Friday, December 7, 2018

Simple, Festive Double Peppermint Bark Oreos! #holidaygoodies #nobake #oreo

The busy holiday season is in full swing! Between shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking/baking, and entertaining, it sure can get tiring. What if I told you that today I'm sharing a recipe for an EASY, festive, and delicious holiday treat that will save you precious time as Christmas approaches? It's true! My friends at Nabisco are known for their fun limited edition seasonal Oreo® flavors -- and this holiday season is no exception. Their limited edition Peppermint Bark flavor is made for peppermint lovers. The cookie's peppermint creme filling is combined with crunchy sugar crystal that provide a crunchy sensation that peppermint bark lovers crave! These Peppermint Bark Oreos® are definitely delicious straight from the package...but I found a way to up the peppermint bark quotient!
My Double Peppermint Bark Oreos feature a topping of white chocolate and plenty of crunchy pieces of crushed peppermint. In less than 15 minutes, you can assemble approximately 20 cookies. Be sure to allow an hour or two for the white chocolate to firm up before serving. These fun no-bake treats are perfect to "make and take" to any last-minute holiday party invitations...or for adding to your Christmas cookie tray gifts. As an added bonus, these goodies are so simple to make that even young children can get involved with their assembly! As this video shows, my Double Peppermint Bark Oreos are totally simple to make:

These Double Peppermint Bark Oreos are my kind of holiday treat: a little bit of time to assemble...and big on peppermint flavor! If you're a peppermint lover like I am, these simple no-bake holiday treats are a MUST make item. Everyone who tries them has raved about them...and is blown away by how simple they are to make. That's a holiday win-win scenario, friends!

Disclosure: Nabisco provided me samples of their seasonal Peppermint Bark Oreos® to facilitate recipe development. All opinions provided are solely my own.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Wewalka Pie Crust #Giveaway...Featuring Eggnog Pie with Maple-Spice Whipped Cream #pie #holidaybaking #easydoesit

The holiday season is here...filled with traditional sights, sounds...and tastes! We all know I'm all about the peppermint during the holidays...but Michael LOVES eggnog. I decided to create a pie recipe for him with all the traditional flavors found in eggnog. Confession time: I've never actually baked a pie until making today's recipe. I've made quick crumb crusts...but making pie crust from scratch has always intimidated me. Thanks to Welwalka's refrigerated European Bakery Style ready-to-use pie crust? Problem solved! Wewalka's lard-free pie crust is 25% thicker than the leading crust, and it fits perfectly in a 9-inch pie pan. Simply unroll and place in your pie plate...and anyone can make a fabulous pie! Wewalka pie crust is packaged in single-crust packages, which is perfect for single crust pies like Dutch apple, pumpkin, pecan, or custard. I found this pie crust easy to use...foolproof actually...and it bakes up flaky and delicious. Bottom ling: this amazing Wewalka pie crust has officially made me a pie baker!

My Eggnog Pie with Maple-Spice Whipped Cream features an easy eggnog custard flavored with nutmeg, a bit of cinnamon, and vanilla extract. After cooking on the stovetop, the flavorful custard is placed in a pre-baked Wewalka pie crust and refrigerated until set. My secret ingredient? A thin layer of white chocolate ganache in the bottom of the crust, just under the custard! Just before serving, I made a special whipped cream -- flavored with real maple syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  This recipe's a keeper, folks...everyone who tasted it went totally nuts for it. If I can successfully bake a pie, then anyone can!!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Food Lovers #foodiegifts #mailorder #bestbites #sweetandsavory

Last weekend, I shared my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooks. Today, I'm back to with my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies -- featuring the very best mail order food gifts you can order or send to the food lovers in your life. Whether you're looking for something savory or sweet, I've got you covered...and these gift suggestions fit a wide range of budgets. My goal was to share a well-rounded group of gift ideas so there's literally something for everyone!

