Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eggland's Best 2016 America's Best Recipe Contest Giveaway...Featuring Individual Tex-Mex Baked Egg Skillets #eggs #ad

The 2016 Eggland’s Best “America’s Best Recipe” Contest is underway, and inventive cooks can enter by creating an original recipe that uses Eggland’s Best (EB) eggs and locally-sourced ingredients made popular by their state! From now through April 29th, Eggland’s Best will accept contest entries via their website. Each recipe entry must use at least TWO whole EB eggs and ONE locally sourced ingredient that is grown or manufactured in the entrant’s home state. Every state has its famous foods that can be used to create anything from traditional cuisine to family-style recipes and more. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – Eggland’s Best eggs are versatile and provide lots of nutritional benefits! 

Compared to ordinary eggs, each Eggland's Best egg has four times the Vitamin D, more than two times the Omega-3s, and 25% less saturated fat! By choosing EB over ordinary eggs, you are getting an egg that is fresher, tastes better, and contains more vitamins and nutrients. Today, I’m sharing my contest entry recipe with you! I’m a native Texan who lives in San Antonio…which is known for its spicy Tex-Mex food. My Individual Tex-Mex Baked Egg Skillets can be served for breakfast, weekend brunch, or even a casual weeknight breakfast-for-dinner entrée. Simply add some warm tortillas on the side, and you have a complete meal!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wendy's Favorite Things for March #WendyFaveThings #GreatEight

It's time for this month's Wendy's Favorite Things roundup. This month's Great Eight features healthy snacks, a great new cookbook, a unique twist on bacon...and my favorite personalized wine glasses!

(1) Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea. I'm a big fan of Bolthouse Farms refrigerated juice blends and smoothies. When I tasted their Vanilla Chai Tea Perfectly Protein Beverage, I knew I had found my new favorite portable breakfast of afternoon pick-me-up. This blend of heart-healthy green tea, vanilla, and chai spices contains 7 grams of filling soy protein. This chai tea tastes amazing...and it's good for me too. Score! This dairy-free beverage is also gluten free -- and it contains just 3.5 grams of fat and 175 calories per 8-ounce serving. To find Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Latte near you, check out their handy Store Locator.

(2) Horizon Organic Cheddar Shapes. Horizon Organic's new Cheddar Shapes are a fun way to get your daily requirement of protein and calcium! Kids of all ages will have a blast eating these star-shaped bites of cheese. Eat them alone, stack them on crackers, or use them to add a fun garnish to your favorite recipes. Each 1/4-cup serving of Cheddar Shapes provides 20% of your daily calcium needs...along with 7 grams of filling protein. I love to eat Cheddar Shapes on top of Triscuits for a filling after-work snack. Like all Horizon products, these cheese shapes are USDA certified organic. Horizon also makes triangle-shaped Colby Shapes for those who prefer a sharper bite to their cheese. To find these products near you, check out Horizon's online Store Locator.
(3) Haulin' Oats Oatmeal Jars. I was a teenager in the 80's, so the creative name of Haulin' Oats organic gourmet oatmeal was the first thing that caught my attention! Then, I tasted their oatmeal and fell in love...this stuff is the real deal! Every flavor starts with organic rolled oats topped with brown sugar, flaxseed, and spices -- along with a rich blend of nutty almond butter and coconut oil. Then, they add lots of yummy organic, sustainable ingredients. Haulin' Oats comes in cute glass jars, making it perfectly portable. When you're ready to serve, cover the ingredients with boiling water and let cook for 5 minutes before eating. Each flavor is named after a popular song. My personal favorite is My Cherry Amor, which features pecans, dried cherries, and white and dark chocolate chips. It's a healthy treat that gets my day off to a great start! Haulin' Oats products can be purchased via their online store.

(4) Sauces 'n Love Pink Pesto Pasta Sauce. I'm always looking for products that taste great and help me get dinner on the table quickly during my busy work week. One of my favorite new finds is Sauces 'n Love Pink Pesto refrigerated pasta sauce. In the time it takes to boil up some pasta and sear some chicken breast, I can have a restaurant-quality dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. This creamy sauce features Vodka sauce infused with herbal basil pesto. The addition of homegrown tomatoes and cream provides a nice richness. Like all Sauces 'n More pasta sauces, this Pink Pesto is gluten free. This sauce really is the best of both worlds -- creamy tomato-based sauce flavored with the robust flavor of pesto. My Texas readers can find Sauces 'n Love Pasta Sauces at their local Central Market. To find their sauces nationwide, check out their Store Locator.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mode Foodie Contributor Feature...Featuring Big-Flavor Homemade Salad Dressings for Spring

