The Weekend Gourmet F

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wendy's Favorite Things...Holiday Gift Guide Edition #wendyfavethings #greateight #holidaygiftguide

For this month's Wendy's Favorite Things roundup, I'm featuring my 2016 Holiday Gift Guide!! This month's Great Eight features holiday presents that are sure to please your favorite foodies. From sweet to savory...to cookbooks and even a handy kitchen appliance...there's truly something for every type of foodie on your shopping list!!

(1) Bissinger’s Peppermint Bark and Peppermint Marshmallows. It's true: peppermint and chocolate is an iconic flavor! For all of the peppermint lovers on your shopping list, St. Louis-based Bissinger’s chocolate has an amazing duo of peppermint-chocolate confections that will drive them wild! Bissinger’s Peppermint Chocolate Bark layers dark and white chocolate, then tops each piece it with a generous amount of crushed peppermint. This is amazing peppermint bark! For marshmallow lovers, be sure to check out Bissinger’s Peppermint Marshmallows. Handmade marshmallows are dipped in dark chocolate -- then the tops are sprinkled with crushed peppermint for a downright decadent treat! Both treats come packaged in a red box that's covered with festive red-and-white holiday packaging. Given separately or as a pair, Bissinger’s chocolate-peppermint confections are a tasty and fun holiday gift. To purchase, visit the Holiday section of Bissinger’s online store.

(2) Olive & Sinclair Artisan ConfectionsIf you have someone on your gift-giving list who enjoys trying unique artisan sweets, look no further than Olive & Sinclair! This Nashville-based company features creative Southern Artisan Chocolate™ bars, as well as modern spins on traditional candy. Two of my personal favorite items in their collection are their Sea Salt & Vinegar Caramels and Bourbon Nib Brittle. The addition of vinegar to traditional sea salt caramels adds a tart element that compliments the salt and cuts through some of the sweetness usually found in caramels. The end result is a little unusual…and totally delicious. Their Bourbon Nib Brittle features cocoa nibs that are aged in small-batch bourbon barrels, then added to a buttery brittle that's coated with Olive & Sinclair's fair-trade dark chocolate on back. This is one sophisticated brittle – you definitely won’t be able to stop at one piece! To order these two items – or anything from Olive & Sinclair’s line of creative selections – visit their online store.

(3) The County Line Air Ribs. Love Texas BBQ, but want to enjoy it at home? Whether you live here in Texas…or in a far-away state…iconic Central Texas restaurant The Country Line has exactly what you need! Their Air Ribs mail order program lets BBQ lovers order County Line’s delicious smoked ribs, brisket, and sausage for home delivery in the continental United States. The meat arrives cooked, vacuum sealed for freshness, and flash frozen. When it arrives, the recipient simply follows the enclosed heating instructions -- and it’s just like dining at The County Line! The Air Ribs program offers smoky Texas BBQ in a wide range of prices, depending on what and how much you want to order. There’s something for every budget, starting at around $100. I tried the Get It All Over Ya Combo, which came with brisket, beef ribs, baby back pork ribs, sausage, and two kinds of BBQ sauce. The meat cooked up perfectly in my oven…and it tasted exactly like what we’ve enjoyed at The County Line restaurants over the years. To treat your favorite BBQ lover to smoky Texas BBQ this holiday season, simply visit the Air Ribs website.

(4) Susan Branch's Heart of the Home 30th Anniversary Edition. When I was in college, I received a copy of Susan Branch’s Heart of the Home cookbook. In fact, it might be the first cookbook that I ever received. I loved the charming illustrations, Ms. Branch's friendly writing style…and the easy-to-understand recipes. Over the years, I'e used my book time and time again. I was really excited to see that Susan Branch released a 30th Anniversary edition of this iconic cookbook this Fall! Some of the many great recipes include Heavenly Banana Cream Pie and Lemon Chicken. This cookbook would be a perfect holiday gift for your favorite home chef – the recipes are all tried-and-true winners, and the illustrations are so cheerful. This updated classic can be purchased in major retail bookstores and online via Amazon. However, if you order direct from Susan Branch's website, you will receive a signed copy...making the gift extra special!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Eggnog Recipes #SundaySupper...Featuring Spiked Eggnog Hot White Cocoa #eggnog #boozy #cocoa


The holidays are finally here! With the holidays comes all of the signature sights, sounds...and flavors...of the season! In honor of National Eggnog Month in December, this week's #SundaySupper is all about Eggnog Recipes. Our hostess is Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventure, who asked us to share our favorite eggnog-inspired recipes, so I came up with an adults-only version of hot white chocolate that features everyone's favorite eggnog flavors in one creamy, warming spiked sip! 

