I Came, I Saw, I Made a Sandwich

by Rachel on October 10, 2010

This weekend, the Aetna Healthy Food Fight competition was held during the Bayou City Art Festival in downtown Houston.

Food fight? Yeah, I brought it (my healthy chicken salad, that is).

I’m not going to lie — I was so excited to do this, but I was also really hesitant to break the great “Friday Night Lights” marathon Eric and I had going on. We’re addicted to this show. It’s bad. I could have spent the day watching it…but alas, a girl has to make a sandwich in public on occasion!

They were running a bit behind, so Eric and I wandered around the art fair for about an hour first. The art was seriously so impressive. We both really enjoyed checking out so many artists’ work.

And then it was time for me to get to work!

This was seriously so fun! I was really excited to be there; the guy running the show told us that thousands of people had entered from the Houston area and only 32 had made the final cut.

At least that’s what Frank, the guy in the white jacket, told me. And considering he refers to Bobby Flay as just “Bobby,” I’ll consider that pretty good!

Backstage there was so much cooking equipment and all our ingredients were set out for us on trays. It was quite a production! Really, I just loved that I got a new apron and my own cooking station…I felt so legit.

My recipe couldn’t have been any easier to prepare; it doesn’t even require cooking. But…I ran into one little problem. They provided all our ingredients, and they didn’t get me enough chicken, which I discovered sort of late. I needed four cups, but I only had two. I spoke to Frank and he just suggested I halve the recipe. That was fine…until I forgot I was doing that when I added the Greek yogurt. I dumped in the original amount and my chicken salad turned to creamy chicken soup.

“Uh, Frank?” I said. “I…made a mistake.”

He was really cool about it, especially because it wasn’t entirely my fault. He just brought me a strainer and a big bowl and told me to use that to get as much yogurt out as I could. This may have freaked some people out but, HELLO — I have cooking mishaps all the time. I wasn’t too worried.

In between scraping off yogurt, I just chatted with judges and festival-goers about my recipe, while reminding myself about 400 times not to lick my fingers.

The strainer worked great for getting the yogurt off, so that’s good to know for future disasters. Even though I took my time and had a yogurt debacle, I was still the first one done…by a lot. That was a little nerve-wracking, like when you’re the first one to finish a test. However, I was frequently the first one to finish tests in school and that never hurt me, so I just tasted it a few times, added salt and pepper, and then called it a day. Then emcee took me to the judges’ table where I told them a little bit about my recipe and why it was healthy and I left it to them to sample!

And that was it! The judging is all based on numerical scoring (for taste, presentation, and healthiness) and apparently, they do math like I do and won’t have a winner until next week sometime.

Once I was done playing “Top Chef,” Eric and I headed to the stand selling Bluth frozen bananas.

Arrested Development fans, I think you’ll understand why this was the most exciting moment of the day.

And…now back to the “Friday Night Lights” marathon! We’re only breaking to get fro-yo for dinner (don’t judge me) and watch “Mad Men” tonight (seriously…DJM).

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather October 10, 2010 at 6:48 pm

great job getting it done, despite the mishap! And good to know for future mishaps in MY kitchen as well.


2 Dori October 10, 2010 at 6:49 pm

There really is money in that banana stand!

Congrats on the contest, can’t wait to hear how you do. I love you for loving to do things like this.


3 Lindsey @ SoundEats October 10, 2010 at 6:53 pm

This is so fun that you got to do this! I know this came to the Jax area too, but I totally forgot to enter a recipe in time! Whoops! Can’t wait to hear how you do. :)


4 Ashley October 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

You can still check it out … it’ll be at the Riverside Arts Market next weekend


5 ashleigh October 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm

What a fun experience and way to keep cool under pressure!

Although I don’t get the reference, that frozen banana looks delicious. Enjoy your FNL marathon!


6 Exercise and Eat October 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I have kitchen mishaps about every day! Congrats on the contest!


7 Cynthia (It All Changes) October 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I’m glad you had so much fun despite the mishap. I love that trick. I’ve used it when Hunni added sugar instead of salt to beans before. Such a useful kitchen tool. :-)


8 Jaclyn October 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

LOVE the Bluth bananas! Good luck with the competition! If I ate chicken, I’d be all over that chicken salad. I wonder if I can manage to make some kind of veggie version with Gardein?


9 Carolyn October 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm

This is seriously badass. It’s never a bad sign to be the first one done. :D


10 Laura Georgina October 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

What an awesome way to take a break from a Friday Night Lights marathon–I’m sure Eric forgives you! Fingers crossed your NOT licking your fingers paid off and you placed.

I’d enter ANY contest that involved getting a new apron.


11 Teri [a foodie stays fit] October 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm

10 cents gets you nuts!


12 Lauren at KeepItSweet October 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm

‘what a fun thing to participate in- congrats on making it so far! i am a huge fan of fro yo for dinner… sometimes that is just all i want:-)


13 janetha g @ meals & moves October 10, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Oh, I am glad it all worked out despite the yogurt dumpage. I am off to check out your recipe. I have a hankering for chicken salad. Did I just say hankering?


14 Abby October 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm

that looks like so much. i cant blame you for feeling so legit (i would have too hahaa). i cant wait to hear how you did.

by the way friday night lights is probably the best show EVER. ive been hooked every since they started airing it on ABC family. have a fun marathon :)


15 Ashley October 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

That’s awesome! We might go check it out when it’s here next weekend. I would have died at the mishap.


16 marie October 11, 2010 at 4:55 am

way to go! That’s great! and that banana looks amazing! Mad Men for the win by the way!


17 Angela @ A Healthy Fit October 11, 2010 at 9:46 am

A Bluth banana. Love it! I got the Professor a “Mr. Manager” t-shirt. So when do you find out who won the food fight competition?


18 Smash October 11, 2010 at 9:59 am

Excited to hear how you did. I wonder why they couldn’t calculate the scores then and there? They must do math like me…


19 Kendra October 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Um, so I don’t watch Arrested Development but when I scrolled down enough to see the picture of the banana, a banana is totally not what I saw. I’m sure I don’t have to explain.


20 Triz October 12, 2010 at 1:12 am

Ha … when I told my dad and my boyfriend I’d recommended FNL to you, they both asked: “did you WARN her?” It is *very* addictive. And so many great female characters.

Oh, Coach and Tami Taylor, Matt, Tyra, Lila and Julie, I am going to miss you. But Tim Riggins … <3

And Landry, I will miss you most of all!

Congratulations on the healthy food contest! That sounds like a very fun day.


21 Kat October 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm

“Ten cents gets you nuts!” Congrats on being asked to compete and keeping your cool when stuff went wrong! Keeping my fingers crossed that you win!


22 Angela McClure November 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Hey Rachel. I was in the “food fight” in Atlanta. I also made a sandwich…you’ll have to check out my blog. I got to meet Sara Moulton. Such a nice person!! Hope you’re in some others and we’ll get to meet at another “food fight” one day. take care, ange


23 Rachel November 17, 2010 at 8:56 am

So cool!! Will definitely be checking out your blog!


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