  • Kim

    Wow – so cool!!
    I’m still hung up on the fact that you tried out for Next Food Network Star!! I love that show – try again!!!!
    Congrats!!

  • Cindy

    What a GREAT story! Congratulations to you and your team, Roni!

  • Sheri J

    How Wonderful! And yes you HAVE to order your dish!!! I wish I lived nearby so I could invite myself to go with you!

  • Nikki Russo

    Great job!!!!!!!

  • Angela@Honey I Shrunk the Mom

    That is so cool! Congrats!

  • Jenn@slim-shoppin

    That’s awesome!!! Is Food Lion a grocery store? Your dish looks amazing Roni!!!! So fun!

  • Lesley

    Congrats!! Your dish looks amazing. Maybe share the recipe?

  • Anon

    That is so incredibly cool! It was a great contest to present a realistic challenge, and of course, you rocked it.

  • Imacrazymomof4

    Yahoooo!!! Congrats and yummy!

  • Elyse

    So cool! You should try to get on “Chopped”. I’m obsessed with that show. You would be perfect for it!!

  • ItsMeVsMe

    That’s so AWESOME!! Cograts!!

  • nancyabc

    You truely don’t have any down time–LOL.

  • Mehgann

    Totally worth missing a run for that. No worries!

  • delle

    I am so happy for you!! I’ve been a fan of Green Lite Bites (and your blog) for years and you totally deserve this!! If I had my own network I would definitely hire you to do your own show; your recipe ideas are personable and relatable to this ordinary chick who hasn’t the first clue about cooking and has to live on a tiny budget. There are lots of resources for healthy eating, but I love your site because most of the meal ideas are made up of ingredients most “regular” people are able to come by without having to go to a specialty section/store. And a lot of people don’t understand how even simple things like beef and cheeses can seem exotic to someone on a very tight budget. Your site has so many recipes I can make without having to break the bank and that’s what I’ve always loved about it. I think this challenge was perfect for you, congratulations!! :D

  • Jenny

    Awesooooome!

  • Phebe

    Roni, that is so stinkin cool. It’s like you’re on Top Chef! If that’s what kept you from “keeping the streak alive” then I think it’s totally worth it. Congratulations on winning!

  • raspberry ketones

    post is very yummy and interesting. food is great

  • Nancy

    Congratulations!!!!!!

  • Karen H.

    Awe-mazing!!!! I swear you get cooler every day. Congrats on becoming an award winning chef! :-)

    I watched The Bridge on Hulu the other night. The US detective is so awkward. I can’t wait to find out her back story.

  • robin

    cool

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