(1) Fulton Fish Market Gift Card. For the seafood connoisseurs in your life, a gift card to the iconic Fulton Fish Market is a fabulous gift! Their consumer seafood is selected first because of its taste. One of Fulton Fish Market's quality directors is a Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate and seafood chef. You can rest assured all fresh seafood featured at Fulton Fish Market's website has undergone a number of taste tests with chefs and foodies. If it meets the taste test, then other criteria are evaluated. features the largest assortment of the quality fresh seafood available anywhere -- purchased online and delivered direct to the customer's home. Every midnight, 1-2 MILLION pounds of fresh seafood arrives at Fulton Market docks in New York City. Fulton Fish Market's online store features a broad range of fish -- whole and fillets; oysters, clams, and mussels; shrimp and scallops; and crab and lobster. Fulton Fish Market gift cards can be purchased for as little as $10...up to $1000. It's a gift that can literally fit any budget!

(2) Butcher Box Gift Certificate or Curated Box. For the carnivores on your holiday shopping list, Butcher Box is an ideal gift! Butcher Box is a monthly delivery subscription service that sends two types of boxes: (1) boxes of beef, chicken and/or pork curated by Butcher Box and (2) boxes customized by the customer. To ensure the meat arrives in great condition, each shipment arrives frozen inside an insulated box that contains dry ice. Butcher Box meat is of the highest quality! Beef is 100% grass fed/grass finished, chicken is free range and organic, and all pork comes from Heritage breeds. For gift giving, Butcher Box sells gift boxes, gift certificates, and gift cards. To order gifts, gift cards, or gift certificates, call Butcher Box direct at 1-888-751-2869 (Press 1).

(3) Victory Love + Cookies. Who wouldn't love to receive a box of delicious, freshly baked cookies?!?!? I certainly can't think of anyone. I recently discovered Denver-based Victory Love + Cookies, and they're fantastic! I was initially drawn to Kristy Greenwood's cookies because her Lucy line is named after her cat. I had a beloved cat named Lucy (she's the angel cat in my header!), which immediately grabbed my attention. After tasting her sweet-tart Lemon Lucy cookies? I knew my initial instincts were spot on! Her entire Lucy line is made with almond paste, for a perfect chewy consistency and intense flavors. Kristy also makes traditional cookies like Oatmeal Raisin and a chewy Ginger with pieces of organic candied ginger. Prices for cookies range from $14 to $24.50. Please note that all Victory Love + Cookies items are baked to order after purchase, so please allow at least 48 hours for them to be baked and prepped for shipping. Orders are shipped Mon-Wed via USPS. For an additional $3.50, Kristy will provide eco-friendly gift packaging for your order!

(4) Mayana Decadent Chocolate Bar Quartet. For the chocoholics in your life, Wisconsin-based Mayana Chocolate's Decadent Chocolate Bar Quartet ($34) is a unique and delicious gift. gift! Award-winning chef Daniel Herskovic pairs high-quality 66% dark chocolate with organic cream and a wide range of creative ingredients to craft these hand-crafted chocolate bars. Each one features a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The Fix bar features vanilla-bean shortbread and fleur de sel caramel. The Kitchen Sink bar (a Food & Wine Editor's Pick!) includes peanut butter, pretzels, and fleur de sel caramel. The Coconut Dream bar showcases dark cocoa and crispy coconut, and salted caramel provides another layer of deliciousness. Finally the Space bar's vanilla bean nougat, toasted almonds, and fleur de sel caramel is perfect for nut lovers. These bars are decadent and rich -- making them perfect for sharing. The four-pack of Mayana Chocolate bars are packaged in  beautiful Art Deco-inspired packaging. Visit the Uncommon Goods website to order this delicious artisan chocolate.

