Monday, November 30, 2009

Contest Alert: Cake Walk

If you love jewelery and cupcakes, I suggest you head over to Cake Walk. There is a contest for the cutest cupcake earrings:

"So what is the giveaway this week? Kelly, owner of the egyptianruin Etsy shop, is giving away a pair of design-it-yourself cupcake earrings! The winner will get to choose the flavor of both the cupcake and the topping, and all earrings come on sterling silver fish hooks."

Ile De France Cheese: Holiday Bash for Cash

*ETA: Please vote for my entry. The contest ends on December 21st.





Cantaloupe-Goat Cheese Bites

Ile De France Goat Cheese (Original recipe: La Buchette), 6 oz, shredded
3 oz bacon bits
3 oz mixed nuts, chopped
1 lb of cantaloupe chunks

Take out two small bowls. Fill one with 1 1/2 oz chopped nuts. Put the bacon bits and the remaining 1 1/2 oz of chopped nuts in the second bowl. Set aside for the moment.

Now shred the goat cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Cut one end of the package, squeeze gently and press the goat cheese against a grater. Shredding the goat cheese will allow it to stick better to the cantaloupe.

Roll a chunk of cantaloupe in the shredded goat cheese. Repeat for the remaining cantaloupe.

One third of the cantaloupe bites will be served as is. The other two thirds of the goat cheese-cantaloupe chunks will be rolled in the nuts or the bacon-nut mixture.

This appetizer serves 6 to 8 people.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Contest Alert: Cake Walk

If you love food art like I do, head over to Cake Walk for a chance to win a cake postcard. Here are the details:


"To make things even better, TangBaby has offered to give one Cake Slice Postcard away to a lucky blog reader! That's you! For a chance to win, visit TangBaby's store. Then, come back here and leave a comment about your favorite item. (Sorry, open to US residents only.)"

Friday, November 06, 2009

POM Kiwi & POM Nectarine



Lately, I have been craving fruit. Not my usual assortment of bananas & apples, but richer, juicier fruits like kiwi. So I was very excited when I got to try POM Kiwi & POM Nectarine!

Normally I don't care for kiwi or nectarine drinks. Kiwi beverages I tasted in the past had strawberry-watermelon aftertastes. Prior nectarine drinks reminded me of orange hard candy : P The POM juices were a refreshing change from my past negative experiences. POM Kiwi definitely tasted like fresh kiwis, with a slightly tart pomegranate twist. POM Kiwi goes well with simple yet decadent meals, such as a dinner of steak salad & a small slice of cheesecake. POM nectarine had a natural, light flavor that reminded me of fresh squeezed juice from home. I would suggest the POM Kiwi for a Sunday brunch or a bridal shower. It would be delicious by itself or as part of a custom punch.

Try my POM Kiwi & POM Nectarine recipes. They're delicious & easy to make : )

POM Nectarine Cupcakes
1 - 18 oz white box cake mix
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 Tbsp honey
2 cups chopped peaches
1/2 cup POM Nectarine
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Mix in pecans, honey, peaches & POM Nectarine to batter. Spoon cake mix into cupcake tins. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. After cupcakes have cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

POM Kiwi Chicken Salad
For the crust, I used rice flour, sweet potato flakes, butter & POM Nectarine. You'll need to eyeball the amount of POM added to the crust, just as you'd do when using water. I baked the crust for a few minutes at 375 degrees, then allowed it to cool completely. For the filling, I added 1/4 cup POM Kiwi to chilled chicken salad.



Monday, November 02, 2009

Seafood Desserts

I'm in a brainstorming mood. I am trying to think of dessert recipes that involve seafood. Throw ideas at me, please.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Eat Sushi

If you're new to sushi like me, a little help is always welcome. Head over to Snippets to read What Is The Right Way To Eat Sushi. Thank you to AMW reader Jerry for the link!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blockbuster Monster Contest

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Who can resist popcorn balls, cider and delicious, spooky desserts ? If you're a candy freak like me, you've probably made creative candy set-ups for Halloween parties (and then sampled them for "quality control") Now you can put that creativity to use and win an awesome prize, too! Allison Meets World is having a Blockbuster Monster contest. Create an edible Blockbuster monster out of candy and popcorn available in Blockbuster stores. Then share a photo of it on Allison Meets World. The winner will receive a $25 Blockbuster gift card. Now get to the kitchen and work some magic, my culinary goblins : )

Here are the rules:
- One entry per person, per household, per email address
- One prize per person, per household, per email address
- The prize must be accepted as awarded. No substitutions will be made.
- Entries will be accepted from Monday, October 26, 2009 at 3:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time to Monday, November 2, 2009 at 11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Three winners will be announced on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
- The winner will be the most creative Blockbuster Monster, as determined by Allison Meets World.
- How do you enter the contest ? Post a photo of your Blockbuster Monster in this thread. Partial, incomplete, obscene or offensive entries will be disqualified.
- The winner will receive their Blockbuster $25 gift card via US mail. So I must be able to contact you. Make sure to leave your blog address on your contest entry. Or email me at AllisonMeetsWorld(at)yahoo.com after you post your photo entry and let me know which entry was your's.
- If Allison Meets World determines there is any suspected or actual tampering with the photo contest, AMW reserves the right to void the tampered entries.
- "What kind of monster should I make ?"
The sky is the limit. You could make a trick-or-treating monster, a pumpkin
monster -- let your imagination and your sweet tooth be your guide : )

Here are some Blockbuster available candies to inspire you:

ORVILLE KETTLE KORN POPCORN
ORVILLE SMART POP POPCORN
ORVILLE BUTTER POPCORN
ORVILLE MT BUTTER POPCORN
NESTLE RAISINETS
BUNCHA CRUNCH
REESE'S PIECES
TWIZZLERS STRAWBERRY
GOOBERS
SNOW CAPS
MILKDUDS
SOUR PATCH KIDS
SKITTLES ORIGINAL
STARBURST ORIGINAL
MIKE&IKE ORIGINAL
COOKIE DOUGH BITES
SKITTLES SOUR
WHOPPERS
NESTLE RAISINETS DARK CHOC
CHOCOLATE COVERED ALMONDS
HOT TAMALES
M&M'S PEANUT
SKITTLES CRAZY CORE
WHOPPERS PEANUT BUTTER
M&M'S PLAIN MILK
MIKE&IKE BERRY BLAST
STARBURST SOUR GUMMIBURST
RED VINES THEATER
MIKE AND IKE ITALIAN ICE
SOUR JACKS WATERMELON
MIKE&IKE TROPICAL TYPHOON
SOUR JACKS
COOKIE DOUGH BITES DARK CHOC.
MIKE&IKE LEMONADE BLENDS