My Spiked Eggnog Hot White Cocoa is made with a handful of simple ingredients, and it's ready to enjoy in about 10 minutes. It's spiked with spiced rum, but feel free to sub some rum extract for the under 21 crowd. This warming drink is perfect for any upcoming holiday parties that you're planning...and it pairs perfectly with holiday cookies. It's basically a holiday party in a mug!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Holiday #Foodies4Foodbanks Funraiser...Featuring Streamlined Weeknight Shepherd's Pie #BeefTogether

For me, the holiday season is a time of joy and wonder -- when I count my blessings for all the goodness in my life. Colorful decorations and lights, festive music, time spent with my loved ones...and lots of great food. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Many American families are going hungry, or are food insecure, this holiday season -- so they struggle to have enough food to eat. I wanted to do my part to help! Enter Feeding America and the New York Beef Council via the #Foodies4Foodbanks holiday fundraising effort. Via Feeding America's nationwide network of food banks, there's a way to help feed those in need this holiday season -- which is where you come in!! The Weekend Gourmet is joining other food blogs to encourage our readers to donate to #Foodies4Foodbanks between now and December 12th. 

As part of this event, we're also sharing some of our favorite economical beef recipes. I wanted to make a streamlined version of shepherd's pie that can be whipped up on the busiest of holiday weeknights. My Streamlined Weeknight Shepherd's Pie tastes like it's been cooking for hours, but it's ready in about 45 minutes -- most of which is hands-off time! I used economical instant mashed potatoes here, which keeps the price of this comforting family meal right at my goal of $10 total to feed four people. Since shepherd's pie reminds me a bit of a pot pie, I cooked my shepherd's pies in four individual ramekins. However, you can layer everything in one 2-quart casserole dish instead.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Peppermint Bark Brookies #holidaycookies #peppermint #holidaybaking

Hi, everyone...miss me?!?!? I apologize for being a bit scarce around here this month. Between a hectic time a my day job, our amazing blog trip to California, and the Thanksgiving holiday? This entire month whooshed right by me! The good news is that I'm back and ready to get in the kitchen to whip up lots of great holiday treats to share with you in the coming weeks. I want to kick things off by flashing back to one of my most popular holiday cookies, as selected by my readers. My Peppermint Bark Brookies combine two of my favorite holiday flavors -- peppermint and chocolate -- into one irresistible treat. 

These easy-to-make cookies are made using a convenient boxed brownie mix that includes chocolate chips. These yummy brownie cookies (aka brookies) bake up chewy and fudgy...and my addition of peppermint mini marshmallows adds a dash of fun. After cooling, the brookies are dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peppermint for a fun peppermint bark accent. For peppermint lovers like me, these are the ultimate holiday cookie!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road: Texas Monthly BBQ Fest 2016 in Austin #tmbbq

A few weeks back, Michael and I had a fantastic time eating some of the very best BBQ in Texas - and beyond- at this year's Texas Monthly BBQ Fest in Austin. Texas Monthly magazine's annual TMBBQ Fest is an afternoon festival that showcases the Texas' best BBQ joints all in one convenient location. Eager Texas BBQ lovers line up to enjoy a wide range of BBQ specialties! It's always a great time, and the 2016 TMBBQ Fest was no exception. This year 27 BBQ joints took part in the event, which was held at Austin's Long Center. The TMBBQ Fest is quite simply the best way to enjoy delicious BBQ from the state's best BBQ joints in the span of a few hours. Rather than drive all over this vast state, BBQ lovers simply line up at each BBQ joint's booth to taste their smoked meat offerings. No wonder it's one of our favorite foodie events every year!!

