An Unexpected Spa Holiday in Orlando

Plus Some Pillsbury Bake-off Winning Recipes

By Phyllis Steinberg

Most people go to Orlando to visit Disneyworld with their kids. I went for another reason. I was there as a food writer attending the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest at the Gaylord Palm Resort, a landmark resort and convention center in the Kissimmee-St. Cloud area.

The resort features high-tech convention facilities, award-winning restaurants and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Nestled among bountiful botanical flowers and trees, in a 4.5 acre glass-topped atrium, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub is a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Disneyworld attractions.

Here, in the midst of running back and forth to the newsroom and checking out all of the contestants and their prize winning recipes, I had a chance to enjoy the Canyon-Ranch experience.

No cell phones are allowed in the spa area. Here, I was able to retreat and enjoy a deep, focused all-over body massage designed to release my tight, fatigued muscles and joints.

Prior to my massage I was led into the locker room where a plush robe and slippers awaited me. Then I was escorted to the relaxation room, called “The Tea Room” by the friendly staff. Here, along with a complete selection of teas, there were fruits and juices. I sat down on a comfy chair and started to gently let go of the problems of the outside world.

My therapist at Canyon Ranch Spa Club used a de-stressing gel of oil and rosemary, ginger and black pepper. ($175 for 80 minutes). Called a Deep Muscle Soothing massage, the deep massage manipulated my tight muscles, allowing the toxins to disperse. Then the ingredients in the gel penetrated into my body providing stimulation, invigoration and the release of tension.

The Canyon Ranch Spa has a full compliment of outstanding services for men and women. The Anti-Aging Facial ($140 for 50 minutes) makes use of skin products that contain a patented niacin derivative the boosts the skin’s natural protective responses. It was billed as strengthening the skin’s barrier, repairing DNA and stimulating cell production. The anti-aging facial also included a Vitamin C mask which had a delightful aroma giving my face a warm and healthy glow. The facial is available for men, but they are requested not to shave before the treatment.

The list of services at Canyon Ranch Spa Club is endless from Aromatherapy facials, where you can select your own essential oils to foot massages, shiatsu, reiki, craniosacral and stone massages.

But even more important than the treatments is the lifelong commitment that the spa has to wellness. All of the therapists I encountered were well versed in health and nutrition. In fact, my therapist wrote out a list of books to read for my specific health concerns and gave me some important information on diet and exercise.

The Canyon Ranch Spa Club also has a fitness center with state-of-the art equipment with a personal trainer available to help spa patrons take home a healthy exercise regime designed especially for them. One-on-one training is $90 for 50 minutes.

Also available at spa is a lifetime nutrition consultation for $115 for 50 minutes. I also departed with several free Canyon Ranch Spa handouts to improve my lifestyle. They included strategies for successful restaurant eating, snack ideas with recipes and nutritional intelligence information.

The philosophy at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club is that practical food, nutrition and exercise information as well as an understanding of yourself is just as important as having a luxurious spa experience.

It’s was fun watching contestants cook at the 42nd annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in Orlando which featured 100 finalists, men and women, ages 20 to 67, from 35 states.

There were several prizes in this year’s competition including the famous million dollars for the best recipe.

A new award, the America’s favorite recipe award was determined by consumers across America who voted for their favorite recipe on-line.

Other new contest prizes this year included the Receta Rica Award for best Hispanic-inspired recipes, 3-A-Day of Dairy Awards and the Splenda Pure Magic Award. General Electric also awarded several fabulous prizes to contestants.

The $10,000 favorite recipe was Pineapple-Black Bean Enchiladas. Try these and other Bake-Off recipes in the Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe cookbook available at your local super market.

