Thursday, June 30, 2016

Introducing Red Gold's New Sriracha Product Line...Featuring Sriracha-Kissed Asian Ramen Slaw #HowISriracha

As a Red Gold Tomatoes Blog Ambassador, I sometimes get a chance to try out their newest items out in my kitchen. The Weekend Gourmet is all about big flavors, so you know that I was very excited when I had a chance to try Red Gold's new line of Sriracha-flavored items! Red Gold has always provided its customers farm-fresh tomato taste -- and now they're offering the bold flavors of Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. In fact, Red Gold is the only tomato company that brings authentic Huy Fong Sriracha flavors to its ketchup, petite diced tomatoes, and salsa. The combination of Red Gold's amazing tomatoes and the sweet-spicy garlic-infused flavor of Sriracha is a treat for your tastebuds!

I used Red Gold's new Sriracha Ketchup and Petite Diced Tomatoes to create a big-flavor spin on a popular potluck salad. My Sriracha-Kissed Asian Ramen Slaw features the classic flavors of traditional ramen slaw -- amped up. I added a few extra ingredients...and the spicy kick of Sriracha! Diced cucumbers, flavorful chopped cashews, and sweet-tart dried cranberries tame the heat and help keep things interesting. This veg-friendly salad is perfect for your upcoming July 4th picnics and's sure to be a hit! Best of all? It's best when made a day ahead, which is a big time saver for holiday party planning! Honestly, I found this moderately spicy side dish very addictive. I can't wait to make it again all Summer long. That, my friends, is #HowISriracha!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wendy's Favorite Things for June #WendyFaveThings

This month's edition of Wendy's Favorite Things is featuring a really fun Great Eight collection! There's everything from decadent healthy snacks...and even a duo of adult beverages perfect for any Summer get-together.

(1) Ticket Chocolate Dulce de Leche S'mores Kit. Summer is the perfect time for s'mores! They can be enjoyed during camping trips...or by a fire pit near the pool. Heck, they can even be enjoyed indoors in seconds by using your microwave. If you're a true s'mores lover like I am, you'll go crazy for this decadent gourmet s'mores kit from California-based chocolatier Ticket Chocolate. Each kit comes with everything you need to make s'mores for four people. I fell in love with Ticket's Peppermint S'mores Kit last Christmas, and now I'm totally hooked on the Dulce de Leche! The kit features homemade caramel swirl marshmallows, artisan baked honey graham crackers, and a salted caramel milk chocolate bar. The end result is gooey marshmallows and creamy chocolate sandwiched between slightly salty graham crackers. To buy this s'mores kit -- or any of Ticket's four flavors of s'mores kits -- simply visit their convenient online store.

(2) Edoughble Ready to Eat Cookie Dough. When you bake cookies, does half of the dough make it into your mouth instead of the oven? Cookie dough tastes great, but ingesting raw eggs isn't always a good idea. Enter Edoughble's delicious edible cookie dough!! This delicious edible dough is made in small batches, and it's made with the very best ingredients -- and no eggs or preservatives. No matter what kind of cookie you love, they've got a variety you'll love! My personal favorites are the Chocolate Chip Off the Old Block, and the colorful sprinkle-filled Birthday Bash. Edoughble cookie dough is shipped in . To purchase your favorite from their wide range of flavors -- including two vegan varieties -- check out their online store.

(3) Wild Garden Hummus Snack Box to Go. I'm always on the lookout for portable, healthy snacks and lunch items I can take to work to enjoy at my desk. One of the best items I've discovered this year is Wild Garden's convenient Hummus Snack Box to Go. Each kit contains a squeezable pouch of hummus and a range of crispy accompaniments. There are several varieties to choose from, but my personal favorite is the Roasted Garlic Hummus with Sea Salt Quinoa Chips. The portion size is filling, and it tastes great! Each snack box averages 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 4 grams fiber. I keep a box or two of these snack packs in my office drawer for a mid-morning snack -- and I sometimes add a piece of fruit and yogurt for a light desk lunch. To find these snack boxes near you, check out Wild Garden's online store locator.

