The Weekend Gourmet F

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Preview: The Weekend Gourmet's New York Road Trip 2017 #WGTravel #NYRoadTrip2017

I'm very excited to share some fun news about The Weekend Gourmet's next travel adventure with you today! My team is set to hit the road later this week for an epic New York Summer road trip! We'll start out with a quick visit to NYC to visit a few of our essential restaurants and attractions. Then, we'll pick up a rental car Friday evening and drive to Cooperstown for the weekend to see Houston Astros legend Jeff Bagwell inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Finally, we'll head to Niagara Falls and Buffalo to see one of the world's most scenic natural wonders...and sample an iconic American dish. This trip has a bit of everything, and we're really excited to experience this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We don't have much time in NYC, but we're making it count! Being foodies, we HAVE to sample a few of our favorite NYC treats...including Lombardi's Pizza and Doughnut Plant for our artisan doughnut fix.
Lombardi's -- the FIRST pizza restaurant in America!
Doughnut Plant -- truly to-die-for artisan doughnuts!
We're not just eating our way through NYC, least, not entirely! We also plan to catch some late-night live jazz at Jazz at Lincoln Center's intimate Dizzy's Club Coca Cola club, enjoy a nighttime view of always-buzzing Times Square, and check out the amazing and educational Frank Lloyd Wright at 15o exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art! Then? We hop in a car and head 4 hours north to Cooperstown!
The second leg of our New York adventure will take us to Cooperstown in upstate New York for the annual Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend! A visit to Cooperstown to see this amazing baseball museum is a must for all true baseball fans. Michael and I first visited Cooperstown in 2008 and vowed to come back when Houston Astros players Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell were both inducted into the Hall of Fame. Biggio was inducted in 2015, and Bagwell will be inducted next weekend. We are fortunate to witness this event in person!
Michael and I at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY
We'll be in Cooperstown to enjoy all of the Hall of Fame induction weekend events on Saturday and Sunday -- and we'll be sharing them via our social channels so our social media followers can join us along the way! After the weekend's festivities wrap up, the third leg of our road trip will take us to northwest New York...Niagara Falls and Buffalo. 
Photo provided by Niagara Falls USA

Our overnight visit to the area will find The Weekend Gourmet crew enjoying gorgeous scenic views of Niagara Falls and an up-close-and-personal view of the power of Mother Nature via a Maid of the Mist boat tour of the Falls. We also plan to sample two iconic Buffalo culinary specialties while we're in the area: roast beef on 'weck sandwiches and Buffalo wings. Not just any wings, mind you. We're eating Buffalo wings where they were invented in 1964: Buffalo's Anchor Bar. Boom! We'll sample their legendary wings and learn a bit about the history of how the Buffalo wing was created...and how wings became a staple around the world over the past 50+ years. Doesn't this picture from Anchor Bar make your mouth water?!?!?
What a fun -- and tasty -- way to end a truly epic New York road trip! Be sure to follow The Weekend Gourmet on our Facebook, Instagram (WEEKENDGOURMET), and Twitter (@TheWeekendGourm) feeds starting on July 27th for tons of live video, pictures, etc. from every leg of our journey. It's going to be an adventure you won't want to miss!
Disclosure: Portions of The Weekend Gourmet travels are provided to us by restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc. to facilitate inclusion. However, we only share travel recommendations that we have personally tried ourselves and enjoyed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for July...Featuring Biggio's Sports Bar Houston #WGDinesOut #HoustonDining

