Thursday, December 30, 2010
There was taste of sweetness, and a touch of Sting in one woman's holiday travels.
Lauren Brennan, who writes a blog about her home cooking, shared a favorite dessert on national television and met the singer Sting in a two-day visit to New York City.
Brennan, of Hood River, prepared her brownie cream cheese peppermint bars on "Good Morning America" for its "12 Recipes of Christmas" segment. The recipe was chosen as part of a GMA contest.
"It was a blast," Brennan said of the live television experience. "I was nervous at first because I'd never been on TV but then the adrenalin kicked in and it all happened really fast," she said.
"It was cool to be on live TV and see how it all happens."
GMA flew Brennan to New York on Dec. 12, and she appeared on the program Dec. 13 and flew home the same day.
Brennan got to bed early because she needed to be at the studio at 6 a.m. At 12:30 a.m. an alarm went off in the hotel and guests were asked to remain in their rooms.
"Pretty freaky, right?" Brennan wrote on her blog. She said nerves had settled in, and she was unable to go back to sleep.
"At this point I was too nervous to feel tired," she wrote.
Her ABC driver arrived at 5:45 and she was on set by 6. She met host Sam Champion and Food Network's Sandra Lee and the GMA food staff who had made one version of the recipe ahead of time for Brennan to assemble on air in three live shots.
Brennan writes on her blog that between the first and second live shots, "we were going over a few things about the segment. Somewhere in there Sandra told me to watch out for these thick cords taped to the floor. It was maybe 30 second later when I trip on the cords and fall into Sandra's arms. We both crack up and try to compose ourselves and then continue prepping. Then, 30 seconds after that, she trips on the cords and I catch her."
During a break, she saw Sting and went over and introduced herself.
"He was polite, but kind of quiet," she said of the former front man of The Police.
Champion told her "great job" and praised her recipe - which Brennan never got a chance to sample on set.
"Once I was done, I was so relieved! I didn't actually get to watch the tape of myself until I got home that night at 1:30 a.m. And to be honest, I was so nervous that I forgot what I had said or what had even happened!"
Later, Brennan said she was told her peppermint bars recipe is the most-downloaded in the December series.
www.laurenslatest.com, now has 7,000 monthly hits, and climbing (compared to about a 100 when she started two years ago) and Brennan said her appearance on "GMA" is a key ingredient.
"Good Morning America gives me a lot more credibility," said Brennan. "That's what I need. People tend to trust bloggers who have a lot of experience, as well as photos of good recipes."
The feedback has been positive from her blog readers and Facebook friends.
"I've heard from a lot of people saying they tried the recipe and liked it," Brennan said.
She would love to develop a large enough following to give her a contract to write a cookbook. She enjoys writing her near-daily blog, which emphasizes practical recipes with ingredients most kitchens have on hand.
The brownie bars recipe, she said, "was a simple recipe, but I can make it look like I worked on it all day," Brennan said.
For Brennan’s brownie bars recipe, her full blog on the GMA appearance and many more recipes, go to www.laurenslatest.com
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge