Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lang's Chocolates Keystone Pantry Allulose Blogger Recipe Challenge...Featuring Decadent Carb-Friendly Pumpkin-Pecan Salted Caramel Sauce #Keystonepantry #Alluloserecipe

Photo provided by Keystone Pantry
  • I was recently invited to participate in Lang's Chocolates Keystone Pantry Allulose Blogger Recipe Challenge! Keystone Pantry Allulose is a natural rare sugar, which means it naturally occurs in natural products --  and it has only 1 calorie per teaspoon (!!). Here's some handy facts about Allulose:
  • Allulose has the same bulk and browning characteristics as higher-calorie white sugar -- with almost none of the calories. 
  • Allulose is gluten-free, vegan, Kosher, diabetic-friendly, and free of sugar alcohols.
  • Allulose doesn't have an impact on blood sugar levels -- which sounds good to me! 
I was very excited to enter this contest, because we've been trying to reduce our consumption of white sugar and chemical-laden sugar substitutes. This recipe contest has three categories: Dessert and Baked Goods; Sauce, Marinade, or BBQ; and Entrée. My recipe entry is for the Sauce, Marinade, or BBQ category...I hope it's a winner!

My Carb-Friendly Pumpkin-Pecan Salted Caramel Sauce is decadent and sweet...but it has fewer calories and carbs because I used Allulose instead of white sugar! The addition of seasonal cinnamon, nutmeg, a touch of pumpkin puree, and chopped pecans takes this versatile salted caramel sauce truly over the top! You'll need to give this caramel sauce about 15 minutes of your undivided attention once you start making it. Caramel can go from golden perfection to burnt and ruined very quickly. However, your patience will be rewarded with four 8-ounce jars of delicious Fall-inspired salted caramel sauce -- enough to share! If you're intimidated by making a homemade caramel sauce, don't be! This recipe is very simple, and the final results are versatile and delicious. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road: UNT Mini Reunion at Fairmont Dallas #lifetimefrends #celebration

Earlier this year, Michael and I took part in a very special overnight mini reunion with a trio of my University of North Texas (UNT) roommates/sorority sisters in Dallas. We've been friends since living in Maple Hall dorm in 1986 -- that's more than THREE DECADES of friendship, folks! These days, the three of us live all over the globe...literally! Two of us are here in Central Texas, one lives in northern California, and one is across the globe in Singapore. Opportunities for all three of us to spend time together take a bit of coordinating. We all coordinated our schedules this Summer to meet for one very special evening at the elegant Fairmont Dallas hotel.
This mini reunion was extra special for Michael and I in the aftermath of my stroke last November. I'm very blessed to still be here to make new memories with these amazing lifelong friends! These three ladies organized and hosted a YouCaring fundraiser for us last year to help pay medical expenses while I was recovering from my stroke. This mini reunion was the perfect opportunity for us to thank them in person!

The Fairmont Dallas is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Dallas -- near tons of great restaurants and popular local attractions. The hotel was a perfect home base for our evening together! From a convenient, onsite Starbucks to a fabulous outdoor pool surrounded by picturesque view of Downtown Dallas, this 545-room luxury hotel is ideal for getaway -- both romantic weekends for two AND fun Girls Getaways. As this video shows, Fairmont Dallas offers everything you need for a memorable stay!

Michael and I arrived at the Fairmont first, along with our teenage niece Lili. Our room was spacious, with two Queen beds and a large marble bathroom. The first thing we noticed was a lovely welcome card and amenity from the Fairmont Dallas' management team -- a sampler of macarons and a bottle of chilled champagne! We settled in and shared the cookies while we waited for two of my girls to arrive. Stephanie and Debbie were staying in the room right next to us. How fitting that we were rooming side by side...just like we did at UNT's Maple Hall dorm in the 80's. The significant difference is that the Fairmont Dallas is a bit more posh than a college dorm...and no sharing one bathroom! After tons of hugs, we spent some time visiting and catching up. Before we knew it, it was time to meet our friend Liz and her son for a fun, casual dinner at Easy Slider Deep Ellum. The restaurant is located in the nearby funky Deep Ellum Historic District -- a quick 10-minute drive from the Fairmont.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Best Road Trip Snacks and Beverages #WGTravel #roadtrip