Check out Big-Flavor Homemade Salad Dressings for Spring

by Wendy Wofford-Garcia at Mode

Spring is here...which means warmer temperatures are on the horizon! When the weather starts to turn warmer, I start to crave lighter foods -- including lots of main dish salads! For this month's Mode Foodie Contributor feature, I'm sharing a roundup of amazing Big-Flavor Homemade Salads Dressings for Spring. If you think homemade salad dressings are complicated to make, think again! The recipes I'm sharing this month can be whipped up in minutes, and they feature lots of fresh flavors that are perfect for Spring. I'm sharing everything from light and tangy vinaigrette to creamy dressings that are lighter in fat and calories. Once you give these dressings a try, you'll see how simple it is to whip up a batch of homemade salad dressing in minutes!

Disclosure: This is a compensated post for Mode Foodie. As always, all opinions are solely my own.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Confetti Easter PEEPS® Sandwich Cookies

Easter is this weekend, which means you’re going to need some sweet treats to share with your friends and family! The days leading up to Easter can be hectic, so I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes from last Easter with you again today. My colorful Confetti Easter PEEPS® Sandwich Cookies are made with a convenient boxed sugar cookie mix. They’re rolled in brightly colored sprinkles, filled with a sweet-tart grape buttercream filling, and decorated with fun PEEPS® Orange Delight chicks. Your little bunnies can even help you roll the cookie dough and coat them in the sprinkles. These festive cookies are cute to look at, yummy to eat…and super easy to whip up in an afternoon. So…gather your favorite sprinkles and let’s get baking!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

San Antonio Book Festival Is April 2nd...Featuring Squash Casserole from Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables #giveaway

Attention San Antonio-area book lovers: the San Antonio Public Library Foundation will be holding its 4th Annual San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday, April 2nd! This free event will take place from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Central Library and The Southwest School of Art, located in Downtown San Antonio. The goal of this fun book festival is to unite and inspire readers and writers alike. The San Antonio Book Festival will feature more than 80 authors, as well as entertainment for all ages -- including Geektown, which is specially geared toward teenage readers. There are a ton of great events planned for the San Antonio Book Festival -- there's truly something for every type of reader! 
One of the festival events that I'm most excited about attending is Eat Your Vegetables (and Love Doing It)!, featuring noted cookbook authors Cynthia Graubart and Nathalie Dupree. They'll be discussing -- and signing - their amazing new Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables cookbook. Cynthia Graubart is the author of six books, including the James Beard Award-winning Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. She also writes the New Sunday Supper column in Southern Living magazine, and she shares her message of gaining confidence in the kitchen to groups large and small. Graubart is also a television producer who produced GPTV’s first nationally syndicated television series, New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree.
Photo provided by Patrick Heagney Photography
Nathalie Dupree has been the host of more than 300 cooking shows on PBS, The Learning Channel, and the Food Network. She has written 14 books, three of which have won James Beard awards. Ms. Dupree has also been awarded the Grand Dame of the Les Dames d' Escoffier, Who's Who in American Cooking by the James Beard Foundation, and was two-time president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She is married to author Jack Bass and lives in Charleston, South Carolina. I received a copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables to try out in my kitchen. Being a native Texan, I was very impressed with all of the great recipes. So many of them reminded me of the vegetables that my Grandma Wofford would make with fresh vegetables from her large garden. Today, I'm sharing a fabulous recipe for Squash Casserole -- it's easy to make with simple ingredients, and it's perfect for your Easter table this weekend!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Eggtastic Recipes #SundaySupper...Featuring Classic Shirred Eggs with Gruyere and Ham

This week, #SundaySupper is sharing Eggtastic recipes! Our hostess is Wendy from Wholistic Woman. She asked us to share our favorite egg-centric recipes. I absolutely love cooking with eggs! This versatile ingredient is economical, and it's and excellent source of protein. Today, I'm sharing Classic Shirred Eggs with Gruyere and Ham. This delicious, slightly decadent dish is perfect for weekend brunch -- or a quick weeknight Brinner. If you've never had shirred eggs, you're in for a very special treat! This French classic features eggs baked in a shallow dish with a bit of cream. My version is flavored with thyme, prosciutto, and nutty Gruyere cheese. This recipe's a keeper folks...and it's one of my most favorite ways to enjoy eggs!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bacon Tomato Queso Skillet...Featuring Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes & Chiles #GameDayWinner