We headed to Austin on a warm Sunday morning and met our cousins -- and chief travel and social media partners -- Mark and Crystal to get our BBQ groove on. Because we had media passes, Michael and I were able to enter the Fest an hour before the general public. That meant one thing: make an immediate beeline for Franklin BBQ's booth to beat the inevitable long lines! Austin-based Franklin BBQ is the consensus #1 BBQ in Texas, so its very popular. Weekend lines can exceed 3 hours at the restaurant, but we only had to wait about 45 minutes to get our hands on some of Franklin's amazing BBQ via the Fest!! Owner Aaron Franklin was on hand and amazingly friendly, taking time to chat with everyone and pose for pictures. 
Franklin's offered Fest attendees generous samples of their luscious smoked brisket, tender pulled pork, and juicy sausage. Franklin's brisket is hands down our favorite of all time - fall-apart tender and incredibly juicy! While we waited in the comparatively short line for our Franklin's BBQ, we purchased one of Aaron Franklin's BBQ cookbooks Aaron Franklin graciously agreed to autograph the book for us. Naturally, I had to commemorate the moment with a picture of him and Michael -- and the signed cookbook.

There are so many great BBQ joints in Texas, and we had a blast checking out all of their offerings. From lamb chops to smoked pork ribs...and even a few fun surprises...we had a great foodie adventure sampling the wide variety of smoked meats available at the Fest. With gorgeous afternoon views of downtown Austin as a backdrop, hungry attendees lined up to sample some amazing Texas BBQ! Two of our favorite offerings came from Austin's Stiles Switch BBQ and Killen's BBQ in Pearland -- just outside Houston.
Stile's Switch offered something we don't commonly see here in Texas: smoked chicken legs topped with yummy Alabama white BBQ sauce. This tangy mayo-based sauce is totally different than what we typically see here in Texas, but it was an unexpected surprise we all enjoyed! Killen's offered generous portions of their delicious brisket and pork ribs. The ribs were especially delicious -- lightly sauced and falling off the bone. That is true BBQ nirvana, folks!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Best Holiday Side Dishes #SundaySupper...Featuring Southern Praline Sweet Potato Casserole

I think I'm in a bit of denial that the holiday season is fast approaching...Thanksgiving is somehow literally around the corner! If you're looking for some fresh new side dishes to serve at your upcoming holiday feast, the #SundaySupper family is coming to your rescue today. Our hostess for today's Best Holiday Side Dishes is Caroline from Caroline’s Cooking. I love Thanksgiving...growing up, we always had a big Southern-style meal at my grandparents' house with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sweet potatoes topped with gooey melted marshmallows were usually on the menu back then. To this day, I love sweet potatoes...but I make mine a little bit different.

My Southern Praline Sweet Potato Casserole is easy to make and bursting with the signature flavors of the South. A creamy, vibrant orange sweet potato base is flavored with maple syrup, orange liqueur, and pumpkin pie spice. Then, it's topped with a crumbly praline-flavored streusel that's flavored with more pumpkin pie spice and pecans. I've been making this casserole for years -- it's my personal riff on a recipe I first saw in Cooking Light magazine. Everyone who tries it goes totally nuts for it! As a bonus, it can be assembled a day ahead and refrigerated overnight -- saving you valuable time during the hectic holidays.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for October: Boudro's Texas Bistro #WGDinesOut

This month, The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out spotlight is shining on Boudro's, a longtime favorite Riverwalk restaurant. Popular with locals and visitors alike since 1986, this Texas bistro features big-flavor food and drinks...and picturesque Riverwalk views. Michael and I recently enjoyed a delicious meal that featured some of Boudro's signature menu items. We were warmly greeted by the servers and shown to our table. While we decided on our entrees, we decided to start out with cocktails and Boudro's signature Guacamole for Two, which is made to order at your table. I ordered a Prickly Pear Margarita, the restaurant's colorful signature cocktail. Michael opted for a Strawberry Caipirinha, which was flavored with fresh strawberries, basil, and serrano pepper with key lime and Cachaca, a Brazilian sugar cane distilled spirit. Both cocktails paired perfectly with the excellent guacamole.
Our server Tracy is a guacamole expert. He customized the guacamole to our flavor preference, and it's some of the best guacamole we've ever tasted. It was flavored with roasted tomato and Serrano peppers, orange and lime juices, and cilantro. It was nice and chunky, with just enough heat. It was the perfect start to our meal!

