Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pritikin 35th Anniversary Blogger Contest Part II: Learn More About Pritikin

This post serves as the second part of my official entry in the Pritikin Longevity Institute's 35th Anniversary Blogger Contest. One lucky blogger will be selected by Pritikin to attend their official 35th Anniversary celebration at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami in May.

This month, I was excited to be invited to participate in the Pritikin Longevity Center's 35th Anniversary Blogger Contest. If you're not familiar with Pritikin, they focus on living a healthy lifestyle that focuses on the following key components: healthy eatingcardiovascular, strength, and stretching activity; and a healthy mindset. For the first part of my entry, I shared a health goal that I want to reach by 2015. In case you missed it, my health goal for 2015 is to lose 30 lbs. and lower my cholesterol to under 200. I'm closing in on 50 in a couple of years (eek!!), so maintaining a healthy weight and increasing my exercise means more than rocking a bikini at the beach this Summer. Now, it's about staying healthy and living a longer life. With a family history of diabetes, cancer, and high is the perfect time to learn how to enjoy my love of good food in a more responsible way. I'm hoping that a weekend stay at the Pritikin Longevity Center will be just the springboard that I need to make some key changes in my health...and in my waistline...over the remainder of 2014. 

Deprivation simply will not work for Pritikin's moderate, healthy approach really appeals to me! To learn more about Pritikin's upcoming 35th Anniversary celebration in Miami -- as well as take an interactive look at the key components of the Pritikin program -- check out their online magazine. If selected as the winner of this contest, I'll receive a complimentary VIP weekend at the exclusive Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami. While there, I would take part in the weekend's official 35th anniversary celebration. I'd also take part in fitness classes, as well as interactive nutrition and cooking classes. I think this weekend getaway would be the jumpstart that I need to begin working toward my 2015 health goal. Increasing my exercise and focusing on healthy eating will definitely help me lose weight and lower my cholesterol! If I'm the blogger chosen by Pritikin, I'll share the entire experience in here, as well as sharing live social media posts via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Not only that, I'll also keep you updated on my progress toward my health goals throughout the rest of 2014. To get to know more about Pritikin and its program, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in Pritikin Longevity Center's 35th Anniversary Blogger Contest. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wendy's Favorite Things for April

I'm not sure where this month has gone to...I looked at the calendar today and realized that April is very nearly over, and I still need to share Wendy's Favorite Things for this month. Just wait until you see all the fabulous items that make up this month's Great Eight. I've got some fun snack ideas, a perfect Mother's Day gift suggestion, a handy wine buying guide, and my key to making perfectly creamy risotto. Let's get going!

(1) Acquerello Rice. There's rice...and there's this rice. This is truly the Rolls Royce of rice, and it makes the best risotto you'll ever taste! Acquerello is carnaroli rice produced in Italy by the Rondolino family. They utilize unique production techniques, including aging the rice while it's in the paddy. It arrives vacuum sealed in a variety of sizes, ready to use in your kitchen. I learned about carnaroli rice from a Thomas Keller cookbook. I tried it myself and discovered it makes risotto that cooks up creamy, but not sticky. Then, I discovered Acquerello and was hooked. It's a bit pricier than most risotto rices, but it's so worth it! I can definitely tell a difference in my risotto, including the Indulgent Pesto Risotto I recently featured. Acquerello can be purchased via select gourmet grocers, as well as online via Amazon.

(2) ips Egg White Chips. If you like to include more protein in your day, I have a tasty snack option to share with you. These ips chips are made with lowfat, high-protein egg whites. They taste great and provide 7 grams of protein per serving. Not only that, they're pressure puffed. That means they're crispy without being fried. They come in several fun flavors, including: Aged White Cheddar (my personal fave!), Barbecue, Cinnamon Sugar (a bit like breakfast cereal), and Seal Salt & Pepper. These make a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up or post-gym snack, and I found that I stayed satisfied longer than I do with crackers or other carb-based snacks. To find ips Egg White Chips near you, visit their convenient store locator via their website.

(3) Not So Simple Syrup. So many cocktail recipes call for the addition of simple syrup of some kind. It can be a pain to make, though. Enter Not So Simple Syrup! This fabulous product comes in lots of fun flavors in handy ready-to-use bottles. They offer six fun flavors, including: lemon, mint, cranberry, blackberry, orange, and strawberry. I'm partial to the lemon and the blackberry varieties. Don't drink alcohol? No problem at all! These versatile syrups can be used to flavor iced tea and seltzer water too. The lemon and mint varieties would be especially refreshing in a tall glass of iced tea. Not So Simple Syrup can be purchased via their convenient online store, both individual flavors and a fun variety sampler.