(5) bnutty Peanut Butter Sample Pack. Peanut butter is a favorite food for many food lovers...perhaps it speaks to their  love of childhood PB&J sandwiches. bnutty takes peanut butter to gourmet heights, offering 15 amazing and creative flavors, including S'more Dreams and Totally Toffee! All bnutty products start with honey roasted peanuts for a light sweetness. Their online store offers 10 year-round flavors and five seasonal flavors in 12-ounce jars for $8.00 each. Simply pick a few flavors, and bnutty can create a customized gift basket for you! However, my favorite bnutty gift is the fun Sample Pack. For $25, your gift recipient will receive two-ounce jars of TEN different bnutty flavors packaged in a gift box! It's a great way to taste a wide range of bnutty's yummy peanut butters and pick a favorite or two.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Twin Dragon Asian Wrapper Blogger Recipe Challenge...Featuring Big Easy Egg Rolls with Creamy Creole Dipping Sauce #TwinDragon #ChefYaki #twindragonwrappers #wontons #eggrolls #potstickers #TooktheChallenge

I'm taking part in the JSL Twin Dragon Asian Wrapper Blogger Recipe Challenge -- which is seeking creative spins on traditional egg rolls, wontons, and dumplings. JSL Foods' Twin Dragon Wrappers are non GMO, vegan, and manufactured using natural ingredients. In fact, Twin Dragon brand wrappers are the only Asian wrappers that are vegan. These wrappers are super easy to work with, and the results are consistently perfect -- whether they're boiled, steamed, or fried. Between the holiday season and weekly Houston Texans game watch parties, I'm always looking for fun new appetizers to share! My first thought was to use the Twin Dragon egg roll wrappers to make a handheld appetizer with the big flavors of New Orleans.

What I came up with was an original recipe for Big Easy Egg Rolls with Creamy Creole Dipping Sauce. These tasty egg rolls feature classic Louisiana flavors like sausage, shrimp, and chicken; sautéed onion, celery, and bell pepper (aka trinity); hot sauce and Creole seasoning for spice; and a bit of luscious cream cheese to bind all of the yummy filling ingredients together. After they're fried, the egg rolls are served with a quick creamy remoulade sauce on the side for dipping. Get ready for rave reviews when you serve these appetizers at your next party -- everyone who tries them goes crazy for them!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Perfect Holiday Dessert...Creamy Peppermint Bark Puff Pastry Tarts #easydessert #peppermint

I know many of you look forward to Fall all year long because it's officially time to celebrate all things pumpkin. I'm the exact same way about peppermint during the holiday season! I especially love the flavors of peppermint bark -- so I created a peppermint bark-inspired dessert that's simple to make, super yummy, and has tons of eye appeal. My festive Creamy Peppermint Bark Puff Pastry Tarts are perfect for holiday entertaining! They feature a flaky puff pastry shell with a fun peppermint bark rim. The embellished tarts are filled with pretty-in-pink peppermint mousse and a dollop of snow-white whipped cream. No one has to know how simple these tarts are to whip up. You can even decorate the tart shells and prepare the peppermint mousse up to 24 hours before serving to save time on your holiday prep!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooks #holidaygiftguide #GreatEight #giftsforcooks #whattobuy2018

The 2018 holiday gift giving season is here! If you're like me, you have a ton of food lovers and skilled cooks on your shopping list. Today, I'm sharing my favorite holiday gifts for the cooks in your life. Rest assured there are items to fit every budge...and I've personally tried out each item myself before recommending them to my readers! The items being feature this year are perfect for the cooks in you life, and they can be used in their kitchen all year long!

(1) Labell Cutting Board. A sturdy, well made cutting board is an essential item that every kitchen needs. Labell cutting boards are made in Canada from premium recovered/recycled hardwoods, using exceptionally high production standards. Labell uses raw materials that would otherwise be discarded to create their culinary works of art. Less waste is always a good thing in my book! I also love that many Labell cutting boards cost significantly less than other brand-name cutting boards. Prices range from $15 to $200+, depending on board size and type of wood used. Labell cutting boards can be ordered directly from their convenient online store, and they are available at select U.S. retailers.

