Utah woman becomes a 'Reynolds Real Mom' finalist

Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 12:40 p.m. MST

Karen Peterson, author of "365 Days of Slow-Cooking" is a finalist in the Reynolds Real Mom contest.

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Home cooks have been using Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil to cover their culinary crafts since the product's creation in 1947.

This year, the Reynolds Co. is hosting a contest for moms who are passionate about cooking to become a “Reynolds Real Mom.”

The five winners of the competition will win $5,000 and a five-year supply of Reynolds products in addition to being involved with Reynolds advertisements and other media events.

Each contestant was required to submit a video of her teaching a cooking tip while using one of Reynolds' products.

Karen Peterson, author of the "365 Days of Slow-Cooking" blog and cookbook, is a mom from Farmington, Utah, who has made it into the top 10.

After learning about the contest last November, Peterson made a video demonstrating three cooking tips she uses with Reynolds products.

The first tip is useful for recipes that call for one tablespoon of tomato paste. Rather than opening a new jar just for one tablespoon, Peterson suggests scooping out several tablespoons of tomato paste with a cookie scoop, placing them on Reynolds parchment paper and freezing them.

In the second tip, Peterson uses Reynolds aluminum foil to tightly wrap a roast and cook it slowly on low for about 10 hours. The roast should turn out tender without using any liquid.

The final tip features Reynolds slow cooker liners. Peterson uses these while making chicken. She ties the chicken up in the liners, which keeps all of the moisture and sauce in the bag, resulting in a rich flavor.

After she submitted her video, Peterson waited until January to find out she’d made it as one of the top 10 finalists.

Prior to creating her blog, Peterson cooked very simply for her family, using recipes her mom gave her and not venturing out of the norm.

In January 2009, she decided she wanted to try a new recipe every day for the whole year in her slow cooker.

After Peterson told her sister about her goal, Peterson's sister suggested Peterson make the blog so she could hold herself accountable. Every day Peterson would cook a meal and post a picture and recipe of the meal.

“Starting a blog was the best thing because as I was charting my progress and keeping accountability for my goal. I was gaining followers who cheered me on and it helped me finish,” Peterson said.

The more recipes she cooked, the better she got, and the more tips and tricks she picked up.

“A lot of my tips were learned by accident,” Peterson said. “I experimented a lot, read a lot of cookbooks and browsed the Internet.”

As she gained more experience with cooking, Peterson did between 30 and 40 television appearances with local media, including "Studio Five," "Good Things Utah," "Fresh Living" and more.

After her cookbook came out in March 2012, the media segments were a good way for her to promote it.

Peterson has already enjoyed getting to know the other moms in the competition as well as the trip to Chicago she got to take when she was chosen as a finalist. She also looks forward to the possibility of winning the contest.

“It would be nice to earn more money for my blog,” said Peterson. “I do have some sponsorships and advertisements on my blog, but that’s not always consistent. I put in a lot of hours of work but don’t always get paid for it.”

Beginning on Feb. 20 and ending on March 27, the 10 finalists will share their best tips and tricks for cooking and baking on the Reynolds Wrap Facebook page.

Every Wednesday, fans are asked to vote for their favorite finalist to help five women become a Reynolds spokeswoman for 2013.

Megan Marsden is an intern with the Deseret News writing for the Faith & Family section. She is currently a junior at BYU-Idaho studying communication. The views of the writer do not reflect the views of BYU-Idaho.

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