Today, The Weekend Gourmet is embarking on a weeklong road trip from our home in Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico! En route to Santa Fe, we'll stop at Big Spring and Pecos here in Texas...as well as Las Cruces, White Sands, and Albuquerque in New Mexico. During our return trip, we'll also spend the night in Midland here in Texas. Being able to travel again for this website was one of my primary goals during my stroke rehab. I love to explore new places...and their regional food...so being able to travel and eat were huge motivating factors during my healing process! Planning this weeklong road trip involved multitasking and organization, so it actually served as part of my ongoing outpatient occupational therapy. One important component of a road trip is making sure you have plenty of yummy snacks and drinks to enjoy along your route. Typically, we stop along the way and purchase snacks. Our route for this trip includes long stretches of road with few -- if any -- places to stop...so I assembled a collection of snacks and beverages! They're also great to have in our room for late-night munchies. The companies and products I selected for this trip include a few standby favorites -- as well as plenty of new-to-me items. 
  • Bohana Popped Water Lily Seed Snack. Popped water lily seeds have been eaten in India for thousands of years. Bohana flavors these grain-free puffs with Himalayan sea salt, mild cheddar cheese, or a combination of soulful spices. The flavor of the popped water lily snacks is mild and slightly nutty. The texture is less fluffy than popcorn, but not as crunchy as a chip. Once your start, it's hard to stop eating them! As an added plus, each 60-pop serving is just 120 calories.
  • IncrediPuffs. These delicious plant-based snack puffs are baked instead of fried, gluten free, and have 30% less fat than traditional potato chips. With fun flavors like Cheesy Cheddar, spicy Sizzlin' Sriracha, and robust Sicilian Pizza, these healthier plant-based puffs have zero artificial flavors and trans fat. Each 1-ounce serving contains approximately 140 calories.
  • Popchip Nutter Puffs. This crunch puff is an ideal snack for peanut butter lovers! Popchips created this salty-sweet puff, which combines the creaminess of real peanut butter with the crispiness of a snack puff. Each serving provides 5 grams of protein from real peanut butter...and just 120 calories. Flavors include Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter & Honey, and Peanut Butter & Chocolate. All three are totally delish. Happy snacking!
  • Moon Cheese Crunchy Snacks. Moon Cheese has one simple ingredient: cheese! They use a patented technique to remove all of the moisture from bite-sized pieces of cheese. The result is an all-natural crunchy snack that's high protein and calcium...and very low in carbs. It's downright addictive! Flavors include Cheddar, Gouda, and spicy Pepper Jack. A six-piece serving averages 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, and zero carbs.
  • Bissinger's Gummy Pandas...and a Chocolate Bar for Fun! Bissinger's is known for its decadent chocolate, but they also have a fabulous line of gourmet Gummy Pandas in creative flavors like Blueberry Acai and Blackberry Hibiscus. These aren't the gummies of your youth! These tasty treats are made with organic sweeteners and genuine fruit extracts. Speaking of chocolate...be sure to try Bissinger's creative European chocolate bars for a bit of decadence. I especially love their Dulce de Leche bar, which features buttery caramel flavored with a bit of cinnamon and fleur de sel. The caramel is inside a shell of deep milk chocolate
  • Holly Baking Cookie Brittle. This award-winning cookie brittle is crispy, perfectly buttery, and indeed crunchy (without being hard on your teeth). If you love crunchy cookies, this cookie brittle will definitely bring a huge smile to your face! It comes in seven delicious flavors, including: Butter Rich, Sweet Ginger, and Chocolate Chip. 
  • TCHO Chocolate. California-based TCHO chocolate partners with cacao farmers, cooperatives, and cocoa research institutes around the globe with one overriding goal: to produce the best cacao beans possible. They use these beans to create their Fair Trade organic chocolates. TCHO's line of eating chocolate ranges from milk to ultra dark. My personal favorite is their signature Mokaccino bar -- deep milk chocolate flavored with Blue Bottle Coffee. It tastes like a mashup of hot cocoa and cappuccino...swoon.
  • Goodie Girl Cookies Snack Packs. New York-based Goodie Girl offers a line of great tasting gluten free cookies. These cookies taste fabulous even if you're *not* gluten sensitive. Even better? Goodie Girl offers several all-natural flavors in convenient grab-and-go snack packs of eight cookies. These snack packs are perfect for road trips! We've tried the Chocolate Chunk (made with quinoa flour), Vanilla Cream, and Chocolate Cream and really enjoyed them. Very goodie, indeed
  • Frooze Balls Plant Powered Energy Balls. Frooze Balls were created in New Zealand and are now available in the U.S. These dairy free energy balls contain no refined sugar...and they're non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan friendly! Each packet contains a single serving of five energy balls made from dates and/or raisins, nuts, and natural flavors. My personal favorite is the Salted Maple, which is similar to salted caramel...but healthier. Each single-serve bag contains less than 300 calories and about 6 grams of protein.
  • Siren Protein Bites. Siren's tag line is, "Innocent indulgence powered by plants." The protein in these delicious protein-based bites comes from peas. Each single serve pack contains less than 200 calories and provides 12 grams of filling plant-based protein. Siren snacks are free from grain, dairy, and soy.  They come in one of four flavors: Snickerdoodle, Lemon Poppy Seed, Cookie Dough, and Dark Chocolate Brownie.
  • thinkTHIN Protein Cakes. Talk about a win-win situation: satisfy your snack cravings in a healthier way that's also a great source of protein!  thinkTHIN's fun Protein Cakes come in a trio of classic cake flavors: Birthday Cake, Chocolate Cake, and Red Velvet. Each gluten-free two-pack has just 170 calories and provides 12 grams of protein...with just 1 gram of sugar. What a fun, healthy way to slay your sweet cravings!
  • B. Nutty Peanut Butter. I'm a peanut butter lover from way back, so I'm nutty for B. Nutty's creative line of flavored peanut butters! They use US-grown peanuts to create the honey-roasted peanut butter base for all of their creative flavors. We're bringing two jars of B. Nutty on our trip: Blissful Blueberry and seasonal Pumpkin Spice. The blueberry is flavored with dried blueberries and milk chocolate (!!), and the pumpkin variety is flavored with pumpkin flakes and pumpkin pie spice. Both flavors will be perfect spread on crackers for a delicious on-the-go breakfast or snack
  • Base Culture Paleo Brownies. Whether you follow a paleo lifestyle or not, you'll love Base Culture's amazing brownies and bars! They're preservative free and made with simple, clean ingredients -- including bananas, almond butter, honey, and eggs. Base Culture sweet treats include Almond Butter Paleo Brownies, Raspberry Cocoa Brownies, and the lightly sweet new Cashew Butter Blondie.
  • Fairytale Brownies Fairytale Medley. Phoenix-based Fairytale Brownies creates a line of decadent, fudgy brownies in a wide range of delicious flavors -- and sizes. These brownies are truly an indulgence! They're made with natural ingredients like Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate, creamery butter, fine cake flour, and fresh eggs. Further, they don't use trans fats, preservatives, or artificial colors. The Fairytale Medley box contains three full-size brownies, six Fairytale Sprites (3-4 bites), and a dozen Magic Morsel bite-size brownies -- which are perfect when you just want "a little something sweet!"  Fairytale Brownies come in a dozen flavors, including: Toffee Crunch, Cream Cheese, and Pecan.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Build a Better Salad with Litehouse...Featuring Fall Chopped Chicken Salad #BuildABetterSalad #FallSalad

