Carnation Celebration (and Mini-Giveaway)! | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

December 10, 2009

Carnation Celebration (and Mini-Giveaway)!

I love to bake.

If you read this blog, you probably know this about me. Not only do I love to bake, but I love to eat all things sweet.

So, I was thrilled when Carnation Evaporated Milk presented me with the opportunity to interview Pam Anderson. Pam is a best-selling author, food columnist for USA Weekend, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine and author of the cook book series The Perfect Recipe. I was able to send some foodie questions to her, and she responded in return. I got some great tips, ideas AND recipes from her answers, so I am excited to pass it along for your benefit!

(Thanks, Pam!)

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1) What are your go-to EASY, TASTY and IMPRESSIVE appetizer/cocktail party
recipes for the holidays?

One of my easiest favorites is my Warm Jalapeno Cheese Dip. Simply microwave 1 can (12 ounces) Carnation evaporated milk in a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup until steamy. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons flour and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, and finally the hot milk until creamy and thick; whisk in 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded pepper Jack cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in 1 cup prepared salsa, heat through, and serve with tortilla chips.

I'd also like to invite your readers to visit (I'll be there to welcome them) where they can order a complimentary copy of Full of Flavor--Your Guide to Catering to A Holiday Houseful. Along with great hors d'oeuvre recipes, there are also recipes for brunch, potlucks, game-day--even a few for using up holiday leftovers.

2) What is your most surprising/interesting tip?

My favorite tip. One of the things most people seem most confused about is how to properly sear. My advice: rather than heat the oil in the pan, lightly coat the meat, seafood, or poultry with oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then heat the skillet until it's really good and hot. That way you'll get that impressive brown crust. Oh, and don't forget to turn on the exhaust fan!

3) Do you have ideas for easy homemade/baked gifts for the holidays? I love to give tasty treats during the holidays!

I love to give away holiday treats too. I've been making and sharing spiced nuts for years and I'm happy to give you the recipe:

Pam's Holiday Roasted Mixed Nuts

Makes a heaping 2 cups

1 1/4 pounds roasted salted premium mixed nuts

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1 /2 tablespoons butter

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan. Roast until fragrant and very hot, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix thyme, zest, sugar, paprika, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Microwave butter in another small bowl until melted; stir thyme mixture into butter. Pour hot nuts in a large bowl. Add thyme mixture; stir until completely coated. Pour nuts back onto the cookie sheet and cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 month.)
The other is a new favorite and is running on my website:

4) Best ways to use leftovers?

One of the best ways I know to use up leftovers is with my Light Alfredo Sauce. Here's the recipe:

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup Carnation evaporated milk

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Microwave broth, milk, and garlic in a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup until steamy hot, 3 to 4 minutes; let stand a couple of minutes.

Heat butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Whisk in flour, and then hot milk mixture all at once, whisking constantly until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. This is enough sauce for a pound of pasta, and to it you can add all kinds of leftover meats and vegetables. You can also smear the sauce over pizza to make white pizza!

5) How do you come up with your own recipes? I love to cook and bake, but lack the confidence to throw things together to make an original recipe. Where is a good place to start?

I've been developing recipes for 20 years now, so I have a base of knowledge and recipes to draw from. I don't think there's any way to shortcut the process. The only way I know to get good at developing your own recipes is to keep at it in the kitchen day after day, week after week, year after year.

I develop recipes by asking myself what I need. As it turns out, what I need is generally what everyone else needs!

The best way to develop a recipe that's truly yours is to systematically test your way down a recipe's ingredient list, trying all the possibilities for each ingredient. That way you know firsthand what works and what doesn't--what's the best. That's what I did in my first and third books--The Perfect Recipe and CookSmart.

Good luck!

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Carnation also passed along some other helpful (and FUN!) resources that will come in handy during these next few crazy Holiday weeks.

Carnation has created:

  • An Interactive Online Virtual Kitchen,, where you’ll find recipes, tips and tools to help create an easy, financially smart and stress-free holiday season

  • A free “Holiday HousefulRecipe Guide featuring the perfect recipe for every entertaining occasion this holiday season, including everything from Brunches and Potlucks, to Game Day and Appetizers and even Leftovers! (Readers can either send away for a free printed booklet or download a PDF version)

I can attest to the fact the "Holiday Houseful" Recipe Guide is worth checking out. There are some great recipes for appetizers that I am especially interested try for Christmas! So head to their website and start downloading!

Now for the Mini-Giveaway...

This is small in comparison to the many Giveaways out there on the internet, but in this economy (and this time of year!) every little bit helps! The people at Carnation Evaporated Milk were kind enough to send me some coupons to give out to 4 lucky blog readers! Each winner will receive 2 coupons, good for 1 free Carnation Evaporated Milk (so, in total, you will come away with 2 free Carnation Evaporated Milks. SCORE.). If you are doing remotely the amount of cooking and baking I am the next 2 weeks, I am sure you will benefit from some free evaporated milk!

To enter this giveaway:

  • LEAVE A COMMENT with your name and email address!

Bonus Entries (leave an ADDITIONAL comment for EACH ONE):

  • Become a follower of Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom (if you already are, it counts, so leave a comment!)

  • Share your favorite recipe from the Carnation "Holiday Houseful" Recipe Guide

  • Share YOUR favorite tip or holiday recipe (I will post each tip and recipe in a later post!)

Since this is an itty-bitty giveaway, the Giveaway will end TOMORROW (12/11) at NOON. So, you have 24 hours to get your 4 entries in! I will announce the winners tomorrow afternoon, and will contact them for their mailing info.

Best of Luck, and HAPPY BAKING!


  1. You lucky girl! How exciting to get to ask some great questions to someone who actually knows. I just bought 2 cans of milk this morning. Giant finally had some canned pumpkin, so I thought I'd make a pie or two. Hope all is well, and don't forget, I'm a follower. ;-)

  2. I've got lots of holiday baking to do. This would be great!


  3. I'm already a follower.

  4. The Cookies & Cream Fudge looks amazing AND easy. I might have bake this for my neighbors.


  5. Ooo if I win pumpkin pies here I come!

  6. Thanks so much! I blogged about the giveaway and tried out a recipe from the site!

    check it out!


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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