(4) Shari's Berries Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. Mother's Day is right around the corner, and I've got a fabulous gift idea for you. Shari's Berries will ship her a dozen decadent chocolate-dipped strawberries. These berries are out of this world! They offer several collections, but my favorite is the variety gift box that contains a dozen dipped berries in white, milk, and dark chocolate. They arrive carefully packed to ensure that they arrive in perfect condition. The chocolate is creamy, and the berries inside? They're HUGE, deep red, and so juicy! We were very impressed with both the flavor and the presentation of the berries that we tried. To order Shari's Berries -- or any of the other fabulous treats they offer -- visit their online store

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wendy's Tropical Escape Cocktail...Inspired by Glade's Seasonal Room Fragrances

I love using home fragrances to keep my home smelling inviting and fresh...and I most often use Glade products. I was very excited to have the opportunity to try out selections from their new Wild for Spring Limited Edition, as well as selections from their line of Premium Room Sprays. Both collections feature scents that capture the fresh scents of Spring. I enjoyed burning the long-lasting scented candles, along with using the room sprays for a quick burst of fragrance when I needed it most. I decided to use the fragrances in my home and let them inspire me to create a cocktail to pair perfectly with them. From the Spring limited-edition collection, I burned the Let Loose candle. This scent combines tropical scents like mandarin, pineapple, and oranges. The fruity smell made my living room smell like juicy citrus fruits.

For a burst of fragrance, I paired the Let Loose candle with the Playful Paradise scent from Glade's line of premium room sprays. This fragrance combines fruit and floral scents, including: watermelon, peach, freesia, and a hint of vanilla. It was light and refreshing...and it combined really nicely with the scent form the candle to transport my mind to past vacations on the beach in Cancun! All I needed was a tropical drink to keep the fantasy going. I went into the kitchen, pulled out my blender and created a tropical-inspired cocktail that I call Wendy's Tropical Escape. One sip of sweet, fruity cocktail -- combined with the awesome room fragrances from Glade -- and I was enjoying memories of the tropics right in my living in Texas! I love using scent to create a relaxing atmosphere, and this little experiment worked perfectly.

My original frozen cocktail creation combines two kinds of fresh fruit, a generous helping of coconut-infused rum, and POM Wonderful's yummy POM Hula juice blend. It contains a blend of both pomegranate and pineapple juices, so it worked really nicely with the rest of the ingredients in my tropical drink. Not only does it taste good, but it packs a healthy punch as well! If you prefer a non-alcholic drink, simply substitute coconut water for the coconut-infused rum. You'll still be able to enjoy the subtle coconut background flavor that's essential for a drink that's inspired by the beach.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Five Ingredients (or Less) #SundaySupper -- Featuring Sopapillla Cheesecake Bites

This week, #SundaySupper is featuring recipes that contain no more than five ingredients. Our hostess for this fun challenge is Alice from Hip Foodie Mom. The idea behind this week's theme is pretty simple: a recipe doesn't have to have a mile-long ingredient list to be delicious. Sometimes simple really is these decadent little Sopapilla Cheesecake Bites prove. Using five basic ingredients that I always have in my kitchen, I can whip up a batch of these flaky pastries in less than 30 minutes. They're tasty and so versatile -- they make a great weekend breakfast, a delicious snack with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a great dessert for your next Tex-Mex feast!

If you've never had a sopapilla, it's a Mexican dessert of fried dough that's tossed in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with honey. The only way I could think of to make the original better was to stuff it with a creamy filling! I have a secret to share: I always keep a package of puff pastry in my freezer. It's one of my go-to ingredients for making simple appetizers and desserts that only look complicated...and now, it's YOUR secret too! With this magical ingredient in my freezer, I'm always ready for last-minute guests...or sudden cravings. For these sweet puffs, squares of puff pastry are filled with sweetened cream cheese and baked. Just before serving, they're generously covered in cinnamon sugar. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Glam's Foodie Contributor Program...Featuring Ice Cream and Sweet Treats

This month, Glam's Foodie Contributor Program is a bit of a wild card. We were asked to come up with a theme of our choosing and create a mouthwatering recipe collection...and it didn't take me long to come up with the perfect idea! After a colder-than-usual Winter here in Texas, Summer is definitely on its way. We're going to be in the mid-90s this I knew that Ice Cream and Sweet Treats would be a fun and fitting theme. I searched some of the best food blogs on the web and came up with some frozen treats that are guaranteed to cool you off and satisfy your sweet tooth.