(2) Le Creuset Heritage Rectangular Covered Casserole. I have been a fan of Le Creuset for years. Their enamel over cast iron and stoneware baking and cooking vessels provide consistently excellent results. My current favorite Le Creuset piece is their 4-quart Heritage Rectangular Casserole. This stoneware baker features a secure lid, making it ideal for transporting dishes to parties and potlucks year-round. Stoneware maintains even temperatures and prevents scorching -- and it's safe for the freezer, microwave, oven, broiler, and dishwasher. That means you can cook a dish ahead of time, freeze it, then cook and serve it -- all in the same casserole dish! The exterior enamel resists scratches and stains, and the nearly-nonstick glazed interior easily releases foods for quick cleanup. This Le Creuset Best Seller retails for $100, and is available in 15 colors -- so you're sure to find a color to coordinate with any kitchen décor! To purchase, simply visit the Le Creuset online store -- they're offering FREE SHIPPING on any order through November 30th!!

(3) Hamilton Beach FlexBrew® Coffee Maker Single Serve. This year, I became a coffee convert -- starting nearly every morning with a flavored iced latte. For making single servings of coffee, I've been loving Hamilton Beach's FlexBrew® single serve coffee maker. This convenient unit brews a single cup of coffee using either K-Cup® Pods* OR your favorite brand of gourmet ground coffee. Talk about flexible! Select from regular or strong brew...and 8-, 10-, or 14-ounce servings. Then press start...and you have a steamy mug of coffee in about a minute. I love that I can control what goes into my morning latte -- and it's much more economical than hitting the corner coffee shop! This model of Hamilton Beach FlexBrew® (49975) retails for $79.99. It can be purchased via Amazon, including FREE SHIPPING! As an added bonus, The Weekend Gourmet readers can use the code 10FLEXBREW at Amazon to SAVE 10% off when purchasing a FlexBrew® unit!

* K-Cup® pod is a registered trademark of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Use of the K-Cup® trademark does not imply any Hamilton Beach affiliation with or endorsement by Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.

(4) Le Creuset Stoneware Cake Stand. Le Creuset is known for its bakeware and cookware...but did you know they also feature stoneware serving pieces too? One of my favorites is the simply elegant Stoneware Cake Stand. Any baker's homemade cakes are display-worthy with this beautiful cake stand! At nearly 12 inches in diameter, it easily fits all cakes baked in standard size pans -- including bundts. As an added bonus, the sturdy exterior enamel glaze won't be damaged by metal utensils or knives. Further, the cake stand's nearly-nonstick glazed interior easily releases foods for quick cleanup, and it's dishwasher-safe. The Le Creuset Stoneware Cake Stand comes in seven colors, but the red-tone Cerise is absolutely perfect for holiday gift giving. Wouldn't it be fun to bake a festive holiday cake and gift the cake and cake stand together? The cake can be enjoyed immediately...and the cake stand can be used for a lifetime! The Stoneware Cake Stand retails for $50 and can be purchased direct from Le Creuset. As an added bonus, shipping is FREE on all orders through November 30th.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Holiday Comfort...Featuring Pumpkin Pie Hot White Chocolate #relaxingholiday #naturalbliss #smashcapade #sponsored

Thanksgiving is day after tomorrow -- can you believe it?!? I'm so excited to spend a few days in Houston celebrating with our families...eating some great food and spending time relaxing before the hectic holiday season hits full stride. Today, I'm sharing an easy recipe for a warm seasonal cocoa that's perfect for sipping over the upcoming holiday weekend -- and during the entire holiday season! My Pumpkin Pie Hot White Chocolate is like sipping a piece of pumpkin pie...and it's ready to enjoy in minutes. If you love pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte, then this beverage is perfect for you!

