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Pierson woman a semi-finalist in Pillsbury Bake-off

Readers can help her win $1 million

Susan Odren

Susan Odren

By Judy Reed

When The Post spoke with Susan Odren, of Pierson Township, about being chosen as a semi-finalist in the 46th Pillsbury Bake-off, she was so excited she could hardly breathe.

“I’m so excited because I can’t believe that I made it this far!” she said between breaths.

And she should be. Her entry was chosen as one of 60 semi-finalists in her category, out of thousands of entries, with the chance to win the $1 million grand prize. And we could help her win! All we have to do is vote.

Odren said that she always liked to cook chocolate chip cookies for her dad when he was alive, but that was about it. It wasn’t until she was on her second bout of blood cancer and was recuperating that she found the bake-off contest and decided to enter. “I needed something to do,” she said with a chuckle. “My husband, friends and ladies from the guild at Mary’s Queen of Apostle all became my guinea pigs.”

Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons

Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons

Bakers had to choose from a list of qualifying ingredients to come up with their masterpiece. The recipe could contain no more than seven ingredients, and take no longer than 30 minutes to prepare, not including baking and cooling time. Odren created a cookie called Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons. “Everyone loved them,” she said.

She submitted her recipe and then waited five months before she heard anything. She heard officially earlier this month that she was a semi-finalist. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Voting is now open on BakeOff.com until June 27. For the first time in the history of the bake-off, America will determine which of the semi-finalist recipes will vie for the grand prize. Those 100 finalists will compete at the Bake-Off Contest finals, November 10-12, in Las Vegas.

To see the recipe and to vote, go to http://www.pillsbury.com/BakeOff/Voting-Home/Voting-Gallery. (You must be a registered member at Pillsbury.com but it doesn’t cost anything.) The Cherry Sugar Cookie Macaroons are in the eighth row down on the far left.

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Geography bee semifinalist

Jacob Hoskins, an eighth-grader at Algoma Christian School has been named a semi-finalist in the Michigan Geographic Bee. He is the son of Dan and Laurie Hoskins of Cedar Springs.

Bees were held in schools with fourth through eighth grade students throughout the state to determine each school’s geographic bee winner. School-level winners then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. In each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and the U.S. territories, the National Geographic Society invited the students with the top 100 scores to compete at the state level.

The 2011 Michigan Geographic Bee will be held on Friday, April 1 at the Bernhard Center at Western Michigan University.

The state winner will receive $100, the complete National Geographic on DVD, and a trip to Washington DC, where he or she will represent Michigan in the national finals May 24-25. The first-place national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the Society. The national winner will also travel, all expenses paid (with a parent or guardian) to the Galapagos Islands, where he or she will experience geography first-hand through close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of Galapagos.

For more information visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee.

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