My collection includes milkshakes, ice pops, ice cream sandwiches, gelato, and ice cream. Some of the recipes are decadent...but I also sprinkled in some healthier fruit-based options too! Some are family-friendly, but a few are adults-only treats that include alcohol. I tried to offer everything from classic flavors to unique and creative flavor options. Summer lasts a long time in Texas, and it gets H-O-T. I need as many frozen treat recipes as I can to ensure I stay cool during the hottest part of the year. I do believe my Ice Cream and Sweet Treat collection is a fantastic start...and I can't wait to try some of these recipes out in my kitchen very soon!!

Disclosure: This is a compensated post on behalf of Glam Media. I created the recipe collection on my own, and all opinions expressed are solely mine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Perfect Duo for TV Lovers: S'mores Popcorn Snack Mix...and Beamly!

When I'm not busy whipping up tasty creations in the kitchen, I enjoy chilling out with Michael in front of the television. We enjoy watching food-related shows, but we also love watching comedies, late-night TV, and a few animated series. Beamly is a really cool website and smart phone app that I recently discovered, and I've been having a lot of fun checking it out this week! Beamly lets you chat with other fans about your favorite TV shows. You can follow my Beamy profile and join me in my favorite TV Rooms to chat with me about some of my favorite programs. A few of the Rooms that I'm currently following are The Tonight Show, True Blood, and Hell's Kitchen. If you love to watch TV...and love to talk about it...this is the perfect platform for you!

When Michael and I watch TV, we always enjoy having something to munch on...and what better than popcorn? But not just any popcorn, mind you. I love to whip up a big bowl of my addictive S'mores Popcorn Snack Mix. With a few simple ingredients and a super-quick prep, this is a fun and easy snack to make before you settle in to catch up on your favorite TV programs. If you love s'mores, you're going to go crazy for this simple and satisfying snack. It's a sure-fire hit with kids of all ages!

S'mores Popcorn Snack Mix
a Weekend Gourmet Original

  • 4 cups popcorn, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tbs. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup bite-sized graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Add the room-temperature popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Combine the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and add to the bowl. Stir until the cocoa mixture evenly coats the popcorn.
Step 2: Add the marshmallows, grahams, white chips, and chocolate chips to the popcorn mixture in the bowl. Use a spatula to evenly combine the ingredients and scoop into plastic cups for easy serving.
It truly doesn't get easier than this! For such a little investment of time, you're rewarded with a delicious and fun sweet treat. Each bite features all your favorite s'mores flavors...and the cocoa coating on the popcorn kernels really ties all the flavors together. I hope you'll whip up a batch of this s'mores popcorn snack mix for your next TV night. I also hope you'll watch this commercial to learn more about Beamly:

Beamly is THE 24 X 7 social and content network for TV and TV fans. Join me today in TV conversations and get the latest juice and gossip about your favorite shows! To join in on the fun at Beamly, simply visit their website and sign up for Beamly. You can also download the app for your smart phone and take the fun on the go!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Beamly. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for April...Featuring Sea Island Shrimp House

