Sunday, May 31, 2015

Five Ingredients or Less #SundaySupper...Featuring Crescent Jalapeno Poppers

Sometimes you have a several hours to create an elaborate recipe with a mile-long ingredient list…and sometimes you need a quick recipe with minimal ingredients! Today's Five Ingredients or Less #SundaySupper is featuring recipes that don't require an intimidating list of ingredients... or spending hours in the kitchen. Our host is T.R. from Gluten Free Crumbley, and he asked us to share streamlined recipes that show simple doesn’t mean boring. My recipe today is a fun appetizer that’s great for Summer entertaining. These Crescent Jalapeno Poppers have just five simple ingredients, but each ingredient provides maximum flavor!

This is my spin on a three-ingredient recipe I found at the Betty Crocker website. I decided to up the ante a bit and add a few more big-flavor ingredients to their recipe! Seeded jalapeno halves are stuffed with a mixture of shredded cheese and flavored cream cheese, topped with bacon, and rolled inside garlic-flavored refrigerated crescent dough. They're fun to eat and full of flavor. When you’re making a recipe with minimum ingredients, it’s important that each one brings maximum flavor. These Crescent Jalapeno Poppers are definitely maxed out on flavor!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road: An Educational...and Tasty...Gulf Seafood Trip to New Orleans and Biloxi #EatGulfSeafood

Earlier this Spring, Michael and I enjoyed an amazing trip to New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi, to learn about delicious Gulf Seafood. Our trip was hosted by the friendly folks at the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition. It was a fantastic experience -- both educational and tasty! Michael and I grew up in the Houston area, less than an hour from the Gulf of Mexico -- so we have a lifelong appreciation for delicious Gulf Seafood. We learned how Gulf Seafood is harvested and marketed, and what the seafood industry means to the Gulf state economies. Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition states include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Gulf Seafood is definitely great tasting -- but it's also an economic engine that powers the entire Gulf Coast region! The Gulf Coast produces 70% of the nation’s oysters, 69% of domestic shrimp, and is a leading producer of domestic hard and soft-shell blue crabs. As pioneers in many commercial fishing practices, Gulf Coast Seafood’s taste profile is superior because of the nutrient-rich environment found in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our Gulf Seafood experience began when we checked into the Royal Sonesta, our host hotel for the trip. The Royal Sonesta is located in the heart of the French Quarter, which means it's a convenient home base to enjoy all the fun and excitement of the Quarter! The property is gorgeous, and the staff is so friendly. Yes, the party atmosphere of the Quarter is right outside the Royal Sonesta when you want it...but it's also a quiet and relaxing oasis when you're ready to relax. We went to our beautiful guestroom and found chilled bottles of water and pralines waiting for us. Little touches like that are always appreciated -- along with the New Orleans jazz music playing on the radio! We decided to rest and recharge a bit while a rainstorm moved through the area. Then, it was time to get cleaned up for our first official Gulf Seafood event – a private Welcome Dinner with a group of Louisiana Seafood representatives at Luke New Orleans. We met our fellow food bloggers for the trip in the hotel lobby and had a great time visiting with them for a bit. Before we knew it, it was time to leave for dinner.