(4) Brewla Craft Ice Pops. Texas Summers are hot...and long. We're always on the lookout for new and tasty ways to stay cool. I recently tried Brewla's all-natural ice pops, and I really love them! Each frozen pop is made with brewed ingredients, including: tea, coffee, botanicals, fruit juices and purees, and hormone free organic milk. These bars taste great and are enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to win! Brewla's flavors include Strawberry + Hibiscus Tea and  Craft Brewed Root Beer Float. My personal favorite flavor is the Tropical Fruits + White Tea. Each bar contains no added sugar, and it's enhanced with electrolytes to help me stay hydrated! This bar contains just 30 fat-free calories, and it tastes great. To find Brewla's Craft Ice Pops near you, check out their online store locator.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Waffles! #SundaySupper...Featuring Biscuit Waffle Breakfast Stack

This week, the #SundaySupper group is focusing on Waffles! Our hostess Sue  from A Palatable Pastime asked us to share our favorite sweet and savory waffle creations ahead of National Waffle Iron Day on June 29th. I love waffles, and I'm intrigued by making creative waffles using unexpected ingredients. This week, I used refrigerated biscuits and my waffle iron to create my Biscuit Waffle Breakfast Stack! This fun item features all of my favorite breakfast items stacked on top of a biscuit waffle. This hearty waffle stack is a perfect weekend brunch...or a busy weeknight brinner. Wait until you see how easy it is to whip up!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Family-Friendly Summer Fun...and Yummy Topgolf San Antonio #summerfun #familymemories

Over the Memorial Day weekend, our teenage niece Lili visited us from Ohio. We planned several fun, family-friendly activities during her stay -- including a visit to Topgolf. If you've never been to a Topgolf location, I highly recommend it! Even if you're like us and had never been golfing before -- other than playing putt putt golf -- you're guaranteed to have a fabulous time! The San Antonio Topgolf facility has three levels. Each one features comfortable bays with sofas and tables -- similar to bowling lanes, but with automated putting stations and golf clubs. Players pick from several fun games, and all of the scoring is automated. We played a game where each player drives 20 golf balls with microchips into the range. The object is to land the golf balls into one of several targets. The farther the target reached, the more points you score. You also get more points if you hit the target's center. It was so much fun! Lili had a great time -- she beat the grown-ups on our first game. 
Not only is Topgolf loads of fun, they also have a really great menu with a wide range of tasty food and beverages! While we took turns playing our golf game, we had sodas and shared a pair of appetizers and a burger. We enjoyed the fun and yummy Bacon Mac 'n Cheese Spring Roll and Shrimp Cocktail appetizers -- as well as a juicy Sunrise Burger. All three dishes were expertly prepared and delicious.
The comforting spring rolls featured spicy and smoky mac 'n cheese wrapped in an egg roll wrapper and fried crispy. The spring rolls were served with creamy ranch dressing for dipping -- we loved this creative fusion appetizer! The elegant chilled shrimp cocktail appetizer included a half dozen boiled jumbo shrimp, tangy veggie slaw, and ginger-infused cocktail sauce -- all served on top of crunchy wonton crisps. We're seafood lovers, so this appetizer didn't last very long!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June Mode Foodie Feature: Spicy Summer Mexican Dips...Beyond Guacamole and Salsa

Check out Spicy Summer Mexican Dips...Beyond Guacamole and Salsa
by Wendy Wofford-Garcia at Mode

Summer is prime time for parties and other get-togethers -- which means it's also prime time for fun party dips. Some of our favorite dips are Mexican dips like guacamole and salsa. This year, why not think outside the box a bit...and try some different spicy Mexican dips?!?!? For this month's Mode Foodie feature, I'm sharing seven of my favorite spicy Mexican dips that are way beyond your average salsa and guacamole! As you'll see in the slideshow above, I've got something for all tastes.