*Update: The entry deadline has been extended to November 4th.
**Update #2: Congrats to Jan, our winner. Please email me your address so I can mail your prize. Leslie, email me your address, too, for a special AMW runner up prize.
**Update #3: Runner up prize mailed at post office this afternoon

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Note of the Day: Bread Crumbs

A great substitution when you're out of bread crumbs = dry cream of wheat roasted in the oven. Keep an eye on it, though, as cream of wheat apparently roasts very quickly!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Random Note Of The Day: Black Fruit Cake

Today I discovered that black fruit cake and Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino ice cream together = the best dessert ever. I'm always looking for new recipes to try, so share your favorite unusual desserts : )

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Piccadilly Happy Memories Contest: A Follow Up

If you were a winner in the recent Piccadilly Happy Memories Contest and received your gift card prize, please contact me at AllisonMeetsWorld[at]yahoo.com for a brief follow up question. Thanks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

POMx Iced Coffee

"A delicious blend of antioxidants, caffeine and rich coffee"

Confession time: I don't drink hot coffee. Iced coffee, though, I love. Sipping an iced coffee at the park is just so relaxing to me. The downside to that past time is spilling your cup on the drive to the park : P But there is a solution to that: POMx Iced Coffee. Their coffees come in cute, portable bottles you can toss in your tote bag for a day at the park.

POMx comes in three yummy flavors: vanilla, chocolate and cafe au lait. Some of you are probably wondering "Wait, isn't POM a fruit juice ? I don't want juice in my coffee." No worries. Only the pomegranate antioxidants are in POMx iced coffee, not the actual pomegranate flavor. Plus, this beverage is preservative free and made with hormone-free milk.

Aside from drinking the POMx iced coffee, I liked trying it in recipes. For breakfast, I recommend a glass of POMx cafe au lait, fruit, toast and cafe au lait butter. The cafe au lait butter was easy to make. Just mix a smidge of the POMx and some butter in a small bowl with a fork. Don't add too much, as you just want to add the flavor and not make the butter soggy.

For dessert, I added 1/4 cup POMx cafe au lait to a chocolate chip cookie mix. That was the best idea ever. Like chocolate chip cookies aren't addictive enough! X D

As a late night snack, I would suggest the chocolate POMx. I had a bowl of black pepper popcorn and the chocolate flavor. That was a very odd combination, but absolutely delicious. (I sort of get the whole chili and chocolate craze now) I dipped the popcorn in the chocolate POMx. What, it tasted good.

Thumbs up for POMx Iced Coffee *skips off to produce aisle for more*


POMx cafe au lait & POMx chocolate iced coffees


POMx cafe au lait & POMx chocolate iced coffees


POMx chocolate iced coffee and black pepper popcorn


POMx cafe au lait iced coffee and toast with POMx cafe au lait butter

Contest Alert: Applegate Farms / Rock the Box

It's back to school time. And you know what that means: new lunch boxes, making memories with new friends and creative meals to go in those boxes. Head over to Applegate Farms to share your favorite school food memory for a chance to win a cool new lunchbox. I don't have a favorite lunch memory, although I did love adding bbq chips to my peanut butter sandwiches. Best combination ever X D But enough about me -- get to writing those entries, my creative little minions ; )



"What is your most vivid school food memory?
Share your school food memories in any written form you'd like – a story, poem, song lyric or Haiku. We’ll post the entries on our website and enter your name in a drawing to win a snazzy OOTS lunchbox. New winners will be selected each week, so there will be lots of chances to win! Enter your school food experience below. Deadline to enter is September 25, 2009."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monroe's Smokehouse, Jacksonville, FL: Review 3

Monroe's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
4838 Highway Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32254
904-389-5551,
Fax: 904-384-3323

Today I ate lunch at Monroe's Smokehouse, as a follow up to my January and June reviews.

Homemade Potato Salad
The potato salad is different from what was served in January. It is chunks of potato with a sort of salad dressing coating & celery seeds. The consensus at the table was "That's not really potato salad. And it isn't very good."

Collard Greens
The greens are no longer served soupy and greasy. I was given a beautiful, tasty order this time. However, the greens were gritty. The grit / dirt had probably not been properly washed before cooking. Monroe's did replace my greens with the black eyed peas, though, which I appreciated.

Savory Black-eyed Peas
The black eyed peas at Monroe's were decent enough on previous visits. But now they are excellent. The peas are served thick and well seasoned, with pieces of bacon mixed in. Absolute heaven X D

Bbq Bacon Cheeseburger
The bbq burger was perfect. The bun was warm and toasted. The meat patty was huge and cooked to perfection, with crisp bacon, fresh lettuce, tomato, onion slices and a drizzling of bbq sauce. I could only eat half of the man-sized burger. Definitely worth ordering again!

Memphis Deluxe Pulled Pork Sandwich
No complaints about this sandwich. Monroe's is still making the Memphis Deluxe as great as before.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ile De France: Prettiest Platter Contest



You all know how competetive I am. I've entered a photo in the Ile De France Prettiest Platter contest. Remember to vote for me until October 6.

"What ingredients did you use ?"

Ile De France Brie (single serve minis & one large wheel), shredded cheddar, an M&M, salad crunchies, rice and food coloring. I had to keep sticking the brie into the freezer to hold the shapes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Organica Deluxe: Ginger Cookies

"Baked fresh in small batches, the organic ingredients make these darker and richer than traditional ginger cookies. Topped with sugar crystals, these oversized treats are the perfect compliment to your morning latte, hot tea or a cold glass of milk."

Last week, I entered an Organica Deluxe contest. I ended up winning two Organica Deluxe ginger cookies. How awesome is that ?

These ginger cookies were soft, lightly sugared & fresh tasting. They absolutely melted in my mouth. I was pleased with the ingredient list, too:

"Organic flour, organic cane sugar, organic butter, organic molasses, organic eggs, organic ginger, organic cloves and other natural spices."