We’re already huge fans of Louisiana Chef John Besh’s Luke San Antonio, so we knew we were in for a very special dinner! Over the next few hours, we enjoyed a wide variety of Gulf Seafood menu items…and lots of great conversation with our fellow seafood lovers. We started out with gorgeous platters of chilled Louisiana seafood -- including plump Louisiana oysters, boiled shrimp, and lump crab. The seafood was pristinely fresh and sweet...seafood heaven!
The menu for our family-style seafood extravaganza was hand-selected for our group by Luke's Chef, Louisiana native Drake Leonards. The first dishes out of the kitchen were perfectly fried oysters, creamy crawfish bisque, and a rich gumbo that featured a dark roux. The oysters were fried perfectly crisp, and the bisque and gumbo both had a rich depth of flavor. During our meal, we visited with a number of Lousisiana Seafood representatives. I was so impressed with the pride they took in their seafood products. They don't just harvest seafood as a job -- quality Gulf Seafood is their passion!We sampled several entrees from the menu, and all were fabulous. My two favorites were the Black Drum Amandine and BBQ Shrimp with Roasted Jalapeno-Cheese Grits. The fish was crispy outside, juicy and tender inside...and topped with a lemony garlic sauce and roasted almonds. The shrimp and grits featured spicy, creamy cheese grits and sweet jumbo Louisiana Gulf shrimp in a slightly spicy sauce.We were stuffed by then...but we couldn't resist a bite of the desserts that came out of the kitchen! Since the meal was served family-style, it was perfect for having "just a bite" of several sinful desserts. My favorites were the sublime Crème Brulee, Brenden's Bread Pudding, and the Steamed Chocolate with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. The ice cream was the perfect balance of sweet and salty...and I couldn't stop eating it!
After dessert and coffee, we thanked Chef Leonards and his crew for their amazing hospitality -- and food -- and headed back to the Royal Sonesta to get some sleep. We had to be on the shuttle bus to Biloxi very early the next morning, so no late-night French Quarter adventures for us! The drive to Biloxi from New Orleans takes about an hour-and-a-half. Along the way, we detoured off I-10 for a morning visit tp Coast Roast Coffee in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This artisan coffee company slow roasts coffee beans by hand in small batches. The beans are roasted using an antique Royal coffee roaster. We watched as the owners roasted coffee to be bagged and sold to loyal customers. As you can see, the beans go from their original light color to deep brown during the roasting process.

After our lesson in coffee bean roasting was over, it was time to sample some Coast Roast coffee! I'm not an every day coffee drinker, but the Coast Roast was very smooth and easy to drink. From there, it was on to Biloxi. We drove down a large thoroughfare that had numerous large casinos that were right on the water. My first impression of Biloxi is that it's a perfect spot for a seaside vacation! Our group's first stop in Biloxi was at the Half Shell Oyster House for a delicious seafood brunch with Mississippi Seafood representatives. The restaurant was open and airy, with tons of natural light. It was a perfect location for brunch, which began with bubbly misosas...better than my typical Monday morning routine! The brunch menu was Southern-inspired and featured a combination of both savory and sweet menu items. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stonyfield #CleanPlateClub: Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake from Yogurt Culture...Made with OXO Kitchen Tools

By now, we’ve established that I don’t bake very often – especially from scratch! However, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself this past weekend. I baked a cake recipe from a great new yogurt cookbook as part of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule has lots of great recipes – including the Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake I’m sharing with you today. This tasty cake is lightly sweet and bursting with both almond and lemon flavors. I made this cake for our pre-Memorial Day BBQ this weekend, and it was a big hit. It’s just one of 115 great yogurt-centric recipes in Yogurt Culture, which showcases how versatile and tasty yogurt is. Yogurt Culture shows how cooks can use plain yogurt to make flavorful breakfasts, appetizers, main dishes…and delicious baked goods like the moist Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf recipe I’m sharing today.

Although the Yogurt Culture cookbook doesn't specify a preferred brand of yogurt for its recipes, the only yogurt that I use in my kitchen is Stonyfield's delicious creamy organic yogurt. For this almond-lemon loaf cake recipe, I used Stonyfield Smooth & Creamy Lowfat Plain yogurt in both the rich cake batter and the bright lemon-infused glaze. The Stonyfield yogurt incorporated perfectly into the cake batter, providing both moisture and a slight yogurt tang. You could also use vanilla-flavored yogurt to add a light vanilla flavor to the batter if you prefer. 