I've got you covered, from veg-friendly spicy elotes-inspired corn dip to jalapeno popper dip...and queso flameado to chicken enchilada dip. Simply add some cold adult beverages and sturdy tortilla chips, and you're ready for all of your Summer fiestas! To get the recipes, simply click on the slideshow above.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post for Mode Foodie. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Santkos Entertainment Opens Casa Blanca Theater in San Antonio! #MySantikos #CasaBlanca #SantikosLegacy #giveaway

Last week, San Antonio-based Santikos Entertainment opened its latest movie theater -- the state-of-the-art Casa Blanca Theater! The theater is located in the rapidly-growing area near Culebra and Loop 1604, at Alamo Ranch Parkway. Casa Blanca is a true destination movie theater and entertainment complex under one roof. In addition to 16 auditoriums to enjoy first-run movies -- more about those in a minute -- the Casa Blanca also features a 16-lane bowling alley and an arcade. This allows couples and families to come to one location and enjoy a day or evening of entertainment! With an onsite cafe, a sports bar, and bowling alley...guests can truly "have it all" under one roof. With summers as hot as they are here in San Antonio, that's a really appealing option!
Casa Blanca offers moviegoers a lot of bang for their movie buck. It's the first 100% laser digital projection theater in the world, offering movie lovers better color saturation and better picture clarity! Theaters provide premium sound too: Klipsch speakers and Dolby Atmos Surround Sound. Every auditorium offers large, plush seats and seat-side tables. Some of these seats are rockers...but six auditoriums offer comfy recliners for a truly relaxing viewing experience. Four other auditoriums offer menus, and full food and beverage service delivered directly to your seat by friendly waitstaff. Talk about the ultimate "dinner and a movie" experience!
One more cutting-edge technological innovation that Santikos Casa Blanca offers is automated ticket kiosks. Bye bye, traditional ticket booths! The touchscreens are easy to use, quick, and so convenient. Guests can purchase their movie tickets online before coming to the theater, them print them at these self-serve kiosks when they arrive. If they prefer, customers can also purchase their tickets directly from these kiosks. Just beyond the ticketing area is a large atrium that contains a bakery and gelato shop, concession stands, and entrances to the bowling alley and restaurant. After purchasing your favorite movie snacks, you go to a separate, large drink area. This area features soda machines that let you create your favorite flavor from literally dozens of customized drink flavors. 
For last week's opening day, I attended an invitation-only blogger event at the Casa Blanca. We toured the theater's auditoriums, sampled some delicious food items from the cafe's upscale dining menu, and learned about the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation's Charitable Legacy.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Stonyfield Clean Plate Club: Protein-Packed Tropical Smoothie...Featuring Heallth Skoop All-in-One Nutrition Mix

It's official: Summer has arrived here in Texas. Staying cool is high on my list of priorities to deal with the heat. One of my favorite  breakfasts during Summer is a smoothie. Talk about a win-win situation: smoothies are quick to make, cool, and refreshing -- and they're a great way to pack a lot of nutrition into my busy mornings! For this month's Stonyfield Clean Plate Club event, we're partnering with Skoop All-in-One Nutrition Mix to create yummy, protein-rich smoothie recipes that also include Stonyfield organic yogurt for an extra protein punch. Healthy Skoop isn't like most protein-based powders I've tried -- it tastes great and isn't gritty or chalky at all. Even better, it contains tons of health benefits! Every serving contains 20 grams of organic plant-based protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, 5o% of your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals, and a whopping 1 billion (!!) probiotic organisms. 

Healthy Skoop comes in both vanilla and chocolate varieties. I opted to give the vanilla flavor a try to create my delicious Protein-Packed Tropical Smoothies. This smoothie is like a tropical vacation in a glass! Healthy Skoop and Stonyfield 0% Fat Greek Yogurt provide protein and other vital nutrients...while bananas, coconut water, pomegranate juice, and pineapple provide natural sweetness and the tropical flavors that I love. My recipe makes two 12-ounce smoothies. Because I like my smoothies icy, I froze some of the ingredients overnight. Be sure to take that into account if you decide to give them a try. In fact, I keep ice cubes made from some of this smoothie's ingredients in a freezer-safe plastic bag at all times so I can make this smoothie in minutes -- even on the busiest of mornings!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gearing Up for Summer With a prAna Giveaway and Stonyfield Yogurt...Featuring Chunky Greek Feta-Veggie Dip #SummerCravings