It's quickly coming up on October...and Fall is in the air. Even here in Central Texas, the weather starting to cool off from Summer hot to merely warm! I love creating hearty main dish salads all Summer long...but did you know Fall is also a great time to enjoy a hearty main dish salad? By using seasonal ingredients and flavors, you can easily transition your salad game from Summer to Fall! Today, I'm partnering with Litehouse Foods to show you how to use their organic salad dressings to build a better salad any time of year!
Litehouse Organic salad dressings contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives -- and they are USDA organic, gluten free, and non-GMO. The dressings are available in a variety of delicious flavors that are perfect for providing amazing flavor to you salad creations. I received a sampler of delicious Litehouse Organic dressings -- including Balsamic Vinaigrette and creamy, spoonable Ranch and blue cheese dressings. I used the Organic Lemon Herb Dressing & Marinade to create my Fall Chopped Chicken Salad -- it provides a citrus punch that perfectly complements the salad's Fall flavors. Chicken breast, roasted sweet potato and onion, crunchy apple, nuts, feta, and dried cranberries are tossed in the lemony vinaigrette and served slightly warm or at room temperature. The salad is garnished with flat leaf parsley, but there are no salad greens in this hearty salad. If you think salads are just for Spring and Summer, this Fall-inspired salad is certain to change your mind!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out...Featuring Mi Dia from Scratch #WGDinesOut #WGTravel

After we returned to Texas en route back from Memphis, we spent the night in Dallas before heading home to San Antonio. While in Dallas, we enjoyed an *amazing* meal at the Plano location of Mi Dia from Scratch! What makes this restaurant different is its menu inspirations. Mi Dia from Scratch includes a fusion of delicious Tex-Mex, Mexico City, and New Mexico menu items. The end result is both familiar and innovative! The Weekend Gourmet team was warmly welcomed and shown to our table. What transpired over the following couple of hours was a delicious guided tour of the Mi Dia from Scratch menu.

