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Donny's Blog: Paula Deen's Secret Sauce

Most of you know Paula Deen - the Food Network star who combines her Southern charm and

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down-home comfort food with a side of laughs and some sweet tea! I just love Paula and always have the best time with her. She has an amazing energy and it’s simply contagious.

One thing you may not know about Paula, however, is that just 19 years ago to this month she was a newly divorced mother of two with only $200 to her name and afraid to leave her home. She started making sandwiches in her tiny kitchen to sell to the Savannah business crowd at lunch. This sandwich-making business soon grew into a full-fledged catering business which Paula called The Bag Lady.

Today that “bag lady” has two hit Food Network Shows - "Paula's Home Cooking" and “Paula’s Party’”, a magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen, five cookbooks and three restaurants, one of which started it all (and did I mention has the best fried chicken you’ll ever eat) The Lady and Sons in Savannah, GA.

Paula Deen is the American Dream!! She faced obstacle after obstacle but she never gave up. She knew she had to fight, not only for herself but for her two sons. She had to do something – anything – so she resorted to what she knew - cooking!

She didn’t take no for an answer and she didn’t allow fear to stand in her way. She rolled up her sleeves and didn’t stop working....or cooking!

Just a few days ago, Paula rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ in the heart of Times Square. Click here to check it out and hear some of Paula's inspirational words of wisdom!

And then I want to hear your success story! Write to me at donny@cnbc.com.