The Weekend Gourmet F

Sunday, August 28, 2016

How to Harvest Summer #SundaySupper...Featuring Tomato-Zucchini Pesto Flatbread with Chevre and Balsamic Drizzle

It's hard to believe that Summer is quickly drawing to a close and Fall is on the way...seems like it was just Memorial Day, and now Labor Day is coming up! To enjoy the best of Summer veggies like tomatoes and zucchini, this week's #SundaySupper participants are sharing our favorite tips to harvest Summer produce for use when the weather turns cooler. Our hostess is Caroline from Caroline’s Cooking. She encouraged us to share our favorite tips to keep the Summer flavors going all year long. I have to admit that I'm not that great at canning or preserving food...but freezing in-season produce to use later is so simple anyone can do it!

I recently found an easy-to-understand step-by-step tutorial via wiki-How that shows how to properly prep zucchini and other squash that lets me enjoy their Summer fresh flavor on the coldest of Winter days! However, for now? I'm taking advantage of economical, in-season zucchini to create lots of great my Tomato-Zucchini Pesto Flatbread with Chevre and Balsamic Drizzle. These veg-friendly flatbreads are super simple to make and bursting with flavor -- perfect for busy weeknight dinners!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wendy's Favorite Things for August - Back to School Edition #WendyFaveThings #GreatEight

It's that time again -- time to send your kiddos back to school. After the relaxing pace of Summer, things are about to get hectic for many of my readers. In response, this month's edition of Wendy's Favorite Things is going to share some food items that will help you get back into the back-to-school groove! This month's Great Eight feature culinary items that will help busy parents save time throughout the stay...and stay energized too! I'll start with mornings and move throughout the day.

(1) Kodiak Cakes Flapjacks On the Go. Pancakes are a breakfast classic, but who's got time to make batter stand over the stove making pancakes on a busy weekday morning? Not me! I was really excited to discover Kodiak Cakes Flapjacks On the Go. Simply add water to the handy cup and microwave for 1 minute. The end result is a fluffy and flavorful pancake that's ready to eat in 1 about instant gratification! My favorite flavor is the Blueberry & Maple with freeze dried blueberries. The entire cup contains 250 calories, 7 grams fat, and 5 grams of stay-with-you filling fiber. I like to take my Kodiak Cakes to work and enjoy them at my desk to make my co-workers jealous! They are lightly sweetened, but I keep a small bottle of pure maple syrup at my desk to drizzle on top for a purist pancake experience. Other flavors include Cinnamon & Maple, and Buttermilk & Maple. Kodiak Cakes can be found at leading retailers, including Target. They can also be ordered online from Amazon.

(2) Bolthouse Farms Raspberry Blood Orange Juice Blend. By now, you know my friends at Bolthouse Farms offers tons of yummy, good-for-you smoothies and juice blends. One of their newest juices is also one of my personal favorites: Raspberry Blood Orange. I promise it will wake up your taste buds and amp up your typical morning routine! This sweet-tart juice contains deep red blood oranges, raspberry and strawberry, pomegranate, cherry, and apple juices in one 32-ounce bottle. Each 8-ounce glass of this powerhouse juice contains 100% of your daily Vitamin C requirement and 2 grams of healthy fiber! For the grown-ups, I also discovered this Raspberry Blood Orange juice is fabulous mixed with a glass of champagne for your weekend brunch. To find Bolthouse Raspberry Blood Orange Juice near you, be sure check out their handy online Store Locator.

(3) Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee Concentrates. Your morning routine might just require a bit of caffeine to make it through. Enter organic Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee Concentrates! Made in Austin, Texas, these coffee concentrates come in four fun flavors: Black, Mocha, Caramel, and new Texas Pecan. These handy fridge-stored concentrates save a ton of time brewing coffee in the morning. They also let each person customize their coffee blend. Add water and/or milk to taste and even match the strength and sweetness level of the cup you're aiming for. I prefer my coffee on the tamer side, so I mix my cup with 1 part Chameleon Cold Brew Texas Pecan, 2 parts water, and 1 part skim milk. Then, I add caramel-flavored creamer to taste. Customized coffee in my own kitchen! These great coffee concentrates aren't just for breakfast...they can be used as a cocktail mixer or even as a recipe ingredient. I'm perfecting a coffee-pecan turtle ice cream recipe to share soon. Texas readers can find Chameleon Cold Brew products at popular retail locations, and their products are available for nationwide shipping via their online store.

