Carolyn Westerback competes in 46th bake-off in Las Vegas

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: WESTERBACK FAMILY - Carolyn Westerback with the Pillsbury Doughboy at the bake-off in Las Vegas.

Carolyn Westerback of Gresham may not have won $1 million, but Pillsbury treated her like a million bucks during its 46th bake-off contest in Las Vegas.

“It was one of the most exciting weekends of my life,” Westerback said. “Plus, it was my husband and my 22nd wedding anniversary.”

Westerback was one of 100 finalists to compete in Pillsbury’s bake-off finals Nov. 10-12 at Aria Resort & Casino. She made it to the finals in the “Simple Sweets and Starters” category for her chipotle meatball appetizer.

The bake-off included three categories — amazing doable dinners, simple sweets and starters and quick rise and shine breakfasts — 100 finalists and one grand-prize winner.

Westerback and fellow contests used seven ingredients or less and had 30 minutes or less of prep.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: WESTERBACK FAMILY - Westerback's chipotle meatball appetizer recipe is pictured in the upper right corner on the back of Pillsburys bake-off  recipe magazine.

Padma Lakshmi, the host of “Top Chef” on Bravo, stopped by to interview Westerback, grabbing a toothpick and sampling one of her meatballs. She then proceeded to grab three more.

Another highlight came when Westerback found out the Pillsbury bake-off staff chose her recipe to serve at its team meeting.

Westerback was joined by her husband, sister, friend, and sister-in-law and her husband in Las Vegas. Her sister got to shake hands with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, one of her bucket list items.

“The people at Pillsbury, as well as the sponsors, were truly gracious and rolled out the ‘blue’ carpet for us,” Westerback said. Her chipotle meatball appetizer is pictured on the back cover of the Pillsbury bake-off recipe magazine that will hit stores Friday, Nov. 29.

Westerback thanked her family for supporting her and serving as her “official taste testers” and “publicity staff.”

“It was a magical weekend,” Westerback said.

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