Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Cooking with Coffee mate natural bliss®... Featuring Tropical Coconut-Orange Baked Oatmeal #breakfast #oatmeal #comfortbowl

Confession: I love breakfast foods...but not so much in the morning. But for brunch...or breakfast for dinner? For me, that's perfection! Today, I'm sharing a delicious baked oatmeal recipe that's a comforting meal ANY time of day. My Tropical Coconut-Orange Baked Oatmeal is delicious, dairy free, and features a secret ingredient: Coffee mate natural bliss® Vanilla Almond Milk creamer! This yummy creamer is made with natural ingredients like almond milk, a touch of cane sugar, and Madagascar vanilla extract. Along with a bit of maple syrup, the creamer provides the finished oatmeal a light sweetness and warm vanilla flavor. Assembling this recipe takes about 15-20 minutes, but the baking time is totally hands off...and you'll be rewarded with six servings of delicious oatmeal to enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wendy's Great Eight February 2019 #WendyGreatEight #tryit #bestnewproducts

After a holiday break...Wendy's Great Eight is kicking off for 2019. This month, I'm sharing eight fabulous new foodie items that you're definitely going to love! Whether you're looking for a healthy on-the-go breakfast...a new way to enjoy your daily coffee...big-flavor meal enhancers...or a party guide with a distinctly Southern accent...I've got ya covered. Let's get rolling!

(1) The Most Stuf Oreo. I've been a fan of Oreo cookies for ages. Long before Oreo Double Stuf cookies were available, I made my own as a kid by double stacking separated original Oreo cookies. To this day, I'm all about the cream filling "stuff" in between the dark chocolate cookies! I'm a huge fan of Double Stuf and Mega Stuf Oreo cookies, so I could barely contain my excitement when I saw Nabisco's latest Limited Edition Oreo is The Most Stuf!  As you can see, these cookies truly maximize the amount of "stuf" in each cookie. If you're like me...these will be Oreo cookie nirvana for you! If you want to try The Most Stuf, you need to act fast, because they're a Limited Edition flavor. They are available at major grocers nationwide. For my Texas readers, I have seen them at H-E-B and Walmart locations.

(2) Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade. I'm all about cooking with bold flavors, so it was love at first bite when I tasted Chosen Foods' amazing citrus-garlic sauce! Versatile Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade can be used as a salad topping...or as a marinade for meat or tofu. I've used it as a marinade for chicken fajitas and pork chops...and we love it! Because it's made with simple ingredients, their natural bright flavors shine! This dressing/marinade is made with Chosen Foods' 100% pure avocado oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. That's it...yummy ingredients I can feel good about eating! Chosen Foods offers  a broad range of products, including: avocado oil and infused avocado oil sprays, dressings and marinades, healthy mayonnaise, keto-friendly products, and a vegan line. To find Chosen Foods products near you -- including this dreamy Lemon Garlic Dressing & Marinade -- check out their handy online Store Locator. They also offer a convenient Online Store for home delivery.

(3) Thrive! Ready to Blend Smoothies. Mornings are hectic, yes? What if I told you there's a delicious way to save time and ensure you start the day right? That's exactly what Thrive! Ready to Blend Smoothies will do! Thrive! is an all-natural line of frozen smoothies sold in cups of pre-chopped fruit and veggie ingredients. Thrive! smoothies come in five great-tasting flavors that feature superfood ingredients and no added sugars or preservatives: 
  • Energy (my FAVE): strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry for a vitamin-packed berry blend. Plus mango, orange, cherry, and banana for a delicious energy-packed boost.
  • Defend: orange, strawberry, mango, pineapple, and banana for a Vitamin C smoothie to give your immune system a delicious boost.
  • Rise: strawberry, banana, and mango -- a fresh twist on a smoothie classic to help you conquer your day.
  • Glow: mint, cucumber, and ginger for a unique taste...along banana, kiwi, and strawberry.
  • Green: green apple, cucumber, and spinach for a punch of good-for-you “greens.” Also banana, pineapple, and mango for well-balanced taste.
To make, simply add the frozen smoothie contents of the cup -- along with your favorite liquid based (coconut water or almond milk are recommended), then blend. You can even pour back into the lidded cup to drink your smoothie! Thrive! Ready to Blend Smoothies are currently available in the Freezer section of Target locations nationwide.