We're huge sports fans at my house...we loudly cheer on our Houston teams all year long! College basketball March Madness is going on right now, which means basketball fans across the country are getting together to see how their bracket is playing out. With game day naturally comes game day snacks...and I've got a fantastic hot skillet dip to share with you today! I'm a Blog Ambassador for Red Gold Tomatoes -- they're truly the only canned tomatoes that I use in my recipes because of their consistent quality and flavor. Today, I'm sharing my personal spin on their amazing  Bacon Tomato Queso SkilletThis flavorful queso is made without processed cheese, and it's moderately spicy thanks to the addition of spicy Red Gold Original Tex-Mex Petite Diced Tomatoes & Chiles. My version of this skillet queso features black beans, a shot of tequila, and the addition of green onions for added color and flavor. Whether your're throwing a game day party...or getting geared up for Movie Night, you're going to want to whip up a batch of this creamy, smoky queso dip!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for March: Boston's B&G Oysters #WGDO #seafood

Boston is well known for its abundance of amazing seafood. Michael and I both grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so we're dedicated seafood lovers from way back! During our recent Boston trip, we enjoyed a seafood lunch at B&G Oysters that was so fantastic that we decided to spotlight them for this month’s The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out feature. B&G Oysters is a popular upscale-casual oyster bar located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. B&G is part of Boston restaurateur Barbara Lynch’s restaurant group. We arrived for lunch, and the manager and chef treated us to a lunch tasting featuring many of the restaurant’s signature dishes. We ordered a few menu items that jumped out at us, and the chef also selected items to round out our tasting. All of the seafood we enjoyed during our lunchtime visit was extremely fresh and expertly prepared.

While we looked over the lunch menu, we enjoyed an amuse bouche of perfectly fried oysters. They were lightly crispy outside, tender and briny inside. The oysters were artfully served on a bed of tangy sauce inside an oyster shell. We also sampled the Corn Cake with Lobster and Jonah Cab. This elegant appetizer featured a silky-smooth creamy corn cake topped with chunks of lobster, sweet Jonah crab meat, and a savory sauce. The combination of flavors and textures in this appetizer were perfection. 
The chef then sent a plate of House Smoked Salmon Toasts to the table. This striking dish featured house-made smoked salmon, velvety soft-scrambled eggs, and caviar on triangles of toasted black squid ink rye bread. This dish was absolutely gorgeous on the plate – and it was also very delicious. The combination of smoky salmon, briny caviar, red onion, and creamy scrambled eggs was a true treat!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Meatball #SundaySupper...Featuring Cheesy Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs

This week, the #SundaySupper crew is featuring meatballs. Our hostess Sue from Palatable Pastime challenged us to come up with fun and tasty meatball recipes. Let's face it: meatballs are just plain fun -- and they're also incredibly versatile. I combined two of my favorite foods to make my Cheesy Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs. Flavorful Italian-inspired meatballs are stuffed with a slice of zesty pepperoni and a ball of fresh mozzarella. Then, they're baked and topped with a chunky tomato sauce.

These meatballs can be enjoyed as a fun appetizer or first course, but I also enjoy them served over tri-color orzo for a fun dinner. Anyone who loves pepperoni pizza is guaranteed to go crazy for these meatballs -- and everyone enjoys the surprise of melty cheese inside when the cut into these meatballs. Let me show you how simple these meatballs are to make!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Boston Foodie Getaway Part I: The Back Bay via Mandarin Oriental Hotel #WGTravel

Photo provided by Mandarin Oriental
The Weekend Gourmet recently enjoyed a long weekend getaway to Boston. During our visit, we enjoyed the city's many historical sites, and we also ate a lot of amazing New England seafood. If you've never been to Boston, you should definitely put it on your travel list -- there's so much to see and do! For one portion of our trip, we visited Boston's stylish Back Bay neighborhood. Our base of operations for that segment of our trip was the gorgeous AAA Five Diamond Mandarin Oriental Boston. It's part of the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel chain, and they really take customer service to new levels! We loved Mandarin Oriental Boston's convenient location to the attractions we were visiting...and we also loved all of the great amenities. Upon arrival, we quickly checked in an were escorted to our room. The spacious room featured a comfy King size bed, a large sitting area, and a spacious bathroom that featured a large shower and a relaxing jetted tub.
I have to say that the customer service at the Mandarin Oriental was pampering and very accommodating. We mentioned to our bellman that we wanted to go to the gift shop to purchase some bath salts, because our muscles were sore from the walking we'd been doing. Five minutes later, there was a knock at our door. Our bellman came by with two small jars of complimentary bath salts for us to use that evening. It's little touches like this that really make Mandarin Oriental stand out. After settling in, we decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Back Bay neighborhood. On our way out, we stopped to admire the hotel's spacious lobby, with its Art Deco flourishes and gorgeous floral displays.