(4) CedarLane Ready-to-Eat Omelettes. Because my weekday mornings are so hectic, I tend to reserve heartier hot breakfasts for the weekend. With CedarLane's yummy ready-to-eat omelettes? I don't have to! These babies cook up in the microwave while I'm getting dressed, so I can enjoy a warm protein-rich breakfast on the busiest of mornings. Best of all, these all-natural omelettes are made with low-fat, protein packed egg whites. My personal favorite flavor is the Green Chile, Cheese & Ranchero Sauce. For just 240 calories and 10 grams of fat, it has all of my favorite breakfast flavors in one's also great rolled up in tortillas for a portable breakfast taco! To find CedarLane Egg White Omelettes near you, simply visit their online Store Finder.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for August...Featuring a Romantic New York Date Night #WGDinesOut

Earlier this Summer, Michael and I enjoyed a very special date night during a long weekend in New York. We got dressed up and enjoyed a fabulous gourmet meal, followed by an amazing  New York Philharmonic performance at Lincoln Center. We started our date night with dinner at La Chine restaurant, located inside the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel. In a city with no shortage of Chinese restaurants to choose from, La Chine truly stands apart. The decor is elegant, featuring a soothing color palate -- and the food is equally refined. It is easily one of the best dining experiences we've enjoyed this year. La Chine offers diners an authentic culinary journey through China, showcasing the full range of Chinese cuisine -- including a rare Chinese raw bar. La Chine's creative menu combines Chinese flavors with French inspiration to create a singular dining sensation! 

We arrived and were warmly greeted by the hostess. As we were shown to our table, we stopped to admire the lovely decor -- including a gorgeous fresh flower display in the center of the dining room. That pop of color really worked nicely! We were seated and decided to start with a refreshing cocktail and a pair of starters. We selected the Crispy and Spicy Broad Bean Prawns from Guangdong and the sublime Eight Hour Golden Broth with Lobster, Scallop, and Crab Meat from Beijing. Both were expertly prepared and totally delicious! The richly flavored soup was light, but it had a great depth of flavor -- and the chunks of seafood were perfectly cooked. 
The crispy prawns were large, plump, and sweet. They were also perfectly fried -- not the least bit greasy! While we enjoyed our starters, we sipped on the aptly named Dream cocktail. This truly dreamy cocktail features Kamoizumi Shusen 3 dots Sake, lemon, lemongrass, and honeydew. The flavors were very unique, and they paired very nicely with our starters. Our meal was off to a great start! For our entrees, we decided to order one seafood dish and one beef dish to create an Asian-inspired surf and turf. That turned out to be a great decision! We picked the Wok Seared Diver Scallops with Honshimeji, Sugar Snaps, and Black Bean Sauce from Huayang. We paired the scallop entree with Wok Seared American Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Hickory Walnuts with Black Pepper Glaze from Zhejiang. Both of the entrees were expertly prepared and bursting with flavor.
The scallops were perfectly seared and tender-sweet, with a flavorful glaze. The Wagyu beef was fork tender and full of beefy flavor. The richness of the beef was nicely offset by the fresh vegetables in the dish. Both entrees were filling, but not the least bit heavy -- which meant we had plenty of room for a shared dessert. There were several options that caught our eye, but we opted for the artistic and delicious Coconut Tapioca Soup with Dragon Fruit, Mango, and Horned Melon.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

An Applegate Hot Dog Picnic...Featuring Simple Slow Cooker Hot Dog Chili #cowsongrass #cleanerwiener