I'll definitely be sending Organica cookies to people for the upcoming holidays. Thumbs up for Organica Deluxe!









Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ile De France Camembert

"Rich and creamy"
"Imported soft ripened cheese"


Today's recipes were inspired by the awesome Eclipse Chocolat and a delicious sample of Ile De France Camembert.





This was my spin on a grilled cheese sandwich. I used pulled pork (without bbq sauce), Ile De France Camembert and English muffins. The bread grilled just as nice as sliced bread. I enjoyed the creamy flavor of the cheese mixed with the smokiness of the pork.





For dessert, I made a fondue to go with the Camembert. I put eight pieces of dark chocolate Hershey's Bliss candy and a dollop of butter in a double boiler over medium heat. Once the butter and chocolate melted, 1/3 cup crushed blackberries were stirred in. I poured the chocolate in a glass and added a ring of gingersnaps. The final step was dipping pieces of Camembert in the chocolate. I loved the contrasting flavors of the Camembert and gingersnaps. They both played off the blackberry chocolate well. I'll definitely serve this for my next dinner party.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Hardee's Restaurant in Florida

Spotted on a Hardee's sign today: New Fried Bologna Biscuit. In the words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

*ETA: Head over to Webfloss to view the bologna biscuit on a coupon. You can imagine my reaction to reading this line:

"In a world of fruit cups, cantaloupes and granola parfaits, it's hard to find a reason to get up and greet the day. Well look no further. Hardee's introduces the Oscar Mayer Fried Bologna Biscuit with Egg and Cheese. And as if that wasn't enough, we're also knocking a buck off the price of the combo. So put the lid back on that yogurt, friend. Hardee's has breakfast worth waking up for."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Piccadilly Happy Memories Contest

It's August. You guys know what that means: squeezing in a few more beach days, cookouts and family trips before the back to school routine starts again. Some of the best memories can come from those gone-too-fast days, though. I fondly remember trips to Piccadilly with my grandmother during summer. You guys know I am a dessert girl, so no surprise which dishes at Piccadilly were my favorite!

That is why I'm happy to announce the Piccadilly Happy Memories contest : ) Share a photo or an essay plus a photo about your best memories of dining at Piccadilly.The five best essays / essays plus a photo will win a $10 Piccadilly gift card. A meal at Piccadilly would be perfect for making unforgettable memories with friends and family!

Contest rules:
-Essays for the Piccadilly Happy Memories contest will be accepted from Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 3:00 PM EST to Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 3:00 PM EST.
- Judging will take place from Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 3:01 PM EST to Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 3:01 PM EST.
- Winners will be announced after 3:01 PM EST on Wednesday, September 2, 2009.
- Five winners will each receive one $10 Piccadilly gift card.
- One entry per person, per household, per email address
- One prize per person, per household, per email address
- The prize must be accepted as awarded. No substitutions will be made.
- The winners will be the five best essays / or essays plus a photo, as determined by Allison Meets World.
- Partial / incomplete entries will be disqualified.
- Winners will be sent their Piccadilly gift cards via US mail. So I must be able to contact you about your mailing address. Make sure to leave your blog address on your contest entry.
- "I have a photo for my entry, but I don't feel comfortable sharing my image online. Can I email my entry to you instead ?"
Yes, that is fine. Send it to AllisonMeetsWorld(at)yahoo.com, subject line "Piccadilly Happy Memories Contest."
- "Is a photo required ?"
A photo is optional. You may enter either an essay by itself or an essay plus a photo.
- If Allison Meets World determines there is any suspected or actual tampering with the essay contest, AMW reserves the right to void the tampered entries.

*Update: Don't forget to leave your first name on your entry, if you don't have a blog. Under the comment box, click on "Choose an identity", then choose "Name / URL (Optional)."
**Update #2: AMW is extending the entry deadline to September 2 at 8 PM EST.
**Update #3: Congratulations to our winners: Joan Bell, Carter Nasmith, Ted Sherwin, Lena Miller & Maureen Clare. All the winners need to contact me by Saturday September 5 at noon with their email addresses, so I'll know where to mail each gift card. Otherwise, your prizes will be awarded to the runners up.
**Update #4: Gift cards have been mailed out : )

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mistakes In The Kitchen

After several years in the kitchen, I have learned not to do these things:

- Adding chicken breader in place of breadcrumbs in beef. Who knew you could make mushy ground beef so easily ?
- Mayonnaise biscuits = Several of my church cookbooks have recipes for mayonnaise biscuits. I went through a phase once where I tried repeatedly to bake those. And they never came out right.
- Converting a spicy cherry-garlic dip recipe into cherry cupcake filling
- Leaving the room for "just a second" while custard was on the stove
- A toasted English muffin with peanut butter and peanut butter M&Ms (When I was twelve, not recently. What was I thinking ? 0_0)
- Chicken marinated in pink raspberry vinaigrette. The chicken tasted good. But it was like pulling teeth trying to convince everyone "Look, it's just the coloring from the dressing. You will not get sick."

I would love to hear everyone else's kitchen mistakes. And if you're wondering, dinner at the AMW house tonight is indeed tacos with mushy beef. Yep, one of those cooking days...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blockbuster Foodie Movie Contest

*Update: The winners are J, kidzmustplay & Kimberly. I'll email you soon with your Blockbuster codes. J, please send me your email address soon (your profile and blog are set to private) If I have not heard from you by 8 PM EST tomorrow (Sunday August 2nd), it will be awarded to runner up Cynious.
_______
I am excited to share a new contest with all of you. Allison Meets World is having a foodie movie contest! The folks at Blockbuster have an awesome prize for three lucky winners: a promotion code for a one-month subscription to Blockbuster's Total Access, worth $19.99 a month. How cool is that ? : D

Each code includes:
- Unlimited DVDs through the mail (3-out at a time)
- 5 free in-store exchanges per month
- No due dates or late fees
- Online retail discounts
- No extra charge for Blu-ray

Here are the rules:
- One entry per person, per household, per email address
- One prize per person, per household, per email address
- The prize must be accepted as awarded. No substitutions will be made.
- Entries will be accepted from Monday, July 27, 2009 at 9:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time to Friday, July 31, 2009 at 11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Three winners will be announced on Saturday, August 1, 2009.
- The winners will be the first three people to answer all 10 Blockbuster Foodie Movie questions correctly. In the event no entrant gets all 10 answers correct, the winners will be the first three entrants with the largest amount of correct answers. Example: If there are four people with nine correct answers & nobody with ten correct answers, the first of those three will be the winners.
- How do you enter the contest ? Simply post your ten trivia question answers in this thread. Partial / incomplete entries will be disqualified.
- Winners will be emailed their Blockbuster Total Access promotion codes. So I must be able to contact you. Make sure to leave your blog address on your contest entry. Or email me at AllisonMeetsWorld(at)yahoo.com after you post your entry and let me know "Hey, I am Mary and here's my email address. My entry was the one by Mary, posted at 7PM on July 28." Make sure the subject line is "Blockbuster Foodie Movie Contest."
- If Allison Meets World determines there is any suspected or actual tampering with the trivia contest, AMW reserves the right to void the tampered entries.