I also received a pair of super helpful kitchen tools from OXO to help me whip up the cake batter and the tangy lemon glaze. I used OXO’s handy 9” whisk to quickly combine the dry ingredients for the batter – and to whisk together the lemony icing glaze in no time. OXO's wooden reamer made it very simple to quickly and easily extract the juice from the lemons when making the glaze. Both items were simple to use and felt great in my hands. I’m a longtime fan of OXO products, so I know I'll use these two items over and over again! Now let me show you how to whip up a batch of this delicious Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake. Even if you’re not an avid baker – I’m certainly not – Yogurt Culture’s clear step-by-step instructions will help ensure your results come out as great as mine did!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Red, White & Blue #SundaySupper...Featuring Individual Loaded Red, White, and Blue Salads

This week, the #SundaySupper family is kicking off the official start of Summer with patriotic red, white, and blue recipes! Our hostess this week is my friend DB from Crazy Foodie Stunts, and we’re sharing recipes that are perfect for Memorial Day…and all Summer long. My refreshing Individual Loaded Red, White, and Blue Salads are bursting with flavors, textures…and colors! With red strawberries, white feta and diced chicken breast, and blueberries, this salad is a rainbow of colors. I added candied pecans, purple onion, and crunchy wonton crisps for texture and crunch. 

I made a quick homemade berry-balsamic vinaigrette…but long holiday weekends are meant to be relaxing. So, feel free to use your favorite store-bought vinaigrette to save a few minutes in the kitchen. When the weather turns warm, I make entrée salads like this at least once per week. This is a perfect addition to my repertoire, because it’s light enough for me while still being hearty enough to satisfy Michael’s man-sized appetite. From start to finish, this salad is ready to eat in less than 15 minutes – perfect for a busy Summer weeknight dinner.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebrating #BurgerMonth at Max's Wine Dive and The Boiler House

May is National Burger Month, and it's dedicated to celebrating the American classic! What’s not to love about burgers? They’re portable and versatile – you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to creative toppings and flavors. Like many of you, I love burgers…so I was very excited when two San Antonio restaurants invited me to try their Burger Month menu offerings. Max’s Wine Dive and The Boiler House are both very popular restaurants here in San Antonio…and for good reason. Both restaurants offer fun, upscale casual environments – and amazing food and drinks! I invited a friend to come along for the fun, and we sampled a duo of creative burgers at both locations.

First up was a visit to Max’s Wine Dive, which has six Texas locations in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and DFW -- as well as locations in Denver and Atlanta. Max's is a great place to meet friends to enjoy their fun atmosphere, upscale casual food, and extensive wine offerings. Max’s Burger Month special is the savory Poutine Burger…topped with juicy pulled pork, crispy fries, savory gravy, and feta cheese. It was a delicious – and messy – burger. Max's juicy burger patties are made with a combination of short rib, brisket, chuck, and beef belly. We loved the flavor combo of pork paired with the beef patty. The freshly fried truffle chips served on the side were warm and delicious.
The second burger we tried was the Signature Blend Burger from Max's year-round menu. This burger is customizable to add your favorite toppings. We selected nutty Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and roasted mushrooms. This fabulous burger had tons of umami going on…my kind of burger! It was paired with a fabulous glass of smooth, lush Last Judgment Red Wine Blend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Glade Scent Transformation...Featuring Black Forest Puff Pastry Turnovers

Scent can help transform your feelings and empower you to feel the way you want to. Think about it…when you bake a batch of cookies, the heavenly smell coming from your kitchen is the first thing you notice. It makes your mouth water and makes you anticipate the delicious treat that’s coming your way! The powerful connection between scent and emotions is exactly why my friends at Glade® offer a range of 37 different scents. Each scent evokes different feelings and empowers you to feel the way you want to. Selecting a scent is a personal signature that reflects how you feel at a given moment…or how you want guests to feel when they enter your home. Bottom line: scent sets the mood! Glade® recently sent me a selection of their seasonal wax melts and an electric burner. The task was for me to heat the wax melts and let the scent empower me to create a complimentary recipe to complete the mood!
I quickly decided their Blooming Peony & Cherry™ was speaking to me! This scent features bright, zesty notes of cherry and red fruit…along with delicate floral notes of pink rose and peony. Relaxing scents of white woods and creamy musk balance the equation and set the mood for relaxation and romance. For me, the fun and flirty scent evoked thoughts of a simple dessert featuring cherry and chocolate. The end result was my fun Black Forest Puff Pastry Turnovers. Imagine flaky pastry surrounding sweetly tart cherries, semisweet chocolate, and a super creamy cocoa cream cheese filling – swoon! Because I used convenient squares frozen puff pastry, these decadent turnovers are a snap to make. So let’s warm some Blooming Peony & Cherry™ wax melts and get baking! Before you know it, your house is going to be smelling heavenly.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out...Featuring Restaurant 3 Double-O Nine