This month's edition of The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out finds us visiting an amazing upscale sports bar in Houston that's named after Astros Baseball legend and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio! Biggio's Sports Bar is located inside Houston's sleek new Marriott Marquis Houston hotel. We're from the Houston area, so we're huge Astros fans. We couldn't wait to give the food and cocktails at Biggio's a try. Earlier this season, we attended an Astros baseball game at Minute Maid Park, then made the short 5-minute walk from the ballpark to Biggio's for a post-game bite. It was the perfect date night for two sports fans like Michael and I. We entered Biggio's and were warmly greeted by a friendly hostess, who showed us to our table. We were very impressed with the spacious sports bar's modern decor -- which featured a huge downstairs bar, 
modern decor -- which features comfy couches and lots of floor to ceiling windows. Biggio's provides plenty of space for sports fans to congregate and enjoy pre- or post-game cocktails and bites. There are tons of HUGE big-screen televisions on the walls that show a variety of sports channels and games. The first thing we noticed as we walked into the restaurant's dining area was the baseball bat-themed decor of the downstairs bar -- very clever! The baseball-centric decor was evident throughout Biggio's Sports Bar. Being long-time Houston Astros fans, we especially enjoyed seeing the Astros and Craig Biggio decor and memorabilia in the restaurant -- including an authentic Biggio #7 jersey in the reception area and a really cool Astros logo lithograph on the wall. 
We hadn't taken a single bite of food, and we were already loving Biggio's Sports Bar! We sat down and looked over the was really hard to pick from the amazing items on the menu!  We started out with a cocktail from Biggio's expansive drink menu: The Galveston Breeze. This breezy island-inspired cocktail includes tequila, coconut, aperol, lime, and pineapple. The flavor reminded me a bit of a combination of a pina colada and a was perfect on a warm early evening. 
Prefer beer? No problem! Biggio's has plenty of beer on tap -- including several local labels. We paired our cocktail with a trio of entrees that we shared: Chicken and Waffles, House Smoked Brisket Street Tacos, and the B G O Sandwich. The Chicken and Waffles were AMAZING...featuring crispy fried chicken tenders, bacon-infused mini waffles, and a fabulous honey-maple sriracha drizzle.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Best Picnic Recipes #SundaySupper...Featuring Italian Layered Portable Picnic Jars #picnic #summer

Summer is in full swing, so it's the perfect time for al fresco dining and relaxing outdoor picnics. This week, the #SundaySupper Tastemakers are sharing our Best Picnic Recipes -- and our event hostess is Christie from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures. Today, I'm sharing a perfect portable picnic entree! My Italian Layered Portable Picnic Jars feature my favorite robust Italian flavors. Simply assemble up to 24 hours before and store in the fridge. Then, pack everything into a cooler or picnic basket and you're ready for a fabulous complete al fresco meal. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cooking with Wild Caught American Shrimp...Featuring Spicy Cheese-Stuffed Shrimp with Andouille Rice Pilaf #TasteTheDifference #AmericanShrimp #seafood

Growing up near Houston on the Texas Gulf Coast, my love of shrimp started from an early age. What's not to love? It cooks in minutes and it tastes great! We eat shrimp at least once a week during the Summer months, so I’m always looking for flavorful new ways to cook this versatile crustacean. Did you know that much of the shrimp that you’ll find in supermarkets is imported from overseas? I personally only use wild-caught American shrimp in my recipes. That's because the difference in both flavor and texture is simply way better!  Today, I’m teaming with the American Shrimp Company to share an original recipe featuring their jumbo shrimp. American Shrimp Company shrimp are mostly sourced from the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Atlantic Ocean. These shrimp are prized for their delicate flavor profile and firm texture. 

My Spicy Cheese-Stuffed Shrimp with Andouille Rice Pilaf is perfect for Summer al fresco dining and entertaining. This flavorful dish combines many of my favorite flavors into one bite! Extra large wild caught American shrimp are stuffed with a bit of aged cheddar cheese. Then, they're brushed with a spicy, buttery sauce as they grill. The shrimp are served over an easy rice pilaf that’s flavored with spicy andouille sausage, onion, and garlic. This dish comes to the table assembled on a pretty platter -- it has lots of eye appeal. Trust me…this is a recipe you’re going to make over and over this Summer!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Salads with Stonyfield and Taylor Farms...Featuring Chopped Tex-Mex Salad with Spicy Cilantro-Lime Dressing #salad #summereats

Summer is in high gear here in Texas, which means we’re enjoying more salads – either as a healthy side dish or as a refreshing main course. I’m a huge fan of salads – they’re easy to make, chock full of healthy vegetables and/or fruit, and they are so versatile! This month, Stonyfield Clean Plate Club members are partnering with Taylor Farms bagged salads to share delicious Summer salads with creamy homemade salad dressings made with Stonyfield Greek Yogurt. I'm sharing the recipe for my Chopped Tex-Mex Salad with Spicy Cilantro-Lime Dressing. This salad features Taylor Farms' Southwest Chopped Salad kit and a mildly spicy creamy dressing made with Stonyfield Whole Milk Greek Yogurt.  I make the dressing a few hours ahead (up to overnight) and let the flavors combine in the fridge. Then, assembly is a snap when you're ready to eat! 

