Posted in Chef Lane, Contest, Giveaway, holiday guest blog

Days of Christmas: Holiday Have to Have–GIVEAWAY! Membership to

You all know how much I love Julie Anne Rhodes and her Personal Chef Approach to meal preparation.  Since joining her website as a Premium Member, in just under a year, I’ve gone from a woman who (not in)frequently set her kitchen on fire, and whose son would beg to go out to eat rather than attempt a mouthful of my Better Off Dead culinary offerings to a fairly decent cook, if I do say so myself.  I’m even venturing out and sharing my own little recipes in a fitness community–to nice results.  I give Julie Anne a lot of that credit.

Why?  Because her Personal Chef Approach to cooking took a weight of stress out of meal planning and preparation, so I could just get down to the business of food.  I also give her site and recipes a lot of credit for me being able to lose 15lbs since this summer.  With my foods prepped ahead of time (especially my lunches!) it’s been easier to eat healthy meals–and tasty meals, too.  It doesn’t hurt that she is fantastically funny, and shares more than just how-tos for cooking on her site.  Premium Members have direct daily access to her in the Forums–worth the membership when you have a question!

As part of the Holiday Shopping Guide, Julie Anne has offered up a gift certificate for a month-long Premium Membership.  One lucky The Outside Lane reader will win an all-access pass to for a full month.

The winner will be selected from all the comments received on The Outside Lane through the month December 30th, with the prize being announced on December 31st–so you can opt to start your membership as part of your New Year Resolutions to get fit, eat better, learn to cook/cook better, get to know interesting people, or just try something new.

Like The Outside Lane on Facebook, and that will count as an entry into the contest, too!

Share The Outside Lane with friends on Facebook, or share individual blog entries, and those will also count as entries.  Lots of ways to stuff the ballot box in your own favor 😉

Here’s what you could get (from Julie Anne herself):

Premium Members enjoy all-access privileges to The PCA™ and receive insider-only tips, exclusive recipes (including archived info), and a weekly menu plan. The menu plan alone is worth more than the price of membership in time, ease, and effort saved! Premium Member benefits include:

WEEKLY MENU PLAN Eliminate any guesswork and save time with an entire week’s worth of meal ideas. Easily tailored to your family’s specific tastes, detailed menu plans come with easy recipes, ready-to-go grocery shopping lists, and heat-to-eat instructions.

PREMIUM RECIPE LIBRARY ACCESS Access a much larger variety of original recipes. Every recipe is one I created (not borrowed from another source) and each has been tested and approved by the clients of my multi-award winning Personal Chef Service. Many recipes also offer variations to accommodate specific tastes and are so easy that, “if you can read, you can cook!”

HOW-TO VIDEOS Some people learn easier when shown than told, which is why Premium Members can view simple step-by-step slideshows for some of the site’s most popular recipes.

ONLINE FORUM Gain a sense of community by joining others and myself as they share their experiences in the kitchen – whether they’re cooking for the very first time or professionally. It’s a G-rated space where you can ask questions, share your successes, and personal cooking challenges. Plus, you’ll gain the secret tips, tricks, and good advice I’ve learned in more than a decade as an award-winning personal chef.

  • CYBER LIVING ROOM An easy way to stay in touch and make friends with other members with your interests. Share thoughts, questions, reviews of local restaurants, events you’ve attended, or family and pet photos. Popular topics include the current week’s menu plan and The PCA™.
  • RECIPE SHARING Have a tried-and-true recipe? Here’s your opportunity to tell everyone about it and discover fellow member’s favorite dishes.
  • MEMBER PROFILES Give your postings a personal touch with the ability to upload a profile pic, your interests, talents, or any other information you want to share.

Inside Dish A monthly e-newsletter with tips on applying The PCA™, advice on safe-food handling, and advance notice of upcoming products, shows, and news! (Premium Members also gain access to archived issues of the newsletter.)

 Our version of “Dear Abby,” only with kitchen woes instead of those of the heart. Send in any cooking desires, queries, or catastrophes, and each month two member’s questions and answers will be featured in the Inside Dish newsletter.

So start commenting, sharing and liking, friends!  Can’t wait to see you in the Forums on!

Posted in Chef Lane

Sneaky Chef Lane

I have been concerned about my family’s eating habits for a while now, but have felt powerless to effect any change because of some very rigid ideas about what is disgusting and inedible. I’ve done my best with fish and chicken, and done everything but stand on my head to get vegetables in their mouths, but I feel like I have fallen well short of the mark. Strangely, since we’ve moved, along with sleeping better, feeling more secure, feeling like I am getting a handle on daily domestic routines, and feeling empowered to manage my kitchen, I am suddenly optimistic about getting these men to eat things that are good for them.

Today, I bought a couple of cookbooks that had been suggested to me a while back. Emily had told me about The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine, and I had heard about Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious when the Sneaky Chef sued the Master of Jerry Seinfeld’s Domain over similarities between their cooking camouflage. I figured I should have both. I mean, if there’s a food fight on, I want to see why!

I also bought Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens. I love my tiny space, and don’t think it is crappy at all, though B might beg to differ. I thought I might give something interesting a try once or twice a month. As far as I know, Jennifer Schaertl isn’t being sued by anyone, and she is a fellow Dallasite, so I am game to try out her recipes.

Tonight, I spent about an hour making four of the purees from the Sneaky Chef book. I liked her purees better than Seinfeld’s, but I like Seinfeld’s recipes more. I’ll be mixing and matching from both of their suggestions, and we’ll see what my family likes. Of course I won’t be posting the recipes–copyright laws and all that–but I will let you know which ones I cook, and how they go over.

All of the purees I made tasted nice to me. There’s a sweet potato/carrot one (orange puree), a broccoli/sweet pea/baby spinach one (green puree), a zucchini/cauliflower one (white puree), and a Great Northern Bean one (white bean puree). I wouldn’t want to eat them by the spoonful, but I think they will add great flavor to cooking. I’m looking forward to trying them out.

I made Thor’s lunch already, and I used half a tablespoon of white bean puree on his usual ham and cheese sandwich. We’ll see if he a) notices, b) rejects it. Tomorrow night we’re having Sneaky Sliders, and I’ll be getting vegetables into B that he wouldn’t normally eat if he was paid to do it.