Omaha Steaks will help sponsor a kickoff tasting event at this year's Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami Beach, Fla., a first for the 95-year-old Omaha company.

The Feb. 21 kickoff, called “The Q,” is a barbecue tasting and contest that features 40 chefs with ties to the Food Network. Participating chefs will prepare barbecue recipes using Omaha Steaks' beef, pork, lamb and poultry products, company spokeswoman Beth Weiss said.

Omaha Steaks Senior Vice President Todd Simon and Food Network chefs Rocco DiSpirito and Gina and Pat Neely will judge the barbecued beef entries. The winner gets bragging rights and Omaha Steaks' new culinary excellence award. Recipes from the event will be posted on the company's Internet sites, Weiss said.

The Omaha-based meat supplier said it also plans to fund a culinary scholarship at Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center. The scholarship's amount has not yet been determined, Weiss said.

The South Beach food and wine festival, which runs through Feb. 24, is a fundraiser for the school.

For the opportunity to win a free trip for two to the event, visit Omaha Steaks' Facebook page. For information about the festival, visit

'Anna Banana' sells baby goods online

When it came time for Anna Liddick to name her new business, an e-commerce store that sells clothing and accessories for babies and toddlers, she chose her longstanding nickname: Anna Banana. Her business mentors deemed the name catchy and memorable.

Liddick, a 62-year-old grandmother who lives in Bellevue, kicked off the new year with the online launch of

The online store offers about 200 items in 15 categories of children's products, including bibs, blankets, gifts, christening and baptism outfits and newborn baby clothing — “including items for preemies,” she said.

A big seller? Diaper cakes.

Liddick explains that the “cakes,” which are made of diapers and other items such as socks and creepers, are folded together to look like a cake and topped with a stuffed animal. “They are great for baby showers,” she said.

Liddick, a former quality control manager for Home & Away magazine, said she decided last year it was time to do something different, “something I had never done before or dreamed of doing.” She took several online courses in establishing an e-commerce business, and took the plunge: She quit her full-time job for a part-time position and founded her online store.

Bluffs to get CrossFit gym

A new CrossFit gym will open Feb. 2 at 1718 Madison Ave. in Council Bluffs.

The new 7,300-square-foot gym, called CrossFit Vise, will offer strength, conditioning and power-lifting programs and classes for men and women, co-owner Ricky Frausto said. CrossFit Vise will be the Omaha area's fourth CrossFit location.

Final closing set for Fashion Bug

The Fashion Bug store at 12115 West Center Road in the Westwood Plaza shopping center is expected to close at noon Jan. 16. The retail chain, which sells plus-size women's clothing and accessories, announced last year that it planned to shutter all 600 of its stores by the end of January 2013.

Merchandise at the store is now discounted from 70 percent to 90 percent. All sales are final.

The Fashion Bug stores at 3445 L St. and in La Vista already have closed.

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