After an afternoon of exploring, the Sun was setting and it was nearly time for our dinner reservation. Our last stop was the Skywalk Observatory inside the Prudential Center Shops, located just steps away from the Mandarin Oriental. An elevator quickly took us 50 stories above the city, where we enjoyed breathtaking 360-degree views of Boston. The views were especially magical at night, with the city lights twinkling below! We even saw Fenway Park in the distance.
Because we had Go Boston Cards, our admission to the observatory was included. I can't recommend this convenient card highly enough! For one price, we were able to visit many of Boston's most popular attractions. Go Boston Cards include your choice of 40 popular attractions in increments of 1-7 days, letting you customize your cards for your trip. After our visit to the Skywalk Observatory, it was a short 2-minute walk back to the Mandarin Oriental.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Enjoying Customized Mongolian Wok Meals...and Genghis Grill

I recently visited my local Genghis Grill here in San Antonio to create a yummy and healthy personalized Mongolian wok stir fry...and enjoy a few of their new and seasonal menu items. If you're not familiar with Genghis Grill's dining concept, they allow you to "build your own bowl" to create customized meals featuring your choice of more than 80 different ingredients: lean proteins, garden fresh vegetables, seasonings, and sauces. You're truly only limited by your imagination! To assemble your meal creation, you walk through a bar with stations featuring your choice of meats, freshly prepared veggies, and flavorful seasonings and sauces. Once your ingredients are assembled, one of the friendly cooks stir fries them for you on a large Mongolian-style wok.
If you need some help selecting a flavor profile, Genghis Grill offers handy menu cards that show you how to combine ingredients into their most popular flavor combinations. For this visit, I opted to create Chili Garlic Pork from the Heart Healthy menu. This spicy creation is served with fiber-rich brown rice and features pork, carrots, green beans, and mushrooms. I added extra veggies like sweet potatoes, cabbage, and green onion to up the veggie count even more. The end result was spicy and delicious -- the fact that it was heart healthy too was a fantastic  bonus!

My friend and I also tried a new appetizer on the menu, Thai Shrimp & Crispy Rice Lettuce Wraps. This fun shareable appetizer is spicy-sweet and features plump shrimp, carrots, green onions, toasted coconut, and crispy rice in a Thai peanut sauce. This flavorful combination is wrapped in tender butter lettuce.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Root Vegetable #SundaySupper...Featuring Root Veggie-White Bean Salsa

This week, #SundaySupper is focusing on the unsung heroes of the vegetable world: root vegetables. Sure, they're not very glamorous...but they should be part of your weekly food intake! They're packed with fiber, healthy nutrients, and flavor. This week, #SundaySupper participants are focusing on recipes that put root veggies front and center. I'm the first to admit that I don't typically eat a lot of root veggies. So, this week I wanted to put them front in center in a healthy and light appetizer. My flavorful Root Veggie-White Bean Salsa is a riff on a recipe that I recently saw at Martha Stewart's website. My version features a trio of root veggies: chopped baby carrots, purple onion, and diced jicama. Then, I added drained canned white beans, a few other veggies, jalapeno, and a tangy cilantro-lime dressing. This chunky salsa can also be served as a side dish to grilled meats. It's colorful to look at, it tastes great...and it only requires 15-20 minutes to assemble!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mode Foodie Contributor...Featuring Under Pressure: Fast, Gourmet Meals In Your Pressure Cooker

Check out Under Pressure: Fast, Gourmet Meals in Your Pressure Cooker

by Wendy Wofford-Garcia at Mode

These days, more and more busy home cooks are turning to a new generation of pressure cookers to create fast and delicious gourmet dinners for their family and friends. Unlike the fussy pressure cookers of generations past, today's pressure cookers are electric and feature easy-to-use LED displays. By using moist pressurized heat, food cooks in a fraction of the time -- which makes pressure cookers perfect for today's fast-paced, busy lifestyles! For this month's Mode Foodie Contributor roundup, I'm featuring seven fabulous gourmet meals -- most of them go from prep to your dinner table in less than an hour! I hope you'll click the slideshow above and check out these fabulous dinner recipes.

Disclosure: This is a compensated article for Mode Foodie. All opinions expressed are solely mine.