Hot dogs are one of my favorite quick-cook meals...but I'm very choosy when it comes to choosing a hot dog brand to feed my friends and family. I prefer my hot dogs to be all natural and without any hard-to-pronounce preservatives and mystery ingredients. That's why my go-to store-brand hot dogs are Applegate's Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs. They're made with just four simple ingredients: 100% grass-fed beef, water, salt, and spices. That's it! I also love that each yummy Applegate hot dog has just 6 grams of fat. My friends at Applegate recently sent me a great gift pack that included everything I needed to plan a Summer picnic! My gift pack included Applegate hot dogs, Vermont Bread Company Potato Hotdog Buns, delicious Sir Kensington's ketchup and mustard, a logo frisbee, water bottles...and a nice canvas tote bag to transport everything to my picnic site.
Us Texans absolutely love chili dogs, so I decided to make Simple Slow Cooker Hot Dog Chili the day before our picnic. When I packed our picnic tote, I spooned the warm chili into a thermos. It arrived at the picnic still warm and ready to top our hot dogs! This flavorful hot dog chili is a snap to make...and so much better than canned hot dog chili. I love that I have total control over the ingredients that I put into it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

San Antonio Restaurant Week 2016 Is August 13-27th! #SARW #culinariasa #WGDinesOut

August means that it's finally time for THE Summer event that San Antonio food lovers look forward to every year: Culinaria's San Antonio Restaurant Week! This year's event is taking place August 13-27, and it literally offers something for every kind of food lover! Restaurants all over the city are offering special three-course lunch and dinner prix fixe menus. Prices come in two tiers to ensure the event fits a wide range of budget options:
  • Tier 1 Restaurants: $15 lunch and $35 dinner
  • Tier 2 Restaurants: $10 lunch and $25 dinner
If you've never taken part in San Antonio Restaurant Week, this is the perfect year to jump in with both feet! This fun and delicious culinary event is a great way to try a new-to-you restaurant...or dine out at one of the city's best restaurants for a much lower price point. There's truly something from everyone...from more casual family-friendly restaurants to high-end gourmet dining. Be sure to visit the San Antonio Restaurant Week website to check out the mouthwatering menus!

Photo provided by Asado Seafood & Grill
This year, we're going to be sampling Restaurant Week dinner menus from a pair of  great Tier 1 restaurants: popular romantic favorite Grey Moss Inn and spicy grilled seafood favorites from Asado Seafood & Grill. We've always meant to dine at Grey Moss Inn, but have never made the drive out to Helotes. We're really looking forward to enjoying a romantic date night at this San Antonio landmark! We've dined at Asado Seafood & Grill once before, so we know how amazing their food is! We'll be sharing both amazing dining experiences live via Instagram, so be sure to follow The Weekend Gourmet (WEEKENDGOURMET) to see lots of pictures of our San Antonio Restaurant Week adventures!

While reservations are not required to dine out for San Antonio Restaurant Week, they are strongly encouraged -- especially if you want to dine at the city's most popular restaurants. All reservations should be booked directly with the restaurant(s) you wish to dine at. As an added bonus...not only will your meal be a delicious dining experience, but it will be a charitable one too! With every meal that is ordered during San Antonio Restaurant Week, each participating restaurant will donate $1 for lunch and $2 for dinner to Culinaria San Antonio and all of the great programs it supports.

Disclosure: Culinaria provided me a pair of dining vouchers for Grey Moss Inn, and Asado Seafood & Grill is hosting us for a Restaurant Week Dinner tasting, to facilitate coverage. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Stonyfield Plate Club with Le Creuset and Kitchen IQ...Featuring Shrimp Remoulade Deviled Eggs

I'm still a bit behind with some of my blogging commitments thanks to my recent illness. I thrilled to share what was supposed to be the July edition of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club, featuring amped-up deviled eggs! Better late than never...and I promise that my recipe for Shrimp Remoulade Deviled Eggs is totally worth the wait! For this fun event, we were provided a fabulous stoneware Le Creuset Deviled Egg Platter and some handy Kitchen IQ plastic nested measuring spoons! Did you know that you can make deviled eggs with organic Stonyfield Plain 0% Greek Yogurt in place of mayo? You certainly can! The end result is a supremely creamy filling. The yogurt also saves a ton of fat and calories -- without sacrificing one bit of flavor in the process! 