The Taylor Farms chopped salad kit contained a combination of cabbage for extra crunch, romaine lettuce, green onion, carrots, and cilantro.  This yummy salad features shredded cheese and black beans for protein, chopped tomatoes and green onions for color and flavor, the salad kit’s package of tortilla strips and pepitas for crunch, and a healthy amount of creamy avocado. This salad is assembled on a pretty platter with a bowl of the homemade dressing in the center. This salad is so pretty that it will be a perfect centerpiece for any Summer get-togethers you have planned. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrating the Fourth of July with Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag...Featuring Red, White, and Blue Pops AND a Giveaway! #InTheRaw

Can you believe that July 4th is next week? This Summer is literally speeding by! We're trying to watch our sugar intake around my house, but we don't want to use lots of artificial sweeteners either. We were so happy to discover Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag recently! This zero-calorie sweetener tastes great, and it's perfect for both baking and cooking. Stevia In The Raw® contains an extract from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant. For added convenience, Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag granulated product measures like sugar cup-for-cup. That means it can easily be used in recipes to cut sugar calories, because 1 cup of Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag = 1 cup of sugar. If you're watching your sugar intake -- but still want to enjoy a sweet, festive treat for your July 4th celebrations -- check out these festive Red, White, and Blue Pops! They're made with fresh berries, coconut milk, and they're sweetened with a bit of Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag. Cooling, festive, and tasty...that's a winning combination! They're also perfect for making ahead this weekend and storing in the freezer until July 4th.

Red, White, and Blue Pops
from the In The Raw® website
  • 2 cups watermelon cubes
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbs. + 1 tsp. Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag, divided
  • 1 cup coconut milk
Step 1: In food processor or blender, puree watermelon with 2 tsp. Stevia In The Raw® and divide between popsicle molds, letting mixture come 1/3 of the way up the molds. Place in freezer and freeze until solid -- about 1.5 hours.

Step 2: Stir 1 tbs. of the Stevia In The Raw® into the coconut milk and pour over the frozen watermelon mixture in the popsicle molds, allowing the mixture to come 2/3 of the way up the molds. Place popsicle mold cover on top and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until firm -- about 1.5 hours.

Step 3: Puree blueberries with 2 tsp. of Stevia In The Raw® and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Divide mixture between popsicle molds, filling them to the top. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours more. To remove popsicles from molds, submerge the mold in lukewarm water for several seconds until the pops easily pull out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wendy's Favorite Things for June #WendyFaveThings #GreatEight

June is nearly over...Summer is in full swing...and it's time to share another Great Eight with you! This month's Wendy's Favorite Things is featuring everything from a Summer-centric BBQ some amazing artisan ice cream and a unique, savory spin on steel cut oats. Let's get started...

(1) Vosges Haut-Chocolat Alderwood Smoked Salt Caramel Marshmallows. Vosges is one of my favorite artisan chocolate brands -- and I had the good fortune to visit their corporate headquarters in Chicago last week to get a behind-the-scenes look at how their chocolates are created and manufactured. One of the items I sampled during my tasting was their Alderwood Smoked Salt Caramel Marshmallows. Soft homemade marshmallow cream is topped with a square of soft, burnt caramel. Then, each square is covered with Vosges' deep 45% milk chocolate and a sprinkle of Alderwood smoked salt. These sophisticated little bites are a perfect combination of chocolate, sweet marshmallow, and deeply rich caramel. Each package contains five two-bite squares...and retails for just $5.oo via the Vosges website. That's a lot of chocolate bang for your buck!  

(2) Texas BBQ: Platefuls of Legendary Lone Star Flavor Cookbook. Being a native Texan, this cookbook immediately grabbed my attention! My family makes BBQ almost year-round, so we're always on the lookout for new recipes. This cookbook is from the editors at Southern Living, so you know the recipes are legit. From learning how to achieve the caramelized bark and tender pink center of my state's signature smoked brisket...along with recipes for delicious side dishes accented with flavorful influences brought by German, Spanish, and Czech settlers. This fabulous cookbook contains more than 100 authentic recipes from the state of Texas -- including appetizers, side dishes, and indulgent desserts. The book also provides tons of great tips and tricks to help you master the art of Texas BBQ from expert pitmasters. Texas BBQ: Platefuls of Legendary Lone Star Flavor can be purchased from bookstores nationwide -- including Amazon.