H-E-B is a popular grocery chain in Texas -- especially in its headquarters city of San Antonio. They recently branched out to offer full-service concept restaurants at some of their new locations. I recently 3 Double-O Nine. It's named for its location near Selma, on FM 3009 and Loop 1604. It's a really fun, casual place to grab a bite before or after you do your shopping, but you don't have to be an H-E-B customer to stop by for a tasty bite! The restaurant is located adjacent to the H-E-B and offers everything from small plates and cocktails to tacos, Texas BBQ, and other creative entrees. The atmosphere is casual and fun...and you can dine indoors or al fresco is the weather's nice.

I recently visited 3 Double-O Nine for a Saturday dinner tasting with a friend. I was really impressed with the quality of the food on Chef Randy Evans' menu, as well as the reasonable prices. This definitely is NOT a grocery store food court, people...this food is the real deal! The entrance is separate from H-E-B, so it's really a separate free-standing restaurant. You order and pay for your food at the front register, then take a seat in one of the two dining rooms. When your food is ready, a server brings it to your table. We started with a duo of cocktails, a decadent appetizer, and a refreshing salad.
We shared an order of decadent Fried Green Chile Mac 'n Cheese Bites and a Buffalo Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Salad. The mac and cheese bites were crispy outside, creamy and spicy inside...and served with ranch for dipping. Talk about total cheesy goodness! The salad was a perfect refreshing counterpart to our rich appetizer, with lots of fresh Buffalo mozzarella. For our cocktails we had the Texas Creamsicle Cocktail, which was sweetly creamy and tasted exactly like a creamsicle ice cream treat! The unique Avocado Martini had a creamy texture from the avocado and citrus notes from pineapple juice...with a bit of chile powder floated on top for a spicy background flavor. Our meal was out off to a great start! Next out of the kitchen was a duo of fun seafood tacos.
We tried the grilled Baja Shrimp Tacos and the fried Fish & Chips Tacos. The Baja tacos were served light and refreshing, with juicy grilled shrimp, crunchy slaw, and a spicy chipotle aioli. They were a nice mixture of flavors and textures. The Fish & Chips tacos featured lots of crunchy beer-battered cod, french fries, and tartar sauce wrapped inside yellow corn tortillas. This was a fun and flavorful fusion taco! We then turned our attention to a duo of 3 Doubl-O Nine's signature entrees.
First up was their unique, boldly flavored Korean Fried Chicken, which featured a generous helping of crispy fried chicken coated in a delicious sweet and spicy glaze. The flavor reminded me of spicy chicken wings, only entree sized. It was served with zesty kimchi mashed potatoes and braised greens for a Korea meets Texas flavor profile. We also shared the comforting and insanely delicious Creole Shrimp and Grits, which featured jumbo shrimp in a spicy Creole sauce and cheddar stone-ground grits. This was comfort food at its good!
We were absolutely stuffed by then, but we just couldn't resist sharing a dessert to end our meal on a sweet note. We decided to sample a comfort classic: Texas Pecan Bread Pudding. It was studded with golden and traditional raisins and topped with a warm rum cream sauce. I'm a huge bread pudding fan, and this was a perfect rendition. We left 3 Double-O Nine with full bellies...and impressed palates...and then I went into the adjacent H-E-B to pick up a few needed items before I headed home. That's a win-win in my book!

