How to Enter the Real Simple 'Fake It, Don't Make It!' Recipe Contest!




The winners of the Fake It, Don't Make It Recipe Contest have been announced!

Introducing the Real Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest

Grandmother may have time to slave over the stove making figgy pudding from scratch, but you sure don't. Why bother measuring out flour, baking powder, and sugar when you can pick up a box of carrot cake mix at the supermarket that works just as well in the recipe? Here's your chance to show off your shortcuts. Submit your original recipe for any holiday-related dish to Real Simple and the recipe could be published in Real Simple 's December issue. Plus, you could win one of 20 prizes. The recipe must use some premade, store-bought ingredients and go from package to plate in minimal time, leaving you free for sleigh riding over the river and through the woods.

Check out these Instructables for quick and easy versions of Strawberry Shortcake, Lasagna, Doughnuts, and Crab Cakes. You can also find additional "Fake It, Don't Make It" recipes at

The official contest rules are the last word so please be sure to read them. Here's a summary of the basics to help you get started.

What is the Real Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest?
The Real Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest is your chance to share your most delicious holiday recipe shortcuts. Share your 6-ingredient-or-less recipe, dazzle the judges and you could win great prizes. You may even see your recipe printed in the magazine's December issue.

How do I enter the Real Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest?
Simply upload one or more of your best Holiday "fake it, don't make it" recipes at; Instructables may require registration. Add your recipes to the Real Simple group. Be sure to clearly explain the process, from preparation to presentation. Use text, photographs, and videos to make sure that other people will be able to replicate your recipe. If you already have a "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe on, simply add it to the Real Simple group.

How does the contest work?
  • August 15: The Real Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest starts accepting recipes. The contest will begin at 12:01 a.m. EST 8/15/07.
  • Sept 9: Last day to submit your recipe. The contest will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on 9/9/07.
  • Sept 10-24: Judges meet to score and review all contest entries. Top recipes are tested by Real Simple 's Food Editors.
  • Sept 28: Winners are notified.
  • Nov 1: Winner is announced on and

What are the judges looking for?
The judges are looking for high quality instructions that are 1) creative, 2) delicious, and 3) visually appealing. Your Instructable should be clear, easy to follow, and feature at least two inventive shortcuts for making a version of a known dish. Be sure your Instructable includes a list of ingredients with exact amounts; clear, concise steps; complete photos and text for all important steps including video where possible; and clear photographs (2+ megapixels preferred).

What could I win?
  • The winning recipe will be published in the December issue of Real Simple. Plus, the grand-prize winner will receive a $100 Crate & Barrel Gift Card, a monogrammed Real Simple apron, an Instructables T-shirt, and a year's subscription to Real Simple magazine.
  • Four first-prize winners will receive a $50 Crate & Barrel Gift Card, a monogrammed Real Simple apron, an Instructables T-shirt, and a year's subscription to Real Simple magazine.
  • Fifteen second-prize winners will receive a monogrammed Real Simple apron, a year's subscription to Real Simple magazine, an Instructables t-shirt, and Instructables stickers.

Potential winners will be required to submit a notarized statement confirming original authorship. Since shortcut recipes are popular, we need to know that you're submitting your own work. Using a recipe directly from a cookbook or the back of a box would violate the rules and spirit of this contest, and since we can't check everything we're going to have to take your word for it. A notarized statement may seem like overkill, but it's necessary (and not hard to get).

What's in it for me if I am not a contestant?
Not feeling particularly creative in the kitchen? Read the recipes shared by others in theReal Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest and learn ways to delight your family and friends at your next holiday dinner. Be sure to share your comments on the Instructables post and let the creative cooks know if their dishes are crowd pleasers.

Helpful Links:
How to create a great Instructable
How to add an Instructable to a group
How to embed video into Instructables
Explore popular Instructables
Take a tour of Instructables

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Step 1: Official Contest Rules

Official Contest Rules

This contest is limited to legal residents of the United States and Canada, excepting Puerto Rico and Quebec, age 18 or older at the time of entry, and all contest submissions must be transmitted in English. Employees of Real Simple, Time Inc., and Instructables Inc., their parent companies and subsidiaries, and members of their families are not eligible to enter.

To enter the Real Simple "Fake It, Don't Make It" Holiday Recipe Contest upload one or more of your best holiday recipes as an "Instructable" at Instructables may require registration to complete your upload.

You may enter as many different Instructables as you like. However, you may win only one prize per contest. An Instructable may be entered in multiple contests if it meets the relevant criteria.

2. All potential federal, state, and local taxes on prize are the sole responsibility of the winner. No purchases are necessary; void where prohibited by law.

3. Participants agree to abide by all decisions of Instructables, contest co-sponsors, and judges, which shall be final and binding with respect to all issues relating to this contest.