This month's The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out featured restaurant is a San Antonio favorite for the past five decades: Sea Island Shrimp House. For seafood lovers in the city, this is THE place to go for fresh Texas seafood. The food is consistently excellent, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is laidback and casual. For those reasons and more, loyal fans have been flocking to the restaurant's six local locations since 1965! We love to take visiting friends and family here for relaxing seafood dinners, and everyone who's tried it loves it as much as we do. As a testament to Sea Island's popularity locally, they were selected 2013 Best of San Antonio Winner for Best Seafood Restaurant, as well as being selected San Antonio Express-News Readers' Choice for both Seafood & Longtime Favorite Restaurant last year.
Our neighborhood Sea Island location recently had Michael and I out for a Lenten Friday dinner feast so we could try some of their signature menu items and share them with you. We were warmly welcomed the moment we walked in the door -- despite the restaurant being packed with hungry customers. We were quickly shown to our table and given menus to look over. First up on our tasting was one of Sea Island's signature appetizers, the refreshing and light Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail. 
Served with crispy tortilla chips, this chunky appetizer features huge chunks of sweet boiled shrimp, chunks of creamy avocado, onion, tomato, cocktail sauce, and cilantro. It is the perfect start to a meal...perfect for sharing. We were just getting started, though. Up next came a duo of fried entree classics: Crispy Catch platter and Fried Colossal Shrimp (my personal favorite). The food was fried up crispy and light...not the least bit greasy.
The Crispy Catch features two panko-crusted whitefish fillets, two stuffed shrimp, and two sides. The Fried Colossal Shrimp includes a half dozen sweet, jumbo-sized shrimp lightly breaded and fried up golden-brown. For shrimp lovers, this is the ultimate: huge butterflied shrimp fried when you order for maximum freshness. We weren't done yet...there were still two more entrees coming out of the kitchen: Sea Island's signature Lemon Pepper Fish & Grilled Shimp...and the lighter-option Broiled Catfish Platter. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Biscoff-Toffee Easter Truffles

It’s Easter weekend, so I wanted to share one of my favorite Easter treats from Easter 2012 – my Biscoff-Toffee Easter Truffles. These babies are super easy to make and really fun to decorate. They’re as much fun as coloring Easter eggs, they look equally colorful and festive in an Easter basket…and they’re a perfect addition to your family’s dessert table. How’s that for a win-win scenario? These truffles can even be prepared Saturday and refrigerated until Easter morning. Simply arrange the finished truffles on a seasonal serving platter – or inside a small Easter basket – and everyone will go absolutely crazy for them. 

These truffles feature a double shot of Biscoff, incorporating both crushed Biscoff cookies and a generous helping of creamy Biscoff spread. For flavor and crunch, I also added toffee bits from the baking aisle. For décor, I bought pink candy melts and a container of assorted Spring/Easter décor at a local craft store and had a great time decorating these no-bake goodies. The filling comes together in minutes, gets rolled into balls, and hangs out in the freezer for a few minutes. That gives you a pocket of time to prep the candy melts and set up your dipping and decorating station. Have fun, and let your creativity flow!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Desserts with Driscoll's...Featuring White Chocolate Cheesecake-Berry Trifles

Spring has arrived here in Texas, and lots of fresh berries are arriving in the Produce department of my local grocery stores. I enjoy eating and cooking with sweet, juicy berries this time of year...and my very favorite berries are from Driscoll's. They're consistently sweet, juicy, and at peak ripeness. The nice folks at Driscoll's recently asked me to create a fun Springtime dessert showcasing their berries, and I jumped at the chance! I knew that I wanted to make something light and refreshing that allowed the sweet berries to take center stage. I'm in love with my individual trifle cups and decided to create another original mini trifle recipe. 

My White Chocolate Cheesecake-Berry Trifles use cubed angel food cake, because it's lighter in fat and calories -- something many of us are thinking about as bathing suit season draws near. Strawberries were a must, and I paired them with blackberries...also known as dewberries here in the South. I grew up eating them and love them! The cheesecake filling is made from cream cheese, half and half, and a healthy dose of melted white chocolate. Put it all together, and you've got a fabulous Springtime dessert that's perfect for Easter this weekend. Even better? The individual components can be made up to a day ahead, saving you time in the kitchen on Easter Sunday!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...Dallas Roadtrip Part II

Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels
Our Dallas weekend adventure continued with an overnight stay at one of the city's best luxury properties, The Rosewood Crescent. Located in the tony Uptown Dallas area, this property features gorgeous decor and beautifully landscaped grounds. The location was perfect for easy access to many of Downtown Dallas's most popular attractions and restaurants. Although it's in the heart of the city, we felt miles away once we drove through the gates and entered the property. We arrived and were very impressed with the property, starting with check-in. I had a headache and inquired if there was a gift shop where I could buy some aspirin. The friendly desk attendant smiled, walked over to a wooden armoire behind the desk, and came back with complimentary meds for me. The armoire is fully stocked with a wide range of travel-size toiletries and meds that are complimentary for guests. Forget to pack your toothpaste? No problem...they've got you covered. We pay close attention to customer service, and little extras like this really impressed us! 
We hopped on an elevator and discovered that we'd been booked in one of their spacious bi-level Loft Suites. These suites features a spacious living area, a spiral staircase, loft bedroom and bathroom area, and Juliet balcony. All rooms on the property include complimentary WiFi, individual thermostats, and some of the most luxurious bed linens we've ever experienced! Other amenities offered at the property include an on-site spa, fitness center, and pool. Dining options include Starbucks and Nobu Dallas. All of these features combine to make the Rosewood Crescent the perfect home-away-from-home!
We relaxed for a bit, then it was time to get ready for dinner. We had a double feature planned: appetizers and cocktails at El Fenix, then entrees and dessert next door at sister restaurant Meso Maya. The original location of Tex-Mex chain El Fenix is located in Downtown Dallas. They invited us for margaritas and a sampling of their signature appetizers to start our evening! Their margaritas have been voted the best in Dallas for the past 3 years, and they are excellent! I had the Strawberry Margarita, while Michael opted for The Original. To go with our perfectly sweet-tart cocktails, we enjoyed two appetizers. We started with the Appetizer Combo, featuring homemade guacamole and fire-roasted queso. We followed it with the Assorted Botana Platter.

Everything was so tasty! The guacamole was creamy and perfectly seasoned, and the queso was flavorful with just enough spice. The chips were warm and crispy, and not the least bit greasy! The appetizer platter included a nice sampling of El Fenix's classic appetizers, including: Chicken Nachos with Sour Cream, Beef Fajita Quesadilla, Chicken Flauta, and Beef Flauta. These offerings paired perfectly with the margaritas and the guacamole and queso. These bites were the perfect start to our dinner! Before we knew it, it was time to walk around the corner to sister restaurant Meso Maya for the rest of our meal.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...Dallas Roadtrip Part I

One of the best parts about living in the middle of Texas is that we can enjoy weekend getaways no matter which direction we drive! Case in point is our recent weekend in Dallas, which is a short 4.5-hour drive from San Antonio. All it takes is a tank of gas, some road munchies, and a few good tunes on the iPod...and we're guaranteed to have a fabulous road trip! We make the trip to Dallas at least twice a year, and we never seem to run out of fun things to do...or delicious food to eat. This trip was no exception! We left on a Saturday afternoon and came back the following Monday. It was a busy, fun trip...and I can't wait to share our experience with all of you. Although the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is huge, we tend to concentrate our visits near the bustling area in and around Downtown Dallas. This time, we stayed at the Omni Dallas...and we loved it! It location was so convenient for all the fun shenanigans we had planned. We're big fans of Omni hotels, and we especially enjoyed this property.

Our room was spacious and featured floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Downtown Dallas. The decor was tasteful and soothing, and it featured a ton of great amenities. We enjoyed convenient in-room WiFi, an MP3 player...and even a flat-screen TV embedded in the bathroom mirror. Our stay was during the Sochi Olympics, so I was able to watch figure skating while I got ready to go out for the evening. It was a nice touch that I really liked! Before we knew it, it was time to head out for the evening.
I had given Michael tickets to see Sting and Paul Simon in concert for his present last Christmas, so we planned our Dallas weekend trip around the show. We had never been to an event at the American Airlines Center, and we were quite impressed. The area around the arena is very fan-friendly, offering lots of fun restaurants and abundant parking. We even discovered that the arena offers a fabulous pre-show dinner buffet at The Chef's Table at The Audi Club. This is a great concept -- arrive an hour or so before your show, enjoy a great meal, then walk directly to your seats and enjoy the show! We met Chef Mark Mabry, who showed us to the Audi Club and explained the concept. We were blown away by the variety of food offered on the buffet, as well as the artful presentation and quality of the food served. The buffet included both hot and cold stations offering everything from carved meat to an elaborate cheese and fruit display. Add in a tropical cocktail, and our evening was off to a fantastic start!
We sampled the cheeses, fresh seasonal fruit, a crisp veggie platter, soups and salads, pasta, and dessert. Everything we sampled was expertly prepared and flavorful. As this picture shows, we weren't the only ones who took advantage of this pre-show feast...lots of our fellow Sting and Paul Simon fans were enjoying themselves as much as we were! We ended our meal on a sweet note, enjoying a dish of comforting, warm bread pudding topped with a warm cream anglaise sauce. It was about 30 minutes before showtime, so we headed out to buy t-shirts and find our seats. For the convenience, price, and quality of food, you really can't beat this pre-show buffet at The Chef's Table at American Airlines Center's Audi Club. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet's Ultimate Grown-Up Easter Basket