Disclosure: Restaurant 3009 provided a complimentary dinner to facilitate inclusion in this article. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road: A Romantic Overnight New Orleans Getaway

Michael and I recently enjoyed a relaxing overnight trip to New Orleans ahead of our Media Trip to learn all about Gulf Coast Seafood. I’ll be sharing more about our amazing seafood experience next week, but first I want to tell you about our Spring visit to one of our favorite cities. Michael and I were engaged in New Orleans in 2001, so it's a very special city for us! We arrived in New Orleans on a cool Sunday afternoon and settled into the Omni Royal Orleans – our home away from home or the evening. The Omni Royal Orleans is conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter – making it easy to walk to nearby attractions and restaurants.
We settled into our lovely room and rested for a bit. It featured soothing colors, a comfy King size bed, and a gorgeous wrought-iron balcony overlooking the French Quarter below. Before we knew it, it was time for a late lunch at Tableau – the newest restaurant in the late Dickie Brennans’ restaurant group. Tableau is housed in a historic Creole townhouse on Jackson Square -- a quick 5-minute walk from our home base at the Omni Royal Orleans. We were warmly greeted, quickly seated, and given menus. We started with a pair of appetizers -- the Creole French Onion Soup and the Demi Royal Sampler. 
The Creole French Onion soup was rich and flavorful thanks to the addition of andouille sausage and a melted Gruyere crouton on top. The Demi Royal featured a trio of Creole seafood creations: crabmeat ravigote, shrimp remoulade, and truffled crab fingers. This platter was the perfect way for Michael and I to have a taste of Tableau's fresh Gulf seafood. The seafood was fresh and sweet, the perfect start to our meal! The next items out of the kitchen were our duo of seafood entrees. Michael selected the Gulf Fish St. Roch, and I opted for the BBQ Shrimp & Grits. Both were perfectly cooked and beautifully plated.
Michael's fish was delicate and moist inside and topped with
buttery St. Roch sauce, which featured jumbo shrimp, roasted mushrooms, garlic, and green onion. My BBQ Shrimp & Grits paired huge head-on shrimp served in a pool of spicy New Orleans BBQ sauce that was spiked with local beer. The rich shrimp were paired with creamy and rich grits flavored with chevre. The combination of flavors and textures was amazing. We ended our meal with a duo of shared desserts from their extensive dessert menu. It was a hard choice, but we decided on the decadent Praline Monkey Bread Pudding and Pecan Pie Vol-Au-Vent, both of which were serve a la mode. 
The bread pudding featured brown sugar and pecans baked into a biscuit bread pudding. It was served with a decadent butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. It was very rich, but oh-so-good...and perfect for sharing!The vol-au-vent featured classic Southern pecan pie filling baked in a crispy puff pastry shell. It was served with a brown butter ice cream. This dessert was rich, and the brown butter ice cream provided a nuttiness that worked well with the pecans. We were getting full, and twilight was starting in the French Quarter. On our way out, Tableau's manager gave us a tour of the property. The restaurant is located adjacent to The Little Theater, which features popular live performances and plays. Between The Little Theater and the restaurant's main dining area is a lovely Creole courtyard that allows diners to enjoy their meal al fresco, weather permitting. 

It was a drizzly evening in New Orleans, lending an eerie atmosphere to the French Quarter. During our walk back to the Omni, I halfway expected to run into the Vampire Lestat from Anne Rice’s famous novels! We returned to our peaceful oasis at the Omni Royal Orleans to digest a bit and take in the beautiful surroundings. The lobby area is nicely decorated with antiques and fresh flowers, making it a relaxing place to sit and read or enjoy some people watching.
Before we knew it, it was time for our late-evening dinner reservation at the Omni’s Royal Orleans' well-regarded Rib Room restaurant. The Rib Room focuses on perfectly prepared prime rib and other grilled meats, along with tasty side dishes. The Rib Room's impressive dining room features dim lighting and dark wood accents. 
We decided to try a slab of the Rib Room's signature roasted prime rib, which is perfectly cooked on a huge rotisserie grill. The chef told us that the prime rib is seasoned and cooked until it's brown and crusted outside, and tender and juicy inside. It was the best prime rib I've ever had -- so flavoful!
We also decided to sample a fish dish from the Rib Room's menu. Their Gulf fish was grilled over mesquite and topped with a lemon butter sauce. The perfectly cooked fish was moist inside and served on a round of cauliflower with roasted fingerling potatoes. For those who don't prefer to eat beef, the seafood options at the Rib Room are a fabulous option. We ended our dinner with a shared dessert.
Michael and I never met a bread pudding we didn't like, so the traditional bread pudding topped with strawberries was our pick. It was the perfect portion for sharing, and it tasted wonderful. After a filling meal at the Rib Room, it was so nice to simply walk down the hall to the elevator and head back upstairs to our room in less than 10 minutes.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day #SundaySupper...Featuring Deluxe Salted Caramel Turtle Sundae