Boudro's offers a wide range of entrees -- from seafood to steak and chops and other specialties. We both focusesd on two seafood entrees during our visit. Michael loves Cajun food and quickly zeroed in on the Boudreaux's Shrimp and Grits, while I opted for the over-the-top good Gulf Shellfish Platter.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sneak Preview of our Upcoming Culinary Adventure in San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa Valley #WGTravel #Cali2016

I’m thrilled to announce The Weekend Gourmet’s next culinary travel adventure is going to be San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa Valley! Next month, my four-person team will be exploring the very best, food, wine, and attractions in the area…and sharing all of the fun with you via live social media shares and a multi-part series of articles. I wanted to share a sneak preview of our itinerary today, because I’m so excited about this trip! After a Summer and early Fall that was spent tending to a wounded leg, then dealing with a nasty bout of shingles? I'm ready to have some fun adventures! Michael and I first visited the Bay Area and wine country area in 2009, the year before we founded The Weekend Gourmet. We fell in love with the area and are so excited to be going back! Our trip will start with two nights in San Francisco, where we will explore Fisherman’s Wharf, visit the Ferry Building Market, and eat our fill of Dungeness crab, clam chowder, and other local favorites. 
Our home base for the first leg of our journey is the beautiful Hyatt Regency San Francisco, which is ideally located near the picturesque Embarcadero and features stunning waterfront views. We will be dining at Pier 39's Fog Harbor Fish House, enjoying contemporary Japanese cuisine at Ozumo, and clam chowder and other seafood delights at Bistro Boudin. We will also be dining at Restaurant Gary Danko, one of San Francisco’s best fine-dining restaurants. We dined at Gary Danko during our 2009 trip, and it's one of the best dining experiences we've ever enjoyed!  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Summer Visit to New York...Featuring The Library Hotel #WGTravel #EastCoast2016

Photo provided  by The Library Hotel Collection
This Summer, we enjoyed a fabulous long weekend in New York. I’ve shared most of the trip with you over the past few weeks, but I still have a few more delights left to share today! We spent the last evening of our visit at the charming boutique Library Hotel. This gem is located – as its name implies – just down from the New York Public Library's Main Branch. This hotel is the perfect hotel for bibliophiles. Everywhere you look, you’ll find fun library- and book-themed décor! When you enter the lobby area, you find bookshelves and old-school library Dewey decimal card files. The theme continues to the main floors – each of which is named after a specific literary genre. Room numbers follow the Dewey decimal system – complete with corresponding books inside each room for reading. 
Our room featured a Queen bed and a soothing color scheme. It was a cozy and relaxing home base to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The room also featured a marble bathroom with a nice tub for soaking. Like all hotels in the Library Hotel Collection, The Library offers guests complimentary WiFi connectivity. For another fun decorating touch, check out the cheeky embroidered pillow that was on our bed!
We’ve stayed at all four New York properties in the Library Hotel Collection, and we’ve been very impressed by their excellent customer service, casual-elegant atmosphere, and amazing guest amenities. Apparently, we’re not their only fans! The Library Hotel Collection was recently named the #1 Luxury Hotel Brand in the world for 2016. They earned an impressive 96.1% score in the Guest Rating Index (GRI) based on 2.7 million guest reviews in 2015.

We dropped our bags for storage with the friendly front desk staff at The Library's check-in counter before heading out for a day of fun! Every time we come to New York, a stop at The Doughnut Plant for amazing artisan doughnuts and chai tea is a definite must. We made our way to the Lower East Side and made a beeline for Doughnut Plant's original location. We love enjoying our favorite flavors…and trying special seasonal flavors too! This time, our doughnut sampler included Peanut Butter & Jelly, Coconut Cream, Chocolate Blackout Cake, a Chocolate Hazelnut Doughseed, Tres Leche Cake (our personal fave!!), and a Creme Brulee Doughseed. The square shape of their filled doughnuts ensures you get a taste of filling with every bite. Take a look...and get ready to drool!
My cousin Michael lives in New York, so he and his little girl met up with us for a mid-morning foodie adventure. The only thing better than a breakfast of Doughnut Plant doughnuts and steaming hot chai tea is sharing the experience with family you don't get to see very often!
After stuffing ourselves with doughnuts and chai tea, we decided to make the short 10-minute walk to Vanessa’s Dumpling House in nearby Chinatown. We love going to Vanessa’s, because you can get a ton of delicious, authentic Asian food for not very much money. Vanessa's is actually one of our best tips for stretching our food budget when visiting New York!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The TMBBQ FEST Is Coming to Austin This Month! #TMBBQ

