December 4, 2009

Fun-filled holiday-themed evening!!

As judges of the 4th Annual Orange County Chamber of Commerce Gingerbread House Competition, we were treated to a nice dinner at the Saratoga Grill, my very favorite Hillsborough pastime beforehand.

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I was excited to have a delicious glass of zinfandel

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And some scoooooooooonnnnessss!!! The Saratoga makes the BEST scones. Totally crumbly and sweet.

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You just have to have one when you visit the "Saratog" (our nickname for the restaurant)

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For dinner I ordered an old favorite – the Honey Almond Salmon, which came with a side salad and some roasted potatoes. I shared the potatoes with Matt and had a bite of his stuffed shrimp!

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The salmon was so succulent and sweet!

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I flip-flopped between pro and point-n-shoot cameras. Notice the difference! I couldn’t get either right. Pro was too blurry (needed the lower aperture for the low light) but the P&S was too blah!

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Deck The Blog For Oprah

This is the first post in the Deck The Blog For Oprah series!! You’ll find my headshot already up on the site. SO. EXCITING.

We walked from the Saratoga down to the historic Burwell School for the gingerbread judging!

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The houses were all so gorgeous and impressive!

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Second place in the adult competition was themed the "Three Little Pigs." If you look in the windows, you can see the pigs dancing around!

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And the winner was this General Store. It was so intricate with real "glass" windows made of gelatin and elaborate details all over

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Thanks so much to the Chamber of hosting us as judges! And congrats to all the winners.

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We hopped across the street back to my parents’ house when the competition was all over. I’m beat!! But you-know-who was geared up for a beer tasting for my family and me.

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He and his brew buddy, Conor, each made a brown ale of similar style. Matt blindly let us taste them both and give our opinions. Sorry Conor, but we all preferred Matt‘s Moose Drool clone!

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I’m off to read a little Wicked in bed!

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Food Makes Fun Fuel December 4, 2009 at 10:03 pm

That salmon looks scrumptious.
And judging those houses must have been so fun! They look way better than the ones I’ve made as a child haha


2 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) December 4, 2009 at 10:12 pm

So cool!!! How did you get invited to this?! I love making gingerbread houses :) See ya!! (literally!!)


3 Karla December 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm

WOAH!! Those gingerbread houses are amazing!!!!

I love the three little pigs houses!!

Do people eat them?? I hope not!! They’re too cute to eat!


4 Light Delight with TouTou December 4, 2009 at 10:19 pm

oh that ginger house looks soo interesting , I wish we have the same exhibition here!


5 Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Oh my goodness – those gingerbread houses are AMAZING! What talent!


6 alyssa December 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm

that’s SO funny! i won third place in a gingerbread contest last night and our theme was three little pigs! i’m putting our pictures up soon on my blog. :)


7 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) December 4, 2009 at 10:31 pm

So much creativity – I love gingerbread houses. It looks like an exciting time :-)


8 Jen (Running With Cake) December 4, 2009 at 10:37 pm

How fun and so very festive to judge a gingerbread house contest. I’ve never made a gingerbread house before – it looks too hard 😉


9 Sam (Merit to the Carrot) December 4, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Scones for an appetizer? Perfection. And so are those Gingerbread houses! Congrats on the Deck the Blog… that’s so exciting :)


10 Shannon (The Daily Balance) December 4, 2009 at 10:48 pm

LOVE the gingerbread houses 😉 – esp the three lil pigs!

I’m watching the Gingerbread house Challenge on Food Network right now!


11 Priyanka December 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm

The difference between the slr and the P&S is so apparent! What a fun challenge. Love all of them!


12 Julie @savvyeats December 4, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Those houses are adorable! Fairly certain I don’t have the patience to make something so intricate :)


13 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope December 4, 2009 at 11:05 pm

What a great dinner! That salmon sounds SO good!

How fun with the gingerbread house contest! Those are seriously some amazing houses there.


14 Bronwyn December 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Wow those gingerbread houses are absolutely amazing! So cool

And congrats on the Oprah “deck the blogs”!


15 Jenn (www. ) December 4, 2009 at 11:34 pm

That salmon looks GREAT!

Love the gingerbread houses!!! So pretty. The winner is fantastic. What a fun evening! :)



16 Ameena December 4, 2009 at 11:40 pm

The salmon looks SO good!!


17 candice December 4, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I like the idea of a restaurant that serves free scones. 😉 That salmon sounds delicious! Those gingerbread houses are adorable (and well-crafted!). I’ve only made a graham cracker house before that was posing as a gingerbread house. It was in first grade, and it fell apart. Good excuse to eat more candy, though. But gelatin windows?! Wow.


18 Good Taste. Healthy Me December 4, 2009 at 11:44 pm

those gingerbread houses were so cool! That must’ve been tons of fun.


19 SweetiePotato December 4, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Wow! Those gingerbread houses are amazing! Very pretty! And that’s awesome that they have you’re little picture up 😀


20 Meagan December 4, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Those houses look like so much fun!! I love the red cottage one! 😀
(& I love Saratoga!!)


21 caronae December 5, 2009 at 12:03 am

I love love LOVE gingerbread houses, it’s one of my favorite holiday things. I like the big blue one!


22 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 5, 2009 at 12:20 am

Yay for Christmas-time!


23 Cynthia (It All Changes) December 5, 2009 at 12:31 am

I love intricate gingerbread houses. So pretty and edible :-)


24 Madelin @ What is for Breakfast? December 5, 2009 at 12:38 am

Wow those houses look amazing, what skill! Very impressive :)


25 Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) December 5, 2009 at 12:40 am

Gingerbread house judging is just the cutest holiday activity ever. They really are remarkable! Love the idea of doing a “Three Little Pigs” theme.

