Monday, September 26, 2016

Stonyfield Clean Plate Club...Featuring Bob's Red Mill: Overnight Steel Cut Oats with Pecan Streusel and Cinnamon-Maple Yogurt Drizzle

This month, Stonyfield Clean Plate Club members are partnering with our friends at Bob’s Red Mill to feature some amazing recipes that pair Stonyfield's delicious organic yogurt with their nutritious steel cut oats. With Fall quickly making its way to Texas, cooler mornings are finally on the horizon. That means it's time to transition to warm, comforting breakfasts like my decadent Overnight Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats with Pecan Streusel and Cinnamon-Maple Yogurt Drizzle. Every spoonful of this over-the-top oatmeal is literally a taste of Fall! Simply assemble the streusel and yogurt drizzle before you go to bed. Then, take a few minutes to add all of the oatmeal ingredients to a slow cooker. The rest of the cooking is all hands-off. You’ll wake up the next morning to amazing smells coming from your kitchen...and a hearty, healthy breakfast that's ready to eat in mere minutes! 

If you’ve never tasted steel cut oats before, then you’re in for a real treat! Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats are a bit heartier and chewier than traditional old-fashioned oats. Each 1/2-cup serving contain 5 grams of filling fiber and 7 grams of protein. Talk about a breakfast with sticking power! If you love pumpkin pie, then you’re going to go crazy for this pumpkin-infused oatmeal. Before serving, each bowl is sprinkled with a flavorful pecan streusel and topped with a maple and cinnamon-infused drizzle made with Stonyfield Vanilla 0% Greek Yogurt.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for September...A San Antonio Restaurant Week Recap #sarw #WGDinesOut

This month's edition of The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out is sharing our dining experiences for this year's Culinaria San Antonio Restaurant Week! This year's event took place August 13-27, and we enjoyed special three-course prix fixe dinners at a pair of amazing San Antonio restaurants: Asado Seafood & Grill and Grey Moss Inn. Both restaurants we visited featured creative and delicious Restaurant Week menus. Not only were Restaurant Week meals a delicious dining experience, but they were charitable ones too! With every meal that was ordered during the two-week event, every participating restaurant donated $1 per lunch order and $2 per dinner order to Culinaria to help advance all of its great local food-centric programs. Our first restaurant to visit was Asado, which is located inside the Hilton San Antonio Airport hotel.

My friend and I were warmly greeted by the restaurant's friendly staff and shown to our table. We were both impressed with the dining room's modern decor and soothing tones. While the restaurant's new chef went over the the Restaurant Week menu choices, we enjoyed a pair of creative cocktails from the bar. The featured Restaurant Week cocktail was the Rebecca Creek "Old Fashioned," made with locally sourced whiskey from San Antonio's Rebecca Creek Distillery -- and featuring a charred lemon for an oh-so-slight smoky flavor. We also sampled the refreshing -- and potent -- Moscow Mule Slushy. This icy cocktail featured a generous helping of mint, making this a perfect cooling cocktail for a warm Texas evening. Before we knew it, our appetizer courses appeared from the kitchen. The tasty and creative Asado Deviled Egg and Hobel Farms Goat Cheese Gratin starters were beautifully presented and delicious!
This trio of deviled eggs included a pickled Serrano pepper, a house-made smoked bacon jam, and a sprig of micro cilantro. The flavors going on here definitely elevated a comfort classic to new levels of deliciousness! The warm goat cheese gratin was creamy and rich, then topped with melty cheese and a piece of honeycomb for a touch of sweetness. We spread all of this goodness on warm flatbread and toasted sourdough. to a good start!

Next came our entree selections -- including a bonus third entree courtesy of the chef! We tried two seafood entrees and one beef entree. All three dishes were creative and packed with the big flavors I love. We opted to share all  the Gulf Red Snapper, Grilled Prime Ribeye, and Blackened Texas Redfish. All three were served with some amazing sides to round out their complex flavors.
The Gulf snapper was topped with lump crab gratin and served with roasted garlic shipped potatoes and a spicy Serrano-lime butter. The juicy, tender ribeye was perfectly cooked -- and accompanied by a decadent mac and cheese, grilled jumbo asparagus, and house-made chimichurri sauce. Finally, the blacked redfish was paired with charred corn, queso fresco, shallot butter, and a saffron-cilantro rice. It was an explosion of flavors and textures! 