Attention all Texas BBQ lovers! What if I told you that you could sample delicious BBQ from all over Texas…plus a BBQ joint from Paris, France…all in one venue? This scenario is a dream come true for BBQ fanatics! Texas Monthly's seventh annual TMBBQ FEST is being held Sunday, October 30th at The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin. This smoketacular event will take place from 100-400 p.m., and tickets are now available! This will be our third time to attend and cover the TMBBQ FEST, and it’s always a great time. This year, 25+ of the best BBQ joints are taking part in the FEST, including Austin’s Franklin BBQ (currently ranted #1 BBQ in the entire state), highly acclaimed Killen’s BBQ from Pearland, and Pecan Lodge from Dallas. Every participating BBQ joint has a booth where hungry BBQ lovers line up to sample their brisket, ribs, sausage…and fun surprises like lamb chops too! As these pictures from last year’s TMBBQ FEST show, we had a great time sampling some amazing BBQ.
In addition to fabulous Texas BBQ as far as the eye can see, attendees can also purchase soft drinks, beer, and cocktails to wash it all down. There’s also plenty of great live music to enjoy – the event is in Austin, after all! Bottom line: TMBBQ FEST is a fun afternoon where BBQ lovers of all ages mingle and sample as much smoky Texas BBQ as they can eat in a beautiful location near picturesque Lady Bird Lake. Keep in mind that this is a very popular event, and tickets typically sell out before the day of the event. If you are interested in attending the 2016 TMBBQ Fest, I highly recommend you purchase your tickets online as soon as possible! VIP Tickets are already sold out, but General Admission tickets for this family-friendly event can be purchased online for $80/adult. Discount tickets for children 5 and under are just $10.

The Weekend Gourmet will be posting lots of fun social shares the day of the 2016 TMBBQ Fest – including live video streaming! If you’re not following us on social media, what are you waiting for? We’re WEEKENDGOURMET on Instagram and @TheWeekendGourm on Twitter.

Disclosure: TMBBQ FEST provided The Weekend Gourmet with media credentials to attend and cover this year's festival. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sleepover Foods #SundaySupper...Featuring Fluffernutter Puff Pastry Turnovers

This week, #SundaySupper is having a sleepover! Our hostess is Marion of Life Tastes Good. She asked us to share our favorite sleepover-worthy recipes. Granted...my sleepover days were several decades ago. However, some things never change. All you need for a fun sleepover is good friends, a funny movie, colorful lip gloss, sparkly nail polish...and an amazing sweet treat! One of my favorite sandwiches as a kid was a fluffernutter: peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on soft white bread. This sweet sandwich was the inspiration for my Fluffernutter Puff Pastry Turnovers.

With just five ingredients -- including easy and convenient puff pastry -- these decadent sweet treats are a snap to make! I added some white chocolate to the filling to up the ante just a bit...and then drizzled a combination of white chocolate and more peanut butter on top. These amazing fluffernutter turnovers would be a welcome addition at any sleepover!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

#ad Gearing Up for Halloween with Tyson Foods…Featuring Boo-rific Halloween Corn Dog Cups with Green Goo Dipping Sauce

Disclosure: This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpookyGoodSnacks #CollectiveBias
It seems like Summer was just here…but Halloween is just around the corner! Why not surprise your family with some fun and creative #SpookyGoodSnacks featuring State Fair® Corn Dogs and Tyson® Any’tizers® chicken snacks? These convenient frozen products allow busy cooks to whip up fun, quality seasonal treats that are also a good source of protein. I used State Fair® Corn Dogs that I bought in the freezer section of my local H-E-B to create my Boo-rific Corn Dog Cups with Green Goo Dipping Sauce. I also purchased some Tyson® Any’tizers® Tequila Lime Wings to pair with my fun corn dog display, because the tangy-spicy flavors also worked perfectly with my spicy neon green avocado-based dipping sauce.
State Fair® and Tyson® are offering their customers a very special deal during the annual FRIGHT FEST event at Six Flags® Fiesta Texas! To receive one free kid ticket, simply take the following steps:

(1) Purchase any State Fair® Corn Dog or Tyson® Any’tizers® snacks product.
(2) Snap a picture of your receipt with your mobile device.
(3) Text the word TYSON (along with your receipt picture) to 87654. Then, follow the prompts.

Once you complete these steps, you’ll receive a special code via text that can be redeemed at the gate when you arrive at Six Flags® Fiesta Texas. The codes expire on 10/30/16 at 11:59 PM ET. Be sure to check out the FRIGHT FEST at Six Flags® Fiesta Texas Program Rules for complete promotion rules.

I can't wait to show you how quick and easy it is to create my fun…and spooky Boo-rific Corn Dog Cups with Green Goo Dipping Sauce! It's also a great Halloween kitchen craft project to involve your kids in. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hamilton Beach 4-Cup Rice and Cereal Cooker Giveaway...Featuring Deluxe Mexican Rice #hamiltonbeachricecooker #giveaway

Let's' face it...life is busy -- especially during the last three months of the year! Between school activities, holiday prep, and socializing...time is a precious commodity! I’m always on the lookout for ways to maximize my time and ensure I serve a healthy and satisfying dinner. I recently received a handy appliance from my friends at Hamilton Beach that saves me time while I’m making healthy dishes. Hamilton Beach’s versatile 4-20 Cup Rice Cooker and Hot Cereal Maker can be used in a variety of ways to help save time and make your kitchen life easier!  It’s definitely a foolproof way to make a perfect pot of rice – but this unit can also make other grains and cereals too. It also makes killer oatmeal in about 30 minutes, while you shower and get ready for work! 

Because this rice cooker comes with a handy steamer insert, this cooker lets you prepare an entire meal in about 30 minutes! Cook your rice in the pot, then add seasoned veggies and protein to the steam insert. When the rice is cooked, your veggies and protein are ready too! I used my Hamilton Beach rice cooker to make Deluxe Mexican Rice. The rice is flavored with diced tomatoes and chiles, corn kernels, and other seasonings. It cooks up perfectly fluffy and is spooned into bowls. Everyone can customize their favorite toppings – I love to add sour cream, shredded cheese, green onion, and avocado for a veg-friendly dinner. If you want to have a more hearty meal, simply steam some seasoned chicken tenders while you cook the rice!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stonyfield Clean Plate Club...Featuring Bob's Red Mill: Overnight Steel Cut Oats with Pecan Streusel and Cinnamon-Maple Yogurt Drizzle

This month, Stonyfield Clean Plate Club members are partnering with our friends at Bob’s Red Mill to feature some amazing recipes that pair Stonyfield's delicious organic yogurt with their nutritious steel cut oats. With Fall quickly making its way to Texas, cooler mornings are finally on the horizon. That means it's time to transition to warm, comforting breakfasts like my decadent Overnight Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats with Pecan Streusel and Cinnamon-Maple Yogurt Drizzle. Every spoonful of this over-the-top oatmeal is literally a taste of Fall! Simply assemble the streusel and yogurt drizzle before you go to bed. Then, take a few minutes to add all of the oatmeal ingredients to a slow cooker. The rest of the cooking is all hands-off. You’ll wake up the next morning to amazing smells coming from your kitchen...and a hearty, healthy breakfast that's ready to eat in mere minutes! 