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge kid at heart when it come sto Easter baskets. I may be a long way from the glory days of my youth, but I love to create Easter baskets overflowing with fun and tasty sweet goodies! This year, I decided to create my ultimate Easter basket by partnering with some of my favorite bakeries and sweets makers. Want to make the Big Kid in your life grin ear-to-ear on Easter morning? My Grown-Up Easter Baket is a perfect start! You migth want to make sure you have some stretchy pants handy, because you’re gonna need them after sampling all these fabulous goodies!!

(1) Woodhouse Chocolate is based in Napa Valley and offers some of my favorite artisan chocolate. Their Easter chocolate collection includes these pretty hand-decorated Flowered Eggs. They come four to a box, each with its own unique flavor. The dark egg is Dark Chocolate Truffle, the yellow is Mandarin Orange, the milk is Praline Noisette, and the pink is Strawberry Caramel. Any chocolate lover will totally flip to taste these handmade chocolates!

(2) Eleni’s Cookies is based in New York and is offering a fun cookie tin that takes Easter egg decorating to new levels! Their Color Me! Easter Egg set comes with a dozen egg-shaped cookies topped with smooth white royal icing…along with a selection of colorful edible-ink markers. First you have fun hand-coloring  the cookies. Then? You get to eat your delicious creations!  This is a creative and fun gift for kids of all ages…and it’s a lot less messy than coloring real eggs.  As you can see, I had fun decorating a cookie or two myself. I just love this creative idea from Eleni’s!!(3) Godiva is offering a large collection of Easter items this year, but I was totally smitten with Hopsy the Bunny. This fluffy stuffed collectable Gund bunny comes with Godiva 2014 stitched on one of his feet, so you can use him as the centerpiece of your Easter décor for years to come. He even comes bearing an organza sack full of foil-wrapped Easter eggs in Dark Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Ganache, Milk Chocolate, and Almond Butter. I also love Godiva’s foil-wrapped solid chocolate bunnies. It’s a gourmet take on a classic from childhood…and I love the pop of color from the decorative wrapping!
(4) Vosges Haut-Chocolat is based in Chicago and makes some of the tastiest and most creative artisan chocolate anywhere. Their whimsical Easter lineup includes a trio of flavored chocolate bunnies that are long on ears and big on flavor! My Easter basket features their Peanut Butter Exotic Flop-Eared Bunny. Outside, he’s 45% deep milk chocolate…and inside, you’ll find organic peanut butter and Himalayan Pink sea salt. This is a generous 2.5-ounce bunny that’s downright addictive…be sure to start with the ears! Other flavors in the Vosges Flop-Eared Bunny line include Barcelona (45% deep milk chocoalte, sea salt, and hickory-smoked almonds) and the Toffee (45% deep milk chocolate, sweet butter toffee and Pink Himalayan sea salt).

(5) Tate's Bake Shop offers some of my favorite chocolate chips anywhere. They're buttery, thin, and perfectly crispy. For Easter, they're upping the ante, turning their cookies into Easter Cookie Bark. This confection includes Tate's chocolate chip cookies covered with intensely dark chocolate. The bark is topped with colorful sprinkles, wrapped in cellophane, and packed into a decorative box. It's downright addictive! Want to buy some of this bark for your Easter celebration? Tate's is offering The Weekend Gourmet Readers 20% off all online orders through Easter! To redeem this offer, simply enter the code RealSimple at checkout.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Recommends: Dining Out Options During Lent

During the Lent season, it can sometimes be a challenge to dine out on Fridays without getting into a rut. This year, I've discovered some delicious dining-out options for those of you who observe the no-meat-on-Friday requirement during Lent. The following dishes are some of our favorite seafood and veg-friendly options at restaurants that Michael and I frequent. All of these restaurants have locations in San Antonio and/or Texas...and some of them have locations throughout the United States too. These options are absolutely delicious!

Disclosure: The restaurants featured in this article hosted us to try their seasonal Lent selections to facilitate inclusion in this article. All opinions expressed are my own, and all photographs are copyrighted by The Weekend Gourmet and Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or otherwise used without prior permission.