Summer has definitely arrived in Texas...and I'm celebrating with two of my favorite Summer cravings: cute clothes and light, refreshing snacks. I've partnered with prAna and Stonyfield Organic Yogurt to show you how I recently indulged in these two cravings. I received an adorable prAna Quinn Dress, and it's absolutely perfect for the Texas heat. It's made from soft performance knit with a bit spandex for stretch. The color I selected was a fun guava and azalea print. This sundress also features a convenient shelf bra and a scoop neck with a double-strap racerback. This versatile dress is casual enough to wear when running weekend errands, but it's still dressy enough to go out to dinner by adding some cute sandals and coordinating accessories. I just love it!

In order to fit into this body-conscious sundress, it's important to focus on eating light and refreshing snacks. Enter my Chunky Greek Feta-Veggie Dip, made with Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk 0% Fat Plain Greek Yogurt! This flavorful dip features my favorite Greek flavors, including feta cheese, dill, oregano, and veggies. It's perfect for Summer snacking. I love to pair it with crackers or baked pita chips. This versatile dip is also great as a sandwich topper for grilled chicken wraps. To maximize the flavor, I like to make this flavorful dip at least 4 hours and let it rest in the fridge before I plan to serve it -- up to overnight. Best of all, it can be assembled in about 10 minutes! Everyone who tastes this dip goes absolutely nuts for it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cookbook Review: 200 Best Sheet Pan Meals...Featuring Greek Chicken with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Mushrooms

My least favorite thing to do is wash a bunch of dinner dishes after a busy day at work! That’s why I was so excited to receive a copy of Camilla Saulsbury’s latest cookbook 200 Best Sheet Pan Meals. This fantastic cookbook is an excellent resource for busy cooks who love to cook simple, flavor meals. The recipes in this cookbook feature recipes that are cooked on a large rimmed baking sheet. It contains a wide range of recipes from appetizers and breakfast...and main dish entrees to desserts! A few of recipes that immediately caught my eye include Fresh Roasted Corn, Potato, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad; Garlic Salmon with Green Beans, and Sheet Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. I really had a hard time deciding on just one recipe to feature for this post, then I remembered that I had a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in my freezer. 

Greek Roasted Chicken with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms called for adding a few select veggies and seasonings to the chicken thighs to create a delicious one-pan dinner. This dish literally takes 10-15 minutes to prep, then it roasts in the oven for 30 minutes. This gives you time to toast some pita bread or make a pot of rice to serve with this hearty dish. The only tweaks I made to the original recipe were to substitute sliced shallot for garlic cloves since I had that on hand…and to use some gorgeous little San Marzano tomatoes I found at the grocery store in place of grape tomatoes.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

San Antonio's Culinary Food & Wine Festival #culinariasa

The annual Spring Culinaria Festival Week was held here in San Antonio May the week of May 19-22. Culinaria Festival Week is a popular food and wine festival that features multiple food and wine events over the course of four amazing days. With everything from casual food to upscale, gourmet cuisine...and beer to champagne...Festival Week truly offered something for every kind of foodie to enjoy! Michael and I attended two Culinaria events held at La Cantera Resort during Festival Week this year. We enjoyed the upscale casual Tacos and Talk (and Tasting) event, and the more formal evening Grand Tasting (Reimagined). Both of these great events featured lots of tasty food from local restaurants and premium wine and cocktails. Add it all up, and you have a one fabulous time! Wait until you see all of the pictures of the great food and drinks we sampled... 

