Derby-Pie® Foodies Final Project

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What’s ooey, gooey, chocolatey, and nutty all in one? None other than Kentucky’s original Derby-Pie®! Race to get a piece today!

The Kentucky Derby is an internationally-renown horse race that takes place in Louisville. This year, the event will take place on May 6 for the 143rd running of the Derby. The Kentucky Derby features a number of festivities that take place that weekend. Among the famous event traditions surrounding the Derby is the Royal Court. The Court is a group of six women that are selected to preside over numerous Derby events. Celebrations and events are both a part of the Kentucky Derby tradition. Over the years, many different traditions have developed around the Kentucky Derby. One of the most famous of these is the Derby-Pie®. The Foodies visited Kern’s Kitchen, where the Derby delicacy is prepared, baked, and shipped all of the country.

Many people may not know that Derby-Pie® is a trademark name that was born more than a half century ago of the Melrose Inn, in Prospect, Ky. George Kern, manager of the restaurant, developed the Derby-Pie® recipe with the help of his parents, Walter and Leaudra. They spent many hours trying to find the unique secret blend of chocolate and nut that make up this classic dessert. The Melrose Inn served hungry travelers for more than 50 years before closing in 2000. But, the blend remains the same, still a secret, to this day. The family, unsure what to name the pie, wrote out on slips of paper and tossed them into a hat… Derby-Pie® won and the rest was history!

The Kern grandchildren now take the same pride in preparing Derby-Pie® products today that their grandparents did more than five decades ago. Alan Rupp is the current President of Kern’s Kitchen. The grandson of Walter and Leaudra Kern, Alan was the primary reason they settled in Kentucky. Walter and Leaudra had intended to move to Florida after having their fill of Pennsylvania winters and stopped temporarily in Louisville to visit and help out with baby Alan. The area worked its magic—and then Derby-Pie® came along. The Kerns stayed. Consequently, Alan grew up with the smell of pie in his nose and hints of chocolate in his veins. In 1973, he started working in the family business learning how to properly sort walnuts, crack eggs, and pour without spilling. Alan is always generous with a smile and a handshake. His son, Jon Rupp, also works for the family business as the Sales Manager.

At Kern’s Kitchen, all of the magic of creating the Derby-Pie® filling is done behind the veil of a mysterious curtain. You can count on one hand the number of people who know the secret recipe. The company uses the name in the form “DERBY-PIE®” in official literature and advertisements. Kern’s Kitchen diligently guards the trademark and has filed more than 25 lawsuits to protect it over the years. The makers of similar pies have had to use different names such as “Pegasus Pie,” a reference to the Pegasus Parade at the Kentucky Derby Festival and May Day Pie, in reference to the First Saturday in May, the day of the Kentucky Derby.

You can find Derby-Pie® products at many fine restaurants and specialty stores in the Louisville area, or you can have it delivered to your door. Local restaurants such as Bistro 301, Captains Quarters Riverside Grille, and Dish on Market, offer it on their menu. Each restaurant typically finds their own distinct way of presenting the classic dessert. Whether it be served as a warm, gooey treat with coffee or presented with a chef’s signature flair, Derby-Pie® is a sweet ending to your meal. Just remember-if you’ve never eaten Kern’s Kitchen chocolate-nut pie, you’ve never eaten Derby-Pie®!

However, it just wouldn’t be fair to not mention all of the other delicious and classic Derby desserts. Along with Derby-Pie®, there are a couple other traditional treats that people like to serve up for Derby time. The Red Velvet Buttercream Rose Cake is a favorite for the Run of the Roses, and Chess pie is an old Southern classic that has withstood the test of time. There’s even such a thing now as Mint Julep Bars, which is a famous Derby cocktail transformed into a decadent dessert. Derby-Pie® is undoubtedly the most famous and most popular, but the honorable mentions are worth a try as well.

The Foodies were treated to taste tests of the Derby-Pie® fresh from the oven, and it was enough to get us all into the Derby spirit.


The 10 Commandments for College Students

Easter is less than a week away, and that got me thinking. One of our Easter traditions at home is to watch “The Ten Commandments.” When in college, there are also certain guidelines we students should follow to survive this crazy time in our lives. I give you “The 10 Commandments for College Students”!