This week, #SundaySupper is celebrating Mother’s Day! Our hostess is my sweet friend Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. I quidkly decided that I wanted to feature a special dessert recipe to honor my sweet Mom, Mary Wofford. When it comes to dessert, I know her like the back of my hand: it must have chocolate! The weather here in Texas is starting to really warm up, so I decided to create an over-the-top Deluxe Salted Caramel Turtle Sundae for her. This dessert will be on our Mother's Day celebration ment, and it’s a real winner. If you’ve never had a caramel turtle candy, it features caramel and pecans coated in rich chocolate…it’s a magical combination of flavors and textures!

This rich Mom-worthy sundae features dulce de leche ice cream, a so-simple homemade salted caramel sauce, good-quality store-bought hot fudge sauce, Texas pecans, and a bit of whipped cream for good measure. To truly make it deluxe, I made some cute puff pastry triangles dredged in cinnamon sugar, dipped in chocolate, and sprinkled with more pecans. The salted caramel sauce and puff pastry garnishes can be made a day or two ahead – making this sundae a snap to whip up at a moment’s notice.This sundae is a special dessert for my very special Mom!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Celebrating #CarringtonMayontheMove with Tropical Dreams Flax-Chia Yogurt Parfait

I’m staring down the Big 5-0 later this Summer (eeep!!), so I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to maximize the nutrition and health value of the food I eat. That’s why I was so excited to be invited to take part in the Carrington Farms May on the Move campaign this month! As part of this event, I received a sampling of their convenient single-serve packs of coconut oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. These individual packets make it super easy for me to add a nutrition boost to my foods – whether I’m home or "on the move." If you’ve been hesitant to try these products, let me assure you: they’re easy to incorporate into your favorite foods…and they taste GREAT! I received boxes of coconut oil paks, flax chia paks, flax hemp paks, and flax paks. I wanted to create a portable breakfast recipe that incorporated two of the items I received from Carrington Farms. I chose the coconut oil paks and the flax chia paks.

I had never tasted chia or flax seeds before taking part in May on the Move, but I was very impressed with their health properties. Each convenient single-serving flax chia pak contains healthy Omega 3's, fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and helpful hormone balancing phytoestrogens called lignans. My Tropical Dreams Flax-Chia Yogurt Parfaits are a snap to put together. Simply combine a few healthy ingredients, spoon everything into a portable container or pretty parfait glass, put in the fridge before you go to bed. Just like that, you've got a delicious and healthy breakfast ready when you wake up in the morning! Not only that -- the colors are so pretty!
Tropical Dreams Flax-Chia Yogurt 
a Weekend Gourmet original
Ingredients (for one parfait):
  • 1 Carrington Farms Flax Chia Pak (approx. 1 tbs.)
  • 1 cup pineapple Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1 Carrington Farms Coconut Oil Pak (1 tbs.)
  • 1/3 cup mandarin orange segments
  • 1 tbs. toasted coconut strips

Step 1: Spoon the Greek yogurt into a small bowl. Add the Carrington Farms Flax Chia pack, agave, and Carrington Farms Coconut Oil Pak blend and stir well to completely combine. NOTE: the coconut oil combines with the chilled yogurt easier if you warm the pak in your hands for a few minutes first.
Step 2: Spoon the yogurt mixture into your serving container. Arrange the mandarin orange pieces on top of the yogurt mixture, overlapping slightly. Place the toasted coconut strips in the center of the mandarin orange. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving. The chia seeds soften and form a gel-like coating when they are placed in a liquid environment. This is good and makes them even more filling!