I wanted to create a fun, spicy spin on traditional deviled eggs. My spicy Shrimp Remoulade Deviled Eggs take this comfort classic favorite down to the French Quarter for a fun big-flavor makeover. These amazing deviled eggs feature all my favorite shrimp remoulade flavors in a two-bite appetizer! I loved using the gorgeous red stoneware Le Creuset deviled egg platter to serve my shrimp-topped deviled eggs. It holds two dozen deviled egg halves, and it's made from dishwasher-safe stoneware. I just love these shrimp-topped deviled eggs! I'm thinking they would be a perfect addition to your upcoming Labor Day menu -- definitely a step up from traditional deviled eggs. As an added bonus, the yogurt-infused filling can be made up to a day ahead -- making assembly just before serving quick and easy for your party!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Summer Adventure in New York Part I #WGTravel #EastCoast2016

Photo provided by St. Giles Tuscany
Earlier this Summer, Michael and I enjoyed a long weekend getaway in New York City! We visited some of our very favorite foodie hangouts, and we discovered some fabulous new-to-us restaurants along the way. We had a fun weekend exploring one of our favorite cities, which I'm excited to share with you starting today. We spent the first half of our trip at the St Giles Tuscany hotel, located in the city's Midtown Murray Hill neighborhood. The Tuscany is tucked away on a quiet street between Lexington and Park Avenue. It was a perfect centralized home base for exploring the city. We found it very easy to grab a cab in minutes every time we left the hotel to go exploring. 

Photo provided by St. Giles Tuscany
We loved the modern vibe of the lobby, and the front desk staff was friendly and welcoming. The check-in process was quick and simple, and we were on our way to our room in no time. We loved the extra security feature that required insertion of our room key into a slot in the elevator before we could go up the elevator to our room. We stayed in a spacious 450 square-foot Deluxe Studio Room that felt more like a studio apartment than a typical cramped hotel room. It featured a hardwood entryway that led to the spacious bedroom/sitting room area. We loved the red, black, and white color scheme...and the comfy King bed! The sitting area featured two plush chairs and a small coffee table, which was nice for relaxing and reading.
All rooms at The Tuscany include comfy robes and slippers, convenient iPhone/iPad docking stations, and  a 46" high-def flat-screen TV. I especially enjoyed the spacious bathroom area, which featured a lit vanity area in an alcove just outside the main bathroom. This handy feature let me put on my makeup and style my hair while Michael took a shower -- saving us lots of time each time we got ready to go out!
Our first night in town, we hopped in a cab and made our way to Jazz at Lincoln Center inside the Time-Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Performing that night was Wynton Marsalis and the immensely talented Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. They perform inside the beautiful Frederick P. Rose Hall aka The House of Swing. Featured that night was the music of Miles Davis to commemorate what would've been this jazz legend's 90th birthday. If you're a jazz fan, a visit to Jazz at Lincoln Center is a definite must! After the show was over, we were feeling hungry. We discovered that just outside of and around the corner from Time-Warner Center is the Mandarin Oriental New York
Photo provided by Jazz at Lincoln Center
Located adjacent to their elevator-access-only lobby is the Mandarin Oriental's melegant Lobby Lounge -- located 280 feet above Columbus Circle and Central Park South. With tons of floor to ceiling windows and cushy sofas, it's a perfect spot to enjoy late-night cocktails and delicious food while enjoying amazing city views! We were feeling tired, so we opted for a pair of non-alcoholic house-made craft sodas to pair with our appetizer duo.
I selected Thyme's Up, while Michael opted for the Mandarin Sunrise. Thyme's Up featured tart lemon and lime juices, lemongrass simple syrup, tonic, and fresh refreshing! The colorful Mandarin Sunrise included orange and lemon juices, orange blossom, and grenadine. It packed a perfect citrus punch. With beverages this good, we never missed the alcohol! For our appetizers, we selected the beautifully presented Dim Sum Bento and the Crispy Fried Prawns with Yuzu Dipping Sauce. The bento featured a variety of Asian dumplings, and the fried prawns were plump and sweet. 
We opted to share a perfectly executed Turkey BLT and Warm Apple Pie dessert. The sandwich featured crispy bacon, smoked turkey, and creamy avocado. The portion size made it perfect for sharing. The apple pie was served with vanilla ice cream, decadent whipped cream, and a delicious caramel sauce to drizzle on top. We were very impressed with the quality of the food at the Mandarin Oriental's Lobby Lounge! They also serve Afternoon Tea daily. It was getting late, so we made our way back to The Tuscany...where we fell into our comfy King bed and slept like babies.

