Review of the Upscale Burger Restaurant BurgerFi

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure, as a local food blogger, of going and reviewing a relatively new to the area burger joint called BurgerFi. BurgerFi prides themselves on NOT being your typical fast food place. One of their ways of getting you in the door is letting you know that they use all natural, no hormones, no antibiotics Angus beef. While I admit that I’m not generally the type who stresses over those things, it was still nice to know and should make many of you happy. BurgerFi also makes a point of being as eco-friendly as they can in each store by doing things such as using recycled materials for chairs and tables and keeps a strict recycling rule for their own trash. Now THAT I do think about and love. Thing is, going in there, knowing this ahead of time, I was expecting a place that was austere and rather boring. But it’s anything but-
BurgerFi 1 The restaurant was clean, well lit, and had a funky warehouse/sporty feel to it that my husband and I rather enjoyed. They (I am assuming all the branches do this based on what teams/colleges are nearby) have it decorated with a sports theme based on the most popular local college, UK. The restaurant has a beer and wine license which makes it nice for the grown up crowd. If you don’t want pop with your burger, you can choose between local craft or national beers or a nice variety of wines.

BurgerFi4If you DO want pop however (we did; it was lunchtime and we’re neither one big drinkers), they have one of those totally cool state of the art (the manager joked that it cost more than many people’s homes, and I believe it!) pop machines that lets you add about 862 bazillion different flavor combos to your drink. I had gotten a bottle of Birch beer (somewhat like root beer; reminded me of those root beer barrel candies everyone had at some point in their childhood) and kind of regretted it, because I’d have loved to play with the pop machine. Yes, I really AM 10 years old inside 😛

Now to the important part; the food. 😀 I was asked to try their newest burger, The CEO, which is described on the menu like this- “Double Wagyu + Brisket Blend Burger, Homemade Candied Bacon-Tomato Jam, Trufle Aioli, Aged Swiss Cheese”. CEO Burger My guest (my husband) was given free reign of the menu and he got their Bacon Cheeseburger-“Double Bacon, Double Natural Angus Beef, American Cheese”.Bacon Cheeseburger He got it with pickles and grilled onions. I got fries Fries and he got onion rings Onion Rings so we could try both. When you get a burger (the menu also has Kobe Beef hot dogs, which I want to get back there and try at some point!), you order the specific one, which comes plain unless you choose from the variety of toppings they boast of, those being- Raw Onions   |   Grilled Onions   |   Pickles   |   BBQ Sauce  |   Bacon   |   Onion Ring   |   Grilled Mushrooms   |   Fried Egg   |   Chili  |   Garlic Aioli   |  Jalapeños   |   Relish. You could buy the same burger many times and yet end up with a completely different finished product just by choosing different toppings. I can’t wait to go back and get a burger with about 90% of those toppings, lol.

I absolutely loved my meal. The meat was juicy, even though it is one of the thin “smashed” style patties, and the burger itself was more than enough for a meal (I took half home). I loved the toppings on The CEO. You could taste the bacon jam as well as the truffle aioli, and combined with the rest of the toppings, it made for one delicious, if somewhat messy (in a good way) burger. The fries were extra crispy (I have no idea if that is typical or they just happened to have cooked them longer), which is how I like them, and salted perfectly, though my husband and I agreed that most people (including him) would prefer them a little less crispy. Russ really enjoyed his own burger. He, however, did NOT take any home. That bad boy was gone before I finished half of mine. He liked the onion rings but said they could have stood to be cooked a TOUCH longer because the onions weren’t as soft as he would have liked. BurgerFi 6

The staff at the restaurant was wonderful. There was a bit of a mix up when we first got there that embarrassed the poo out of me. The manager on duty had absolutely NO idea who I was, because the manager who arranged this had gone on vacation and neglected to let anyone know that I was coming in that day. Talk about red faced! But it got straightened out and from that point on, they took wonderful care of us.

The menu is pretty varied, with burgers, dogs, drinks, plus they have frozen custard “concretes”  for a tasty dessert as well as the same frozen custard in a cup with toppings  (I was far too full to even contemplate that, though they offered). Beyond “regular” burgers, they have a yummy looking veggie burger and what I was told is one of their most popular burgers, the “Conflicted Burger”, which is one regular patty and one veggie patty.

Will I go there again when I get to the “big city” 😛 ? Darn straight I will. They are a bit more expensive then your run of the mill fast food place, but completely worth it. I’d give them a solid 8.5 stars out of ten.  One last photo. I love this one. My husband Russ, the manager and a couple of photo bombers in the background, lol

BurgerFi 5

Oh! Important point in my mind, one that many women will appreciate. The bathrooms? Clean as could be. I loved that aspect!!

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Old Fashioned Banana Bread & Hamilton Beach Freebies (maybe for YOU!?)