This tropical parfait is filling, delicious…and healthy! I loved the tropical flavors – and I especially enjoyed knowing that the coconut oil and flax-chia seed blend provided a health boost. The flax seeds provide a nutty flavor, and the chia seeds brought a great texture to the yogurt. This parfait made a great protein-rich after-work snack, but I can’t wait to take it to work for breakfast at my desk too!
If you want to try Carrington Farms’ products yourself, you’re in luck! Carrington Farms is offering a 20% discount to celebrate May on the Move! To get this great deal, visit the Carrington Farms online store. At checkout, enter the code MAYONTHEMOVE. Carrington is also holding a fun Instagram contest this month as part of the #CarringtonMayontheMove event. It's super easy to enter the contest. All you have to do is follow @carringtonfarms on Instagram, regram #carringtonmayonthemove, and tag three of your friends. Doing that gives you the chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card plus that Carrington handy on-the-go packs featured in this article!

Disclosure: Carrington provided me with samples of their on-the-go packaged products. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Perfect Mother's Day Cocktail: Pink Lady...Featuring Powell & Mahoney Cocktail Mixers and the Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixer

Mother's Day is coming up this weekend...and perhaps you're planning a special brunch to celebrate. If so, I've got the perfect feminine, flirty Spring cocktail to get your celebration brunch off on the right foot! This pretty, fruity Pink Lady cocktail features Powell & Mahoney's Pomegranate cocktail mixer, vodka, and tart grapefruit juice. Powell & Mahoney's Vintage Original Cocktail Mixers offers a fun line of artisan cocktail mixers that make creating fun cocktails quick and easy...without a bunch of artificial colors or flavors! Their mixers are made from fruit juices, essential oils, and pure cane sugar. They offer a broad range of flavors -- both classic cocktails and fun modern options. Flavors in the line include Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Mango Passion Fruit Margarita, and Sriracha Bloody Mary. The Pomegranate mixer featured in the Pink Lady recipe I'm sharing today features a bit of orange and lemon, making it very versatile for creating a wide range of cocktails. And its color? It lends a lovely reddish-pink hue! 

Pink Lady Cocktail
from Powell & Mahoney Natural Drink Mixers

For each Pink Lady that you plan to serve, add the following ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice:
  • 2 ounces vodka [NOTE: flavored vodkas are fun too!]
  • 1 ounce Powell & Mahoney Pomegranate mixer
  • 1 ounce pink grapefruit juice
Shake well, then strain the cocktail into a martini glass that's been rimmed with coarse sugar. Top with a lemon wedge or other decorative garnish. Enjoy!

If you're looking for a cocktail shaker that's easy to use and mixes drinks perfectly -- and with no shaking on your part -- look no further than Metrokane's Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixer! This handy battery-operated device whips up perfect cocktails in 15 seconds or less, and it features a high-power 6500 rpm motor. Each pair of AAA batteries provides enough power to create 100 or more cocktails. If you're planning a party, this convenient electronic cocktail mixer will save you a lot of wear and tear on your arms! This demonstration video shows just how simple the Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixer is to use.
I've used the Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixer myself, and I can vouch that they really are that easy to use! The average retail price for one of this cocktail mixer is a very reasonable $20. To purchase one of these amazing Rabbit Electric Cocktail Mixers in time for the Spring and Summer outdoor party season, you can purchase online at Metrokane's website. They can also be purchased from select retail outlets, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy's. 

Disclosure: Powell & Mahoney and Metrokane provided me with complimentary products to facilitate this feature. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wendy's Favorite Things for May

It's time for another monthly roundup of my favorite new foodie finds! This month, I'm sharing everything from healthy meal options to decadent butter. Because life's about moderation, I try to balance eating healthy with an indulgence here and there to keep things fun! Wait until you see the products I'm sharing with you this month...