Photo provided by Asado Seafood & G
We were getting quite full, but we still had a dessert course to come. While we waited for our desserts to arrive, we commented on how much we enjoyed the dining room's modern decor and soothing color scheme. Great food served in a pleasing environment? That's a win-win to me! Next thing we know, out come our duo of comforting desserts: Warm Chocolate Fondant Cake and Summer Berry Cobbler, with the cake being served a la mode. Swoon! I always make sure to save thismuch room for dessert, no matter how good my main meal is...for reasons just like this. We immediately grabbed our spoons and dug in, sharing both desserts like good friends always should. These desserts did not disappoint!
The chocolate cake was served warm, topped with vanilla bean gelato and a fresh berry salad. The texture of the cake was almost like a souffle, and the addition of cold ice cream and tart berries cut through its richness. The cobber was sweetly tart, with a sweet and crumbly topping. Instead of ice cream, it came topped with a lovely cinnamon-scented creme fraiche. of us might have snagged a bit of the ice cream from the cake to sample with the cobbler. With that, our amazing meal at Asado was over. I can't wait to go back and sample more items from their creative menu!

The second restaurant in our Restaurant Week itinerary was Grey Moss Inn, which is a long-time favorite restaurant in the San Antonio special-occasion dining scene. This restaurant is located in nearby Helotes, in a picturesque rural setting -- complete with deer in its adjacent fields! Grey Moss Inn is known for its great food, and it's also one of the area's most romantic restaurants. I know of multiple friends who got engaged here. I somehow had never dined here before, so I was very excited to try their food. The drive into the country was peaceful, and I was immediately impressed by the gorgeous landscaping and the rock structure of the building. We we warmly welcomed by the staff and shown to our table.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Recipes with Coffee #SundaySupper...Featuring Caramel Turtle Mocha Frappe

This week, #SundaySupper is featuring recipes with coffee! Our hostess is Wendy from Wholistic Woman, who asked us to share our favorite coffee-based recipes. I love to treat myself to an icy frappe from time to time, so I wanted to see how easy it would be to re-create this beverage at home. I tinkered around playing barista in my kitchen...and I came up with a decadent Caramel Turtle Mocha Frappe. It's super easy to make, totally delish...and it costs a fraction of what I pay at my favorite coffee shop. Even better? I can make and enjoy this frappe in minutes at home while wearing my comfy pajamas whenever the mood strikes!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...Featuring a Day in New York's SoHo and Nolita Neighborhoods

Photo via Adobe
It’s no secret that Michael and I love to visit New York anytime we get the chance! The city just has so much to offer in the way of food, the arts, and fun-to-explore neighborhoods. Every trip, we pick one New York neighborhood of and spend an entire day walking around, discovering the unique things it has to offer. We’ve previously shared our experiences visiting the Upper West Side, Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan's Battery Park City. Today, I want to share our experience exploring the area of SoHo and Nolita this Summer. Whether you love to power shop, eat great food, or just people watch…this fun New York neighborhood will definitely deliver! The intersection of Broadway and Prince Streets is a great place to start your walking tour of this bustling neighborhood. 

