It’s a Wrap……

It has been an action packed spring and summer.  I have been busy traveling, creating and testings recipes and crossing things off my bucket list.
When I think of a ‘bucket list’, I imagine a list of life long dreams.  Places to see, things to do, people to meet and experiences to enjoy.   What I didn’t see on that list was to be featured in a cooking video.

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to apply to be featured in a cooking video for Swanson via Allrecipes / Meredith.  I submitted my application with absolutely no expectation of being one of the ten Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassadors selected.   My YouTube videos feature food,  an ingredient or task at hand, not me.   I am generally a behind the camera person, not in front of it.   Not only did I not expect to be selected, I assumed these videos would be done in either Seattle or New York. Imagine my surprise when not only was I selected but informed that the video crew would be traveling across the United States and the videos would be filmed in our homes!  YIKES.

Can you say, ‘Sweating Bullets in August’? Yep that was me.
‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ so I pressed on and enlisted the help of my friend Brian for moral support and to act as my sous chef.

My assignment was to create a beef entree using Swanson Beef Stock.  Rather than going for a recipe to suit a large family, I opted for a special dinner for two.  A restaurant quality meal in the comfort of home.  Oven Seared Beef Tenderloin with Herb Pan Sauce

Swanson Video Photos 032For me, the hardest part was not the recipe creation, was wardrobe. Thanks to the ladies at Dress Barn for your assistance. Fortunately, my daughter in law, Amanda came to the rescue and hired  makeup artist Rebecca Cruz to do my makeup and hair or I would really have been a basket case.   There are so many things that go into a quality video that really have nothing to do with recipe development or food.


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If I said, it was a piece of cake, no sweat,  I would be lying. It was a ton of work getting ready.
However, this team was amazing and so professional.
Lights, cameras, sound – the real deal!

I thought my kitchen was big until it was filled with all this fantastic professional equipment.

This talented crew traveled across the United States, on a very tight schedule hauling all this equipment with them.

Not only did they put me at ease, they were so gracious and easy to work with.
Even if I couldn’t get into my refrigerator…..


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This is the producer Dan Lombardi and me getting ready.  What a talented man he is. Somehow, he manged to make this all seem normal.  Dan made me laugh and had the amazing ability to just talk to me to help develop a natural dialog, instead of using staged script.

Thank you Dan, you have a true gift!



Swanson Video Photos 048 AJulie  Zwillich was our hostess.
She is an on camera host, producer and writer.  Best of all, not only does Julie know production, she knows food! She was so encouraging and fun, she even got No Baking Papa to join us. You can just feel her energy and enthusiasm. One would never know that she was probably dead tired from having traveled from Colorado the night before.


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Julie was sneaking around taking pictures and so was my friend Brian.  Thank You!




Penny Swanson Video


Then there was one on one with the camera.  Oh my…..

Why do I cook?
‘Hi, My name is Penny Hanstad from Eastvale, California.  I have at least 20 reasons why I cook and they all have names……’


Would I do it again?  In a heart beat.

Thank you Allrecipes and Meredith for this amazing adventure.

Stay tuned for the videos this Fall.

The recipes that were developed by the talented team of Allrecipes Allstars for this campaign have been published on  If you would like to take a sneak peek, I saved them all to a collection for people to check out.
Swanson Video Recipes


About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, "Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my "name" Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don't bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


It’s a Wrap…… — 20 Comments

  1. I love how you wrote this post…such good reading! Great pics…and I’ll be trying your recipe very soon! Thanks Penny =D

  2. Baking Nana – how fun and exciting for you! Sounds like you had a super sous chef – nice job Brian! 👍 I hope your commercial airs in the Midwest. I look forward to seeing it. Congratulations – and enjoy your upcoming fame!! 🌟

    • Oh Molly, you are so sweet! 2 minutes of fame….maybe.
      Brian is the BEST. I am so fortunate to have him and his lively wife nearby. They are GEMS.
      I will let you know when the video are live.
      Thanks for you support.

  3. Oh, myyyyy….. This COULDN’T have happened to a nicer (or more deserving) person! Can’t wait to see you on TV, so I can say “I KNOW HER, I KNOW HER!!!”

  4. Wow! we have a star among us! Great story. Great pics. You’re amazing 🙂 Can’t wait to see the videos, and say “i know her”. Well, in cyber kinda way. Way to go Baking Nana!

  5. BN: How very exciting! I have no doubt that you did a fantastic job! I’m anxious to see the final product. It would be fun to be involved in that sort of production, but I’m way too camera-shy. Congratulations!!

    • Thank you bikerfamily. I will post the video once it is public, let me let you – these guys are pros and make everything look amazing.
      Thanks for the support!

  6. Despite your comfort behind the camera, I’m sure you looked like a pro in front of it as well. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product. The behind the scenes stuff makes it look like you all had a great time. the recipe sounds pretty tasty too! Great job.

    • I cannot thank you enough for all your help Brian. You and your lovely wife really saved my butt.
      It was a fun day but it went by like a blur. Thank you so much for the photos, the chopping and washing up.
      You my friend are a Rock Star.

  7. rock on bn! beautiful kitchen and what a great story! I bet you felt like aunt bee ( from andy griffin show), couldn’t happen to a more deserving person!

    • Thanks gderr. I appreciate your support. Actually, Aunt Bee never crossed my mind – but one of the crew mentioned Barbara Walters. I assume that was a compliment, at least I took it as such. Nobody mentioned Ina though…..

  8. An experience of a lifetime, for sure. And I see you couldn’t convince No Baking Papa to scoot out of there, after all. I’m glad he insisted on staying, and I’m sure he was super proud of you! So glad it turned out to be so much fun, your recipe looks fantastic, and we’re all looking forward to seeing your video.

    • Hi Pat – Yes, NB Papa was hiding out in his office with Komi and Julie lured him out to be a part of the video. He was a good sport and he behaved himself. Except he did manage to melt an entire stick of butter in the microwave the morning of the shoot. There is a reason I call him No Baking Papa!