(1) Urban Accents WAKE UP Your Tastebuds Urban Brunch Collection. Brunch is one of my favorite meals on a relaxing weekend. Urban Accent's WAKE UP Your Tastebuds Urban Brunch set is a collection of their creative culinary blends that helps you whip up a fabulous brunch in a snap! The kit contains their Potato Cheddar Chive and Ginger Carrot Cake Flapjack Mixes; Mediterranean Spinach and Southwest Jalapeno Frittata Mixes; Sea Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cheesecake French Toast Drizzles, and a fun Coffee Topper Trio. No matter what taste profile you're in the mood for, this fun collection has you prepared! With Mother's Day coming next weekend, it's the perfect time to order one of these fabulous brunch kits, whip up a batch of mimosas, and treat Mom to a fabulous meal! Urban Accents products are also available at select retail locations. nationwide. I love these products and will be sharing a recipe feature and giveaway for one of these amazing brunch collections later this month!!

(2) McDonald's New Artisan Grilled Chicken. Last month, McDonald's unveiled a new marinated grilled chicken recipe. Their new formulation is made from 100% chicken breast, and it contains no artificial flavors or colors -- and no preservatives. It's simply seasoned and seared onsite at each location. I recently visited my neighborhood McDonald's to give this new chicken a try. I sampled the new chicken on a Premium Bacon Ranch Salad. It was golden brown on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside. The warm chicken on the chilled salad was a nice contrast. I really enjoyed the chicken's simple seasonings, because they really let the flavor of the chicken breast shine through. This yummy grilled chicken can now be found in McDonald's grilled chicken salads, sandwiches, and wraps nationwide.

(3) Luvo Healthy Frozen Meals. Frozen meals are certainly convenient...but most don't measure up when it comes to taste or healthy ingredients. Enter Luvo! Their line of great tasting healthy frozen meals are fabulous. Their product line features entrees, breakfasts, flatbreads, and burritos in a variety of unique and tasty flavors. Luvo meals contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives -- and no hydrogenated fat or high-fructose corn syrup either. Even the packaging is made from recycled paper and printed with waterless soy-based ink. These products taste great too! My favorites are the Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Quinoa and Mixed Fruits...and the Red Wine Braised Beef with Polenta. It's served with roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and cranberries. Definitely NOT a typical frozen meal. I found both of these meals filling and very flavorful. To find Luvo meals near you, check out their online Store Locator.

(4) Red's Burrito Bowls. Red's have been my favorite frozen burritos for the past year or so. They're made with 100% all-natural non-GMO ingredients and meat raised without antibiotics -- and they taste great! I was excited to find out this Spring that they were introducing a line of Burrito Bowls that feature my favorite burrito flavors in a non-tortilla bowl form! I recently tried the steak burrito bowl, and I really enjoyed it. It features a base of cilantro-lime brown rice, tender steak strips, pinto beans, and a tasty roasted corn and black bean salsa. It was filling, with a nice level of spice. I serve my bowl topped with a bit of light sour cream, a sprinkle of lowfat cheddar blend...and a few crispy tortilla chips. These burrito bowls make a nice work lunch or quick weeknight dinner. Red's Burrito Bowls also come in Chicken, Carnitas (pork), and Veggie flavors. To find Red's Burrito Bowls near you, check out their Store Locator.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Casa Noble Tequila...Featuring Tequila-Shrimp Confetti Guacamole

Cinco de Mayo is in a few days…and I have a fabulous cocktail and guacamole duo to share with you today courtesy of my friends at Casa Noble tequila. To me, nothing says Cinco de Mayo quite like a fabulous Springtime cocktail…and creamy guacamole! With Casa Noble’s Crystal tequila, you can be ready to party in time for Cinco de Mayo too.

One of my favorite appetizers to enjoy at a local restaurant is a Mexican-style shrimp cocktail. It features a combination of sweet shrimp, cocktail sauce, pico de gallo, and chunks of creamy avocado. This appetizer was the inspiration for my layered Tequila-Shrimp Confetti Guacamole, which features Casa Noble Crystal in every component. Yes, I went there…and you’re going to thank me when you try this adults-only appetizer! My guacamole features a base layer of tequila and lime-infused guacamole spooned into a margarita glass. It's then topped with layers of pico de gallo and shrimp tossed in cocktail sauce. This fun treat is pretty to look at…and even better to eat!