Monday, August 8, 2016

#ad Back to School Recipes with Tyson®...Featuring Buffalo Chicken Wraps with Bacon-Blue Cheese Slaw #SchoolFuel

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SchoolFuel #CollectiveBias
The calendar flipped to August last week, which means it's back to school time! The new school year is full of lots of fun things to look forward to...and a lot of homework and after-school activities to fit into your busy evenings! To help you and your family get fueled up to deal with the demands the new school year brings, Tyson® chicken products helps you create delicious weeknight diners that are high in quality quality, but low in effort. I purchased delicious and convenient Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips and Texas-made Wright Brand® Bacon at my local H-E-B grocery store. Both items were very simple to find in the store -- the Tyson® chicken strips are found in the freezer section, and the Wright Brand® bacon is in the refrigerated section.
I used these items to create my Buffalo Chicken Wraps with Bacon-Blue Cheese Slaw. This tasty weeknight dinner can be ready in under 30 minutes -- even less if you make the tasty slaw! These wraps feature all your favorite Buffalo Wing flavors in a simple-to-make wrap sandwich. The Tyson® chicken strips cook up light an crispy before being brushed with a mixture of hot sauce and melted butter. The slaw features blue cheese, crumbled Wright Brand® bacon, green onion, and celery...all tossed in a tangy, slightly spicy dressing. Add some fresh fruit and chips on the side, and you've got a family-pleasing dinner that everyone in your family will love!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer Corn #SundaySupper...Featuring Cajun Baked Shrimp and Corn Dip

For this week's #SundaySupper, we're sharing recipes that feature the most quintessential of Summer vegetables: corn! Our hostess is Ellen from Family Around the Table, and she asked us to share our favorite recipes featuring sweet Summer corn. The Olympics are just getting started, and football season is just around the I wanted to create a fun and flavorful baked dip that features kernels of sweet corn. I remembered a baked shrimp and corn dip that I had seen at the Tabasco website a while back, so I used it as the inspiration to create my Cajun Baked Shrimp and Corn Dip. 

This hearty, big-flavor dip is assembled and baked in the same cast iron skillet -- which helps streamline prep and cleanup. It features a creamy base that's accented with corn kernels, Gulf shrimp, green onions, finely chopped celery for crunch, spicy seasonings, and a heaping helping of gooey cheese. Trust me, it's very hard to stop eating this dip once you start dipping crispy tortilla chips into it -- and it was a big hit with my hubby too. That means this one's a keeper, y'all!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wendy's Favorite Things for July #WendyFaveThings

You may have noticed that The Weekend Gourmet has been a bit...silent...this month. That's because I came down with a nasty case of the shingles...not fun!! Per doctor's orders, I was told to rest and stay out of the kitchen...and no blogging. I'm slowing feeling better, so I'm dipping my toe back in to make sure this month's Wendy's Favorite Things column is posted before I flip the calendar tomorrow. This month's Great Eight features a few treats, a few healthy bites...and even a refreshing beverage to beat the Summer heat!!

(1) Callie's Charleston Biscuit's Cocoa & Cream Cookies. These Cocoa & Creams are quite possibly the best cookie I've tasted in ages...I'm hooked!! The best way I can describe them is like this: they're like a famous chocolate sandwich cookie and a whoopie pie had a baby...a delicious baby. These addictive cookies feature a rich, not-too-sweet chocolate outside and a generous amount of homemade buttercream filling. The cookie part isn't chewy, but it's not hard or crunchy either. It's got a perfect soft bite! Cocoa & Creams come packaged with one dozen large cookies just waiting to be enjoyed. To order a package of Cocoa & Creams -- or their amazing Southern-style biscuits -- simply visit the Callie's Charleston Biscuits online store. I know you'll go crazy for them too!!