We started our day in SoHo with morning pastries at Laduréethe second New York location of the renowned Paris bakery. Unlike the jewel box-sized Upper East Side location, the SoHo location features a large dining room and a full menu of both sweet and savory dishes -- in addition to a large bakery display case. Michael and I admired the beutifully decorated pastries in the display case…trying to select one each to try. I opted for the feminine Rose & Raspberry Saint-Honore. It featured puff pastry, rose petal cream, raspberry compote, rose-scented Chantilly cream, and raspberries. It was truly heavenly, with a subtle rose flavor that was more like a whisper in the back of my nose. Each bite was pure pastry perfection!
Michael picked one of the most gorgeous pastries I’ve ever seen – the La Fraise Strawberry cake. Both of our pastries were like exquisite works of art…almost too pretty to eat. We somehow managed to cut into them, though. As you can see, Michael's La Fraise looked exactly like a gigantic strawberry -- complete with a green marzipan stem. Inside was cake, cream, and strawberry jam. Before we left Ladurée, I hand selected some of their amazing macarons to bring back home. Ladurée macarons are some of the best in the world and come in amazing flavors like Rose Petal, Pistachio, and Salted Caramel. The friendly staff packed my cookies in a stylish gift box that ensured they made it safely back to Texas!
While we ate our pastries, Michael discovered that there was a Leica camera store just a few blocks away, so we decided to pop in and check it out! On our way to the camera store, we discovered an amazing hand-painted mural dedicated to Prince on the outside of a building. That’s always one of the very best parts of exploring New York on foot – you truly never know what fun thing you’ll stumble upon along the way!
Here's another example of that. On our way to the camera store, we were excited to discover the fun and unique Chobani SoHo Cafe . Despite having just eaten pastries, we had to go inside to check it out! Turns out, they offer a creative menu of both sweet and savory Chobani Greek yogurt bowls in two sizes. Michael and I decided to share the tropical-inspired Pineapple Coconut Agave since we had lunch plans in a couple of hours. It was so good! Creamy Greek yogurt was topped with juicy fresh pineapple, toasted coconut, and a drizzle of agave. I hope Chobani expands this healthy concept nationwide, because this location was definitely popular! From there, we headed to the camera shop to dream of camera upgrades. Before we knew it, it was time for us to start the 30-minute walk to Lombardi’s Pizza in adjacent Nolita for lunch.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Stonyfield Clean Plate Club with Justin's Nut Butter...Featuring Maple-Almond Banana Smoothie

As part of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club, we recently partnered with the nice people at Justin's nut butters to create delicious and healthy protein-packed recipes. I received a trio of Justin's delicious nut butters to play around with in my kitchen: lightly sweet Maple Almond, Honey Peanut, and Chocolate Hazelnut. All of the flavors were so delicious, but I especially loved the Maple Almond Butter -- I found myself sneaking a spoonful all the time! Don't get me wrong...I love peanut butter as much as the next gal, but I went absolutely crazy for the earthiness of the almond butter and the subtle sweetness provided by maple sugar. I knew that I wanted to create a smoothie using the Maple Almond Butter that could also double as an on-the-go breakfast or hearty afternoon snack.

I used the Justin's Maple Almond Butter and super creamy Stonyfield 0% Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt to create my fun and tasty Maple-Almond Banana Smoothie. This smoothie is flavored with maple syrup and a touch of cinnamon. It also features frozen bananas in place of ice. The end result is rich and creamy, with plenty of filling protein to power me through the busiest of work days. Of all the smoothies that I've created this year, this is definitely my personal favorite. I know that this smoothie will be favorite of your family too. Just wait until you see how quick and easy it is to make. One tip, though: be sure to freeze your bananas ahead of time. I always have frozen bananas in a zip bag in my freezer so I'm ready to make this smoothie anytime the craving hits...which is often!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Easy Football Food Ideas for Game Day #SundaySupper...Featuring Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark

I absolutely LOVE it when football season starts! That's why I was so excited when I saw this week's #SundaySupper theme was Easy Football Food Ideas for Game Day. Our hostess for this week's even is Coleen of The Redhead Baker blog. She encouraged us to share our best recipes for foods to enjoy while watching the Big Game! We're huge Houston Texans fans, so game day each week will find us in front of the TV watching the game...and noshing on yummy food! I typically focus on spicy, savory appetizers for events like this...but I recently saw a recipe for a quick graham cracker-based toffee bar recipe in Bon Appetit that caught my eye and begged me to make it. I tweaked their recipe a bit to create my own version, which I call Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark.

A graham cracker base is topped with popcorn and other crunchy toppings. Then, a homemade vanilla-cinnamon toffee is poured over the top. After a few minutes in the oven, the baked ingredients are topped with a generous amount of both semisweet and white chocolate chunks. After the bark cools, it's broken into pieces to serve. I personally GUARANTEE that this sweet snack will score a touchdown with your hungry friends and family on game day...and no one will be able to stop with just one piece!