Janet's Notebook
Home Cooks Meet Up for Celebration of Food, Friendship and Just A Pinch!

Just A Pinch Kitchen Sisters

Add one part friendship to one part fun, toss in a heaping helping of Florida sunshine, tons of laughs and just a pinch of healthy competition, and you've got one amazing recipe for lasting memories.

A southern Florida State Park was the site of the most recent Just A Pinch member meet-up and, by all accounts, it was a weekend filled with good times and lots of good eats! "It was such a big thrill for us all to get together in my kitchen and do some cooking together," says Jane McMillan, home cook and meet-up organizer. "What a dream come true, all your friends in one spot!"

The weekend's activities included a special cake decorating class led by California attendee Dee Stillwell, a night on the town following in the footsteps of roving Food Network foodie Guy Fieri, and culminating in the mother of all potlucks complete with Just A Pinch door prizes!

A highlight for all in attendance was clearly the weekend's wonderfully orchestrated "Chopped"-style cook-off! Split into three teams, the meet-up gals cooked up a storm preparing their entries in the categories of appetizers, entrees and dessert. Judged by a panel of very lucky park rangers, the teams' dishes were ranked based on flavor, creativity, and overall presentation. At the end of the day,
the team of Juliann Esquivel of Key Largo and Connie Ottman of Orlando came out on top. As we understand it, their win was thanks, in no small part, to their stellar Mango Papaya Compote dessert! "What a wonderful time!" exclaimed Juliann. "We laughed, ate, cried, ate, sang, cooked, ate, and became good friends." The talented cook-off runners-up included Sherri Williams, Nancy Robeson, Thea Pappalardo and Dee Stillwell.

"It was an epic and wonderful experience," attests Williams. "I laughed so hard my tummy still hurts. I will cherish each and every moment spent with the best group of sisters for the rest of my life."

The Crew and I are just tickled pink to see all the creative get-togethers like this one that are being cooked up all around the country. Cooking is a real joy... one that's even sweeter when it's shared with friends.

"I am really happy to say that each [attendee] was truly like I expected them to be after talking to them here on Just A Pinch," says New Yorker Pappalardo. "I can't wait til the next time. It sounds like it will be in New Orleans...how perfect is that! Beads, anyone?"

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Dee Stillwell - May 14, 2012
Evangelist, u can always come to NOLA in March 2013. We will be having an awesome time.
Evangelist Tyson aka "evangeline" Amatullah -Tyson - May 14, 2012
This is great..I would love to attend as well.!!
Jane Whittaker - Apr 24, 2012
Thanks Bea...poof!
Bea L. - Apr 24, 2012
Jane, click on town square then look to the left and click on club members. Type her name into the search box there and it will come up.
Jane Whittaker - Apr 24, 2012
Trying to PM Rose Selvar to thank her for mailing the newspaper article to me. Thanks Rose, got it yesterday!
Tried typing in her name in the power search and evidently that is not the way to find a member.
Dee Stillwell - Apr 24, 2012
I hope u can come Deb..and u too Bea..Thanx for spreading the word on the Spring Fling..hopefully it will interest others to join us next March.
Deb Crane - Apr 23, 2012
Nice pictures!!!!
Thanks you Bea!
And by Gosh and By Golly, I will do my best to get south and meet you guys! :)
What a wonderful time :)
Bea L. - Apr 23, 2012
@ Deb Crane...here is another recipe w/pics to view.
March 23-26, 2012 JAP Meet Up Info & Chat
Dee Stillwell - Apr 23, 2012
thanx so much Juliann..it was myy pleasure to make truffles for u girls..Colleen...love u too sister.
Char is my friend from Sacramento..she has helped me make these truffles b4. I think we made about 300 last Chrstmas. I had a blast in Florida, Char..i hope u can join us at the local luncheon in mid May and also in New Orleans next march. u will love these ladies.
Char Kramer - Apr 22, 2012
So glad you ladies had this opportunity to meet up & make lasting friendships. So awesome! Sounds like a blast ~ I guess I better plan on making the next one with plenty of time to budget the funds.
Dee ~ You are an amazing friend and I'm especially happy you were able to do this!
Colleen Sowa - Apr 22, 2012
Wonderful article!!! Love the photo! Love my sweet kitchen sisters! xooxoxoxoxox
Juliann Esquivel - Apr 22, 2012
OMG Dee I died and went to heaven with that truffle. They were absolutely sinful. When I think about them my mouth waters. I saved my little box you gave me and when I got home I gave one to my hubby and one to my daughter Lupe. I ate the other and Isabella took my last one . She said please abuella (means grandma) I did not have the heart to say no. they were outreageous good. Can't wait until next year. LOL
Dee Stillwell - Apr 22, 2012
Thank u Peggy...believe me, it was all our pleasure....hahaha..it was so very cool to be with some of my fave ppl in the flesh..they are all even more awesome in person. I love this one of Juliann savoring a truffle...hehe

View photo
peggy mathis - Apr 21, 2012
Oh my gosh, I know everyone's face in this awesome picture. I have saved recipes that you all so kindly posted. I know you gals had a blast! Great to see y'all together. ;)
Stephanie Dodd - Apr 21, 2012
Those margaritas look delish! I would like to have taste tested them too!!! YUM!!!! Love me some margaritas!!!