Here are your trivia questions. Good luck! After entering, be sure to vote in the Blockbuster Foodie Poll

1.) In Bridget Jones's Diary, What kind of soup does Bridget Jones end up serving her dinner guests after her unsuccessful attempt at preparing a gourmet meal?
A. French Onion Soup
B. Blue String Soup
C. Canned Tomato Soup
D. Lobster Bisque

2.) In Waitress what does Keri Russell’s character, Jenna, name her diner?
A. Pie Heaven
B. Joe’s Pie Diner
C. Lulu’s Pies
D. The Sweet Shop

3.) Where do the two main characters in Sideways travel before one of them gets married?
A. California Wine Country
B. The Gulf Coast
C. The Rocky Mountains
D. The Grand Canyon

4.) What are the factory workers called in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory / Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?
A. Oomp- Loompas
B. Sugar Men
C. Sweetsies
D. Chocos

5.) What movie does, “Secret’s in the sauce!” come from?
A. Spanglish
B. Heartburn
C. Tortilla Soup
D. Fried Green Tomatoes

6.) In Lady & the Tramp, what type of cuisine do Lady and Tramp enjoy on their date?
A. Spaghetti
B. Hamburgers
C. Enchiladas
D. Ice cream

7.)In Under the Tuscan Sun ,who does Diane Lane’s character, Frances Mayes, start cooking for when she moves to Tuscany?
A. Husband
B. Brother’s family
C. Contract workers
D. Neighbors

8.) What is the name of the chef Queen Latifah’s character, Georgia Byrd, idealizes in Last Holiday?
A. Chef Didier
B. Julia Child
C. Chef McCracken
D. Wolfgang Puck

9.) What kind of sandwich does Adam Sandler’s character, Chef John Clasky, make himself in Spanglish ?
A. Fried Egg
B. Peanut Butter
C. Turkey
D. BLT

10.) When John Corbett’s character, Ian Miller, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding tells his fiancĂ©’s aunt he doesn’t eat meat, what alternative does she suggest?
A. Tofu
B. Fish
C. Lamb
D. Starvation

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Salad Cupcakes





Last night I was reading Cupcakes Take The Cake. I found myself inspired by the mention of "cupcake salad." What I came up with is a simple, fun cupcake you can make for a dinner party.

I started by tweaking a recipe for blueberry buttermilk muffins. This recipe produced enough batter for 12 normal sized cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes. Also, you don't want guests biting into the cupcakes and having salad toppings spill on the floor. That is why items such as fruit or nuts should be in the cupcake batter instead of sprinkled over the lettuce.

Muffins
2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup melted butter - The original called for 1/4 lb. Didn't notice that until this morning
1 c. chopped cherries
2 Tbsp olive oil

Mix and sift dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Gradually add in buttermilk, eggs & melted butter. Mix in olive oil. Gently fold in cherries into mixture. Pour into greased muffin pan. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before starting the salad layer.

Salad
1 Tbsp Ile De France Goat Cheese (Original recipe: La Buchette)
2-3 pieces of lettuce from a bag of Fresh Express Premium Romaine Mix, torn into smaller bits
1-2 Ile De France Mini Toasts / Le Petit Pain Grille, broken into smaller pieces
1/2 Tsbp Ken's Steak House Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

After cupcakes have cooled completely, cut out the center of the cupcake. I used the round top of a sports bottle in place of a biscuit cutter. Don't push too hard when coring the cupcake, or it will crack on one side like mine did. You can scoop out any extra bits of cupcake with a small spoon if necessary.

Next, press the goat cheese on the hollowed walls and bottom of the cupcake. My first plan had been to use a dip or a ranch dressing. But those would have turned the cupcakes & lettuce soggy right away.

Now sprinkle some of the broken mini toast over the goat cheese. Top with a small amount of the lettuce. Alternate layers that way until the top layer is lettuce. Don't start your layering with the lettuce against the goat cheese. The mini toasts keep the lettuce from becoming mushy next to the cheese. Why mini toasts instead of croutons, you may wonder ? Mini toasts are flat and wide, making them easy to break into pieces smaller than croutons. Square croutons would have taken up too much space in the salad. And breaking croutons would've turned them into crumbs. Mini toasts give the cupcakes thin, jagged pieces that nestle in the lettuce. The result is small, crunchy bites for your guests.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1/2 tbsp or less vinaigrette over the lettuce. Only a tiny amount of dressing is required. Your guests should be able to take a bite and not have dressing splash out on them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Camel Milk Chocolates

Click on the link in the title for the story. Fans of Gordon Ramsay's F-Word may remember Janet Street-Porter milking a camel and learning about camel milk's health benefits.

Source: "World's first camel-milk chocolates going global", Tamara Walid, Reuters, July 21, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

"A Taste Unlike Any Other"
"The Antioxidant Superpower"






If there's one thing the AMW family loves, it is fruit. We love fruit in desserts, in homemade smoothies and even with meat dishes. So I was excited when I received samples of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice recently.

Some of you are probably thinking "Why is it called Wonderful ? And what health benefits do I get from POM Wonderful?" Apparently Wonderful is an actual variety of pomegranate, only grown by POM Wonderful. As far as health benefits, this pomegranate juice has 430 mg of potassium. That's 12% of your daily recommended amount and almost as much potassium as bananas have.

