Monday, November 25, 2013

We Won a Trip to St Pete & the Bay Area Festival of Food, Wine and the Arts!

I have been feeling great!  That is one reason I have not been blogging.  Let me explain:  After discovering about my particular food sensitivities and changing my diet, mostly rotating the foods I eat, I have found more energy.  With this extra energy, this summer I did of course garden, but also I have been sorting and cleaning and creatively changing  lots of little things and some big things.  One of my projects was to change around our guest room.  Since I needed to shop for a new mattress pad, I went online and shopped on the HSN (Home Shopping Network).  At the online checkout I received an invitation to sign up for a trip to St. Petersburg Florida to a food fest hosted by celebrity chefs.  It sounded fun so I added my name and email…Imagine my surprise when I received an email congratulating me, telling me that I had won a trip for two including airfare, car rental and 2 nights at the Lowes Don CeSar Hotel on beautiful St. Pete’s Beach.  Included were close to $400 worth of entry tickets to the amazing Food Festival and to Ingrid Hoffman’s food demonstration and a VIP evening invitation to a “meet the celebrity chef’s” reception held at the HSN studios.  We also had a tour of the studios, carefully tiptoeing by a live presentation.  I couldn't have been more excited!
enlarged at airport
This screen was set up at the baggage pickup area at the Tampa Florida Airport.
don Cesar
The Don CeSar is like a pink palace on a white powdery beach.
There were 70 demonstrators from restaurants and wineries ready to be discovered in 3 huge outdoor tents. I was ready with my camera phone, but I must admit I was too busy sampling food to take many pictures.
Ted at Festival
An action picture!
ingrid demo
We made our way through two of the tents just in time to attend Ingrid Hoffman’s food demonstration (We went back and worked our way through the third tent after the demonstration).  Ingrid is the celebrity chef from the Cooking Chanel’s “Simply Delicioso” and Univision’s “Delicioso”.  I love her food philosophy of tasty healthy foods.  She has found ways to switch out not so healthy ingredients for healthier, better ingredients without sacrificing flavor.  I bought her book “Ingrid Hoffman Latin d’lite”.  It is wonderful!  I once read that most people only use maybe 1 or 2 recipes from most of their cookbooks.  I can see that I will use many of these recipes and be inspired by many more of these recipes.  My Ted is thrilled, since as he says, he doesn't cook – he eats.   Right away I made her “frisee salad with figs, hazelnuts, and manchego cheese with guava vinaigrette”  But I didn't’ have frisee (curly endive) so I used baby spinach.  I didn't have figs so I used chopped melon and black grapes.  I didn't have hazelnuts so I used unsalted sunflower seeds and I didn't have manchego so I used fresh shaved Parmesan…but I did have guava jelly and made her delicious dressing.  The salad was so good that Ted ate it first before eating the rest of the meal and he commented that it was that good!  Her recipe inspired me to try a different type of salad!  I love this book!!!! 
reception intro
Sometimes it is serendipity.  The St. Pete’s Festival included many events hosted by the different celebrity chefs.  At the HSN reception the celebrity chefs were recognized. 
We were able to meet Ingrid Hoffman at the HSN reception.  Ingrid is from Columbia and has lived in many parts of the world.  She is beautiful, gracious and generous.  She hosted the Sip, Savor and Swing event at the beautiful Vinoy Hotel and Ted and I were thrilled to be able to attend. A fairy tale ending to our most wonderful trip.
My  smiling Ted
The next morning after we returned home my garden looked like this. And that night the temperature dipped to 5 degrees.  But, I thought back at how just a few days ago Ted and I were sitting on a bench looking out to the ocean at a spot where the locals told us they often see manatees and dolphins.  After sitting there relaxing, looking out to the never ending sea, a small thin elderly lady with a cane walked in front of us and smiled and said “Aren't we lucky to live in such a beautiful place.”   Yes, I thought we are fortunate if we are able to appreciate and feel gratitude to be alive  and be able to see the beauty in the moment no matter where we live or how cold it gets…


  1. Gloria, I'm just catching up on blogging after a very busy couple of months at work, and I've discovered that several of my favorite bloggers have moved their blogs. I like the new name and the new blog. This trip looks like it was delightful. Happy Thanksgiving. -Jean

  2. Hi Jean - So good to hear from you. I am going to pop over to your blog and see what is new in your world. Cheers - Gloria