(4) Coffee mate® natural bliss® Almond Milk Coffee Creamer. One of my favorite morning indulgences is a dairy free iced latte...with creamer. Thanks to Coffee mate's® natural bliss® line of almond milk creamers, I can enjoy flavored creamer while ensuring my morning iced latte is dairy free! This natural bliss® line is made with almond milk, cane sugar, and all natural flavors. What it doesn't have? GMO ingredients! Coffee mate's® natural bliss® almond milk creamers come in three flavors: Vanilla (flavored with Madagascar vanilla bean extract), Caramel, and Hazelnut. My personal favorite Coffee mate's® natural bliss® almond milk creamer is the versatile Vanilla, because it provides a deeply vanilla flavor that compliments any coffee flavor I decide to brew on a given morning. To locate natural bliss® Almond Milk Creamer near you, check out Coffee mate®'s online Where to Buy feature.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Spotlight on Fulton Fish Market's Online Store...Featuring Citrus-Glazed Scallops with Chunky Avocado Salsa #fultonfishmarket #scallops #valentinesmeal

It's no secret...I LOVE seafood! Growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, we had access to the Gulf's bounty of shrimp and fish. That fostered an appreciation of fresh seafood in me from a young age. To this day, fish and shrimp are a staple of my dinner menus. That said, sometimes I want to make an extra special seafood dinner. In those instances, my seafood of choice is scallops. Tender and sweet, they make any meal a touch special! With Valentine's Day coming up on Thursday, I wanted to share a recipe for scallops that's perfect for any at-home celebrations you have planned.

The scallops for my Citrus-Glazed Scallops with Chunky Avocado Salsa came from New York City's highly regarded Fulton Fish MarketFulton Fish Market has been in business since 1822 (!!), offering the largest selection of seafood in the world. Thanks to their convenient online store, Fulton Fish Market's seafood selections can be purchased online and delivered direct to your front door! The Fulton Fish House online store features a wide variety of fish; shrimp and scallops; lobster and crab; oysters, mussels, and clams; and other seafood. Fulton Fish Market offers customers the tastiest, safest, and most sustainable seafood selections available. Ordering is a snap using your mobile phone, tablet, or computer! I ordered my selections in less than 30 minutes, and they arrived a few days later perfectly packed in an insulated foam cooler. 

I was inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light to create my Citrus-Glazed Scallops with Chunky Avocado Salsa. This recipe features a trifecta of citrus juices: lemon, lime, and orange. The scallops are seared, then coated with a sweetly tart citrus glaze. The finished scallops are served over a quick cilantro-lime rice, with a simple homemade avocado salsa spooned over the top. This flavorful, healthy dish looks complicated...but it's ready to eat in about 45 minutes!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Valentine's Day Fun with OREO...Featuring Valentine Kiss White Chocolate Oreos + Most Stuf OREO News!! #valentine #easytreat #kidfriendly #simplecelebration

Valentine's Day is coming up this week...and I've got a simple, cute treat you can share with all of your Valentines. I'm a huge OREO cookie fan from way back. Old-school original OREO cookies will always have a special place in my heart...but I especially love all of the fun limited-edition and seasonal flavors Nabisco has introduced the past few years! You may remember the festive Double Peppermint Bark Oreos I shared during the holidays. They were very popular, so I decided to create something similar for Valentine's Day using new Limited Edition Love, Oreo cookies. These OREOs are printed with fun messages like XOXO OREO on the exterior...and they feature a tangy pink strawberry cream. My Valentine Kiss White Chocolate Oreos are made with three simple ingredients...and they literally take minutes to make. Bonus: they're so simple to make that even small children can lend a hand! 

Valentine Kiss White Chocolate Oreos
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Ingredients (makes approximately 20 cookies):
  • 10.7-ounce package Love, OREOS
  • 8 ounces white chocolate (melting wafers or chips)
  • Decorative Valentine sprinkles
Step 1: Melt white chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stopping to stir between each interval. White chocolate scorches very easily, so be patient to ensure smooth, creamy results. Dip the OREO logo side of each cookie into the melted white chocolate -- you want to make sure the cute Valentine sayings show on the finished product! HINT: if necessary, use a butter knife to smooth the white chocolate evenly on the cookie. 
Step 2: Place the dipped OREO cookies white chocolate side up on a large piece of aluminum foil or parchment. Before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the OREO cookies with fun Valentine sprinkles. I especially loved how these pastel hearts coordinated with the Love, OREO's pink filling!
Step 3: Let the decorated OREOs sit until the white chocolate has completely set. HINT: place the decorated OREO cookies in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to speed up this process. Place the finished OREOs on a Valentine's Day serving plate as shown below...alternating between the decorated OREO cookies and the Valentine messages showing. For giving as gifts, place the decorated OREOs in a pink or red tissue-lined decorative box.

That's it...simple, cute, and very yummy! These homemade embellished cookies make fun Valentine treats for teachers and co-workers. A plate of them also makes fun centerpiece for any Valentine's celebrations you have planned.