This comforting beverage is prepared on the stovetop, and the ingredients are easily doubled -- or even tripled -- to serve a crowd. It's made with vanilla almond milk, seasonal Coffeemate natural bliss® Pumpkin Spice creamer, white chocolate chips, fresh pumpkin puree, and warm pumpkin pie spice. If you haven't tried Coffeemate natural bliss® creamers, you're in for a treat! This all-natural line is made from real milk and cream from cows that aren't treated with added growth hormones -- and it's flavored with spices and real pumpkin. I especially love that these versatile creamers can be used to flavor more than coffee. The crowning touch? Just before serving, each steamy mug of cocoa is topped with a seasonal Pumpkin Pie Smashmallow marshmallow! These artisan marshmallows are made with organic sugar and non-GMO ingredients -- and no corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. They feature authentic pumpkin pie flavors, so they're a natural pairing for my Pumpkin Pie Hot White Chocolate!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Holiday Side Dish Week...Featuring Five-Ingredient Bacon-Ranch Creamed Corn #HolidaySideDishes #easysides #timesaver

Holiday Side Dish Week is wrapping up today. This week, I've joined a group of very talented food bloggers to share our "best of the best" holiday side dishes that will take you from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year's Eve! Everyone has their go-to traditional favorite dishes that are "must makes" every holiday season. However, it's also a lot of fun to try a few new dishes to keep things fresh and exciting. Today, I'm sharing a side dish that every busy cook needs to have in their repertoire during the hectic holiday season. 

My Five-Ingredient Bacon-Ranch Creamed Corn has only a few staple ingredients, and it can be assembled in minutes. It then cooks in the microwave in about 5 minutes. The end result is a creamy, decadent side dish that everyone will love. This recipe *definitely* provides a lot of bang for your cooking buck. The holidays are complicated anything that saves me a bit of time is a plus in my book!

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...24 Hours in Fort Worth #WGTravel #texastravel #roadtrip

One of the best things about living in a huge state like Texas is having an abundance of great places to visit for a quick road trip. We love being able to jump in the car and hit the road for a quick getaway whenever the mood strikes! Earlier this year, we spent a weekend getaway visiting the DFW Metroplex. Today, I'm sharing our experience visiting Fort Worth for 24 hours. Fort Worth is located west of Dallas and has a totally different vibe. According to Visit Fort Worth: "The City of Cowboys & Culture is the 15th-largest city in the United States [874,000 residents] and part of the No. 1 tourist destination in Texas, welcoming 9.1 million visitors annually." We headed to Fort Worth from San Antonio -- a quick 4.5-hour drive -- excited to see what excitement the city had to offer!

En route to Fort Worth, we stopped in Desoto for a late lunch at Top 5 BBQ -- one of Texas Monthly magazine's Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas. That designation always guarantees a fabulous BBQ experience. As this video shows, the smoked meat at family-owned Top 5 BBQ definitely did NOT disappoint! 

We were warmly greeted by owner Kendon Greene and brought his hand-selected sampler of Top 5's  delicious menu items -- including smoky pulled pork, juicy smoked chicken, tender prime brisket, meaty ribs, and sausage. We also sampled their creative -- and delicious -- signature BBQ Nachos. Imagine crispy house-made tortilla chips topped with chopped brisket, cheddar and queso, BBQ sauce, green onion, and jalapeno. They're a perfect mix of Texas BBQ and Tex-Mex!!

Our meal also included a variety of well-prepared sides. We especially loved their smoked beans and creamy potato salad. In Texas, BBQ meals are commonly capped off with fruit cobbler for dessert -- and Top 5's peach cobbler is a winner! The cobbler was the perfect ending to a fabulous meal. If you find yourself visiting the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a pit stop at Top 5 BBQ is a definite must!!