  1. Honor thy professors.

Life will go a whole lot easier if you don’t question what they tell you to do… and ALWAYS read the syllabus.

2. Thou shalt not use a source in a paper without properly citing it.

Plagiarism will get you kicked out of school, so don’t try it. APA, MLA, Chicago – so many styles, so little time.

  1. Thou shall purchase expensive textbooks you will never use.

Use the book as a door stop instead of a reference. We’ve all been there. At least, you will probably get $4.95 in book buy-back at the end of the semester.

  1. Thou shall not sleep.

Never getting enough sleep is basically a given when in college. There’s always something you should be doing rather than sleeping.


  1. Thou shall wait until the night before to study for an exam.

So many regrets. But, for some reason, we all keep trying it. Maybe we like living on the edge. Maybe we like failing. Procrastination is a college sport.

  1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s GPA.

There’s no reason to want something you aren’t willing to work hard to achieve. Raise your own GPA instead of worrying about others’.

  1. Thou shall survive on caffeine and pizza alone.

Coffee is a way of life. And, when you go to UofL, like me, it’s Papa Johns. All day. Every day.


  1. Thou bank account shall always be overdrawn.

It’s a good day when you check your bank account and you think you have $1.00 and you really have $3.00!


  1. Thou shall worship the teams of your college and have no other teams before them.

Every t-shirt in your closet probably has your school’s insignia plastered on the front in big bold school colors. For my friends and me, it’s red and black all the way! Go Cards!


  1. Thou shall not cheat.

You know, they never prosper.



Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

It’s the most wonderful time of year… and I’m not talking about Christmas… I’m talking about baseball season! America’s pastime strikes a special feeling in the hearts of Americans across the country, including my own. Opening Day 2017 started yesterday, April 2, with three games and continues today with 12 games.

Without a doubt, my family would be put in the category as Cincinnati Reds “superfans.” After all, the Reds organization is the oldest professional baseball team, so why not root for the first?  I’ve been going to Reds games for as long as I can remember. Here are some old pictures of me at Great American Ballpark.


My mom and I go to at least one game a year and listen to the rest of the games religiously on the radio. Marty Brennaman is our eyes and ears onto the field, no matter how near or far they’re playing; it’s almost as if we are in on the action ourselves.

Growing up a Cincinnati Reds fan, the ball park has always been one of my favorite places. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after you stand in line anxiously waiting to get in the stadium, and then finally making it in the door. Once you’re inside, you are immediately struck with sensory overload. You see and weave through crowds of people, painted in your team’s colors just like you (we are better off “RED”). You smell the freshly grilled hot dogs and salty peanuts. You feel a sense of excitement that you just quite can’t put your finger on. You finally get to your seat. No matter the weather, or how uncomfortable your plastic chair may be in theory, you can’t help but ignore it all and smile when you look out onto the vibrant green field to see your favorite players warming up. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, the first pitch finally sails across the plate. You hear the crack of the bat. What follows is a dynamic struggle between two teams… and one comes out the victor. Some may think baseball is boring, but I think the exact opposite. Watching a baseball game is a magical, unforgettable experience.


This past weekend, I was excited to see my glorious Reds take the field for the first time this season in an exhibition game versus Louisville’s own Bats, the Reds minor league team. The two teams ended up tying, of course, because really, they are all Reds at heart. I loved getting to see two of my favorite players, Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Billy Hamilton when he was still just a young Bat. Now he’s in the Major League and stealing bases like a pro!








Opening Day is a magical time, a time when the promises of a new season full of homeruns, strikeouts, stolen bases, and amazing catches seem sure to end in a World Series victory.  Baseball means summer will soon be here. Get to the ballpark. It’s time to play ball! 




Are You Ready to Escape?

Do you like mystery? Or, a good brain teaser? Work well under pressure? Looking for a physical and mental challenge? We all have a competitive side, and who doesn’t like to win? Grab some friends and hit one of the newest entertainment crazes… escape games.


If you haven’t seen or been to one of the escape games, they are basically rooms where you pit your wits against the riddles of the room and try to escape in an hour. They teach teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity. If you’ve dreamed of intrigue and thrilling adventures, then this game is right for you.


Escape games have been popping up all over the country and Kentucky. Here’s a link to the top 10 escape rooms in Kentucky.

