A D.C. based Marine Corps spouse is one of 100 finalists for the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off contest thanks to a handy homemade donut recipe.
Megan Beimer, 31, said she has always enjoyed baking as a hobby. So when she married her Marine in 2009, she was able to use baking as a way to build her relationship with him.
"When we were a newlywed couple we spent a lot of time in the kitchen," she said.
When he deployed in 2010 she sent him homemade treats in in the mail. And while she didn't turn to baking as a comfort task the way many spouses do, she said it was always there like an old friend.
Her donut recipe was born of using ingredients she already had in the house for making a treat for her family one Saturday morning and submitted it to Pillsbury just for fun.
"I kind of just entered the contest on a whim," she said. "I wanted to enter this one because it's the grand-daddy of all baking contests."
To her surprise she was selected as a finalist. That designation has earned her a trip to Nashville in early November for the bake-off, a conference room setting with mini kitchens for each finalist where they will prepare food for a series of judges.
"I'm pretty excited -- I've watched cooking shows and it sounds like it's going to be a giant 'Chopped,'" she said. "Overall the event is going to eb very exciting."
Judges will pick one winner from each submission category -- sweets, snacks and sides, breakfasts, dinners. Voting will then open to the public. The winner will be picked by combining the results of online voting with the judges' votes. .... and take home the $1 million prize.
Breimer is competing in the breakfast category, and is up against 24 other recipes for delicious sounding things like bear claws, cinnamon-pumpkin muffins and strawberry cinnamon roll Belgian waffles. But we don't think she should be worried -- I tested her recipe for donut poppers, which you can find here, and I'll just leave you with this one word: Nutella.
Her Marine husband will spend the contest weekend watching their almost 2-year-old daughter. And if they win?
"We would hope to be able to buy our first house," she said.
Photos courtesy of Pillsbury.