That's not all of the fun OREO news I'm sharing today. Have you seen or tried the amazing new Most Stuf OREO?!?!? If you're a serious fan of OREO cream filling, you'll go nuts for these Limited Edition cookies! For more than a century, people have been twisting their OREO cookies to get to the delicious “stuf” inside. In response, Nabisco has created the Most Stuf OREO cookie, which is filled with the most creme filling ever. They are positively swoon worthy! If you're a fan of OREO Double Stuf and Mega Stuf, these Most Stuf OREOS will not disappoint! To celebrate this limited-edition cookie, OREO is also introducing The Stuf Inside, a 30-day promotion that turns twisting open an OREO cookie into a fun-filled experience.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Perfect At-Home Valentines Day Dinner: Texas Crab Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Remoulade #valentinesathome #crabcake

Valentines Day is coming up next week! The idea of fighting crowds to dine out isn't your idea of a romantic atmosphere, you say? Then stay home...and make your sweetie my Texas Crab Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Remoulade instead! These tasty crab cakes feature sweet jumbo lump crab and very little binder -- I wanted the crab to be the star of the show. To accompany these flavorful crab cakes, I made a super quick remoulade sauce with cilantro and lime. I'm not kidding when I say these crab cakes are over-the-top good...and perfect for an at-home Valentines Day celebration!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Super Bowl Cooking with Jack Daniel's Meats...Featuring Colossal Fiesta Pulled Pork Empanada #gamedayeats #appetizer #easydoesit

Photo by Jack Daniel's Meats
The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday...and televisions across the U.S. will be tuned in. Some watch for the big game...others for the fun Super Bowl commercials. All that cheering calls for lots of tasty food and cold beverages! Today, I'm teaming with Jack Daniel's Meats to share a super fun recipe that's perfect for game day entertaining. I used their Old No. 7 BBQ Pulled Pork to create my Colossal Fiesta Pulled Pork Empanada. It's totally simple to make! Tons of cheese, sweetly savory Jack Daniel's BBQ pulled pork, pico de gallo, and avocado are wrapped inside buttery ready-to-use pie crust. Just before popping into the oven, the giant empanada is brushed with seasoned melted butter and baked to flaky perfection. Totally easy...and so delish!

Photo by Jack Daniel's Meats
If you haven't tried delicious cooked and ready-to-eat Jack Daniel's Meats, definitely check them out! A range of products that includes, pulled pork, pulled chicken, sliced brisket, ribs, and more are cooked in BBQ sauces made with Jack Daniel's whiskey: original Old No. 7 sauce or Tennessee Honey flavors. Jack Daniel's Meats products are found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores across the country. They can be stored in the fridge or frozen for later use. Simply heat in the microwave, and they're ready to use in sandwiches, appetizers, etc. The taste is great, and they save me a TON of time in the kitchen!

By using refrigerated pie dough and ready-to-heat Jack Daniel's Meats BBQ pulled pork, my empanada is ready for the oven in about 10 minutes -- then it bakes up flaky in golden brown in about 20 minutes. Slices of the empanada can be enjoyed as is...or topped with sour cream and more cheese, pico, and avocado!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Spotlight on Just Made Juices...and a #Giveaway!

I'm always looking for ways to include healthy, nutrient-rich food and beverages in my daily diet...and I especially love it when they taste delicious t00! I was recently introduced to Texas-made Just Made Juice juices, and I absolutely love them!! This Houston-based company makes a line of seven cold-pressed juices with no added sugar, sweeteners, or preservatives. Each juice blend is also vegan, non-GMO, dairy and soy free, and bottled in BPA-free recyclable bottles! Each flavor utilizes tropical juices that have been sourced from small tropical farming communities. Check out all of these great flavors of Just Made Juices:
  • Turmeric Temptation (Vitamin C, fiber, iron, and potassium): Pineapple, passion fruit, white grape, and carrot juices + turmeric. This fruit blend contains 500 mg of turmeric, a spice recognized for both its anti-inflammatory and joint pain benefits.
  • Ginger Greens (provides 80% RDA Vitamin C): Pineapple, kale, and white grape juice; spinach and kale; and ginger. 
  • Pomegranate Spice (anti-oxidant rich): Blackberry, pomegranate, white grape, and maqui berry juices + warm spice from cinnamon.
  • Mango Moringa (features two super fruits): Mango and guanabana juices provide anti-bacterial and anti-aging support; lime; and moringa, which is both anti-inflammatory and energy boosting.
  • Passion Dragon (digestion, heart health, and immune system): Passion fruit, pitahaya (aka dragon fruit), pineapple, and white grape juice + maca root (aids hormonal balance and mental focus).
  • Papaya Ginger (Vitamin C + fiber): Papaya, passion fruit, white grape, and lime juices + ginger (aids digestion and reduces nausea).
  • Beets & Turmeric (potassium, fiber, and iron): Orange, carrot, beet, and lime juices + turmeric.
As if all this deliciousness and health benefits isn't enough, Just Made Juice also believes in giving back via their Feel Good With Every Bottle program. Just Made Juice utilizes this program to give 5¢ from the sale of every bottle of huice to support teachers and schools located in the company's tropical farming communities!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cooking With Envy Apples at the Central Maket Cooking School...Featuring Envy Apple & Blueberry Baked Oatmeal #BiteandBelieve #CookingWithEnvy #AnEnvyAppleADay #centralmarket