I had tried other pomegranate juices before. I found most of them to have an artificial, overly sweet taste. I discovered the source of that problem when I noticed one brand had blueberries, apples and a few other fruits mixed in with their pomegranate juice; that was noted on their ingredient list, but not on the front label of their juice. To say I was not thrilled at the deception is an understatement. In contrast to that, the POM Wonderful juice promised "100% authentic pomegranate juice" and "no cheap filler juices."

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice was a big hit with the AMW family. I loved that the juice had a natural, lightly sweet, slightly tart taste. All of us liked the POM paired with chocolates and fine cheeses we had. Smoothies made from POM 100% Pomegranate Juice, ice and a sprinkling of chopped fruit were a favorite, too. I even added three tablespoons of POM juice to a brownie recipe, for a little extra zing. So good!

I also made POM Wonderful pork chops. Those got a rave review around the dinner table (I skipped the cabbage and mashed potato recipes) The POM juice and the Worcestershire sauce gave the chops an amazing flavor. I will definitely be making these again:
POM-Glazed Pork Chops With Red Cabbage and Mashed Potatoes



TIME TO TABLE: 1 HOUR; 20 MINUTES PREPARATION PLUS 30 TO 40 MINUTES COOKING)
Makes: 4 main dish servings

Ingredients:
Juice from 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 1 cup POM Wonderful 100%Pomegranate Juice
4 pork chops, about -inch to -inch thick
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Granny Smith apples
1 1-lb. head red cabbage, shredded or grated
1 bay leaf
teaspoon fennel or caraway seed
cup water, or more as needed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
4 medium russet potatoes (about 1 lb.)
1 cup warmed buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*

2. Peel potatoes and cut into cubes.

3. Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil; cook covered until soft, about 30 minutes.

4. Peel and core apples; cut into -inch slices.

5. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet.

6. Brush Worcestershire sauce on pork chops.

7. Salt and pepper the pork chops and put them into the heated skillet.

8. Brown on both sides and lower the heat.

9. Mix cup pomegranate juice with balsamic vinegar and cornstarch, and pour into the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook until pork chops are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

10. In a large saucepan, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and apples; cook until they begin to soften.

11. Add grated cabbage, bay leaf, cup pomegranate juice, cup water, fennel seeds, red wine vinegar and brown sugar.

12. Add salt and pepper to taste.

13. Cook for 30 minutes or until cabbage is soft.

14. Remove potatoes from heat and drain. Mash with a potato masher; add to 1 cup warmed buttermilk and butter (optional).

15. Serve pork chops and cabbage with mashed potatoes.

* For 1 cup of juice, cut 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

Applegate Farms: All Natural Breaded Chicken Patties

"The golden crispy breading on our chicken patty is the perfect complement to our tender antibiotic-free chicken."
"Ready to heat * Fully cooked"









Recently, the AMW family taste tested Applegate Farms chicken patties. Normally I cannot get anyone here to eat chicken patties from the grocery store. Their response is always "But I want the juicy Chick-Fil-A stuff. Why can't we have that instead?" However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn't the case when I cooked the Applegate Farms chicken.

I was excited to see "no antibiotics" and "all natural" on the Applegate Farms box. But what really got my attention was the nutrition label. Normally I find myself saying "What the heck is in this ? I can't pronounce half the ingredients." What a change from the usual chemical laden ingredient list:
"Chicken, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Corn Starch, Salt, Natural Flavor, Breaded With: Wheat Flour, Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Salt, Battered With: Water, Wheat Flour, Corn Starch, Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Breading Set In Vegetable Oil."

The Applegate Farms breaded chicken patties were really easy to cook. Ordinary chicken patties become soggy if cooked in a microwave or an oven. The Applegate patties, however, were a pleasant change from that scenario. The coating came out crispy in both the microwave and oven tastings. The meat was moist and tender, too!

Another plus with the A.F. chicken was the creativity & flexibility I had in the kitchen. One night the AMW family had succulent chicken sandwiches with lettuce and tomato (Adios, Chick-Fil-A!) Another day I sliced the chicken into strips for a salad. The chicken patties were also delicious at dinner with sides of applesauce and green beans. I got requests for second helpings and even "Is there any left from last night ? I really liked the chicken."

I would definitely buy Applegate Farms Chicken. I liked the all natural ingredients and the ease of meal preparation. The patties also pleased everyone in the family. Thumbs up for Applegate Farms Chicken Patties!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Limited Edition Coconut M&Ms

Head over to Candy Blog to read about the new coconut M&Ms. I want to try them!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ritz Crackerfuls & Honey Butter Ritz

I came across these on Ritz's website while looking for recipes today. I'll look for them next time I'm grocery shopping & let you know how they taste:


"Looking for a satisfying snack that's perfect in between meals? You're sure to enjoy new Ritz Crackerfuls, made with real cheese and 5 grams of whole grain per serving. Available in Four Cheese and Classic Cheddar flavors"


"Everyone loves the deliciously sweet taste of honey. That's why we've rolled those great flavors into a fresh, flaky cracker, perfect for snacking in the morning, evening, or anytime."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Godiva Ice Cream Parlor Truffles

I received this email from Godiva Choclatier today. If any of you are getting married, please use these for centerpieces & invite me, okay ?

IN-STORE SAMPLINGS
7/3 - 7/9
Limited Edition Ice Cream Parlor Truffles



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pizza Hut test marketing in Jacksonville, FL

Source: "Chain test markets 'The Hut' on First Coast", The Florida Times Union, 6/26/09

Monday, June 29, 2009

Keystone Inn Family Restaurant, Keystone Heights, FL

Keystone Inn Family Restaurant
Highway 100
Keystone Heights, FL
(352)473-3331

On Sunday, I was this close to eating store brand lasagna for dinner. You all know how much I hate that idea. So I suggested the AMW family try the Keystone Inn Family Restaurant. We had passed it the last time we drove through Keystone Heights. Thank goodness I had jotted down the name!

The first thing I noticed about the Keystone Inn was the grandmother on their sign and the checkered curtains on the windows. As I got out of the car, I could smell fresh biscuits & fried chicken. Best smell ever!

Upon entering the restaurant, I could see it was L-shaped. To the right were several tables with blonde wood chairs. Straight ahead were darker wooden chairs, more tables, the buffet & the kitchen. The walls had wooden parrots & nautical items attached. The building resembled a former walk up ice cream stand that had been added on to; the kitchen had a drive-through window indoors & an outdoor faucet was under a table.