If you’ve never tasted steel cut oats before, then you’re in for a real treat! Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats are a bit heartier and chewier than traditional old-fashioned oats. Each 1/2-cup serving contain 5 grams of filling fiber and 7 grams of protein. Talk about a breakfast with sticking power! If you love pumpkin pie, then you’re going to go crazy for this pumpkin-infused oatmeal. Before serving, each bowl is sprinkled with a flavorful pecan streusel and topped with a maple and cinnamon-infused drizzle made with Stonyfield Vanilla 0% Greek Yogurt.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for September...A San Antonio Restaurant Week Recap #sarw #WGDinesOut

This month's edition of The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is sharing our dining experiences for this year's Culinaria San Antonio Restaurant Week! This year's event took place August 13-27, and we enjoyed special three-course prix fixe dinners at a pair of amazing San Antonio restaurants: Asado Seafood & Grill and Grey Moss Inn. Both restaurants we visited featured creative and delicious Restaurant Week menus. Not only were Restaurant Week meals a delicious dining experience, but they were charitable ones too! With every meal that was ordered during the two-week event, every participating restaurant donated $1 per lunch order and $2 per dinner order to Culinaria to help advance all of its great local food-centric programs. Our first restaurant to visit was Asado, which is located inside the Hilton San Antonio Airport hotel.

My friend and I were warmly greeted by the restaurant's friendly staff and shown to our table. We were both impressed with the dining room's modern decor and soothing tones. While the restaurant's new chef went over the the Restaurant Week menu choices, we enjoyed a pair of creative cocktails from the bar. The featured Restaurant Week cocktail was the Rebecca Creek "Old Fashioned," made with locally sourced whiskey from San Antonio's Rebecca Creek Distillery -- and featuring a charred lemon for an oh-so-slight smoky flavor. We also sampled the refreshing -- and potent -- Moscow Mule Slushy. This icy cocktail featured a generous helping of mint, making this a perfect cooling cocktail for a warm Texas evening. Before we knew it, our appetizer courses appeared from the kitchen. The tasty and creative Asado Deviled Egg and Hobel Farms Goat Cheese Gratin starters were beautifully presented and delicious!
This trio of deviled eggs included a pickled Serrano pepper, a house-made smoked bacon jam, and a sprig of micro cilantro. The flavors going on here definitely elevated a comfort classic to new levels of deliciousness! The warm goat cheese gratin was creamy and rich, then topped with melty cheese and a piece of honeycomb for a touch of sweetness. We spread all of this goodness on warm flatbread and toasted sourdough. Yep...off to a good start!

Next came our entree selections -- including a bonus third entree courtesy of the chef! We tried two seafood entrees and one beef entree. All three dishes were creative and packed with the big flavors I love. We opted to share all  the Gulf Red Snapper, Grilled Prime Ribeye, and Blackened Texas Redfish. All three were served with some amazing sides to round out their complex flavors.
The Gulf snapper was topped with lump crab gratin and served with roasted garlic shipped potatoes and a spicy Serrano-lime butter. The juicy, tender ribeye was perfectly cooked -- and accompanied by a decadent mac and cheese, grilled jumbo asparagus, and house-made chimichurri sauce. Finally, the blacked redfish was paired with charred corn, queso fresco, shallot butter, and a saffron-cilantro rice. It was an explosion of flavors and textures! 

Photo provided by Asado Seafood & G
We were getting quite full, but we still had a dessert course to come. While we waited for our desserts to arrive, we commented on how much we enjoyed the dining room's modern decor and soothing color scheme. Great food served in a pleasing environment? That's a win-win to me! Next thing we know, out come our duo of comforting desserts: Warm Chocolate Fondant Cake and Summer Berry Cobbler, with the cake being served a la mode. Swoon! I always make sure to save thismuch room for dessert, no matter how good my main meal is...for reasons just like this. We immediately grabbed our spoons and dug in, sharing both desserts like good friends always should. These desserts did not disappoint!
The chocolate cake was served warm, topped with vanilla bean gelato and a fresh berry salad. The texture of the cake was almost like a souffle, and the addition of cold ice cream and tart berries cut through its richness. The cobber was sweetly tart, with a sweet and crumbly topping. Instead of ice cream, it came topped with a lovely cinnamon-scented creme fraiche. Ahem...one of us might have snagged a bit of the ice cream from the cake to sample with the cobbler. With that, our amazing meal at Asado was over. I can't wait to go back and sample more items from their creative menu!