(2) Terlato Kitchen Vodka Sauce. Terlato Kitchen's Vodka Sauce lets me put together a gourmet pasta dinner in no time, which is especially appreciated on busy weeknights. This creamy, richly flavored sauce is made in small batches, so it really tastes homemade! Made in California with a handful of fresh ingredients -- including San Marzano tomatoes -- it's ready to use in all sorts of creative ways. I sauteed shrimp and garlic in olive oil. I added the vodka sauce and some chiffonade basil. I served this delicious sauce over penne pasta. I had a delicious, restaurant-quality meal on the table in about 30 minutes! FYI...Terlato Kitchen also makes delicious Pomodoro and spicy Arrabbiata sauces. Terlato Kitchen pasta sauces can be purchased from their convenient online store.

(3) Spiceologist Thai Peanut Sweet & Spicy Curry Rub. This versatile spice rub is one of the most creative and flavorful seasoning blends that I've tasted in ages! Spiceologist Thai Peanut blend is made with dehydrated peanut butter, spicy red curry, coconut, and a touch of's truly a treat for the tastebuds! Thai Peanut rub's peanut flavor is perfectly balanced by sweet and spicy background flavors, and bits of coconut provide texture and added flavor. So far, I've used this yummy spice blend two ways. First, I generously rubbed chicken breasts with the Thai Peanut and  let it rest in the fridge. That night, I grilled the chicken and served it over rice with a simple sauce made by combining more of the Thai Peanut with plain Greek yogurt to taste. It was amazing! To find Thai Peanut blend and other great Spiceologist products at a store near you, visit their store locator. They also have a convenient online store that will ship direct to you.

(4) Wild Poppy Organic Peppermint Lemonade. The weather this Summer has been brutally hot, which means drinking lots of icy-cold beverages to help keep cool. My favorite new-to-me beverage this Summer is California-based Wild Poppy's creative and super refreshing Organic Peppermint Lemonade. It's the perfect blend of tart and sweet lemonade, then the cooling flavor of the peppermint kicks in. It's creative, unique...and oh-so refreshing! I just love this lemonade! Other creative juice flavors in Wild Poppy's lineup include smooth Peach Vanilla, zingy Grapefruit Ginger, and the lightly spicy Blood Orange Chili. Wild Poppy juice products can be found at major retailers nationwide. My Texas readers can find Wild Poppy juices at their local Central Market location.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A San Antonio-Based Summer Fun Day Staycation #SummerFun #WGHitstheRoad #CelebrateSummer

Our teenage niece Lilith spent a long weekend with us earlier this Summer. We live in Texas...she lives in we only see her during the Summer. That means we have to pack a lot of memories into the time we do have together! During her recent visit to San Antonio, I planned a day that included a visit to the Riverwalk. Michael, Lilith, and I left home early that morning -- and we didn't get back until late that evening. From sunrise until way past dark, we had an absolute blast! Our day started at The Magnolia Pancake Haus, our favorite place for breakfast in San Antonio. We enjoyed fresh-squeezed juice, pancakes, and a duo of sweet and savory menu items. Magnolia has two San Antonio locations -- both of which are insanely popular. We arrived at the Medical Center location at 730 in the morning and were quickly seated. By the time we left an hour or so later? Tons of people were waiting for their tables in the spacious outdoor deck area -- talk about perfect timing! 
The Bananas Foster French Toast takes a breakfast classic to New Orleans. Tender French toast is topped with a decadent banana-rum praline sauce. So good! This dish was rich and tasty, perfect for sharing. For our savory entree, we enjoyed the Southern Bennie -- a Texas spin on traditional eggs Benedict. It was made with delicious Haus-smoked pulled pork served on top of a biscuit with two poached eggs, creamy Hollandaise sauce, and zesty Haus-made BBQ sauce. This was the perfect savory breakfast, full of amazing flavors that complemented each other perfectly. We also shared two types of Magnolia's amazing buttermilk pancakes: apple cinnamon and blueberry. The pancakes are huge and fluffy, with a generous amount of fresh fruit in every bite. We're absolutely nuts about their amazing vanilla-infused maple syrup. Thanks to Magnolia Pancake Haus, we started our day well fueled!