Last week, I attended the educational and delicious An Envy Apple a Day cooking class at San Antonio's Central Market Cooking School location. During the two-hour class, we learned how to use versatile Envy™ apples in delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes. We watched a trio of informative, friendly Cooking School chefs create each recipe step-by-step, received lots of handy cooking tips, and then tasted full servings of every recipe cooked. Before this class, I had never heard of Envy apples...but after? I'm a huge fan of this unique and delicious apple...there's a lot to love!

Envyis currently one of the hottest apples on the market. They're a cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala apple varieties. The flavor of Envy™ apples is crispy and sweetly tart, and they hold their shape very nicely when cooked. My favorite feature of the Envy apples is that it has a higher citric -- which prevents the browning enzyme from activating. The end result is that Envy™ apples are VERY slow to brown. This feature makes them ideal for adding to salads, charcuterie boards, and fruit platter...they will look great for hours! An Envy™ apple that was cut in half at the start of my cooking class still looked freshly cut when the class wrapped up 2 hours later. Very impressive! Envy apples are non GMO and grown naturally in Washington State and New Zealand.

As the video shows, Central Market Cooking School chefs prepared an entire day's worth of recipes featuring Envy™ apples. We also learned which white and red wines pair best with sweetly tart, crisp Envyapples! Recipes demonstrated in our cooking class were:
  • Envy Apple & Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
  • Envy Apple, Arugula, Fennel & Roasted Walnut Salad
  • Butternut Squash & Envy Apple Soup with Sage
  • Sheet Pan Roasted, Fennel-Crusted Pork Loin with Envy Apples & Onion
  • Roasted Envy Apple & Pear Compote with Candied Ginger
All of the recipes were delicious, but I especially enjoyed the simple-to-make baked oatmeal breakfast recipe. It takes minutes to prep, and it makes a perfect comforting breakfast on chilly mornings!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Memphis Road Trip Part 2: The National Civil Rights Museum, Lunch at Huey's Burgers, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and Afternoon Tea with The Peabody Ducks

If you love good music (and music history), amazing cuisine, and fun times? Then Memphis should definitely be on your list of "must visit" destinations! The Weekend Gourmet team recently took road trip from Texas to Memphis, where we had a blast exploring the city during four action-packed days. Memphis has so much to see and do! Today, I'm sharing our visit to the educational, thought-provoking National Civil Rights Museum; lunch at a longtime favorite Memphis burger joint; a visit to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music; and Afternoon Tea and Duck March at iconic Memphis hotel The Peabody.

We spent an entire morning exploring the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the Lorraine Motel. Our visited started out somber, knowing that the museum's site is the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Before entering the museum, all visitors walk past its moving permanent memorial to Dr. King, which is located on the balcony where he was shot on April 4, 1968. To say this was an emotionally moving moment is an understatement. 

The National Civil Rights Museum -- a Smithsonian Affiliate -- is very educational and thought-provoking. Visiting the museum is a self-guided experience. The museum's galleries are arranged in chronological order and tell the story of key episodes of the American Civil Rights Movement -- from slavery to 1968. The museum utilizes photographs, television broadcasts, 250+ artifacts, historical film footage, and interactive exhibits to portray iconic moments in the Civil Rights movement to educate visitors. 