After we sat down, a blonde woman in a purple shirt & an apron quickly ran to our table. She hastily slung napkins, forks & knives at the table. Her comment was "Here's your silverware. I didn't have time to wrap it, but it's clean, so it's good enough."

The menu had a choice of various sandwiches, salads, seafood, meats, desserts, plus the buffet / salad bar. We ordered two buffets and a seafarer's treasure. Here is the breakdown:

Seafarer's Treasure - $12
Choice of two seafood items (oysters, shrimp, deviled crab, etc) & 2 sides (coleslaw, grits, baked potato, etc)

I ordered the deviled crab, fried shrimp, hushpuppies & lettuce salad. Before the seafood arrived, our waitress scurried over to ask "Would you like different sides ? They're out of it. *drops voice* The lettuce is very tiny." I said hushpuppies & a biscuit would be fine. Before the starch police show up, I just threw out the first things that came to mind. I was trying to not be picky & difficult. She said "welllll, you'd have hushpuppies and a biscuit..." I then asked for hushpuppies & a baked potato instead. She was happy with that & went back to the kitchen.

What arrived were two deviled crabs, eight pieces of shrimp, two hushpuppies, a biscuit, a baked potato. On the side were two lemon slices skewered on a toothpick, over a teeny, limp strip of lettuce.

The deviled cakes were too small for my taste. The filling had red peppers, celery, sage flavored bread & the occasional square strip of faux crab meat. The crabs had too much stuffing & lacked enough meat.

The biscuits were Pillsbury.

The hushpuppies lacked flavor. Only one had a tiny sliver of onion. It is crucial that hushpuppies have plenty of onion.

The shrimp were fresh & delicious. They were large, plump & fried in a crispy, golden batter. These were well worth ordering!

Buffet & Salad Bar - 7.98
Fried chicken = Crispy, moist, buttery. The chicken had the same yummy coating as the shrimp.

Green peppers stuffed with rice & beef = I took a bite of the beef from someone else's plate. I did not realize it was from the green peppers. Upon tasting a green pepper flavor, I quietly spit it into a napkin (I'm allergic). The others loved the stuffed peppers, though.

Okra & tomatoes - I had never tasted okra before. Those tasted of celery filled with black eyed peas. Yuck!

Black eyed peas = Cooked perfectly

Carrots & green peas = The carrots were crinkle cut. The peas were dingy, army green & from a can.

Mashed potatoes = Obviously boxed. Skip them

Green beans = Thick, dark strips. Very enjoyable. They had a slight collard green taste.

White corn = I do not eat corn, but took a bite anyway. Points for the corn not having that milky, nasty taste of canned corn

Collard greens = Extremely mushy & bland. Definitely needed some salt pork.

Biscuits

Lettuce

Dressings

Shredded cheese

Bacon bits

Canned pineapple chunks

Beets

Vanilla pudding

Tuna salad = Did not try it

Coleslaw = Didn't try it. The coleslaw looked finely chopped, almost to the consistency of cous cous.

Potato salad = Appeared to be creamy & homemade. It contained mayo, red peppers, celery & relish. Their potato salad needed eggs, mustard & more relish.

Carrot salad with raisins = Freshly made & chopped instead of grated. This salad would've been better with a creamy base (sour cream or mayo)instead of the slightly sweet liquid dressing.

Pasta salad = Same ingredients & issues as the potato salad

Drinks
Keystone Inn's iced tea is good & strong. Thumbs up!

Desserts
Desserts at the Keystone Inn are homemade.

Cherry pie

Pecan pie

Apple pie = Not available that day

Key lime pie = A loosely sprinkled graham crust. Judging by the filling's texture, the pie appeared to be made with evaporated milk. The filling was also tarter than pie made with bottled Persian lime juice, but not as tart as ones with freshly squeezed key limes. My guess is bottled key lime juice. The key lime pie had a tart, pleasant aftertaste.

Slice of cake = None available. Our waitress commented "We only have pie today. I think it was like that yesterday, too."

Blueberry cobbler = The topping was a crispy piece of cake. The bottom was a congealed purple blob of blueberries & pudding. It looked & tasted gross. That's the first time I've seen anyone screw up blueberry cobbler.

Random notes
A sign at the register noted "We cannot add tips to credit cards." Remember to bring cash for a tip.

We arrived at 1:50 PM on a Sunday afternoon. The place was packed with after church diners. It was mostly empty by 2 PM. So I suggest showing up later in the day.

The Keystone Inn does not have a breakfast buffet. I think they have breakfast items on the menu, though. I'll check next time I'm out there.

I highly recommend the Keystone Inn Family Restaurant to you. The down home food is amazing! Another Sunday lunch in Keystone Heights is in order : )

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Monroe's Smokehouse, Jacksonville, FL, Review II

Monroe's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
4838 Highway Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32254
904-389-5551,
Fax: 904-384-3323

A few months ago, I posted a review of Monroe's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. I was fairly pleased with their food. And I've since been back many times for weekend lunches. However, my meal at Monroe's today was not up to par with their usual standards. Here's how lunch went:

- I normally order the pork chop special if Monroe's has them. They're tender, juicy and smokey. Although the pork chops today fit that description, they were also covered in an unpleasant, heavy, Creole-ish spice.
- The collard greens are no longer sweet. I received a cup of greens with orange grease running down the sides. They were swimming in a spicy, greasy brown & orange liquid. Another customer asked the counter girl to find out "what kind of grease does he (the owner) use for the greens ?"
- The red cole slow is no longer being sold. We were told "The owner stopped selling it. Nobody was ordering it. It was just going to waste back there (in the kitchen) when we made it."
- Macaroni was not available. ("We're out of macaroni. There'll be a 45 minute wait before it's done.")
- Lemon slices were not at either of the two drink stations. The containers usually holding lemons were covered with dust & crumbs.
- The banana split pie was a huge disappointment. Normally it is the perfect ending to a meal at Monroe's. This is how I described it before:

"Monroe's has banana pudding on it's online menu. So I was surprised to see banana split pie on the menu board instead. Let me tell you, I am so glad I ordered the pie. It was thick vanilla pudding, banana slices, pineapple, walnuts, a cherry and whipped cream on a graham crust. I'm still riding the high from the yummy sugary goodness. I want this pie for my birthday dinner. Take note, people."