Tacos and Talk (and Tasting) on Saturday afternoon featured lots of great tacos served in a gorgeous outdoor location at La Cantera Resort. It also featured a variety of informative wine and cocktail information sessions and tastings. I attended a wine session to learn about  Texas Tempranillo wines. A panel of Texas winemakers told us about their Tempranillo wines, and we were able to sample each one. If you've never tried this red wine varietal, you should definitely seek it out. Tempranillo grapes are typically grown in Spain and Portugal, but the climate here in Texas is also ideal for growing this grape too. It was interesting to note the range of flavors of each winery's offering, we each had our personal favorites. Tempranillo is a perfect match for the spicy foods that we tend to like in tacos! After the wine class, we headed out to explore the taco offerings.

We sampled tart seafood ceviche, festive tequila-based cocktails, and lots of tasty tacos. One of the most creative tacos we sampled that afternoon were the shredded pork tacos with a jicama "tortilla." It was really good, light and refreshing -- perfect for our hot Texas Summers! It paired nicely with chips, guacamole, and salsa. 
The taco event overlooked sweeping vistas of the surrounding Hill Country from La Cantera's outdoor patio. It was a warm day, but the amazing food, cool cocktails, and entertainment ensured everyone had a great time! My favorite cocktail featured tequila, pineapple, and fresh basil. It was fruity, slightly sweet, and had a nice herbal punch from the basil. My favorite taco of the day was a grilled shrimp taco that featured a mango salsa and tangy pickled onions. It was light, yet filling...and it paired perfectly with my tequila cocktail. As we enjoyed our tacos, we enjoyed a performance from a Mexican dance troupe. Tacos and Talk (and Tastings) was a great way to spend an early Summer afternoon. 
Thanks to frequent shuttle buses, parking at the free offsite parking lot was easy and quick. Before we knew it, it was time to head home to relax a bit and get changed for The Grand Tasting later that evening!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for June...Wendy's Best Bites at California Pizza Kitchen, Potbelly Sandwiches, and La Madeleine

This month's edition of The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is a first for us: we're featuring more than one restaurant this month. Michael and I recently sampled new, seasonal menus at several restaurants, so I'm sharing Wendy's Best Bites this month. We recently were invited to California Pizza Kitchen to sample their expanded menu options. If you think that California Pizza Kitchen is just about their amazing gourmet pizzas, then think again! They also offer plenty of non-pizza menu options to suit a wide range of tastes. Our dinner visit started with a fun Summer cocktail option: the Sangria Flight, which features a trio of 3-ounce servings of their Orchard, Red Berry, and Seasonal sangrias. It's a perfect way to taste a variety of cocktials. All three sangrias in our flight were fruity and refreshing, the perfect way to start out our meal! 

Next out of the kitchen was a salad, flatbread, and a pizza. The Bianco flatbread cooked up perfectly crispy and thin and featured whipped truffle cream, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, and fresh sage. This veg-friendly starter paired perfectly with the exotic Moroccan-Spice Chicken Salad. This creative salad features grilled chicken, roasted butternut squash, dates, avocado, almonds, beets, egg, and dried cranberries tossed in a tangy Champagne vinaigrette. The flavors and textures of this creative salad were out of this world!
For our featured pizza, we opted for the Roasted Garlic Chicken. This gourmet-inspired pizza included juicy grilled chicken, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, green onion, and cracked black pepper. We really enjoyed the flavors of this pizza -- and the crust was perfectly cooked! As we enjoyed our pizza and salad, a duo of perfectly cooked wood-fired meat entrees were brought to our table. We shared a Wood-Fired Ribeye and Roasted Garlic Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables.
The ribeye was tender and juicy, topped with blue cheese butter and served with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes. The garlic chicken was the juiciest chicken I've had at any restaurant, and it was incredibly flavorful all the way to the bone. The chicken was served with cauliflower and a delicious lemon-garlic pan sauce. We were stuffed, but the manager told us we simply had to try CPK's warm Butter Cake a la mode. We never have to be asked twice to share dessert, and this one was a real keeper!
The cake was warm and creamy -- reminiscent of a warm cheesecake with vanilla undertones and a cake-like crust. This rich, comforting cake was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and housemade whipped cream. The portion size was perfect for sharing. Trust me, this dessert is a must have for any visit to CPK! From start to finish, our meal was flavorful and perfectly executed -- especially the amazing Roasted Garlic Chicken.