For more information about the Canyon Ranch Spa at Gaylord Palms:

Call 407-586-SPA or log on to
Some Pillsbury Bake-off Winning Recipes
From The 42nd Pillsbury Bake-off Contest (Orlando 2006)

Contestant Name: Anna Ginsberg
Austin, Texas
Winning Million Dollar Recipe and a set of GE Profile Kitchen appliances
An old-fashioned chicken dinner is updated for two, with a surprising ingredient that makes the spinach stuffing extra special.

Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing

Prep Time: 35 Minutes
Start to Finish: 1 Hour

9 Pillsbury® Dunkables® frozen homestyle waffle sticks with 3 syrup cups (from 1 lb 1.3-oz box)
2 tablespoons peach preserves
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (1 lb)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 cups frozen cut leaf spinach (from 1-lb bag), thawed, squeezed to drain well
1 tablespoon beaten egg white
1 tablespoon chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate or 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix contents of syrup cups from waffles, the preserves and Worcestershire sauce. Place chicken, skin side up, in pie plate; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon syrup mixture over chicken. Bake uncovered 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toast waffle sticks as directed on box. Cool slightly, about 2 minutes. Cut waffles into 3/4-inch cubes; set aside. Spray 1-quart casserole with cooking spray (or use 9×5-inch nonstick loaf pan; do not spray). In 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in waffle pieces and broth, breaking up and moistening waffle pieces. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning and sage. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Cool about 5 minutes. Stir in egg white and pecans.
3. Spoon stuffing into casserole; place in oven with chicken. Bake uncovered 15 to 25 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to bone (170°F) and stuffing is thoroughly heated. Serve chicken with stuffing, spooning remaining sauce in pan over chicken.

Makes 2 servings

1 Serving: Calories 640 (Calories from Fat 200); Total Fat 22g


Contestant Name: Mary Iovinelli Buescher
Bloomington, MN
Traditional enchiladas take a healthful vegetarian twist in a sassy dish filled with fruity flavors.

Pineapple-Black Bean Enchiladas

America’s most favorite recipe
$10,000 winner
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour, 10 minutes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (20 oz) pineapple tidbits in juice, drained, 1/3 cup juice reserved
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (4.5 oz)chopped green chiles
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (12 oz)
1 can (10 oz) mild enchilada sauce
8 whole wheat flour tortillas (8 or 9 inch)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
8 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in pineapple, beans, green chiles and salt. Cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and 2 cups of the cheese.
2. Spoon and spread 1 tablespoon enchilada sauce onto each tortilla. Spoon about 3/4 cup vegetable mixture over sauce on each. Roll up tortillas; place seam side down in baking dish.
3. In small bowl, mix reserved 1/3 cup pineapple juice and remaining enchilada sauce; pour over entire surface of enchiladas in dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Spray sheet of foil large enough to cover baking dish with cooking spray; place sprayed side down over baking dish and seal tightly.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, removing foil during last 5 to 10 minutes of baking, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Top each baked enchilada with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 teaspoon cilantro.

8 servings

1 Serving: Calories 330 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 7g

Contestant Name: Carole Resnick
Cleveland, OH
Egg salad had undergone a zesty transformation that will make these wraps a lunch time favorite!

Mexican Egg Salad Wraps

Prep Time: 25 Min

Start to Finish: 25 Min

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
2 medium avocados, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 package (11.5 oz) flour tortillas for burritos, 8 inch (8 tortillas)
1/3 cup small fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Fresh medium strawberries

1. In large bowl, mix chopped eggs, mayonnaise, celery, salt and chiles. Place avocado in medium bowl; sprinkle with lime juice. Add onion; mash with spoon.
2. Spread 1/4 cup avocado mixture on each tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge. Spread each with about 1/3 cup egg salad mixture. Sprinkle cilantro leaves over each. Fold in sides of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange wraps on large serving platter; garnish with cilantro sprigs and strawberries.

8 wraps

1 Wrap: Calories 430 (Calories from Fat 260); Total Fat 29g (Saturated Fat 6g; Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 325mg; Sodium 620mg; Total Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 3g; Sugars 2g); Protein 14g

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