While we were being seated, one of the first things we noticed was the restaurant's upscale casual décor and open feel. There was lots of light and colorful art on the walls. As we looked over the menu, we chatted with the general manager, who suggested we with cocktails and their signature Tableside Guacamole. The Mi Dia from Scratch bar décor is modern and very eye catching! Their mixology program is extensive, creative, and bold. It features margaritas, martinis, and lots of uniquely fun cocktails. Mi Dia's signature Cloud 9 cocktail features Codigo 1530 Blanco tequila, Cointreau Noir, lemon and lime juices, and vanilla agave. Before being served, the drink is topped with hibiscus air -- foam  that is created via molecular gastronomy with an immersion blender. The light pink color of the foam is very pretty. As you sip the drink, you smell a faint aroma of hibiscus. Love this interactive cocktail!

The dramatic and spicy Hell Freezer Over cocktail featured green chile-infused Herradura Silver tequila, Cointreau, lime, cucumber, basil, agave, and dry ice. This bubbly cocktail is served rimmed with spicy Hatch pepper and salt. The presentation when it comes to the table is a really fun surprise! 

While we waited for our cocktails to arrive from the bar, we were treated to a show as a friendly server created a batch of customized Tableside Guacamole for us to enjoy with our cocktails. Perfectly ripe avocados were combined with cilantro, onion, tomatoes, spices...and our preferred level of spicy chiles...to create guacamole just the way we like it. The crowning touch that Mi Dia from Scratch offers for its guacamole? Smoky crumbled bacon added to the top before serving. Swoon...talk about a mic drop moment! The smokiness of the bacon definitely added a little something special to the creaminess of the avocados. Our meal was off to an amazing start with these next-level cocktails and guacamole.

Next from the kitchen was a duo of starters: Sopes de Carnitas and Quesadillas de Huitlacoche. The sopes were comprised of made-in-house corn masa boats topped with Oaxacan black beans, savory pork carnitas, crumbled queso fresco, pickled red onions, roasted tomatilllo salsa, and micro cilantro. The combination of rich roasted pork, tart pickled onions, and earthy masa made for a perfect bite!
The Quesadilla de Huitlacoche was my first time try this delicacy from Mexico. If you haven't had huitlacoche, it's a fungus that grows on corn as it grows in the fields. It's earthy, reminiscent of truffles or mushrooms...but with a flavor entirely its own. In the quesadilla, its flavor married very well with queso asadero, roasted vegetables, and house made blue corn tortillas. The crema and New Mexico chile sauces provided another level of flavor to this tasty dish.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Memphis Road Trip Part 1: Louisiana, Mississippi, Graceland...and More #TXtoMemphis2018 #WGTravel #roadtrip

Earlier this Summer, The Weekend Gourmet team embarked on a weeklong road trip from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee. We also visited Louisiana and Mississippi en route to Memphis. The drive from our social media team's home in the Golden Triangle area (near the TX-LA border) to Memphis took about 9 hours -- including stops in Louisiana for some authentic boudin sausage and Jackson, Mississippi, for lunch! Today, I'm sharing Part 1 of our journey. If you've never been to Memphis, it's a fabulous city to visit...especially if you love good music, good food, and history! We hit the road early Monday morning and headed east toward Louisiana. After a pit stop in Hammond for boudin, our route headed north toward Jackson -- and lunch at Pig & Pint.