(3) Home Chef Meal Delivery Service. Meal kit subscription services are a great option for busy cooks! I recently tried Home Chef Meal Delivery service, and I loved how much time it saved me in the kitchen during my busy work week. Each kit contains prepped, pre-measured ingredients for three recipes. I loved being able to login to my account and select a trio of meals from multiple options for that week. It was very easy to find meals Michael and I would both enjoy eating. Each recipe came packaged separately inside the shipping box, along with clearly labeled and prepped ingredients. Each recipe also included a large recipe card with photographed, step-by-step easy-to-understand directions. Even novice cooks will get great results from Home Chef. All of the dishes I tried were ready in about 30 minutes and tasted great! We especially loved the Tex-Mex Turkey Taco Salad and the Wood-Fired BBQ Chicken Pizza. To sign up for Home Chef, simply visit their website to create an account and get started! 

(4) Honeymoon Ice Cream. I'm all about ice cream during the long, hot Texas Summer. I'm always on the lookout for creative brands to try, so I was really excited to discover California-based Honeymoon ice cream. This delicious artisan ice cream brand is made with fresh, local milk from Jersey cows. Then, they flavor the ice cream with homemade ingredients like jam, oats, biscuits, and toffee. We especially liked that this ice cream isn't sticky sweet like some brands. It's creamy and lightly sweet, with unique flavor combinations. We tried a quartet of flavors, including: Berries & Biscuits (think berry shortcake a la mode!), Southern Pecan (candied pecans + milk steeped in used whiskey barrels), and Strawberry Tarragon. Then, there's my personal favorite: White Chocolate Mint, which is flavored with spearmint and peppermint and contains mini white chocolate chips -- so good sandwiched with chocolate wafer cookies for a fun ice cream sandwich! Honeymoon ice cream can be ordered from their online store. My Texas readers can find glass mason jars of Honeymoon ice cream at their local Central Market.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Celebrating Summer Salads with Litehouse, Fresh Express, and NatureSweet...Featuring Chopped Shrimp Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Summer is officially here in Texas -- we hit 100 for the first time this week! That means I'm always on the lookout for dinners that are refreshing and quick to make. For us, that often means a main dish salad. Today, I'm partnering with my friends at Litehouse, NatureSweetand Fresh Express to share a fabulous salad that's bursting with fun flavors and textures. Best of all, it's hearty enough that Michael is plenty satisfied after eating it! Thanks to using Litehouse Red Wine Olive Oil Vinaigrette ready-to-use salad dressing and Fresh Express chopped Hearts of Romaine, and delicious NatureSweet Cherub tomatoes, this salad is ready to eat in about 30 minutes...perfect for busy Summer nights!
My Chopped Shrimp Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette features chopped grilled shrimp, creamy avocado, crumbled goat cheese, chopped sweet cherub tomatoes grilled zucchini, and a couple of fun crunchy components. Just before serving, it's tossed with a sweet-tart vinaigrette. If your family is allergic to – or doesn’t eat – seafood, simply use bite-sized cubes of chicken. To make it veg-friendly, you can add cubed tofu or roasted chickpeas for your protein. You really can’t go wrong!

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Weekend Gourmet Is Heading to Chicago! #WGTravel #Chicago2017

Photo provided by Hamilton Broadway
I've got some exciting news to share with you today. The Weekend Gourmet is heading to Chicago next week for a few days of fun foodie adventures! I wanted to preview our trip for you today --  the activities, attractions, and bites that we have planned. Michael and I have a ton of fun...and tasty...Summer adventures scheduled during our five-day visit. We've been to Chicago several times before, but not for several years. Chicago is one of our favorite cities to visit -- it's super easy to navigate via their convenient L train system. The highlight of our trip is seeing the Chicago residency of the Broadway smash hit musical Hamilton! I gave Michael the tickets for Christmas, so we've been anticipating the show for months. To say we're excited is an understatement.

