The 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off contest is an all-online affair, said Julie Paolella, of Galloway Township, who recently found out she is one of 60 semifinalists in the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfast category.

Paolella entered her 10-minute recipe for PB&J Breakfast Danish, along with a photo and video, and was told via email that she made the cut, from among tens of thousands of entries. Paolella developed the recipe out of one for cheese danish she created years ago, when unexpected guests were coming on a snowy morning.

"I got the email and I almost fainted," said Paolella, who is director of volunteer services and parish nursing at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, and lives with husband Joe.

The grand prize has been $1 million since 1996 for all categories, including dinner and lunch recipes. There are lesser prizes for each category winner.

"I have a passion for cooking. I was raised in an Italian household where the oven was always on," Paolella said, adding both her father and mother were wonderful bakers. They told her: "If you cook for your family as you do for your guests, and cook for your guests as you do for your family, people will always feel welcome."

She considers it her greatest accomplishment that sons Tom, 33, of Middletown, Monmouth County; and Anthony, 29, of Galloway Township, like to cook, and are passing the talent on to her grandson, Aidan, 2.

For the first time since the bi-annual cooking contest started in 1949, consumers can vote to select who moves on to become finalists. Voting, which closes at noon Thursday, is at BakeOff.com along with semifinalists' recipes.

Elliotts to be race starters

Bill and Muriel Elliott, founders of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, will be grand marshals Friday for the "Drive Sober 150" NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.

The Egg Harbor Township couple will ride in the pace car and be the official starters. The HERO Campaign logo will be on the No. 96 Ben Kennedy Racing Chevrolet, sponsored by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

The campaign, which promotes the use of sober designated drivers, now operates in seven states. The University of Delaware will hold its inaugural Halloween HERO Walk on Oct. 26. Other walks will be held Oct. 20 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., and Oct. 6 on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. To register, visit theherowalk.org

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219