That salmon looks perfect!


26 Hillary @ Nutrition Nut on the Run December 5, 2009 at 12:49 am

A gingerbread house contest sounds like so much fun. Maybe you can hop on over to my blog (Nutrition Nut on the Run) and judge mine! : )


27 Allyson December 5, 2009 at 5:06 am

A gingerbread house competition sounds like a dangerous place to be! I always want to Hulk-smash gingerbread houses and eat until I pass out.


28 Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life December 5, 2009 at 6:29 am

I’m so excited for you and! Those gingerbread houses are incredible. People are so talented!!!


29 Jessica @ JJsVinBlanc December 5, 2009 at 7:01 am

The gingerbread competition looks awesome – love the festive spirit it brings out :) I’m with Allie, see you in a few hours!


30 christie @ honoring health December 5, 2009 at 7:51 am

Love all the gingerbread houses!


31 Emily Eats and Exercises December 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

That looks like a great competition to judge. I love that big blue house – it’s awfully impressive that all the construction stays together so well. And gelatin windows?!? Wow.


32 emptynutjar December 5, 2009 at 8:18 am

Salmon and fish of any kind is so wonderful. Goodness Kath, I feel such a compelling feeling to be jealous of all your successes :) Instead, I am going to channel that its positive thoughts and say you are amazing!


33 Anne P December 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

Oh my gosh that is so much fun!! I have always been slightly obsessed with gingerbread houses… it’s so awesome to see the cool creations people come up with! :)


34 Lauren @ eater not a runner December 5, 2009 at 9:09 am

Those gingerbread houses are awesome! Looks like so much fun :-)

And congrats again on Oprah!


35 WendyF December 5, 2009 at 9:18 am

Those gingerbread houses were amazing. Its so festive. Congrads on the Oprah site as well.


36 Katie December 5, 2009 at 9:20 am

Those gingerbread houses are gorgeous! I wish I was half that talented. I LOVE the three little pigs one!


37 Susan December 5, 2009 at 9:28 am

SO exciting to see you up on!!! I hope someone eats those gingerbread houses. Pretty to look at – but really, candy should be eaten 😉


38 Krissy (Single Serving) December 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

Those houses look so adorable. My nieces are attending “Gingerbread University” today and are making their own houses. SInce they are 2 and 5 I don’t expect anything quite so elaborate. Sounds like a lovely night.


39 skinnyrunner December 5, 2009 at 10:13 am

omg i love it!! i would be in heaven with all that candy. such cute pictures of you two together!!


40 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg December 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

Those gingerbread houses are SO cool! The vegetarian restaurant that I used to work at makes GB houses around Chrismas too, and I used to love watching them get put together. It’s such a process!

That’s funny– I drink out of that same duck jar “glass” all the time! Love it!

Have a great Saturday!


41 Anais December 5, 2009 at 10:43 am

I LOVE the first and second place gingerbread houses, they are beautiful! Can’t believe you’re on Oprah’s website, that’s great!! :)


42 Angie December 5, 2009 at 11:09 am

What a beautiful dinner! And the gingerbread houses are truly amazing!!

Love seeing you on Oprah’s website…too cool!!


43 Jason Richmond December 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

Kath – Thank you for judging the competition!

My wife and I made the “3 little pigs” house – it was a lot of fun!
I would like to thank everyone for all of the positive comments!

If anyone is interested in entering the competition next year, give the Hillsborough / Orange County Chamber of Commerce a call – 919-732-8156.

If you would like to see the houses in person, and have a vote for the “People’s Choice Award”, come up to Hillsborough tomorrow, Sunday Dec. 7. The Chamber will be having the “Candlelight Tour” ( ) from Noon to 6pm. The Burwell School will be open during this time.


44 Cait (Cait's Plate) December 5, 2009 at 11:25 am

Ah! That’s such a dream! I would’ve loved to have been there! That blue mansion house is AMAZING! I never understand how people are able to do that!!


45 Dawn (HealthySDLiving) December 5, 2009 at 11:36 am

That is so cool, I love gingerbread houses and those are definitely amazing! Congratulations on being an Oprah blogger–that really is a dream!


46 whitney December 5, 2009 at 11:38 am

The beer looks so refreshing and your salmon looks to die for but the scones beat it!


47 lynn (The Actors Diet) December 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

i love gingerbread houses….they really should have one you can eat too, don’t you think?


48 AnnQ December 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Congrats again on the Oprah blog…LOVE it!


49 lk - healthy delicious December 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

love that blue house! so simple, but gorgeous!


50 Erin @ Big Girl Eats December 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm

That is SO fun! I just saw the best gingerbread house in Alabama on Thursday night. People are so creative. Honey almond salmon sounds like something I need to make stat!

Congrats on being on Oprah’s site!! So cool.


51 Kristie Lynn December 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I tried Moose Drool for the first time yesterday. It is so good!!! :)


52 Jenna December 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

congrats on being on OPRAH’s website!!!
looks like a great night to get into the holiday spirit :)


53 Carolyn December 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I thought your pro pics looked great!! I have a higher end point and shoot Canon and I have tried finding classes or workshops to learn more about it, but no luck. Your pictures make me drool!


54 Deanna - the unnatural mother December 5, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Congrats on the Oprah profile!! YEAH!!


55 Sarah December 5, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Those gingerbread houses are amazing!


56 Keith Coleman December 7, 2009 at 10:10 am


Thanks to you and your husband for judging the Gingerbread House contest. It was good to see you and I know Sara enjoyed dinner and the judging with you and Matt.


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