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

Yes, yes I am still alive. As Mark Twain is said to have remarked, “Rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated”. Mind you, even as ancient as I am, I wasn’t around back then, so I don’t know that he actually uttered those words. But if one goes by the claims of the internet, he, Abraham Lincoln, Samuel L Jackson and Morgan Freeman are the only people who ever said anything worth quoting, other than a few random quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry.
But I digress. Imagine that. I am here to bring you food!! Plus a giveaway. You all know I have had the much envied position of being a Hamilton Beach Ambassador for a couple of years now. As one, I get the opportunity to review their products from time to time and then offer those same products to you, my faithful (and slightly offbeat and rather warped) readers.
Today, I am bringing you two of the most iconic small appliances from Hamilton Beach– their 6 Speed Hand Mixer and their pretty darn awesome Stand Mixer. Let me tell you my thoughts on both now- First, the 6 Speed Hand Mixer-

Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer

Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer

I love this bad boy. This is the type of mixer one reaches for when doing the typical cooking/baking that requires a mixer. it is sturdy, easy to use ( I love the hand grip. It fits comfortably in my hand) and this one comes with some cool attachments,Hamilton Beach Attachments including a milkshake mixer (think of it rather like an immersion blender). I also love the storage area underneath. it’s a nice, convenient and NEAT (I have a thing for anything that leads to less drawer clutter) way to keep the attachments nearby. This mixer works well for everyday thing and has a “burst” button that gives you some extra power when you need it. it’s pretty much the perfect everyday mixer.
Now on to the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer

. This one is a bit more powerful than the hand mixer and has the convenience of the bowl and hands off usage. It doesn’t have the horsepower, so to speak, to do heavy doughs easily, so no, this isn’t one to try to make 4 loaves of whole wheat bread in. But for regular baking and mixing, this is a workhorse. It worked fine for me when I made chocolate chip cookie dough in it and we all know that that dough can be rather dense. The only thing I DIDN’T like though I know I may be in the minority with this, were the stability suction cups on the bottom to hold it still when mixing. They are a great idea, but if one tries to move the mixer from one spot to another, the way it sticks to the counter makes it pull up forcefully and can make the contents of the bowl go everywhere. Don’t ask me how I know this, please. Ahem. This one comes with a standard flat beater hook, a dough hook and a whisk attachment.Stand Mixer AttachmentsYou want to win these. Trust me. You do. Both together are close to a $150.00 value and with the attachments, are sooooo helpful in the kitchen! I made my famous (hey, it is… in my household! 😛 ) Old fashioned Banana Bread using the hand mixer and it worked wonderfully. Oh, you want the recipe, you say? Well, ok, if I MUST *gives you an evil glare and gets on to the recipe* 😛 <3

Old Fashioned Banana Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup solid shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups of mashed bananas (this is about 5 to 6 medium bananas)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon banana flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (optional, but it adds a nice flavor)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (toast in a single layer in a 350 oven until they are a light golden brown)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch loaf pan (if you don’t have a 10 inch pan, make this in a 9 inch, and pour about 2/3 of a cup of batter into a mini loaf pan, a couple of muffin cups or a ramekin and bake it in there or you’ll end up with overflow everywhere) and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, on low speed, cream together the shortening and the sugar until well combined. Add in the mashed bananas, vanilla, banana and butter flavorings and eggs. Beat well.
  4. Dump in the flour mixture and on the lowest speed, combine JUST until mixed. it’s fine if there are a few lumps or white streaks. I have said before and will say again, you do NOT want to over beat quick breads and/or muffins. You end up with tough rubbery final products doing that. Resist that urge.
  5. Fold in the toasted walnuts. Again; don’t over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan/pans.  Bake at 350 for 55 to 75 minutes (yes, that’s a large gap. I’ve had it done by both both times. I have no idea why other than my oven is stupid 😛 ) or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If this starts to brown too much, just lay a piece of foil over the top as it bakes.
  7. Let it sit in the pan for ten minutes, then gently invert it over your hands and transfer it to a rack to finish cooling.

In the interest of full disclosure, Hamilton Beach provided me with both mixers for review and my personal use. But all opinions in here are 100% my own.

Now! On to the giveaway!!! Use the PromoSimple entry form below to enter to win both of those cool mixers!

