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Michele Sornsen

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A Big Cup of Tea

I'm a stay-at-home mom of 11 years, however my youngest will be starting first grade in the Fall, so my time at home will come to an end.

Currently, I attend school part-time in the evenings, but once all the kiddies are in school, I will switch and finish up my classes during the daytime hours. I just recently started back at a local community college; I had attended right out of high school and never finished my 2-year degree. I decided last year to check into it again and to see how far I had gotten. I had promised myself that if I was more than halfway done, I'd re-enroll and finish up. It turned out that I had 33 of the 64 credits needed! So I had to go back due to that one credit, hehe!

How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s) so far?

I just "celebrated" my one-year anniversary as a Daring Baker. My first (and favorite) challenge was the Cheesecake Pops in April of 2008. I feel as if I've come full circle by rounding up April 2009 with cheesecake, as well! I love the diversity of the group. I find myself sitting at the computer for hours looking at other members completed challenges (and usually end up feeling inadequate by the end since everyone else's results always have so much more flare!).

One thing that I never realized would happen when I became a DB, was the looks and questions I would get from people when I would photograph food! So many times, I'll be in the middle of baking something and I stop and whip out the camera (and take about 20 shots of the same thing, hoping and praying that one of them works out!) and if someone happens to be visiting, they are always confused as to why I'm taking a picture of the mixture boiling in the pan; the dough spread out on the counter; the wooden spoons scattered about the kitchen with a baked cookie dangling off of it... My husband and children have become accustomed to having me say, "Wait! Don't take a bite yet! I need to get a picture of it first" and they are also familiar with the 15 minute wait that they endure while I try to get "THE" photo.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? How about your favorite kitchen appliance?

My favorite gadget would probably be my Pampered Chef Mini Whipper. It's a flat circular whisk that works amazingly for any sauces that I'm making on the stovetop, or for whisking eggs, making puddings, etc. It's perfect for recipes that require something to be stirred constantly while heating. It's flat so it reaches every crevice of the pan and helps prevent burning. Everyone should have one. I have three of them! I don't know how I would get by without it.

My favorite kitchen appliance, hands down, is Gloria. Who is Gloria, you ask? Why, she's my shiny red Kitchen-Aid Mixer. I named her Gloria because she brings such glory to my life. Smile

Are you known for making a certain dish or dessert? If so, what is it?

There are two things that I make that are requested at family gatherings. Neither one is healthy (which is probably why they are gobbled up). One is artichoke dip (it's such a simple recipe, but you literally can feel your arteries clogging with each bite you take), and the other one is a sticky, gooey, yummy BBQ chicken recipe that is as delicious the second day, served cold, as it is the first day, served hot. The chicken recipe is somewhere on my blog, but I'll have to make the artichoke dip and put that on there at some point.

Is there any recipe and/or technique that we haven’t covered yet that you’d really like to make/learn?

It's amazing how many techniques I have never even heard of until a recipe is revealed! I'm sure there are many-- and I just don't know about them yet!

Do you have a favorite movie? Book? Genre of music?

My favorite movie would have to be either The Breakfast Club or Steel Magnolia's (am I showing my age?).

I've never been much of a reader. In fact, both of my sisters and my mom are huge readers and we always wonder why I never followed in their footsteps! However, that being said, I did pick up the Twilight Series last summer and read all four books in less than a month. I even waited in line at midnight for the release of the fourth book of the series! After reading them (and hating the movie), I've gone back into my no-reading cave.

I don't think I have a favorite genre of music. I've recently started listening to Bubble Gum/Pop/Top 40/Hip Hop music, but only because it's what my 10 year old daughter listens to. I wanted to be in-the-know of what she is listening to (and boy-oh-boy, do they allow words on the radio that were never allowed when we were kids!).

Where is your favorite vacation (holiday) destination?

My husband and I went to an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas (Breezes, Nassau Bahamas) and there will be a time when we go back! I don't know when, where, or how........ but I know that I'm destined to go back! It was the most beautiful and relaxing place I've ever seen. I loved the sun, the heat, the humidity, the lack of bugs and did I mention the sun?

What is the ultimate comfort food to you?

Cheese. Any kind of cheese. (However, I have been known to open up a can of cherry pie filling and eat the entire thing with just a spoon!)

Which season (Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall) is your favorite.. why?

Summer. I live in Minnesota- we don't get much of a summer! Plus my birthday is in the summer. Isn't everybody's favorite season that of which their birthday lies?

Other than cooking and/or baking.. what hobbies do you enjoy?

I like painting and decorating. It's not surprising for my husband to come home from work to find that a room has been rearranged or a completely different color than it had been when he left for work. There are a few rooms in my house that I've painted so often that my husband teases me that we've probably lost about 6 inches of room size due to the build up of the paint!

You can visit Michele on her blog A Big Cup of Tea