The second restaurant in our Restaurant Week itinerary was Grey Moss Inn, which is a long-time favorite restaurant in the San Antonio special-occasion dining scene. This restaurant is located in nearby Helotes, in a picturesque rural setting -- complete with deer in its adjacent fields! Grey Moss Inn is known for its great food, and it's also one of the area's most romantic restaurants. I know of multiple friends who got engaged here. I somehow had never dined here before, so I was very excited to try their food. The drive into the country was peaceful, and I was immediately impressed by the gorgeous landscaping and the rock structure of the building. We we warmly welcomed by the staff and shown to our table.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Recipes with Coffee #SundaySupper...Featuring Caramel Turtle Mocha Frappe

This week, #SundaySupper is featuring recipes with coffee! Our hostess is Wendy from Wholistic Woman, who asked us to share our favorite coffee-based recipes. I love to treat myself to an icy frappe from time to time, so I wanted to see how easy it would be to re-create this beverage at home. I tinkered around playing barista in my kitchen...and I came up with a decadent Caramel Turtle Mocha Frappe. It's super easy to make, totally delish...and it costs a fraction of what I pay at my favorite coffee shop. Even better? I can make and enjoy this frappe in minutes at home while wearing my comfy pajamas whenever the mood strikes!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...Featuring a Day in New York's SoHo and Nolita Neighborhoods

Photo via Adobe
It’s no secret that Michael and I love to visit New York anytime we get the chance! The city just has so much to offer in the way of food, the arts, and fun-to-explore neighborhoods. Every trip, we pick one New York neighborhood of and spend an entire day walking around, discovering the unique things it has to offer. We’ve previously shared our experiences visiting the Upper West Side, Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan's Battery Park City. Today, I want to share our experience exploring the area of SoHo and Nolita this Summer. Whether you love to power shop, eat great food, or just people watch…this fun New York neighborhood will definitely deliver! The intersection of Broadway and Prince Streets is a great place to start your walking tour of this bustling neighborhood. 

We started our day in SoHo with morning pastries at Laduréethe second New York location of the renowned Paris bakery. Unlike the jewel box-sized Upper East Side location, the SoHo location features a large dining room and a full menu of both sweet and savory dishes -- in addition to a large bakery display case. Michael and I admired the beutifully decorated pastries in the display case…trying to select one each to try. I opted for the feminine Rose & Raspberry Saint-Honore. It featured puff pastry, rose petal cream, raspberry compote, rose-scented Chantilly cream, and raspberries. It was truly heavenly, with a subtle rose flavor that was more like a whisper in the back of my nose. Each bite was pure pastry perfection!
Michael picked one of the most gorgeous pastries I’ve ever seen – the La Fraise Strawberry cake. Both of our pastries were like exquisite works of art…almost too pretty to eat. We somehow managed to cut into them, though. As you can see, Michael's La Fraise looked exactly like a gigantic strawberry -- complete with a green marzipan stem. Inside was cake, cream, and strawberry jam. Before we left Ladurée, I hand selected some of their amazing macarons to bring back home. Ladurée macarons are some of the best in the world and come in amazing flavors like Rose Petal, Pistachio, and Salted Caramel. The friendly staff packed my cookies in a stylish gift box that ensured they made it safely back to Texas!
While we ate our pastries, Michael discovered that there was a Leica camera store just a few blocks away, so we decided to pop in and check it out! On our way to the camera store, we discovered an amazing hand-painted mural dedicated to Prince on the outside of a building. That’s always one of the very best parts of exploring New York on foot – you truly never know what fun thing you’ll stumble upon along the way!
Here's another example of that. On our way to the camera store, we were excited to discover the fun and unique Chobani SoHo Cafe . Despite having just eaten pastries, we had to go inside to check it out! Turns out, they offer a creative menu of both sweet and savory Chobani Greek yogurt bowls in two sizes. Michael and I decided to share the tropical-inspired Pineapple Coconut Agave since we had lunch plans in a couple of hours. It was so good! Creamy Greek yogurt was topped with juicy fresh pineapple, toasted coconut, and a drizzle of agave. I hope Chobani expands this healthy concept nationwide, because this location was definitely popular! From there, we headed to the camera shop to dream of camera upgrades. Before we knew it, it was time for us to start the 30-minute walk to Lombardi’s Pizza in adjacent Nolita for lunch.

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