[promosimple id=”8e42″]

Luvsome Pet Foods (Sponsored Post)

Luvsome Cat Food1

A while back, a gentleman by the name of Josh (I happen to really like his name, considering what the name of my youngest child is :-D. Just thought I’d throw that in there hehe ) contacted me. His company wanted to offer me a chance to feed my kitties some of their Luvsome cat food. He had seen me mention our two indoor kittens, Sierra and Opie, on my facebook cage, so he knew a cat lover when he saw one 😀
Now, anyone who knows me or has followed me for a while knows that yes, I DO love cats. I happily admit to having ten of the little critters. Two of them are indoor cats, the rest outdoors. We live in the country, with a fair amount of land and people have a tendency to dump cats out this way. We, of course, can’t bear to see them go hungry or homeless, so they join our outdoor menagerie.
We did, as I mentioned, have Sierra and Opie as our indoor family. But sadly, Opie has disappeared. She got out one day and we haven’t seen her since. I try not to think about what may have happened, so I just tell myself that she found a new forever family somewhere and is living a pampered kitty life. Her brother Sierra is still with us and joining him indoors is a kitten my daughter had to get rid of because he was too wild around my one year old grand daughter. So Sierra and Ozone are now the subjects of the Luvsome taste test.
First, from a human perspective. You know how some cat foods, be they dry or wet, you open and immediately want to cover your nose or worse, almost make you gag? Luvsome is NOT one of those kinds. The dry food has a rather mild, meaty cereal smell to it (I used to tease my kids and say that if we ever ran out of cereal, I’d just fill a bowl with cat food and milk and they’d never know the difference hehe). The wet food also has just a meaty smell to it and nothing off putting that makes one think they used God alone knows what part of the animal to make the food.

Now, the kitty perspective. I would type this in “Kitten”, but I know that not all of you are as fluent as I. So we’ll stick to English and picture talk. Look at the following photo. it was taken abouuuuuut 7 seconds after I put the can of food down lol.

Sierra & Ozone- Luvsome Cat Food

Sierra & Ozone- Luvsome Cat Food

Want to know something else wonderful about this company beyond the fact that my cats loved it? Every time you or I use the hashtag #luvsome, Luvsome  will donate a bowl of their food to The Best Friends Animal Society. There are so many wonderful animals out there who don’t get enough to eat. I personally think it’s fantastic that a large company is willing to go the extra mile to take care of animals. You can go to Luvsome-Cares to find out more about how #luvsome helps out.

Not sure how many know this, but you should never just decide to give your pet a new food without phasing them into it. Their digestive systems are not like ours and not easing them into a new food can cause some not so pretty issues. Luvsome has that under control too with a great schedule gradually easing your pet into a new food.

Luvsome GuideSee how easy that is? Want another plus? Luvsome is less expensive than many of the leading competitors brands. I mean, really, what else do you need to hear here?
1) No bad smells to upset the human nose
2) Your cat will love it
3) Luvsome is a company that gives a helping paw to animals in need
4) It’s less expensive.
The ONLY drawback? #Luvsome is only available at Kroger brand Stores. Now that doesn’t mean just Kroger, so stop pouting. It means stores that may be Kroger in MY state may go under another name in YOUR state. So just do a search on the Luvsome site to find out where you can buy the food in your area.
Bottom line?
Go buy Luvsome. Your kitty will thank you with purrs and cuddles.
Oh! They also have dog food for those of you who have furry friends of the barking variety! 😀
This has been a sponsored post for Luvsome Pet Food. I was compensated for my time and also provided coupons for food for my cats. But all opinions ARE my own and 100% honest. 🙂

A Giveaway From Hamilton Beach!! (And Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins)

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins



A few weeks ago I was contacted by a rep from Hamilton Beach asking me if I’d like to be a Brand Ambassador for them. Being a long time fan of the company, I immediately said yes. I think I had the email answered before the poor lady on the other end even had time to breathe after sending me the offer hehe. It was rather provident also because my poor hand mixer had finally bitten the dust just the day before. It went up in smoke and stinky fumes. All we needed was flames to complete the perfect kitchen apocalypse.

The deal was this- I would receive one of their hand mixers as well as a stand mixer to try out on my own. I was also told that I could offer one of my lovely readers the same deal… both a hand mixer and a stand mixer of your own. Are they awesome and generous or what?! All I had to do was give my honest opinion of the mixers and make a Spring inspired goodie. No pressure to say they were both wonderful unless I felt that way. Well, guess what? I absolutely love them both! Now, I have a stand mixer from that other known company, who shall remain unnamed 😛 and I love it. BUT… it can be a bit bulky and it’s really heavy. Good qualities when I’m making bread or the like. Not so much when all I want to do is make some cookies or whip some cream. The #HamiltonBeach stand mixer has no such issues. I can lift it without getting a hernia lol and it is a workhorse too. The motor isn’t as powerful as the more well known brand but it still does the job just great and is easier to clean being smaller. Plus…. it’s quieter. A DEFINITE advantage in my kid chaotic household. Anything that saves me from noise headaches makes me happy. 😀 This mixer cmes with a dough hook, a paddle attachment and a whisk one, so it’s perfect for just about any job you do.