4. Winner agrees that prizes are being provided "as is", and Instructables and contest co-sponsors make no warranty, representation or guarantee regarding the prize, including but not limited to its quality, condition, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

5. Prizes: 15 second prizes, 4 first prizes, and one grand prize will be awarded.

Second prize winners will receive a monogrammed Real Simple apron, a one-year subscription to Real Simple magazine, and an Instructables t-shirt and stickers. Four first prize winners will receive a $50 Crate & Barrel gift card, a monogrammed Real Simple apron, an Instructables t-shirt, and a one-year subscription to Real Simple magazine. One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Crate & Barrel gift card, a monogrammed apron, and their recipe will be published in the December issue of Real Simple. The Approximate Retail Value ("ARV") of all prizes is $1,600.

6. Judging: Entries will be scored by range voting, the same system used in Olympic scoring. All entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges from Instructables according to the following criteria:

Quality of Instruction, 50 percent
Project should include:
  • List of ingredients with exact amounts
  • Clear, concise recipe steps
  • Complete photos and text for all important steps; video where possible
  • Clear photographs (2+ megapixel preferred)

Creativity, 50 percent
Project should include:
  • At least two inventive shortcuts for making a version of a known dish.

The judges from Instructables will evaluate the contest entries as described above and select the final 40 entries. Those top 40 entries and user email addresses will be submitted to the food editors of Real Simple, who will determine the contest winners. The Real Simple editors will use the following criteria to make their selections:
1. The recipe works in the Real Simple test kitchen , 40 percent
2. The recipe is delicious, 40 percent
3. The recipe is visually appealing, 20 percent

Potential winners will be contacted by email and/or telephone to verify eligibility, and results will be announced by September 28, 2007 and posted on the Instructables and Real Simple websites by November 1, 2007.

7. Sponsors reserve the right to modify, cancel, postpone or end the contest at any time as necessary, at their sole discretion, or to disqualify any participant or winner, at their sole discretion, deemed to have cheated, destroyed, obstructed, or otherwise acted illegally or in bad faith in relation to this contest.

8. Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds, in their sole discretion, to be in violation of the Terms of Service; to be acting in violation of these Official Rules; to be acting in an unethical or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person.

9. By submitting an entry and entering this contest, you represent and warrant that: you are over the age of 18, or entering with the knowledge and permission of your parent or guardian (subject to verification), and that the entry does not contain or incorporate the intellectual property and/or confidential information of any third party. You further acknowledge that submission of an entry is subject to these Official Rules and the Instructables Terms and Conditions of Use, found at

If you are selected as a potential finalist in this contest, you will be required to notarize and return an affidavit of eligibility, statement confirming original authorship, and warrant of liability to Real Simplewithin 4 business days of receipt of these materials. If you cannot or do not return these materials within 4 business days, you will no longer be eligible for placement in the content and Sponsors reserve the right to select an alternative potential finalist.

In the event that the email addresses submitted is inactive and we cannot contact you, Sponsors reserve the right to select alternate potential finalists. You may be asked to consent to a background check according to the discretion of the contest Sponsors.

10. Conditions of Participation: No transfer, assignment, or substitution of a prize permitted, except the Sponsors reserve the right to substitute prize (or prize component) for an item of equal or greater value at Sponsors' sole discretion. Nothing in these official contest rules shall obligate Sponsors to publish or otherwise use any entry submitted in connection with this Contest. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Entrants agree to be bound by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decisions of Sponsors, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this Contest. By entering, Entrant represents that any (photo(s), essay, etc.), and other materials submitted as part of Entrant's Contest entry are original and will not constitute an invasion of privacy or otherwise infringe upon the rights of any third party, and that the Entrant owns or has the rights to convey any and all right and title in such recipe(s). In addition, by entering, Entrant grants to Instructables a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote, republish at any time in the future and otherwise use Entrant's submitted recipe(s) along with Entrant's name, likeness, biographical information, and any other information provided by Entrant, in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional or advertising purposes, without further permission, notice or compensation (except where prohibited by law); Entrant further agrees that such license may be in part or in whole sublicensed by Instructables to REAL SIMPLE. Potential Winner, as a condition of receiving any prize, also may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, statement confirming original authorship, a Liability Release and where legally permissible a Publicity Release within 4 business days following the date of first attempted notification, certifying, among other things, the following: (a) entry does not defame or invade the privacy of any party; (b) entry does not infringe upon the rights of any third party; and (c) the recipe(s) and other materials submitted are original and have never been published and entry has never won an award. Failure to comply with this deadline may result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of an alternate winner. Return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsors and their agencies to use Winner's name and/or likeness, biographical information, recipe(s), and/or other materials submitted for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. By entering and/or accepting prize, Entrants and Winners agree to hold Sponsors and their promotional partners, its directors, officers, employees and assigns harmless for liability, damages or claims for injury, death or loss to any person or property relating to, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, participation in this Contest, the acceptance and/or subsequent use or misuse, or condition of any of the prizes awarded, or claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion or privacy. False or deceptive entries or acts will render the Entrant ineligible. Sponsors, in their sole discretion, reserve the immediate and unrestricted right to disqualify any entrant or prize winner, if either commits or has committed any act, or has been involved or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence which the Sponsors deem likely to subject the Sponsors, entrant or winner to ridicule, scandal or contempt or which reflects unfavorably upon the Sponsors in any way. If such information is discovered by Sponsors after a winner has received notice of his prize and before the prize is awarded, Sponsors may rescind the prize in its entirety. If a portion of his/her prize has already been awarded, Sponsors may withdraw the remainder of the prize that has been fulfilled. Decisions of the Sponsors are final and binding in all matters related to this paragraph. Sponsors are not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the contest, or in the announcement of the prize.