The slice of pie I received was so sad looking. Our group did this when dessert arrived ---> "Whoa 0_0 That's not how the pie normally looks : P" The slice was sitting in a noticeable puddle of water. There was a crust, a thin layer of chocolate attached to the crust (hardshell chocolate ?), a layer of something cheesecake colored with a ricotta texture, mushy, gray bananas, teeny pineapple bits, several inches of whipped cream, a pinch of chopped walnut & a cherry on top. Very unappetizing. All of us took one bite, made a face & put the forks down. That's the first time the AMW family has left a piece of Monroe's pie unfinished.

I was wondering what would cause such a drastic change at Monroe's. Then someone overheard the cashier commenting "Oh, this is just a sideline for us. Our main focus is catering." Hmmm. I'll try to go back soon, to see if today was a fluke or a sign of a downslide.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Contest Alert: One Frugal Foodie

Head over to One Frugal Foodie for your chance to win Go Max Go candy bars. Five winners will receive one of each flavor bar: Twilight, Jokerz, Mahalo and Buccaneer. Delicious!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Lady and Sons, Savannah, Georgia

Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons
102 West Congress Street
Savannah, Georgia, 31401
Phone: 912-233-2600
Fax: 912-233-8283

Reservations
"...Every day of the week, our hostess begins to take names at 9:30 am for lunch and dinner on a first come first served basis. Our hostess is located at the podium on Congress Street in front of the restaurant. You must appear in person to receive a priority seating time..."

Be prepared to show up way before 9:30 AM. The line was already long when our group arrived at 8:30 AM. After making a reservation, you will be told to return at 10:45 AM for seating.

At 10:45 AM, the hostess will direct people to stand across the street from The Lady and Sons. (This is to avoid a line blocking the sidewalk.) One employee will come into the street, ring a dinner bell, give brief directions / small talk and go back into The Lady and Sons. Then the hostess will yell across the road "Mary R., party of 3! Josh Z., party of 2!" Each party called then receives a ticket and is directed into the restaurant.This process will be periodically interrupted by tour buses driving by.

Second and third floor seating is reached by elevator. There are buffets on every floor (same food in each one).

Decor
Beautiful old wooden floors, floor to ceiling mirrors, various pictures of Paula Deen and her sons

Atmosphere
If you dislike crowds and noise, the Lady and Sons is not your best bet. Also, the tight space on each floor is not suitable for small, running children. They could get hurt knocking into elevator crowds and the staff carrying trays.

If you want to meet Paula Deen
A waitress said Paula and her sons show up about twice a week. Your best chance bet is on a weekday, in her gift shop next to The Lady and Sons.

Seating
Booths, tables with wooden chairs, bar counter and three tops. The table with wooden chairs are closet to the buffet. The buffet lines snake behind your chairs in that seating area. Do not get a three top if you actually have three people. Those are tiny bistro tables not meant to hold three entree plates, three salad plates, three drinks and three bread plates.

The Lady's Southern Buffet

Southern fried chicken
The fried chicken was even better than my homemade version. It crispy and mouthwatering.

Baked chicken
I didn't try it. My tablemates said it was juicy and had second helpings.

Ribs
Had a sweet, smokey sauce but were tough

Pot roast, carrots, potatoes and gravy
Super moist and fall off the bone tender. Definitely worth trying

Collard greens
Slightly sweet and had lots of pork, the way I love them. Thumbs up!

Mashed potatoes
Smooth and buttery. Not bad!

Yams
One vote for "They're average" and two votes for "Better than other restaurants serve"

Lima Beans
I don't eat lima beans. The others had two helpings, so I guess the beans were fine.

Black eyed peas
Didn't see any

Mac and cheese
Creamy, but could have used breadcrumb topping

Green beans
Thick and well seasoned

Yellow rice
You either like rice or you don't *shrugs* Everyone in our group enjoyed the yellow rice.

Creamed corn
I don't eat creamed corn. The other two said it was outstanding. Gonna take their word on that.

Salad bar
Variety of dressings (ginger poppyseed, blue cheese, etc), pumpernickel croutons, cheese, lettuce, pre-dressed salad, raisins, tomatoes

Bread
A waiter goes from table to table offering a platter of cheese biscuits and hoe cakes. The cheese biscuits were fluffy but did not have much cheese. The hoe cakes were so-so. Only a small bite of either is recommended, as the other menu items are quite filling.

Desserts
A waiter brings a tray of small desserts to choose at the end of the meal.

Banana puddin'
This dessert had a crunchy graham crust. Other than that, it was the same average banana pudding other restaurants serve. I make a better banana pudding from scratch.

Peach cobbler
A surprise disappointment. It was just canned peaches with a crust thrown over top. Better peach cobbler and banana pudding can be found at Mrs. Wilkes on West Jones Street.

Gooey butter cakes
The butter cakes were not on the dessert tray.

Sweet potato cake on a gingerbread crust
This dessert was the only standout. It was a wonderful combination of gingery spice and mellow sweet potato. And it is the only one I cannot find the recipe for on Paula's website. Anyone know where I can find it ?

Eating lunch at The Lady and Sons was worth the trip to Savannah. The food was delicious and filling (I was full after one plate!) The staff was friendly and courteous. They were prompt to clear dishes and offer beverage refills. I feel a return trip to The Lady and Sons is in order soon.

Wendy's: Frosty-cino & Coffee Toffee Frosty



I received this Wendy's ad in my email. I want to try one of these tomorrow at lunch:

Frosty-cino
"It's our irresistible, real dairy Frosty with coffee syrup from real-brewed coffee. We hand spin it, top it with real whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate to create an exciting, deliciously different Frosty Shake."

Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty
"We start with our irresistible, real dairy Frosty and add coffee syrup made with real-brewed coffee. Then we mix in chocolate-covered toffee candy made in old-fashioned copper kettles to create a rich, indulgent treat."

Domino's Pizza: Bread Bowl Pasta




Anyone tried Domino's bread bowl pasta ? I haven't ordered it yet. The reaction in my house to Domino's ads was "Um, no thank you. I like bread sticks with my pasta, but I don't want them mixed together!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goat Cheese - Chickpea Rounds

*May 1st update: Please vote for my Goat Cheese-Chick Pea rounds daily in the Ile De France recipe contest.