Now to the hand mixer. I really, really, really love it. Did I mention that I really love it? It has what they call “Soft Scrape” beaters that are coated with a pretty bright red rubber coating. This helps them catch the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to scrape it as much when using it. The hand mixer also comes with a whisk attachment and regular non coated beaters if you don’t want to use the Soft Scrape ones. But the Soft Scrape ones are quite handy. The muffins I made for this had a lot of zest and if you’ve ever used a beater for a recipe with zest, you know it ends up getting caught on the beaters and you have to scrape it off, put it back in the bowl and stir it back in. Rather a pain. But none of the zest stuck to the Soft Scrape beaters. It was all in the muffin batter. WooT!

Trust me… you want to win this combo!

Now onto the muffins. I have a thing for the lemon ginger combo. I use it in tea, baked goods, savory dishes, etc; you name it, I love it. I thought for weeks about what to make for this giveaway and finally settled on this flavor combo. I mean, what better than something I love for a mixer I love, right? And Lemon is definitely a nice Spring sort of a flavor. Citrus always makes me think of warmer weather, even when I use it during the middle of Winter. These muffins are pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. They have a nice tart, but too tart, lemony flavor with a mild bite from the candied ginger and a sweet crunch on top from the sugar. I garnished them with one of my favorite candies ( a gummy candy of course. It’s no secret of my love for gummy candies hehe)… a Lemon Ginger Gummy.

You know the drill…… but today add on something to it. Go down to the bottom of the post and enter this giveaway! You could win a Hamilton Beach stand mixer AND a Hamilton Beach hand mixer!!

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of two lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lemon flavored Greek yogurt (the blended kind, not the kind with fruit on the bottom)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sparkling Sugar for garnish
  • Haribo Lemon Ginger Gummis for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease them.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and candied ginger. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, at low speed on a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the extracts, lemon juice and lemon yogurt, at low speed, JUST until combined.. Stir in the flour mixture; again, just until combined. Don’t over mix this.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar if using
  5. Bake at 375 for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
  6. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack. When cooled, cut a small slash in the top of each muffin and push a piece of gummi candy into it. You could also use a small slice of candied ginger the same way or even some candied lemon peel. 🙂

Now! The giveaway!!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Here is the info on what you’ll win if you’re the lucky person picked at random!

 

SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case-

  • Classic styling with brushed stainless steel housing
  • Snap-on storage case — no more lost attachments
  • Also includes 2 traditional metal beaters
  • 300 watt peak-power motor
  • Quick Burst™ button
  • Bowl Rest™ feature lets mixer rest on bowl’s edge

6 Speed Stand Mixer

  • Same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers*
  • Mixing action gives complete bowl coverage
  • Powerful 300 Watt motor
  • Better mixing than 2-beater stand mixers
  • 3 attachments offer mixing versatility
  • 6 speeds and special fold setting
  • Stainless steel 3.5 quart bowl
  • Flat beater, dough hook & whisk are dishwasher safe
  • Mixing head spins as it rotates completely inside the bowl
  • Tilt-up head lifts out of the way for easy bowl access
  • Nonslip feet

To enter this contest, a blog comment below is mandatory as well as entering that into the Rafflecopter widget below.

In your blog comment, let me know, “What’s The first thing you would make with your new Stand Mixer?”. Then click the button on the Rafflecopter entry below. This will open up a bunch of extra entries to this contest that you can use if you’d like. The only mandatory one is the blog comment, but it’s worth 2 entries apiece for the other methods! (Please note all extra social media entries will be checked for completion if you are chosen as a winner. If they are found to be invalid, a new winner will be notified. (So make sure you actually click and follow or it will be invalid.) Contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years old and older and Hamilton Beach can NOT deliver to P.O. Boxes. You must have a valid U.S. mailing address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure Notice-  Hamilton Beach provided me with both a stand mixer and a hand mixer for review, but all opinions in this post were my own and I was not otherwise compensated. 🙂 (May 13, 2014)

Ramblings And Reviews #2

It’s been an…interesting… couple of weeks here. Some good, some bad. My favorite Kitty, Horatio, died on the 19th of last month. He was about the best cat ever and I still miss him.

me and horatio

When he died, I told myself that that was it… no more indoor cats for me, just the cats we have that live outdoors. But, fate, as it often does, intervened. I was just fiddle farting around online one day and found myself going to the page for the local shelter. So what happened? We now have not one, but two, kittens in the house. Go figure. When I first thought about it, I was just going to get this little girl whom we have named Sierra-

SierraBut then she seemed lonely. Extremely loving, but lonely. So I had to get her brother. I justified it by reminding myself that they were rescue cats. No crazy cat lady here *coughcough*

This is her brother Opie. So named because he is a whiny sidekick but yet still cute as can be, like his namesake lol. If Sierra leaves his side, he whimpers and follows her around.

