History (Cooking Career)

It all started in 4-H where I learned about the food pyramid, nutrition, and presentation. I also learned a lesson in good sportsmanship when I won a second place ribbon, instead of the desired first place ribbon.

My dear friend, Frankie Clement, talked me into entering the Lean Ground Beef Contest at the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo, Texas in 2000.

One of the judges complimented me on how scrumptious the Stuffed Pumpkin was.

Going home with a first place, blue ribbon and $500 was such a thrill!

I had so much fun in 2000 that I decided to enter the contest again in 2001.

I cooked Lean Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers with Mango Salsa and won a first place, blue ribbon and $500! I will have to say that it was delicious.

2002’s contest preparation started with shopping at the local Farmer’s Market.

For the food garnish and presentation, I carved an apple turkey and swan! I also created candles made with fresh apples, miniature pumpkins, and gourds.

The Aztec Beef was garnished with tomato rosettes, stuffed olives, and edible marigolds.

I won a third place ribbon and $125. It was special to have Mom and Dad there with me!

After 2002, I continued to enter cooking contests and win prizes, but I will not add all of those photos.

After the invention of the Instant Pot®, I became the “instant pot queen”. Especially when our kitchen was gutted and being remodeled and I didn’t have a range installed for nearly a year.

In 2017, I put a post on Facebook about cooking easy and healthy meals in the Instant Pot®. I was shocked when the post generated 8000 likes, 1350 comments, and 510 shares! At that time, I realized that cooking at the end of the day is stressful, and people desire healthy, quick, and easy recipes.

In 2017, I started a food blog (dinnerinajar.cameliaelliott.com) and my “Dinner in a Jar: Instant Pot Dinner Kits and Recipes” Facebook page. My mission is to set busy individuals up for success, to cook quick and easy homemade meals using my favorite and original Instant Pot®, Instant™ Vortex™, non-IP/IV recipes, and home-canned recipes, cooked with an emphasis on whole food. 

Check out my blog and Facebook page. I hope you enjoy them!

I do a lot of home-canning.

Click on the above video to see my fun times at the canning factory. I love that place so much!