I met my online friend Susie a little more than two years ago.  We both are members of a private forum that was formed because of our love of the website allrecipes.com.  Last April I posted about the Pillsbury Bake-off contest and had every intention of entering.  The time passed right by me however and I never did enter.  Susie though was inspired to enter and its a great thing she did – because she was chosen as one of the finalist that will compete in just a little less than 2 months away!  If you want to follow her you can go check out her blog that she writes –  Hick Chick.

 Susie Littlewood – contestant in the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-off! 😉

If you are a subscriber to my e-Recipe club you were given the opportunity to ask Susie some questions thru me and she will be answering them here today!  If you aren’t a member of my e-Recipe club, then you really should become one!  There are contests, exclusive recipes, an Ask Grumpy section and much more to come!  All you need to do is fill out the form to the right of this post!  🙂

As you can see, I made Susie’s burger that got her into the bake-off.   I can tell you that it tastes great!  Grumpy loved the cucumber sauce – and I loved the sweetness given the burger by the biscuit (the biscuits are on the sweet side to me!) and the red onion/grape jelly mixture and then the creamy coolness of the cucumber sauce…oh yeah.  It was a little messy but not bad – and it was delish!  I wish Susie the best of luck in the contest – I can’t wait to watch – and I also can’t wait for you to win.  I will be more than happy to bring Grumpy down to NYC and ride around in a limo with you!  🙂

1 large red onion, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine or nonalcoholic red wine
1/2 cup Smucker’s® Concord Grape Jelly
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
3/4 teaspoon Dill Weed
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning, if desired
1 medium English (seedless) cucumber, finely diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (8 biscuits)
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 cup crumbled feta cheese 
Dash salt
Dash Black Pepper
Heat oven to 350°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook onion, vinegar, wine and jelly over medium heat about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and sauce is reduced and thickened.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix sour cream, mayonnaise, dill weed, onion powder, Beau Monde seasoning and cucumber. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bake biscuits as directed on can. Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix beef, cheese, salt and pepper. Shape mixture into 8 patties, 1/2 inch thick. Cook patties in grill pan, contact grill or nonstick skillet until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160°F.
Split biscuits. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons cucumber mixture on bottom of each biscuit. Top with burger, onion mixture and biscuit tops. Serve with tomato, lettuce and remaining cucumber mixture.

Now, for the questions!  Susie told me that if she were to get any questions that she would die of shock!  lol.  I am sure her head is spinning with all the attention and articles about her recently!  She has been featured in several articles and you can view their links by clicking HERE.

Now,  without further ado…the questions from my subscribers and the answers from Susie!

Q:  When did you first get interested in cooking & baking–did you like it as a child or teenager?

A:  I always liked cooking – I remember looking through my mom’s recipe box as a little girl, looking at the pictures. But, I’d say my real interest in cooking came in my 20’s – I’d always cook a “Sunday dinner” for myself and my parents.  That’s when I really got into cookbooks and cooking magazines, I always wanted to do something better and different than I’d done the week before.

 Q:  Are your girls interested in helping/learning in the kitchen?

A:   My “chickies” are starting to express more interest in the kitchen.  I must admit, that cooking is so much “my thing” that I’m not always up for “helpers” after a long day at work.  However, I have decided that I’m so not a baker – that’s what I want my girls to be!  LOL KK made no-bakes herself this week for an activity she had after school and SS makes a sandwich! However, I keep them as an intergal part of our meal plans each week – letting them each choose something to be included.  I ask them to “rate” new recipes and ask if it is okay to make something again or if I should keep searching for a new recipe.

Q:  I wanted to ask Susie if she has entered any other recipe contests before?

 A:  Until the Pillsbury Bake-off I had never, ever entered a cooking contest before.  I’d never totally written down a recipe of my own before!  I am pretty sure once I get through the thrill of the Bake-off Contest that I will be entering a few more.

Q:  How does she know when her recipe is “just right”?

 A:  I’m not sure if you mean “just right” to get your family to eat it for dinner or just right to get picked in a recipe contest?  I didn’t know that my Pillsbury recipe was “just right”.  I never made it entirely from beginning to end before I submitted it!  I was really sick and never got a chance to put it all together before I madly typed it into the Pillsbury website on the final day to enter.  I was more shocked than anybody when they called.  But, to make any recipe “just right” just keep trying and tasting until you like it – chances are somebody else will too.  I knew my Pillsbury recipe would be tasty – sweet onions, crispy cucumbers, and feta cheese…. what wasn’t there to love?  LOL I have been working very hard for the past few months on nailing down my chicken noodle soup recipe – adding more of this, a little less of that, keeping notes about what I’ve been doing.  I am confident I have it “just right” now, at least for the way my family likes it!  All I can say is keep reading recipes, keep cooking, and keep learning!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to Susie for being willing to do this with me.  
I hope you will follow her and I hope you will be excited for her as she heads into the contest. 
I know I will be rooting for her!