Photo provided by InterContinental Hotels
Our host hotel partner for this trip is the historic Hotel InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile. This luxury hotel is housed in a historic building from the 1920's. The InterContinental Chicago also features an opulent indoor Jr. Olympic size pool from the building's original Medinah Athletic Club on its 14th-floor. We're so excited to be staying here -- the hotel's location is perfect for all of the adventures we have planned. We are planning to enjoy some of our favorite foods during this Chicago deep-dish pizza at Giordano's and Garrett Mix from iconic Chicago destination Garrett Popcorn Shops. For the uninitiated, Garrett Mix is an addictive combination of Garrett's sweet CaramelCrisp® and savory CheeseCorn popcorn.® 
Photo provided by Giordano's Pizza
Photo of Chicago Mix provided by Garrett Popcorn Shops
Photo from Glazed and Infused 
Photo Vosges Haut Chocolat
Other restaurants we're featuring during this trip include Michael Jordan's Steak House at Hotel InterContinental, the chic French bistro Brindille, River Roast Social House, Beacon Tavern, Chicago-style hot dogs and yummy Italian beef sandwiches at Portillo'sbrunch at Chef Rick Bayless' iconic Frontera Grill, and artisan doughnuts at Glazed and Infused. We're also planning an informative and tasty visit to Chicago-based Vosge Haut Chocolat's headquarters -- aka the Chocolate Temple. We won't just be eating, though! We also plan to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, Willis Tower's amazing 103rd story Skydeck observation deck, and Millennium Park's iconic Cloud Gate sculpture...also known as The Bean.
Photograph from the City of Chicago
Chicago truly has it all -- fun attractions, art and culture, and an amazing food scene. There's so much to see and do that it's one of our favorite cities to visit. We can't wait to share the entire experience with you next week via our Instagram account (WEEKENDGOURMET) and our Twitter feed (@TheWeekendGourm).

Disclosure: The Hotel InterContinetal Chicago Magnificent Mile and restaurants mentioned -- other than Frontera Gille -- are providing us with hosted meals and accommodations to facilitate coverage in our Chicago culinary series. The Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau assisted with trip planning and is providing us CityPASS attraction cards.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Celebrating National Dairy Month with Real California Milk...Featuring Mexican Street Corn Fritters #NationalDairyMonth

Photo provided by California Milk
June is National Dairy Month, so I'm partnering with my friends at Real California Milk to celebrate! Today, I'm sharing a delicious appetizer recipe using delicious California-produced dairy products! Their fun recipe for Mexican Street Corn Fritters transforms the traditional Mexican street food elotes into a fun appetizer that's perfect for any Summer fiestas you have planned.  Lightly spiced pancake-like corn fritters are flavored with grilled corn kernels and spices. They're cooked...then topped with more grilled corn kernels, crumbled queso fresco cheese -- which is similar to feta -- cilantro, green onions, and a cilantro-lime yogurt drizzle. Not only are these corn fritters full of flavor, they're also a perfect meatless veg-friendly appetizer option. Wait until you see how simple these corn fritters are to whip up -- and combination of flavors and textures is absolute big-flavor perfection!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hamilton Beach Indoor Searing Grill...Featuring South of the Border Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad #GrillIt #Giveaway

It’s officially Summer in Texas…which means grilling pretty much all the time. However, I live in a condo complex that doesn’t allow us to use outdoor grills on our patios. My solution to this particular dilemma is to enjoy grilled meats, veggies, and burgers using Hamilton Beach’s convenient and compact Indoor Searing Grill! This handy grill allows me to enjoy outdoor grilled flavor anytime – regardless of the weather outside. There are two secrets to this handy little grill’s fantastic grilling capability. First, the Searing Grill’s high-heat searing temperature locks in juices and flavor – which gives meats better taste, texture, and appearance. Second, this grill’s unique hooded design helps keep in flavor to give your food an authentic outdoor grilled taste. May is National Salad Month, so I used the Hamilton Beach Indoor Searing Grill to create my South of the Border Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad. This flavorful salad features several grilled components: chicken breast, corn, green onion, and avocado. Searing provides better flavor and caramelization – which means my salad was bursting with fabulous flavor, color, and texture!

Cooking with the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill is super easy too! Plug it in, then turn the temperature dial all the way up to Sear. When it reaches the searing temperature of 450 degrees, the green preheat light will glow. Then, I’m ready to grill steaks, burgers, pork chops, or seafood to juicy perfection. If you want to grill food that doesn’t need to sear first – including vegetables – the Searing Grill also features an adjustable temperature dial so you can grill at a lower heat. Key benefits of the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill include the following:
  • Removable nonstick cooking plate for easy cleanup in the dishwasher
  • Removable hood and integrated drip tray are also dishwasher safe 
  • Adjustable temperature control ranges from 200° to a high searing temperature of 450°
  • Indicator lights glow when the power is on, and when the grill has reached your desired temperature
  • Nonstick grilling surface fits up to 8 servings
Let me show you just how easy it was to use this versatile indoor grill to whip up my South of the Border Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad in about 30 minutes. Eating healthy was never so easy – or full of flavor! This salad contains all of my favorite spicy Tex-Mex flavors in a healthy Cobb-style salad. It’s perfect for dinner on warm Summer evenings.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Celebrating National Hummus Day with Sabra...Featuring Hummus Puff Pastry Bites with Avocado Ranch and Greek Salsa #UnofficialMeal