Opie

I have come to the conclusion (ok, I came to the conclusion years ago, but I’ve been in denial) that I have a serious lip balm addiction. I can barely make it through a store w/out buying another one. The bottom of my purse, which btw, I only keep lip balm and old receipts in, is covered in lip balms. Many many of them. One of my favorite brands is Eos. I absolutely love their products. They aren’t oily or greasy feeling on my mouth, just smooth. Plus they taste great. That can of course defeat the purpose of not getting chapped lips if you find yourself constantly licking your lips like a starving fat girl, but hey, I’ll deal with that drawback by just putting on more. I also love the lip balms from Kiss My Face, especially their Sliced Peach, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere in months now. *Sobs* I would LOVE to try their Maple Sugar one, but I’ve never seen it in stores at all.

EosLately, I have been on a binge with the new “Hello” bars from Lindt

LindtOh. My. Gosh. I would say which one is my favorite but for the life of me, I can’t decide. When I try a piece of the coconut one, I’m in love. Then I try one of the others… same thing. They are pretty darn awesome!

On a non food addiction, beyond the bazillion lip balms, I have, for months now, loved this Body Butter from Trader Joes.

Trader Joes Body ButterIt smells fantastic; a strong but not overpowering coconut scent and it leaves you oh so smooth and soft. Just don’t eat it, tempted as you’ll be. 😛

Onto an actual good for you treat… I’ve been loving both of these products below lately. I found mine at Whole Foods.

ButtersThe Justins Vanilla Almond Butter is amazing. Smooth and creamy with just the slightest hint of vanilla. I would tell you that I use it in all sorts of wonderful recipes, but so far all I do is squeeze it out of the little pack into my waiting mouth hehe.

While I enjoy the Cacoa Bliss the texture takes a bit of getting used to. it has that slightly gritty texture that anything made with real coconut is going to have. But the taste is pure heaven. Coconut Chocolate Heaven. Go. Buy some.

Joshie

Why yes, that IS a pair of underwear on his head. And yes, I have every intention of saving this and using it for blackmail purposes when he becomes an ornery teenager. 🙂

Last but not least, here’s your silly child pic for the week. I think my son needs massive therapy. 😀 I’m so proud!

Have a great rest of the week, everybody! Go cook something decadent and fattening!

 

 

 

Ramblings And Reviews

A few months back on my Facebook page, I mentioned that I planned to start a new blog feature called *points up* Ramblings And Reviews. Well, ummm, it took a while :-P. I’m slow, what can I say? But here I am today to bring you the first installment of Ramblings And Reviews. What is it exactly? like duhhhh mannnn, the name doesn’t give it away? As if I don’t ramble enough in my regular posts, here I have given myself an excuse to ramble away. Why do you think I picked that name? *pokes head with index finger (and says ow)* I is teh thinking woman here.

Or something. So you ready for ramblings? And erhmmm, reviews? Of something? I hope. OFF WE GO!

First- I’d say that, considering the plethora (dontcha just love it when I use big words? I love knowing I’m using that Chicago Public School edumacation…or something…again) of coconut recipes here on the blog, it’s obvious I kind of like coconut. One thing I always hated though, back in the day anyway, were things scented like coconut. Every single damn one smelled like sun tan lotion, which then brought back flashbacks of blistering sunburns and days of pain. NOT a great association. So I was leery when I saw that Bath & Body Works had brought back their Coconut Vanilla scent for a while. I LOVE the Lemon Vanilla one- wear it often. My husband and I call it the “sexy lemon cupcake” scent cause that’s what it smells like. But this stuff is awesome! Light coconut scent, vanilla, slightly musky. A little bit flirty and playful (did I REALLY just say something that sounds like a bad commercial?) Unfortunately, they aren’t selling it right now but I am sure they will have it back at the next semi annual sale. GET SOME! And definitely get the Lemon Vanilla… it’s unbelievably awesome!

Bath & Body Works Coconut Vanilla

Bath & Body Works Coconut Vanilla

In other news, my son Joshie is one strange kid. We had an interesting episode with him a couple of weeks ago where he decided spinning in dads computer chair was fun. Until, that is, he fell off and managed to practically bite his tongue in half. There is nothing more heartbreaking than listening to your child screaming as they sew up his tongue of all places. But as the photo shows, he is none the worse for wear. Strange… a little bit weird maybe, but fine. 😛

Joshie looking cool :-D

Joshie looking cool 😀

Weird review here. Ok, maybe not. I have to remember that this is the internet age and I shudder to even think of what is reviewed out there. Once upon a time, I had a friend who reviewed sex toys. Yeah. I never quite knew what one was supposed to say about that. “Oh yeah read your review this week! Sounds…painful. I mean, ummm, fun.”