Top 10 Escape Rooms in Kentucky

And for my Louisvillians here’s a link to the top 5 escape rooms in Louisville.

Top 5 Escape Rooms in Louisville

My first escape experience was at The Escape Game at the Island in Pigeon Forge, TN. I escaped a room called “Gold Rush.” The description reads: “For nearly two centuries, the hope of gold has lured people to the hills of Northern California. No one was captivated more than Clyde Hamilton, a greedy gold prospector who loved to gamble. Clyde made too many bets with the wrong crowd and now he’s missing. You’ve been tipped off to where he stashed his gold…But so has the mob. Finders keepers.” My mom, my best friend, and I successfully escaped by collecting all the gold just in the nick of time. The game included three rooms that truly brought the outdoors indoor.  It felt as if we were on a movie set with realistic trees, shrubbery, and props. The realness of the set added a lot to the enjoyment.


We had such a great time, we also escaped an Egyptian themed game called The Tomb in Pigeon Forge.  There, we had a guide follow us as we descended into a tomb and used our flashlights to hunt clues – until the lights went out, and we had to solve the puzzle to reach the next step on our journey.

We were hooked.  We are officially escape junkies.


I escaped an Atlantis-themed room in Myrtle Beach, and most recently a submarine-themed room in my own hometown of Pikeville, KY! “The Deep,” part of the Epic Escape Game, allowed my team to save humanity by launching a nuclear weapon successfully to repair Mariana’s Trench.  Pikeville’s game also has rooms that focus on the history of our town with “The Feud” and “Buried Alive” (based on the true story of Octavia Hatcher).  I can’t wait to go back! Escape centers have multiple rooms from which to choose with varying themes and levels of difficulty.


To escape – choose your team wisely.  Ask friends and family to accompany you that you can get along with and that complement your own skills. Listen to others. No one has all the answers.  Use your team members to your advantage. Brainstorm. Everyone should contribute and talk out loud because one person might trigger someone else to discover a solution. Pay attention. Be observant. Look everywhere for clues. You never know when something small will end up being a big key to your escape.


The next time you’re looking for something different to get into on a Saturday night, get ready to escape.

10 Ways to Know You Grew Up in a Small Town

Miranda Lambert – Famous In A Small Town

Miranda Lambert sings, “Everybody dies famous in a small town.” Being home this week for spring break reminded me of some things that make my small hometown charming in its own special way. Here’s my “10 Ways to Know You Grew Up in a Small Town”!I-come-from-a-small-town.jpg

  1. If it’s not at Walmart, you don’t need it… and sometimes you go just for the fun of it (and you know you’ll run into at least three people you know when you go). A trip to Wally World always makes the day special.
  2. Friday night sporting events are mandatory, even if you don’t like sports. Everyone in town will be in the stands at football games in the fall and basketball games in the winter. Go, team!
  3. When the festival comes to town, it’s everyone’s favorite time of year. In my hometown of Pikeville, KY, we have the annual Hillbilly Days festival. The small town transforms with thousands of out-of-town visitors and hundreds of vendors to celebrate our heritage while we support the Shriners. Nothing beats eating a funnel cake while you stand in line to ride the Gravitron!
  4. The fanciest dinner you can get is a hot dog and a shake at the local dairy bar. My home town favorite is Dorsie’s Dairy Bar. Yum!
  5. You can’t get away with anything because everyone knows your mom. So, I learned quickly not to even try it. 17321569_10212598212458917_2092664820_n
  6. You’re forced to pool through your best friend’s exes for date options because there aren’t enough decent men in your town… and at least that’s better than dating your cousin.17274716_10212598246539769_671538826_n
  7. Everyone has one of three last names. In my small town, everyone seems to be a Justice, Thacker, or McCoy (and they’re the real McCoy). Family reunions are basically a whole county-wide celebration.
  8. Who needs a movie when you can four-wheel up a mountain and stare at the stars?
  9. If you’re broken down on the side of the road, there will always be someone willing to help you get where you’re going. Someone who knows you will probably stop, but in a small town, people who don’t even know you jump to lend a hand.
  10. They say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. In a small town, you make forever friends when you’re only 5 years old. You rely on them while you grow up and become your own person. I met my BFF when I was only 4, and I know she will always be there for me when I need her, even if we don’t go to the same school.