National Hummus Day is May 13th, and I'm partnering with my friends at Sabra to share a fun little afternoon snack to celebrate! I My Hummus Puff Pastry Bites with Avocado Ranch and Greek Salsa are light and healthy -- but they're also hearty enough to enjoy as an #UnofficialMeal. Unofficial Meals are meant to tide you over during the time between when you arrive home after work and dinnertime. This hearty puff pastry bite is perfect for sharing with friends or family while you're prepping dinner in your kitchen. Unlike a traditional meal, the Unofficial Meal is meant to be relaxed and casual...there are no hard and fast rules. The key word here is FUN! Mini puff pastry cups are filled with three layers of goodness: delicious Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus, avocado ranch, and a feta-infused Greek salsa. To save time in the afternoon, do what I do and prep the ingredients the night before. That way, assembly is a snap when you get get home in the afternoon and you're looking for something to eat!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stonyfield and prAna #TheWholeYou...Featuring Mixed Berries with Honey-Lime Yogurt Sauce and Granola

Like many of you, I lead a very busy life. In addition to sharing food, restaurant spotlights, and culinary travel features here at The Weekend Gourmet? I have a busy day job too. That means that my time is always at a premium -- so I'm always looking for ways to take a few minutes to pamper myself. Thanks to my friends at Stonyfield and prAna, I can feel good and be true to #TheWholeMe. I recently received a pair of fabulous prAna Mantra pants. These pants are super comfortable...dressy enough to pair with a nice blouse for work, but casual enough to pear with a tee for a day of running errands. The Mantra Pan is made from soft hemp that's blended with stretch fabric and trimmed with organic cotton. I love relaxing while wearing comfy clothes...enjoying a healthy treat like my Mixed Berries with Honey-Lime Yogurt Sauce and Granola. It literally comes together in minutes, and it's full of healthy ingredients. 

The honey-lime yogurt sauce features Stonyfield Vanilla Greek yogurt flavored with honey, a bit of fresh-squeezed lime juice, and a pure vanilla extract to enhance the vanilla flavor of the yogurt. This delicious sauce is spooned over a variety of Vitamin C-rich berries and topped with your favorite granola for a bit of crunch. This creamy, lightly sweet yogurt sauce is also great drizzled over your morning oatmeal...and as a dip for graham cracker sticks. The best thing about my Mixed Berries with Honey-Lime Yogurt Sauce and Granola?  It literally takes 5 minutes to assemble -- so now there's no excuse for skipping breakfast or resorting to an unhealthy snack. That's what I call a win-win scenario!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tilapia Wrap Sandwiches with Feta-Avocado Slaw...Featuring Gorton's Tilapia Fish Sticks

I'm always on the lookout for ingredients that help me create tasty and quick weeknight meals. One of my favorite recent food finds is Gorton's Premium Tilapia Fish Sticks. Unlike the minced fish sticks of my youth, these delicious fish sticks are cut from whole mild tilapia fillets. They're larger than the typical fish stick, and they bake up perfectly crispy. We absolutely love these premium fish sticks, so I always have a box in my freezer. I wanted to use them to create a fabulous sandwich that can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes -- making them perfect for even the busiest nights. My Tilapia Wrap Sandwiches with Feta-Avocado Slaw are bursting with fun flavors and textures. Crispy Gorton's tilapia fish sticks and a quick-make slaw flavored with feta and creamy avocado are rolled inside soft lavash flatbread. Simply add some chips and dinner is ready!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 CFE Saltfish Blogger Challenge...Feature Salt Cod-Corn Fritters with Spicy Lemon Aioli #saltfish #bacalao #Cristobal

Have you ever cooked with salted cod...also known as bacalao? Until this weekend, I had not tasted or cooked with salted, preserved cod fish. I'm taking part in the 2017 CFE Saltfish Blogger Recipe Challenge, where I decided to create a fantastic appetizer using this new-to-me ingredient. As part of the contest, I received three packages of Cristobal salted cod fillets to facilitate recipe development. Salted cod is -- as the name indicates -- salted to preserve freshness. It must be soaked in water in your fridge for 24 hours before using, with the water being changed ever 4-6 hours. This reduces most of the saltiness, leaving just enough to salt to ensure the cod is seasoned all the way through. Once soaked, the salt code is poached in a bit of water to cook it through. Then, it can be used in a wide range of seafood-based recipes. 