I love this deodorant! No; seriously. When it first came out, not the Dove brand per se because I’ve been using that for a few years, but this specific type meant to help underarm breakouts, I was skeptical. I have ultra sensitive skin when it comes to that area and even though I’m one of those lucky women who doesn’t have to shave often (other women hate me because I only need to shave like twice a month hehe) when i do, I would inevitably break out no matter how careful I was. So I tried this deodorant. And lo and behold, it works! It doesn’t hurt like he** when I put it on after I shave and it really has made it to where I don’t get all red and bumpy. So if you have that issue, give this a try. Plus.. it smells good. No fake powdery scent like your armpit is trying to smell like a baby butt and no perfumey smell that competes with whatever REAL perfume you’re wearing.

Dove Deodorant

Dove Deodorant

Lets end with a picture of my adorable husband and our adorable grand daughter Lillian. You can never go wrong with baby pictures! 😀

Lillian And Grampa. Aren't they cute!?

Lillian And Grampa. Aren’t they cute!?

 

 

 

 

 

I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing

You know you want this....

Anyone else remember the Coke commercial that had that song in it? How many of you can still sing it word for word? Lol. As advertising goes, that one was classic.

 

I have been a fan of Coca-Cola for just about my whole life. Oh yeah, I cheated every once in a while and tried “that other brand” but I always came back to Coke. It was always a very brief, based on desperation sort of flirtation. The other colas seriously don’t measure up for me. I remember one day, my brother Steve and I were downtown (from Chicago originally remember) and there was a stand set up to do blind taste tests of Coke and ahem… THAT brand. We both tried it and Coke won with no problem.

So when Kara from Coca-Cola contacted me a while back and asked me if I would like to recreate one of their delicious chef recipes that they have up on
My Coke Rewards , I was totally thrilled. I had seen many recipes over the years using Coke as an ingredient, but to be honest, the idea always seemed strange to me. Not anymore. I won’t say that I will suddenly have up 400 recipes utilizing Coke, but you’d darn well better believe that I will recommend trying it in this one. Even though I put my own twist on this recipe, Chef G. Garvin is still my new hero when it comes to pork tenderloin.

So what have I made you ask? The original recipe was Pork Loin With Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce. That sounded good…all the ingredients (besides the Coke) were things I used in cooking anyway but I wanted to spin this a bit differently. And oh my, was this delicious. The first words out of my husbands mouth were “oh sh**, this is good!”. Compliments galore indeed:-P if you are a meat eater, you’ll love this. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, still try the BBQ sauce from this recipe. It is beyond amazing. Sweet, spicy, fruity, a little teeny bit tart. You can find the original recipe from Chef Garvin at the above link. Mine is different but the integrity of the original recipe is still the same. I added some pineapple chunks, some curry paste, used a mix of pineapple and orange juice and subbed red pepper flakes for the jalapenos and I seasoned the pork itself differently. So try his if that tickles your taste buds, mine if you want the spin off 🙂 His is Happy Days, mine is Laverne and Shirley 😛

Pork Loin With Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce

  • 2 1 pound trimmed pork tenderloins (mine were closer to 1.5 lbs each)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt free Cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce-
  • 2 tbsps canola oil
  • 2 tbsps minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange-pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits
  • To Serve-
  • Good quality hamburger buns
  • sliced sweet onion
  • sliced tomato
  • romaine lettuce
  1. Start by mixing all the seasoning for the pork. Rub the pork well with some olive oil then rub it all over with the seasoning mix.
  2. C’mon… rub better than that. Get your hands dirty…
  3. Place on a medium hot grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the temp registers at about 135 degrees. At that point, start basting with the bbq sauce, rotating the meat to help caramelize the sauce and make it stick. Cook until the meat reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees, then remove from the grill and set aside to rest before slicing.
  4. The original recipe just has this being served with sauce on it and sauce on the side. I went a step further, sliced this up and served it on buns. It is oh so tender, oh so flavor filled
  5. For the BBQ Sauce-
  6. Add the canola oil to a medium saucepan. Add in the garlic, onions, shallots and curry paste. Saute until the onions are softened and tender.
  7. Add in the remaining ingredients except for the pineapple chunks. Simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes. Add in the pineapple pieces and simmer for another ten minutes, stirring frequently

Compensation was provided by Coca-Cola, but Coca-Cola is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this post. All opinions expressed are my own and not those of Coca-Cola.

Mrs. Pauls Parchment Baked Fish Review

Please ignore the fattening potato and honey mustard salad dressing next to the nutritious fish :-p

Hey everyone! A while back, I was one of the “Foodbuzzers” who got selected to try and review the new Mrs. Pauls (Van De Camp in some parts of the country) parchment baked fish.  I was tickled to get chosen because I absolutely LOVE fish and have always had good experiences with the Mrs. Pauls products.

