As I have shared on here several times, I’ve been fortunate enough to be collaborating with CookReel TV on their Snapchat account (username: cookreel). Basically I do what I do on my own Snapchat account (username: blissbakery) so I feel very comfortable and at home when I do my “takeovers”. I do my cooking tutorial with some wackiness. The usual carry on of bad singing and dancing but a great recipe. I’ve also taken the viewers on some gastronomic expeditions around London. But last week they asked me to participate in a different sort of adventure…a cook off against three other chefs.
Sure, sounds like fun! NOT!!! Well NOT for me!!! I don’t like those pressure cooker competitive situations at all. If fact so many of my friends and family have encouraged me over the years to join shows like Master Chef, Next Food Network Star, Great British Bake Off, you name it. And I always say the same thing, NOT!!! I know I’d be the one in the corner in tears, which of course is great fodder for reality television. But that wouldn’t work for my sensitivities. I’m one of those that believes everyone should win a medal. Plus I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry at the national anthem (any country’s national anthem) and in fact I even cry at the Happy Birthday song!
Yet, I found myself in a situation where I was scared out of my wits but couldn’t say no. I really love what CookReel TV is doing by giving undiscovered chefs a chance to show their talents. So I agreed to participate. I was a wreck. It wasn’t stage fright, I don’t get that, maybe because I started acting at age six. But at the best of times I fall over myself sitting down because I am such a klutz. I love cooking and have so much fun, but it’s at my own pace. To do it in a preset competitive time frame, with a secret ingredient chosen by CookReel TV and that would be JUDGED by the viewers? OMG heart palpitations, insomnia you name it! But sometimes we have to do something that scares us, not only our own growth, but as a favor for someone else.
Fridays are busy enough days. I have my usual Foodie Fieldtrip Friday with my Snapchat (and post the stories on here). Given the time zone difference (CookReel is located in California) and my schedule it was easy to make an excuse. But I went through with it and I am so grateful I did. On the day, according to the competition rules, I couldn’t do any of the kitchen prep ahead of time for the ingredients. So I decided to prep my soul! I went to church for daily mass. I took a walk with my doggie Stella. And I reached out to the Snapchat community. I shared my fears and asked for support. I didn’t ask for votes, just that they would try to watch if they could. Then I would feel like it was any other cooking tutorial. No joke, they were there 100 percent! I even asked for their help on which song to use for my opening snap.
When the 5pm start time arrived I felt like I was jumping off a cliff into a deep blue ocean of uncertainty. But in 60 minutes I managed to make my dish, get it plated up and share my recipe and social media information (which all the chefs do on their takeovers). I felt like I had won when I signed off their account and I was literally doing air fist bumps to myself running around the house! I wasn’t even thinking about actually “winning” as I felt like I had won because I did it, I ran through the fire of my fears without setting my house on fire with my crazed cooking!
Guess what? When the votes were counted, I actually WON! I won the competition! I am still in shock actually. I went on my Snapchat and thanked everyone who voted. I cried that ugly happy cry that you’d expect. But that is me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am so grateful to CookReel TV for believing I could do it, for the Snapchat community for supporting me, and my Hubby for basically telling me to remove the NOT from my vocabulary and just do it!
Well, I AM pretty stubborn. While I did do it, I managed to make a recipe that retained the NOT. Because the secret ingredient was Nutella, and the first time I ever tasted it was in Santa Monica on top of pancakes I recreated that moment. Only mine were a healthy version. I used my Easy Peasy Pancake recipe which is gluten, dairy and sugar free. I figured having regular Nutella with all the sugar and dairy would kind of cancel out the goodness of the pancakes. While I love Nutella I decided to make a healthy version and keep the NOT. I made NOTella which was gluten, dairy and sugar free.
Easy Peasy NOTella Pancakes
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup (50 g) porridge oats
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
couple of drops vanilla extract
handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts
Nutella (or *NOTella if being healthy, recipe below)
Whizz first six ingredients up in a blender until smooth. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken up a bit. On the stove top, heat a griddle or frying pan with some melted coconut oil or butter. If you prefer you can use a non stick pan. Drop the batter into small rounds using a turkey baster or a spoon. Cook for a couple minutes then careful turn with a spatula. Continue to cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove to a plate. Between each pancake spread with Nutella or “NOTella” and stack them. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Pour some warmed maple syrup (that you’ve warmed with a dollop of Nutella or NOTella in it) and serve.
*To make NOTella mix a jar of Hazelnut butter with 2 Tbps Cacao powder, 2 Tbsp honey (or 2 Tbsp maple syrup) 1 tsp vanilla extract in a bowl. Because I was in a time crunch I couldn’t make a longer version of a healthy nutella recipe. It was a short cut to use the jar of hazelnut butter. But my friend Jen makes hers by toasting the hazelnuts in the oven to start. If you’d like to try that recipe here is the link to it on her blog called Jen’s Gym Life.
I’m NOT gonna lie, I am so excited and thankful. What did I win? Just the joy of knowing I could do it! Of course with some big time help from all of you and some from above!
LOVE does NOT cost a thing!
P.S. I just wanted to mention that the other three chefs are beyond awesome. Here is a snap that CookReel TV posted of all our Snapchat codes. If you are on Snaps defo go watch them. They inspire me everyday! Or follow them on Instagram (links follow in their names). Thanks Hayley, Brandon, and Ridhima! Keep rocking the recipes!