Goat Cheese-Chickpea Rounds

This recipe is a chic alternative to hush puppies, a Southern favorite. The sweet, creamy Ile De France goat cheese worked well with the sprinkling of tomatoes. Enjoy!

Servings: Twelve to fifteen rounds

Ile De France Goat Cheese (Original recipe: La Buchette), 4 oz, crumbled
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 cup olive oil

Mix chickpea flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk and eggs until thoroughly mixed with dry ingredients. Toss in chopped onions, tomatoes and goat cheese. Roll the batter into two inch balls, then flatten.

Add olive oil to frying pan and set on medium high heat. After oil has heated up, place the goat cheese-chickpea rounds into the pan. Deep fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until golden brown on each side. Watch carefully, as these cook quickly. Once the rounds are cooked, place them on a plate covered with a paper towel. Allow to cool one or two minutes before serving.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Contest Alert: One Frugal Foodie

Hop on over to One Frugal Foodie for a chance to win a $25 e-gift certificate to Navan Foods. Two winners will be drawn on April 16, 2009. My Hampton Roads readers will especially be interested, as they also have a Virginia Beach location. Sweet!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

"Plantains with roasted sweet potato, black beans and kale. Spicy ancho sauce with pumpkin seed garnish served over Kashi seven whole grain polenta, plus amaranth."





Yesterday I received a coupon for a free frozen Kashi meal. I picked the Mayan Harvest Bake because that was the most appetizing looking variety the store had. Click on the link in the title to view the other meals; you'll see why that's not a compliment.

Plantains = 2 pieces of horribly mushy,pasty plantain. Plantains are one of my favorite foods, so I know they normally aren't awful like these.
Black beans = 3 Tbsp black beans. Lacked seasoning and were not tender enough
Sweet potato = 6 small chunks. Bland and pasty.
Kale = Just a few shreds scattered in between the beans. Not noticeable
Amaranth Polenta = Another one of my favorite dishes Kashi botched up. The polenta and the pilaf were all mixed together in a watery, grainy pile.
Spicy ancho sauce = Ancho chile pepper paste. Strong, obnoxious flavor. It wasn't spicy, although it had heat.
Kashi 7 whole grain pilaf = See polenta above. The ingredients were oats,long grain rice, rye, hard red winter wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds
Roasted and salted pepitas= Soggy pumpkin seed kernels that were mixed in with every layer of the meal

Thumbs down for Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake.

M&Ms and Blue Diamond Almonds

Not a review, just some pictures I took last night:







Friday, March 06, 2009

The Pretzel Disaster: Filled Pretzels

Last night, I decided to make filled pretzels. First I made a batch of dough using Alton Brown's pretzel recipe. Then I whipped up some of the cupcake filling I've used many times before (cream cheese, sugar, egg, pinch of salt). I divided the cream cheese filling into four bowls and added different flavors to each one:

Flavor 1: 1/2 Tbsp Key lime powder + 2 tsp ginger ale
Flavor 2: 2 tsp bacon bits, 2 1/2 Tbsp Gouda, 2 1/2 Tbsp cheddar, garlic, 2 tsp crushed tomatoes, pinch each of black pepper, celery seed and paprika
Flavor 3: 3 tsp peanut butter, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Flavor 4: 4 Tbsp blueberries, 1/2 tsp vanilla

I tasted each filling and they seemed fine. I was going to start filling the pretzels, but I noticed it was almost 3 AM (yeah, I like late night baking). So I stuck the bowls of dough and mixtures in the fridge until this morning.

After letting the dough rise one hour, I set to work. My plan was to roll the dough flat, cut out circles, add filling and pinch them closed. That did not work out too well. The key lime and blueberry mixes kept popping out of the dough. I ended up making a couple patch work jobs.

After I baked the pretzels and sliced them open, I saw the pretzels had either absorbed or dissolved the cream cheese. The blueberries were fine on their own, regardless of the cream cheese being gone. The key lime was too faint to notice. The cheese & bacon bits filling would've been better if I'd used less sugar and added red peppers. The peanut butter was utterly disgusting. I was going for something like peanut butter cheesecake; but instead it tasted like a peanut butter sandwich left it in the fridge for 2 days. The pretzels by themselves were delicious, though.

Oy, what a mess. It's back to the drawing board for me.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Contest alert: Frugal Momma In Maryland

If you love spices, head over to Frugal Momma in Maryland's blog and enter for a chance to win some McCormick spices. The contest runs from March 3 - March 15, 2009. Prizes include the following:


"...different extracts, spices, rubs, bacon bits, and cocktail sauce."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Elmer's Candies: Assorted Chocolates

"Elmer's New Orleans: Great Tasting, Memorable Chocolates"





Left to right:


#1. Light brown circle with caramel filling. The caramel was wonderful! It was buttery. The milk chocolate was pretty decent.
#2. Dark brown circle with gooey brown filling. No clue what flavor that was supposed to be. It was a cross between raspberries & butter and peanut butter. Didn't care for this one.The dark chocolate was weak and lacking kick.


#3. Square with semi-solid brown filling. Tasted like cheap raspberry scented fudge.


#4. Dark brown, drizzled rectangle with gooey orange center. Reminded me of orange juice mixed with melted Skittles. Ew.
#5. Light brown, drizzled rectangle with gooey pink filling. Think of chalky strawberry medicine. Very nasty.


I probably won't buy Elmer's Candies again, unless I could get the caramels by themselves. None of the other flavors appealed to me.

Seattle Chocolates: Te Amo Heart Truffles

"With bold graphics and all natural truffles, this heart box adds just the right amount of fun. Truffle flavors include classic favorites such as Meltaway Mint, Espresso and Extreme Dark Chocolate."






6 Extreme Dark Chocolate (pink), 5 Espresso (purple), 5 Mint (gold)


Espresso (dark brown), Mint (light brown), Extreme Dark Chocolate (dusty)

Espresso = The chocolate was creamy and smooth. There were a few tiny coffee bits inside. Very delicious!
Mint = The milk chocolate was so-so. The mint brought to mind Wrigley's chewing gum. Milk chocolate + the wrong type of mint = yuck!
Extreme Dark Chocolate = I have no idea what was extreme about this candy. It was not rich, bitter or even marginally interesting.

Seattle Chocolates' assorted truffle mix was average. These were not the best solid chocolates I've ever eaten. I'll pass on buying these again.