It took me a while to get to this post for obvious reasons if you’ve been reading my blog lol, but here is my review.

As always, my review will be 100% honest even if it makes me find hitmen outside my door tomorrow.

I got one package each of the Classic Grilled flavor and the Garlic Butter flavor. Tonight I tried the classic grilled. As I always try to do with a review product, I didn’t “do” anything to it, just cooked per the directions.

Truthfully, I don’t think I’ll be buying this one myself though I’m extremely grateful for the free coupons I received. This smelled wonderful cooking so I had high hopes for it. But when I put it on my plate, I was surprised at how small the portion was. I have a teenie tiny appetite that gets me in trouble half the time but this was small even for me. The entire pack (two servings) is 7.2 ounces. When we got it, it was on sale for $3.99 with the normal price being $6.99. So we’re looking at about the equivalent of 15 dollars a pound. Truthfully, I can’t see paying that for convenience. I can buy fresh fish for much much less. Continue reading

You Put Da lime In Da Coconut And Shake It All Up

Hello everybody! Are we all in our places with bright shining faces? Wearing your pearls, makeup and high heels while listening to Mozart as you get ready to make something delicious?

If you are, you are quite possibly on the wrong blog page. Because here, I am in sweats and a t-shirt with no make up on (I’m honestly not sure if I even own any anymore) listening to The Backstreet Boys (Hey! Don’t judge. You can’t tell me you never listen to bubble gum music. Ok, so maybe I’m the only one listening to BSB’s. Still; don’t judge. I’ll cry. And make you eat liver. Or cows tongue.) Erhmmm, sir, does your wife know that you have on her pearls and high heels? I REALLY think you’re on the wrong blog page (*brain bleaches self*)

But I HAVE been cooking something delicious. Can you smell that? That lovely smell of the tropics coming at you from my kitchen? Well, sniff harder darn it! Because it’s there. yeah; there. Oh yeahhhhh… right thereeeee.

Sorry; got distracted for a moment.

Moving on. Wanna know where that smell is coming from? I made muffins! Lovely lime and coconut flavored muffins.

I was contacted recently by the lovely Miranda who was representing the company that makes Melt Buttery Spread and offered some samples of their product and the chance to make something yummy and review Melt™   (buahahahahaaaaa… the power. The poooooooowwwwwwwerrrrrr!. Sorry. I’m fine now.).

I of course said yes after looking at their site because the product sounded delicious. Melt is an organic alternative to butter  made with Virgin Coconut Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Palm Fruit Oil and a few other goodies. Talk about healthy! Flaxseed oil is so good for you and coconut oil is something very representative of the “good fats”. So Melt Buttery Spread is great if you’re trying to watch your weight or cut your cholesterol. Before cooking with it, I tried it on a slice of crusty French bread and it’s pretty darn good. You can definitely taste the coconut oil and anyone who has been following my blog knows I love me some coconut oil.

 

Here are a couple of links from them to go check out. http://www.meltbutteryspread.com/virgin-coconut-oil/ and http://www.meltbutteryspread.com/butter-substitute/

I wanted to make something sweet (go figure huh?) and I wanted something that used the Melt Buttery Spread  in a melted state because a lot of times butter subs don’t work well when baking. So I decided on muffins. Many muffins use either melted butter or vegetable oil so I knew I could sub Melt easily.

One muffin I’ve been making for years is a Lime Coconut one I adapted heavily from one that is on food.com.  These are moist and delicious and smell as fantastic as they taste. I use coconut milk in them (am I the only one who has to force myself to not just stick a straw in the coconut milk can, slurp away and then lick the insides of the can clean?? You’re judging me again aren’t you? Sigh.) which gives them suchhhh a good taste.

The Melt went wonderfully in these due to it’s own ingredients. Like I said, you can taste the coconut oil in the Melt so making something tropical is a natural fit. So give these muffins a try. They’re a quickly made treat. May not be fancy but oh my do they taste great! They’re perfect for breakfast or a light dessert. Then go to the Melt site and check them out. Good stuff!

Tropical Lime Coconut Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup Melt Buttery Spread, melted
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (I didn’t realize I was out of limes so I subbed  1/4 teaspoon lime oil; worked fine.)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract (optional but adds nice flavor)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients, including the lime zest.
  3. In another bowl, combine your wet ingredients.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ones. Mix with a fork until JUST combined. Never over beat muffins or you end up with a tough tunnel filled mess.
  5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 375 degrees until tops are nicely browned and firm to the touch.
  6. Let cool in pan for a minute then turn onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Hello? This Is Exotic Deliciousness Calling You! Pick Up Please!!