Photo provided by Sheraton 
We left Top 5 BBQ stuffed with delicious BBQ, put on some tunes, and drove the final 30 minutes of our road trip to Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, our home base for our stay. We dropped our car with the valet and quickly checked in, taking note of the spacious lobby -- which had lots of great nooks for sitting and relaxing. This pet-friendly hotel has 425 rooms and four suites. Rooms feature the comfortable Sheraton Signature Bed, mini-refrigerators, flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi. Upgrade Club Lounge rooms also include guest access to Club Lounge perks -- including complimentary breakfast and afternoon snacks, wine, and appetizers. 

We stayed in a Club Lounge Junior Suite -- which featured a bedroom with a King four-poster bed, a separate living area with sofa and chairs, and a spacious bathroom. The suite was HUGE (615 sq. ft.) and decorated in soothing shades of blue and gray. We settled in and decided to check out the Club Lounge. It featured panoramic Downtown Fort Worth views and a range of early evening snacks -- including wine and other beverages, fruit, cheese, and quesadillas. There was even sodas, granola bars, and chips that we could take back to our room for any late-night munchies!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Holiday Side Dish Week...Featuring French Onion Pulll-Apart Rolls #HolidaySideDishes #perfectsides

Welcome to Holiday Side Dish Week! A talented group of food bloggers -- including The Weekend Gourmet -- are sharing our favorite holiday side dish recipes this week. There’s a broad range of recipes, and you can be sure to find tons of creative side dish options to up your holiday side dish game. Today, I'm sharing the recipe for my over-the-top French Onion Pull-Apart Rolls...they're *definitely* a step up from typical holiday dinner rolls!
If you love French onion soup, you'll go crazy for these rolls -- which feature all the flavors of the classic soup. They're easy to make and oh-so-delicious! Even better, these savory dinner rolls can be assembled up to four hours ahead. Simply store covered, in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake. The smell in your kitchen while these rolls bake is amazing! Expecting a large holiday crowd? This recipe is easily doubled.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Recipe Re-Do: Savory Apple-Italian Sausage Bread Pudding -- Perfect for Thanksgiving! #lightenup #turkeyday #savorysides

Can you believe Thanksgiving is coming up in just TWO WEEKS?!?!? If you're looking for a delicious new side dish to add to your menu, I've got a perfect suggestion for you today! I originally featured this Savory Apple-Italian Sausage Bread Pudding recipe in 2014 -- and it was a definite reader favorite. I've made a few adjustments this time to make it a bit healthier, but it still features all of the Fall flavors that make the original recipe reminiscent of dressing/stuffing. It pairs perfectly with roasted turkey or chicken, so it's a perfect addition to any holiday table!

For this lighter version, I used mild Italian turkey sausage and tart Granny Smith apple, used half and half in place of heavy cream, and added a reduced amount of flavorful extra sharp cheddar cheese. I also used less butter and olive oil, and I subbed two egg white for one of the eggs used in the original recipe. This savory bread pudding might be lower in fat and calories than the original recipe...but there's no sacrifice in decadent flavor!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Spooky Good Popcorn for Halloween...a Perfect Halloween Treat! #alltreatnotrick #popcorn #caramel #HalloweenTreat

Halloween is tomorrow -- eek! If the date has snuck up on you this year, you need to act quickly. Today, I'm sharing a quick and easy popcorn-based snack mix that's perfect for Halloween munching. My Spooky Good Popcorn Snack Mix makes feeds a hungry group if you're planning an at-home Scary Movie Night celebration. This versatile, sweetly crunchy treat can also be bagged up in small portions and handed out when trick-or-treaters ring your doorbell tomorrow night. Make a batch tonight, and you're good to go for tomorrow!

I really like snack mixes like this, because they're easily customized to include your favorite flavors! To make your unique spin on this Spooky Good Popcorn Snack Mix, simply substitute your favorite Halloween candy. This time, I added Reese's Pieces and gummy candy corn...along with a drizzle of orange Candy Melts and semisweet chocolate. The idea is to have fun and let your imagination run wild. Easy to make, yummy to eat, and colorful? That's a winning trifecta to me, folks!