It’s kind of a bummer that the nearest mall is about 2 hours away from my hometown. When people ask where I’m from, I have to pull out a map to show them. These things are just fine by me because you can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl. images


One More Night to Go Crazy


If you see me today, I’ll be showing off my third Maroon 5 concert shirt. My first Maroon 5 experience was a concert at the stunning Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. That was all the way back in 2013. It was a Christmas gift from my uncle, and my fascination with one of the hottest pop bands today was solidified.

Then, again in 2015 I got to see Adam Levine and the crew jam out in Louisville’s own KFC Yum! Center. I remember being excited to come to the town that I knew would be my home someday.  Our tickets were closer to the stage in Louisville, and I got some up-close looks at Adam.

Another two years later, in 2017, I found myself listening to my favorite band for “one more night” in Cincinnati this weekend in what was the best of the three Maroon 5 concerts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.



They paid tribute to three pop icons who have recently passed. Adam came out wearing a George Michael inspired look complete with 5 o’ clock shadow, leather jacket, and ripped jeans. They played an instrumental tribute to Bowie, and for the grand finale, they swathed Bank One Arena in purple as they rocked Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy!” This was especially interesting for me since my mom was at the concert with me, and that was a song she listened to when she was in college.


In between, we got all their top hits for what was a raucous, enthused Cincinnati crowd. We even got to hear two of their newer singles, “Don’t Wanna Know” and “Cold.”

Of course, Adam sang everyone’s favorite “She Will Be Loved” to make for a memorable end to the night. All in all, it was quite an incredible show! Now, I need to find a pay phone so I can spend all my money on some sugar! I can’t wait until two more years have passed because I’m sure to see Adam another time by 2019. Ultimately, I hope to go to a fifth V concert to collect another t-shirt.

White Hot Chicken Chili

Who doesn’t love a good party – or should I say fiesta? This morning, I opened my Facebook app and noticed I was tagged in an interesting timehop post from my mom. Seven years ago today, we won a Chili Cook-Off at our local Exposition Center. We placed first in the homemade division and second overall, competing against restaurant chefs.


As the colder weather rolls back into town, I am reminded of my family’s chili recipe. As opposed to a traditional red chili, we make a white chicken chili. White chicken chili is an affordable, healthy, and delicious food that is simple to fix. I am an expert at making this dish because my family and I make it for every special occasion – movie premiers, sporting events, holidays, you name it! I’m going to share with you my family’s award winning “White Hot Chicken Chili” recipe, a sure-fire way to curb the rainy-day (or snowy) blues.


Go to the grocery store and buy all your food ingredients. You will need: 3-4 chicken breasts, 1 stick of butter, 1 large white onion, ¼ cup flour, 1 can chicken broth, 1 pint half-half, 1 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 ½ tsp chili powder, ¼ cup chopped jalapeños, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. white pepper, 4.5 oz. (2 cans) chopped green chilis, 4 cans navy beans (drained), shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Our secret is that we use chili powder that we purchase from farmers in New Mexico, so it’s high quality.  We also suggest using New Mexico’s famous Hatch’s green chilis, and if possible, Trappey’s navy beans are the best to use.


Now, get in the kitchen and collect all your tools. You will need a large pot, a wooden spoon, a knife, measuring spoons, and a cutting board. Now you can get to cooking! Cook chicken breasts (preferably grill them, but they can be baked or microwaved) and set aside to cool. Chop onions and sauté them in butter. Lower heat to medium-low. When onion is soft, add flour. Next add half the chicken broth and allow thickening before adding the rest of the chicken broth. Make sure to stir. Repeat process with half-half. Next, add the Tabasco and spices, constantly stirring. Add green chilis and jalapenos, continuing to stir. Add navy beans. Finally, add the chicken. You may choose to pull the chicken in small strips or chop the chicken in small chunks. Warm, but do not boil the chili. Serve topped with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Eat with tortilla chips (instead of crackers as with traditional chili).


That’s all it takes to successfully create your own delectable white chicken chili. Now, head to the store and whip up a batch because the cold weather is sure to not last long. Now that you know our recipe, it’s like you have officially been inducted into part of my family. Two years ago, we won another chili cook-off at my high school’s homecoming competition. Our white chicken chili was the best, then and now! Time sure does fly! Bon appétit!