I used the tasty Cristobal salt cod I received to create my Salt Cod-Corn Fritters with Spicy Lemon Aioli. They're made with convenient packaged cornbread mix that's flavored with kernel corn, green onion, spices, and a generous helping of flaked salt cod. They're fried up similar to hush puppies and sprinkled with your favorite spicy Cajun seasoning. Then, they're served with quick-to-make spicy lemon aioli on the side for dipping. These hearty appetizers are a perfect finger food to enjoy as you watch the NBA playoffs in the coming weeks. They'd also work great as a delicious accompaniment the next time you fry up some shrimp or fish. Remember that you'll need to prep the salt cod 24 hours in advance, so be sure to plan ahead for that extra time. However, once that initial step is complete? The actual time to prepare the fritters and aioli is only about 30 minutes. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cheese from The French Cheese Board...Featuring Shrimp Scampi Grilled Cheese #makeitmagnifique #GrilledCheese #comte

April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and I'm excited to partner with the French Cheese Board to feature a duo of amazing French cheeses in an upscale grilled cheese sandwich that seafood lovers are guaranteed to go crazy for! I used nutty Comté and smooth-melting Raclette cheeses to create my Shrimp Scampi Grilled Cheese. My inspiration was two of my favorite dishes: cheesy garlic bread and buttery, garlic-infused shrimp scampi. This decadent grilled cheese sandwich is gooey goodness. The best news? From start to finish, you can enjoy this sandwich is about 30 minutes!

The French Cheese Board is an ambassador of the French cheese experience, and they sent me a selection of French cheeses to play around with in my kitchen. Comté reminds me a bit of Gruyere, and it melts like a dream. Raclette melts smoothly and pairs nicely with bread. These two cheeses were meant to be sandwiched between big slices of French boule bread! The addition of shrimp scampi and a spread of garlic compound butter takes this sandwich over the top. Wait until you see how easy this flavorful grilled cheese is to whip up!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spotlight on the Sea World San Antonio Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival #SevenSeasTX

Sea World San Antonio is current hosting its annual Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival. The event will take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays...and on Memorial Day too...through May 29th! More than 40 dishes from ten different countries located across the seven seas are served every weekend. The Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival activities, entertainment and tastings kick off at 11:00 a.m. each event day until the park closes. Food lovers can sample a range of authentic food, wine and beer, and cocktails from the following regions located around the globe: 
  • Mediterranean (Spain, Italy, and Greece)
  • Gulf of Mexico (Mexico and Cuba)
  • North Atlantic (France)
  • South Atlantic (Argentina and Brazil)
  • Pacific Ocean (Japan and Korea)
  • Caribbean (Jamaica)
This weekend, I attended a fun...and preview of the Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival. I sampled a range of delicious food and cocktails -- including paella and sangria in Spain and a gyros with tzatziki sauce in Greece. I also saw the new Baby Orca that was born just three days earlier...and spent some time hanging out in the Penguin Encounter area! As this video slideshow shows, there's literally something for everyone at the Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival!

In addition to offering lots of delicious international food and drinks, the Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival also features some amazing live family-friendly performances -- including Spanish flamenco dancers...and these very talented Japanese Taiko Drummers. 

It's so much fun to walk all around the park at your own pace, stopping off to sample the food and beverages at all of the different country-specific food kiosks located throughout the Sea World grounds! The cooking food smells great, and you'll also hear music from each country playing to set the festive mood. Food and beverages can be purchased a la carte with cash or credit cards at each country's booth if you wish. However, there are also a variety of Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival sampler packages available to fit a wide range of budgets! The following food and beverage sampler packages are available for purchase at a Food & Wine Festival Booth after you pay the Sea World park ticket fee and enter the park:



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Disclosure: Sea World San Antonio provided me with complimentary admission to their Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival media preview -- including park admission after the event. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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