June 25th , 2012 9:04 am Leave a comment

Chef’s Corner: Tala Burleson likes making special treats with a twist


Happy Valley Middle School student Tala Burleson enjoyed her first year as a member of Carter County 4-H.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Tala Burleson shows off some of her 4-H ribbons in the kitchen of her home. The rising sixth grader at Happy Valley Middle School also enjoys creating special sweet treats for friends and family.

“I won awards in all the 4-H competitions,” she said.

Tala, who will be in sixth grade this fall at HVMS, won the Food Science Project at the Sub- Regional 4-H Achievement Day.

She also took first place in the Poster Contest and in the Biscuit-baking Competition.

“I am hoping to enter the contests for biscuit-making, photography and posters at the Appalachian Fair in Gray this August,” Tala said.

Tala is the daughter of Nikki and John Heaton, Johnson City, and Richard and Kim Burleson, Elizabethton.

Her grandparents are Janie Pierce, the late Mike Pierce, Bo Honeycutt and Brian and Jane Burleson.

Tala has two step-brothers, Hadden Heaton and Josh Ellis.

She enjoys making desserts as well as treats she can prepare in the microwave.

“I like to be creative and add little twists,” she said. “I’m also real crafty.”

Although she’s a fan of desserts, chocolate is not a food she particularly likes.

“A lot of pies have stuff in them I don’t like,” Tala explained.

She had found a pie she likes — Jello Pie — that requires no baking and has no chocolate listed among the ingredients.

“It tastes pretty good,” she said.

Tala, who attends Buffalo Valley Christian Church, said she makes the Jello Pie to take to church activities. “They all love it,” she reported.

She also enjoys making Kool- Aid Marshmallow Treats.

“This is the recipe I made for Demonstration Day at 4-H,” Tala noted.

She demonstrated her creativity by giving the marshmallows in the recipe some extra color by mixing sugar with different flavors of Kool-Aid.

“This is the sort of dessert I would actually eat,” she added.

Tala is headed to 4-H Camp in Greeneville next week. “I am looking forward to all the crafts at camp,” she said.

Tala, who described herself as a “friendly person,” is also hoping to meet new people at camp.

She and her friend, Alex Hardin, both received scholarships to attend 4-H Camp.

Tala, who also loves outdoor activities such as swimming, said she is eager to attend her first 4-H Camp.

Tala attributed her success in the 4-H Biscuit-making Contest to the fact that she made “some really big biscuits.”

In addition, she said she kept a really good eye on the biscuits through the entire baking process.

“I followed the recipe, but I added a twist — lots of self-rising flour,” Tala explained.

For her winning 4-H poster, she designed a poster with the theme “4-H is Life!”

In addition to her first place finishes in some of the contests, Tala took second place in Public Speaking and third place in Trash Model Competition and Greeting Card Competition.

Tala is sharing her recipes for Jello Pie and Kool-Aid Marshmallow Treats.


Marshmallow Treats 


Bowl and lid

1 cup sugar

Marshmallows (of whatever size you want)

Package of Kool-Aid (of whatever flavor you want)

Toothpicks or skewers

2 plates of any type

Wash rag for cleanup

Bowl or small cup of water


1. Mix the Kool-Aid package with 1 cup of sugar.

2. Put lid back on bowl and shake until mixed together.

3. Have bowl or cup with sugar to dip marshmallows.

4. Pour some Kool-Aid/sugar mix on plate.

5. Take marshmallows and dip in water.

6. Take wet marshmallow and roll completely in the Kool-Aid/ sugar mix.

7. Put marshmallows on the other plate to dry.

8. Let store until dry.

9. To store, can use bowl or plastic bag after dried.

Note: Make sure to clean up after making these tasty treats!

Jello Pie 


Six ounce package of any flavor of Jello

Fruit (optional)

If using fruit, use 1 eight-ounce bowl of whipped cream

1 graham cracker pie crust


Mix Jello and whipped cream until Jello is mixed well.

Then, if using fruit, add the fruit and mix well.

Pour mix into pie crust and put in refrigerator.

Leave for 12 to 24 hours before eating.



This week’s column was written by Bryan Stevens, assistant editor of the Elizabethton STAR.


To submit your own recipes or suggest a person for “Chef’s Corner,” email lifestyles@starhq.com or call 297-9077.


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