Recently I was contacted by the wonderfully gracious Jen; one of the lovely people from Kelapo, which is a  company that sells coconut oil. Very very yummy, OMG this smells fantastic coconut oil. Jen asked me if I would be interested in receiving  some of their coconut oil to use and tell all of you about. I of course jumped on that chance because I am a piggie butt foodie who loves coconut oil.  Hmmm, it probably would have sounded better had I said that I graciously accepted out of the kindness of my heart and because I am the consummate professional food blogger wouldn’t it have? Yeah, well, we all know better. That piggie butt factor was a large part of it though I DO like the idea of being able to maybe give some exposure to a growing company, as I understand the “trying to grow” part myself.

Seriously (well, as much as is possible for me) I really do love coconut oil. But all I had ever used before was the large vats of it you can buy from your local grocery store. That stuff is pretty darn good but Kelapo’s coconut oil just blew me away.  I spent the first few days after getting it just taking it out of the cabinet 75 times a day and smelling it. The smell is so…. pure. It is the essence of the tropics in a small jar. Again, comparing that to the store bought, the store bought smells good but there is always a bit of an off smell to it… the smell of something produced in large large large quantities without any love behind it. Kelapo’s oil wasn’t like that. Like I said, the scent was pure. Coconut, nothing added.

Coconut oil can be used in so many ways that you can’t really use vegetable oil or olive oil for. Well, I suppose you could but it just wouldn’t be the same. One of the things I did with this and it’s not so much a recipe as a technique which is why I’m not posting it as a recipe (but yes, facebook fans, this is the bonus I was referring to.) is make a body butter from it. Just go buy a small tub of cocoa butter. Mix the full tub with about 1/2 cup of Kelapo’s coconut oil (easiest if you melt all this over a low heat). Stir while it melts to mix well, then pour into a clean jar (small canning jars work well). You can scent this with maybe two drops of coconut extract (or maybe a drop of peppermint oil to create something a bit more energizing. Mmmm, coconut mint scented) to intensify the scent but it’s not really needed. This smells fantastic as is! Just scoop out a small bit after your shower and rub in well to those rough spots like your knees or elbows or wherever your skin is really dry. You will be sniffing yourself all day (though if you manage to sniff your elbow, I want photos) and you will be soft as a baby’s tushie. You can also use a small amount of plain coconut oil in a hot bath. But be careful! It IS oil and will make it quite slippery.

Cooking wise, I wanted to make something simple with this; something that highlighted the flavor of the coconut oil but yet had more flavors to it… flavors that fit with it and didn’t overpower it. I think I succeeded quite nicely if I do say so myself. I oven roasted some potato wedges in coconut oil and some Indian spices. God help me, I can’t stop eating them lol. I WAS going to have these as a side dish to my dinner (the rest of the family ate earlier) but this has BECOME my dinner, they are so good. The coconut flavor is wonderful. It’s subtle yet definitely present and mixed with the flavors of the curry and spices it is out of this world. My husband was grinning at me saying he hasn’t seen me eat this well in a long time. And yep, it is because of the Kelapo’s coconut oil and NO, I’m not just saying it because they gave me some. I have given bad reviews before and won’t hesitate to do so if it’s deserved. This however deserves every single glowing word I’m saying. Before I get to the recipe for the potatoes, I wanted to share the coupon code that the Kelapo people are giving my readers. It is good for 20% off of your purchase until 9/29/2011. Seriously; go buy some of the coconut oil. Cook with it. Slather it all over your body lol. Smell it 75 times a day like I did. But buy some! It’s wonderful!

Coupon code to be used at Kelapo is Cupcakes20 (case sensitive). It’s good through 9/29 so go…shoo… buy. Ummm, after you read the recipe and drool.

Indian Spiced Roasted Potato Wedges With Coconut Oil

  • 2 pounds potatoes (I used Yukon gold), cut into 4 to 8 wedges (depending on potato size)
  • 1/4 cup Kelapo coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon good quality mild curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all your spices and the salt.
  3. Spoon (if solidified which coconut does at fairly high temps compared to other oils) onto a foil lined 13×9 inch baking sheet. Put into oven long enough to melt the oil.
  4. Tilt the pan to let the oil cover the bottom of it.
  5. Making sure to coat each one in the oil (just turn it over and move it around in the oil… it isn’t rocket science 😛 ), lay your potato wedges on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt/spice mix
  7.  Roast at 425 until the potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. It helps to brown them if you put the pan on the lowest rack on the oven about halfway through cooking.
  8. Transfer to a serving plate; taste to see if it needs more salt and then enjoy them… because I promise you, you will. Then go buy 322 containers of coconut oil. 😛

*I received a jar of Kelapo Coconut Oil to use and review. All opinions in here are my own*