Pig & Pint specializes in two things: BBQ and beer -- not a bad combination in my book! We loved their creative spin on traditional BBQ, and they offer one of the largest selections of craft beer in the entire state of Mississippi. We had a blast trying Pig & Pint signature menu items selected for us by co-owner Chris Clark -- including the uniquely delicious Pork Belly Corn Dogs. Let that sink in for a sec...a crispy cornbread exterior surrounding a center of silky pork belly. It goes without saying...but this appetizer was INSANELY delicious! We also tried two of Pig & Pint's specialty sandwiches: the Fried Baloney Sandwich and the surprising Bacon Melt. The Fried Baloney Sandwich is definitely a cut above the baloney sandwiches you ate as a kid! It features a brioche bun filled with a thick slice of spicy house-made bologna, an over-easy egg, American cheese, creamy-spicy comeback dressing, and house-made BBQ pickles. This is definitely next-level comfort food...a bit messy, but supremely delicious. 

What we weren't prepared for was the Bacon Melt. It's not something we'd typically order, but Chris assured us it was amazing. The sandwich features pork belly, brisket, Swiss cheese, collard greens, comeback dressing on Wheat Berry Bread. All it took was one bite for us to agree. Mind blown...this is easily the very best sandwich I've eaten this year!! The combination of rich pork belly, smoky brisket, slightly bitter greens, and earth Swiss cheese was a flavor bomb we won't soon forget.
We also had to try some of Pig & Pint's traditional BBQ, so we shared a slab of their Award-Winning Pepsi Cola-Glazed Baby Back Ribs. They were fall-off-the-bone tender, with a sweetly spicy sauce...Michael definitely found them "kiss worthy!" Before saying goodbye to Pig & Pint, we split an order of their deliciously rich bread pudding for dessert.
I can't recommend Pig & Pint highly enough! The next-level BBQ is delicious and creative...and the atmosphere is relaxed and casual. After our lunch, we piled back into our rental SUV for the last leg of our drive to Memphis.

Photograph provided by IHG
We arrived in Memphis in the early evening and headed straight for the Holiday Inn Memphis - Downtown (Beale St.), our home base for the first half of our stay. This recently renovated hotel features spacious rooms decorated in soothing tones of gray, convenient valet parking, and a location that truly can't be beat! Within an easy walk of the hotel are several iconic Memphis restaurants and entertainment  options -- including the legendary Beale St.! The check-in process was quick and simple -- I loved the modern, open lobby. During the day, it had a ton of natural light. The onsite Downtown Bar and Grille made it easy for us to start both mornings of our stay with breakfast -- offering both a buffet and menu options.
As this video montage clearly demonstrates, Holiday Inn Memphis - Downtown is an ideal home base for any extended stay in Memphis!

When we got to our room, we settled in and quickly discovered a fun package of goodies from Memphis Tourism waiting for us! Included were tickets to visit Sun Studio and the Stax Records Museum (more on those coming up soon!) -- along with some handy Memphis branded mementos. Memphis Tourism is a fabulous source for anyone planning a visit to Memphis! Their user-friendly website is a central location to learn about the city's best attractions, hotels, and restaurants. Instead of searching all over the web randomly, you'll find all of the information you need to plan a Memphis location in one convenient location. 


Speaking of convenient...Holiday Inn Memphis Downtown is located a few short steps from one of Memphis' iconic BBQ restaurants! Charlie Vergos Rendezvous is a Memphis legend, serving up its famous charcoal-cooked  ribs since 1948. All we had to do was walk outside of the hotel, take a left, and walk less than a block to reach Rendezvous for dinner. It doesn't get more convenient than that! For SEVEN DECADES, the Vergos family has served their signature dry rub ribs in a basement located in a Downtown alley -- eating at Rendezvous is a uniquely Memphis dining experience!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Gorton's Game Day Appetizer...Featuring Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Dip with Herbed Pita Chips

Football season started this weekend (GO TEXANS!!), and baseball playoff time for my beloved Houston Astros starts in a few short weeks. That means it's time for me to come up with some new gameday snacks to add to my appetizer roster  -- because all that cheering takes a lot of energy. Today, I'm featuring Gorton's Simply Bake Creamy Alfredo Shrimp in a warm, cheesy dip that everyone will LOVE! This delicious Gorton's item featured individually frozen shrimp coated in a rich Alfredo sauce. Because it's ready to use, Gorton's Simply Bake Cream Alfredo Shrimp saves me a ton of preparation time!

My Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Dip with Herbed Pita Chips tastes so decadently rich that no one will ever guess it's made with lower-fat ingredients and homemade baked pita chips. Another great feature of this dip is that can be assembled a day ahead and refrigerated until just before you're ready to pop the serving dish in the oven to bake. I'm all for saving time, because it helps ensure I don't miss a single play because I'm in the kitchen!