11. Internet: Sponsors are not responsible for lost or late entries nor for electronic transmission errors resulting in omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alterations of entry materials, or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions or limitations of any kind, or inaccurate transmissions of or failure to receive entry information by Sponsors or presenter on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site or any combination thereof. If for any reason the Internet portion of the program is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, the Sponsors reserve the right at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest. Sponsors reserve the right to select winners from eligible entries received as of the termination date. CAUTION: Any attempt by a contestant to deliberately damage any Web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the game is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, Sponsors reserve the right to seek damages from any such contestant to the fullest extent of the law. If there is a dispute as to the identity of the Entrant, the prize will be awarded to the authorized account holder of the email address. The "authorized account holder" is defined as the natural person to whom the email address is assigned.

12. Severability: If any provision of these Rules is found to be invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction or appointed arbitrator, such determination shall in no way affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision herein.

13. Governing Law: This contest is governed by the internal laws of the state of New York without regard to principles of conflict of laws. All cases and claims pertaining to this contest must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the City of New York, without recourse to class action suits.

14. Sponsors: Real Simple Magazine (1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020) and Instructables, Inc. (2175 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501) are the sponsors of this contest.

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    54 Discussions

    Well I could use a new t-shirt...mine got put through the dryer...but i;m not sure whether or not to post my coveted family recipe...

    10 replies

    Hehe - in heirloom food type recipes... Methinks bragging rights have more value than commercial licensing :P It's somewhat of a shame too as people age, forget and pass without passing on the information :/


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah- we only managed to salvage a subset of the recipes my grandma used to make. I should start putting them up on Instructables for posterity. Expect some scary (but tasty) midwestern stuff. ;D


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Ooooooh, that sounds good!
    I've no idea how to make any of that. Please share?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, if I can, I don't know how to make it either, but my grandma does.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Cool. That's exactly the sort of thing you should learn how to do now- you'll be really glad later when she's not around to show you! Maybe we should start a group for family recipe archivers.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I suspect it's "mousse", but I hope you actually meant "moose"!

    Mmmmm, chocolate moose... (insert Homer Simpsons donut-drooling noise here)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yay! I like homer and his stupidity. "Let's see, together we weigh 300lbs, my license says I weigh 140lbs. Hmmm. That means you weigh 160lbs Mr. Lobster!"

    But yeah, I did mean mousse, but chocolate moose(s? I know it isn't meese) might taste good too. Lets see. 5lbs = $60. $60 / 5 = $12. A moose weighs 1200 to 1500lbs. Let's say 1350. 1350 x 12 = $16,200 of hershey's chocolate. That is a lot of chocolate.


    11 years ago on Step 1

    Awwww, crap! Puerto Rican residents can't participate. Why can't we ever join the FUN contests? :(

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm sorry about that!
    Stick around, we'll have more contests you can enter.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    i disagree with the entire concept that it is "simpler" to go to the store and buy one specialized product in order to replace a small set of generic products that you probably already have, and which can be recombined in other ways to make other things. furthermore i believe that it is exactly counter to the DIY philosophy because it reduces your ability to cook anything yourself without using specialized branded products. figuring out what specialized product you need, plus going to the store and getting it - this is way more time consuming than mixing a couple of basic things you already have. it also promotes dependence on overpriced branded products and associated helplessness in the kitchen - i'm sure we all know people who are afraid to make such basic things as cake or cookies or pancakes without a specially branded mix - they probably even bought into the advertising that the mix will make better pancakes than they could make themselves. isn't that pathetic? isn't it the exact opposite of DIY to encourage blind reliance on branded products such that we don't know how to make it ourselves anymore?

    4 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with you completely. Why is instructables supporting A diy contest to win a tool used in future diy adventures I understand. A contest to help a corporation sell their magazine by giving them an abundance of free content i do not. i may be missing something here, but i don't get it.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    not only that, but the free content they are getting is specifically designed to generate advertising revenue for RealSimple. you give them free projects whose key ingredient is a brand name product, then they run the project in the magazine and put targeted ads from MegaProcessedFoodCorp right next to it.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think you need to list a brand name product. For instance "a can of corn" can be the store brand instead of a specific manufacturer. I see the point as being "i can make chili without soaking beans" and not "i buy XYZ brand instead of soaking beans".


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with all that (revenue, free content et al), but they're advertising the contest through their own site as well. Somebody is going to get the booty, so why not one of us?

    If you want to rebel against the branding=advertising revenue theme, use a specialised ingredient that is only available from a specific small supplier local to you, thus helping your local community.