Our next stop was Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort in New Braunfels, a quick 45-minute drive from San Antonio. Texas Summers are incredibly hot, making Schlitterbahn an ideal location for cooling water-based fun! Parking was easy, and we quickly made it past the gate...toward the cooling water! Schlitterbahn has multiple locations in Texas, but this location is where it all started. It offers a wide range of water slides and water-based attractions -- all designed to keep cool and have a good time. This Schlitterbahn location is divided into two sections a few blocks apart -- thanks to convenient, free shuttle buses, it's quick and easy to spend time at both sections. We started out in the newer section, riding tubes in the lazy river and careening down steep, twisting water slides. That worked up an appetite, so we visited one of the convenient walk-up grills to order sandwiches: BBQ pulled pork and a bacon cheeseburger.
Having tasty, affordable food options onsite means you don't have to leave to eat. If you prefer to have a picnic, no problem! Schlitterbahn allows visitors to bring in coolers with their own food and drinks to enjoy a picnic at one of several covered picnic areas.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mode Foodie Roundup for July: Modern Spins on a Retro Classic: Fresh Deviled Egg Ideas!

Check out Modern Spins on a Retro Classic: Fresh Deviled Egg Ideas!
by Wendy Wofford-Garcia at Mode
Here in the South, deviled eggs are served at parties and potlucks all year long. Honestly, what's not to like? Deviled eggs are a great tasting, portable snack. Traditional deviled eggs are always great...but sometime it's fun to step up your game and offer your guests something unexpected! For this month's Mode Foodie roundup, I'm sharing a few of my favorite modern spins on traditional deviled eggs. Some of them are upscale and elegant enough that they can be served at the most formal parties. Other fun variations infuse this Southern staple with unexpected flavor combinations. Check out the slideshow before your next get-together and find a new deviled egg variation to surprise your friends and family!

Disclosure: This is a compensated post for Mode Foodie. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Coconut for National Pina Colada Day #SundaySupper...Featuring Island Breeze Pina Colada Panna Cotta

Today is National Pina Colada Day! To celebrate this iconic cocktail, #SundaySupper participants are sharing our favorite pina colada and coconut-flavored dishes. Our hostess for this week's event is Constance from Cosmopolitan Cornbread. I had such fun with this week's theme, because I love pina coladas. Their combination of coconut, pineapple, and rum tastes amazing...they're like a tropical vacation in a glass! My Tropical Breeze Pina Colada Panna Cotta is a perfect Summer dessert. The creamy base has a prominent coconut flavor, then it's topped with fresh pineapple and a sprinkle of coconut. If you love pina coladas, you'll go crazy for this refreshing dessert! Because the individual panna cottas have to chill for at least 6 hours before serving -- and overnight is fine too -- be sure to plan accordingly if you plan to serve them for a post-dinner dessert!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for July...Featuring Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen #WGDinesOut

This month's featured restaurant for The Weekend Dines Out is Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen. Napa Flats serves up refreshing cocktails and delicious California-inspired cuisine at its locations in San Antonio, Austin, College Station, and Tulsa. We were recently invited to Napa Flats to check out their newly remodeled and expanded Bar Napa and try some of their signature menu items. When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by the friendly staff and shown to the large bar area -- which featured soothing tones, high tables, and tons of natural light from multiple large windows. My friend and I looked over the extensive cocktail menu and worked with the manager to select some delicious food pairings. The first cocktail from the bar was the spicy Road Runner Tini. It featured Absolut Texas (vodka infused with cucumber and Serrano pepper), orange-scented Grand Marnier, jalapeno-infused tequila, agave for a touch of sweetness, and lime juice. This is Napa Flats' version of a Mexican martini. It was potent and spicy!
This cocktail paired perfectly with a simple asparagus flatbread and their creative Arugula Beet Salad. This salad features peppery arugula, roasted beets, mandarin oranges, pears, purple onion, pecans, and goat cheese. It's tossed with a tangy orange-red wine vinaigrette. This salad had so many great flavors and textures going on. Our meal was off to a great start! The next pairings sent to our table included a fun white wine flight, another salad, a refreshing tuna appetizer -- and an amazing chicken sandwich.
The white wine flight is a perfect way to try small servings of four different white wine varieties. The white wines paired perfectly with the Tomato Caprese Salad and Sesame Crusted Tuna. The caprese featured housemade fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciutto, basil and a balsamic glaze. The salty, smoky prosciutto was a very nice addition to the traditional caprese. The seared sesame-crusted tuna was served with Asian ginger sauce. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