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wendy's Great Eight for September 2018 #WendyGreatEight #tryit

It's September...and the Summer heat is finally moderating in Central Texas. It's definitely not Fall weather yet, but I'll take it! It's also time for another edition of my monthly Wendy's Great Eight column! I have some really great new...and new-to-me food items to share with you this month. So...let's get going!

(1) Coffee-mate natural bliss® Products. One of my favorite daily indulgences is a morning iced coffee latte. I have a couple of tips to reduce calories and fat in my little treat, though. I start with a bit of cold coffee, then I add a cup of vanilla almond milk. Finally, I add a bit of flavored creamer for sweetness and added flavor. Lately, I've been using Coffee-mate's natural bliss® creamers. They're made with simple ingredients and all-natural flavorings -- like milk and cream from cows that do not receive growth hormones, cane sugar, and natural flavorings. Don't use dairy? No problem! natural bliss® creamers also come in non-dairy almond milk and coconut milk varieties. All of the flavors I've tried are smooth and lightly sweet, without being overly sweet. My personal favorite flavor is the Honey Cream almond milk creamer. This non-dairy creamer is flavored with Madagascar vanilla extract, cane sugar, and honey -- I love the warm sweetness it adds! For those mornings when I'm in a big hurry, I also love the natural bliss® Cold Brew Coffee! It's bottled ready-to-pour over ice and enjoy on the go...and it contains nonfat milk, cold brew coffee, cane sugar, and cream. An 8-ounce serving over ice has just 135 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 6 grams of protein, and 18 grams sugar. Coffee-mate's natural bliss®  line has definitely improved my morning coffee game!

(2) Peet's True Iced Espresso Canned Beverage. When I make my morning iced coffee, I feel that it's important to start out with a quality coffee for my foundation...one that is smooth and intense (without being overly strong). One of the best brands I've tried recently is Peet's line of True Iced Espresso, which comes in ready-to-drink cans. I typically use half of a can for a morning's iced coffee. Each variety starts with Peet's signature dark espresso -- flavored with simple, all-natural ingredients. Peet's True Iced Espresso comes in four great flavors: Black and White, Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte, and Mocha. They can definitely be enjoyed straight from the can for an on-the-go beverage...but I personal use them as a base for my morning iced coffee. With 100-to-130 calories for an 8-ounce serving, Peet's True Iced Espresso is an indulgence that won't leave you feeling guilty all day! It can be found a major retailers nationwide or ordered directly via Peet's website.

(3) Morningstar Farms Meat Lovers 1/4-lb Vegan Burger. There's nothing quite a classic hamburger...but I am watching my fat and cholesterol intake these days. That means eating more plant-based meals. Morningstar Farms recently introduced a new Meat Lovers 1/4-lb. vegan burger that makes a mean cheeseburger -- with a fraction of the fat in a traditional burger! Each 280-calorie patty provides 27 grams of plant based protein and 26% less fat than a regular beef patty -- and 4 net carbs! Also important is...how does it *taste*?!?!? We love these huge burgers -- the texture is very meat like, and the taste is great! We add lots of veggies, a slice of lowfat cheese, and our favorite condiments and thoroughly enjoy these plant-based burger patties on our weekly "vegetarian days"! To find Morningstar's new Meat Lover...and Veggie Lover...1/4-lb. vegan burger near you, visit Morningstar's handy online store locator.

(4) Tillamook Sauce Starter. Cheese is one of my favorite foods...and one of my favorite cheese brands is Tillamook! We visited the factory during a trip to Oregon a few years ago, which only affirmed my love for this delicious cheese. I recently tried their new line of Sauce Starter kits...and I'm hooked! Each package includes a blend of coarsely shredded Tillamook cheese and a spice packet. Add the ingredients and milk in a saucepan...then heat and stir until the cheese melts and you have a creamy, cheesy sauce! Tillamook Sauce Starters come in four flavors: Creamy Alfredo, Aged Cheddar, Three Cheese, and Spicy Queso. I used this versatile product two ways so far. First, I used the  Creamy Alfredo to make a sauce for a butternut squash spiral "pasta" skillet. Then, I used the Three Cheese to make a pot of cheesy broccoli-cauliflower soup. I can't wait to use the Spicy Queso to make queso dip for the Texans game this weekend! These Tillamook Sauce Starters are on the short list for my Best New Food Item of 2018 designation. To find these sauce kits near you, use the search engine found at Tillamook's website.