One of these permanent exhibits is Standing Up by Sitting Down: Student Sit-Downs 1960. The original lunch counter where the sit-ins actually took place is displayed, along with 3D figures sitting in at the counter -- along with hecklers at their side. To complete the exhibit, a film is projected behind the protesters. The film tells the story of the students' nonviolent direct action training, ensuing protests, and conflicts. Via multi-touch, multi-user interaction, museum visitors engage in boycott stories from across the country. Learning about these protester's courage and determination in the face of resistance was emotional and inspiring!
For us, the most moving exhibit was the final one, King's Last Hours: Rooms 306 and 307. This emotional exhibit allows visitors to look into the two rooms at The Lorraine Motel that Dr. King and his aides stayed in the day of his assassination. Following Dr. King's death, these two rooms were never rented out again. Both rooms have been preserved exactly as they were on the night of Dr. King's assassination. Room 306 was Dr. King's room and shows the bed where he napped, coffee and cigarettes, and a container of milk. 
Knowing that Dr. King was assassinated on the balcony of this very was so emotional that I couldn't help tears welling up in my eyes. The National Civil Rights Museum is definitely a must visit for anyone coming to Memphis. The museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 Wednesday thru Sunday (closed on Tuesdays). We spent nearly 4 hours exploring the museum's exhibits, so give yourself plenty of time to read the placards at each display, as well as watch the movies and historical television broadcasts that accompany the exhibits and artifacts. Current admission is $16 for adults, $15 for seniors and students with IDs, $13 for children 5-17, and free admission for active members of the U.S. military and children 4 and younger.

When we left the National Civil Rights Museum, it was time for lunch. We headed to Huey's original Downtown location for some burgers. Huey's is an iconic Memphis burger restaurant! This original location opened in 1970, and Huey's has expanded to nine locations in Tennessee and Mississippi. We loved the fun, casual vibe...and the delicious burgers and hand-breaded onion rings! While we looked over the expansive burger menu, we munched on Cheese Fries with Bacon and Scallions...dipped in their delicious house-made ranch dressing!

My team each picked a different burger to try: Bluff City (smoked cheddar, bacon, onion straws, and BBQ sauce), Senor Huey (with pepper jack), West Coast Turkey (guacamole and jack cheese on a turkey patty), and a Bluez 57
(blue cheese, onion straws, and Heinz 57 sauce). Our burgers were served with fries or huge, crispy onion rings. Everything was cooked perfectly and tasty...we definitely left full and happy.

You probably in the video that Huey's has TONS of with toothpicks embedded in the ceiling...and wondered what the heck is going on! Trying to get a toothpick to stick in the ceiling is a little tradition that Huey's customers -- including us! -- take part in. According to Huey's, there's a trick to ensuring toothpick success: "Get a dry straw and insert a frill pick with the frill closest to your mouth and aim up and BLOW HARD!" Good advice! More good advice is make sure you visit Huey's and try their delicious burgers and sides!

After lunch, we headed to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, a must-see destination for any lover of Southern soul music. Stax was founded in 1957 and recorded music from artists that include Booker T. & the MGs, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and the Staples Singer. Current Stax artists include Angie Stone and Melissa Etheridge. Stax Records plays a key role in American music history as one of the country's most popular soul music record labels – second only to Motown in sales and influence. 

The museum tells the entire history of Stax Records and features lots of great exhibits that showcase LP records, instruments, clothing, and other memorabilia from iconic Stax artists.

One of the showcase exhibits at the Stax museum is Isaac Hayes' amazing Cadillac Eldorado. The vehicle was purchased in 1972 as part of Hayes' renegotiated recording deal with Stax. The Cadillac was purchased for $26,000 (that's about $143,000 in current dollars!!). The vehicle has a number of unique, upscale amenities -- including a refrigerated mini-bar, a television, 24-carat gold exterior trim, and plush white fur carpet on the floorboards. 

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday thru Sunday, and is closed on Monday. We were able to see the entire museum in about 1.5 hours. Before we knew it, it was time to changed into our dress clothes and head to The Peabody Memphis for Afternoon Tea, cocktails, and the iconic afternoon Duck March.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Comfort Food...Featuring Streamlined Weeknight Shepherd's Pie #comfortfood #winterfood #savetime

Chilly weather instantly makes me crave warm, comforting meals! I love making a big pot of soup...but sometimes I'm in the mood for a heaty casserole like shepherd's pie. What's not to like about a savory beef and veggie filling topped with creamy mashed potatoes? The problem? Traditional shepherd's pie can take an hour or two to make...not exactly practical for busy weeknight dinners. Today, I'm sharing  a streamlined version of shepherd's pie that has all the comfort you're craving...but is quick enough to whip up any night of the week! 

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! My special surprise? A layer of melty cheese between the layers of mashed potato and beefy filling! To save time, I  use refrigerated, cooked mashed potatoes from the grocery store. as well as pre-chopped onions and celery. You can also use leftover mashed potatoes -- or even good-quality instant mashed potatoes. Since shepherd's pie reminds me a bit of a pot pie, I cooked this recipe in four individual 2-cup ramekins. You can also layer everything in a 2-quart casserole or 9x9 square baker instead.