BBQ'ing with Four Roses Bourbon...Featuring Spicy Bourbon-Maple Pulled Pork with Blue Cheese Slaw #FourRosesBBQ

Summer is officially in full swing! That means lots of relaxing, fun get-togethers with family and friends -- and lots of great food too. Today, I'm teaming with Four Roses Bourbon to share a recipe using their Yellow Label Bourbon in a really simple homemade BBQ sauce. My Spicy Bourbon-Maple Pulled Pork with Blue Cheese Slaw is perfect for feeding a crowd -- and the flavors are out of this world! Juicy pork shoulder cooks for 6 hours in your slow cooker -- which gives you plenty of time to whip up the simple slaw and homemade BBQ sauce. The Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon gives this sauce a great depth of flavor! Four Roses is gently aged undisturbed in new white oak barrels. The flavor profile of 80 proof Yellow Label features hints of apple and pear, honey, and spice. Its smooth finish works perfectly in my simple BBQ sauce. The bourbon is complimented by the addition of sweet maple syrup, tangy sherry vinegar, and a bit of hot sauce for a bit of heat. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Introducing...My Maple Bacon Burger Recipe for Cindy's Kitchen #burger #maple #bourbon #bigflavor

A few months ago, Michael and I spent a Saturday at the Cindy's Kitchen Test Kitchen in Brockton, Massachusetts. I created three original recipes featuring Cindy's Kitchen salad dressing and cooking sauces, and they invited me to come up and shoot a series of videos preparing my recipes. It was such an amazing experience! Just in time for July 4th cookouts, they shared a new video last week for my Maple Bacon Burger. I'm thrilled with how great the video came out! This burger is bursting with lots of amazing flavors thanks to Cindy's Kitchen Maple Bourbon Ultimate Cooking Sauce. This savory-sweet sauce flavors nearly every component of the burger. It's added to the meat mixture and sauteed onions, brushed on the bacon before cooking, and mixed with grainy mustard for a flavorful sauce. Add some nutty Gruyere cheese, and you've got one heck of a yummy burger. Here's the video -- hope you enjoy putting a voice to The Weekend Gourmet!

Now that you've seen the video, go visit the Cindy's Kitchen website to get the recipe for this amazing Maple Bacon Burger. The recipe has several steps, but many of them can be completed simultaneously. You can definitely have these burgers ready to serve a hungry crowd in less than an hour!

Disclosure: Cindy's Kitchen provided The Weekend Gourmet airfare and hotel accommodations for our video shoot in Massachusetts. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Introducing Red Gold's New Sriracha Product Line...Featuring Sriracha-Kissed Asian Ramen Slaw #HowISriracha

As a Red Gold Tomatoes Blog Ambassador, I sometimes get a chance to try out their newest items out in my kitchen. The Weekend Gourmet is all about big flavors, so you know that I was very excited when I had a chance to try Red Gold's new line of Sriracha-flavored items! Red Gold has always provided its customers farm-fresh tomato taste -- and now they're offering the bold flavors of Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. In fact, Red Gold is the only tomato company that brings authentic Huy Fong Sriracha flavors to its ketchup, petite diced tomatoes, and salsa. The combination of Red Gold's amazing tomatoes and the sweet-spicy garlic-infused flavor of Sriracha is a treat for your tastebuds!

I used Red Gold's new Sriracha Ketchup and Petite Diced Tomatoes to create a big-flavor spin on a popular potluck salad. My Sriracha-Kissed Asian Ramen Slaw features the classic flavors of traditional ramen slaw -- amped up. I added a few extra ingredients...and the spicy kick of Sriracha! Diced cucumbers, flavorful chopped cashews, and sweet-tart dried cranberries tame the heat and help keep things interesting. This veg-friendly salad is perfect for your upcoming July 4th picnics and's sure to be a hit! Best of all? It's best when made a day ahead, which is a big time saver for holiday party planning! Honestly, I found this moderately spicy side dish very addictive. I can't wait to make it again all Summer long. That, my friends, is #HowISriracha!

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