Archives for posts with tag: food

Yes! It’s been FOREVER! Almost a year and I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart…but I am BACK, YES I AM!

If anyone knows me, they know that I am very finicky, well my stomach is very finicky, with certain foods.  My throat could start itching, my lip could blow up, my tongue could swell.  Let’s just say that I have a slight food allergy.  Not Hitch-like, but it’s pretty noticeable, ESPECIALLY with spicy stuff.

Any-who, this brings me to the subject at hand: guacamole particularly guacamole.  I’ve never been into the fruit, yes, it’s a fruit, because it turns my stomach upside-down.  Don’t gasp when I say this, but avocado toast makes me want to barf.  I know it’s the rave now with foodies, but I’m not on board at all.  Now, I can eat it in the form of guacamole. I believe I’m able to tolerate it and actually munch on it because there are other ingredients incorporated into it.  Tomatoes, salt, pepper, cilantro, lemon, lime, they tend to cut the raw form of it.  Put that on a fresh tortilla chip and I can go to town.

Now comes the good part.  I’m all for meeting up for a bite to eat.  Friends, family and food go so well together.  On this day, my girl and I tried out this restaurant in Plano, TX called Mi Día From Scratch.  Their food is described as a fusion of flavors from the past and present, Santa Fe and Tex Mex.  I’m all about trying new things, especially when it comes to F-O-O-D.  Being that I had never been to this restaurant, I decided to keep it simple, order things that I’m familiar with and that I would think can’t be messed up.  I started with an alcoholic beverage and the Margarita of the Month was a Mexican Mule.

IMG_1834I’m always down for a Mule.  They’re so refreshing and crisp.  I looked up what’s in a Mexican Mule and it’s pretty simple: tequila, lime & ginger beer.  Very tasty.  To start off, and this is pretty much the “WOW” of this experience, and honestly I didn’t have to eat anything after this, the Tableside Guacamole. Oh. My. GAH.  This amazingness starts tableside. From what I remember, it was the generic recipe for guac: fresh avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and lime.  That’s all mixed up, kept kinda chunky, which I like and then comes *drumroll* BACON.  Lots and lots of BACON!  It was so much, I honestly could not believe it.  It just kept getting piled on.  I did not complain at all.  Once finished and placed between my friend and I, I believe we stared at it in amazement for about five minutes. No lie.

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That first bite.  Nothing like it, something I’d never had and could not get enough of.    The smoky, savory flavor of the thick pieces of chewy bacon went so well with the smooth, yet chunky texture and mild, creaminess of the guacamole.  We were shocked that we kept picking up chip after chip.  It was a true addiction.  I made sure to drink lots of water while indulging in this deliciousness, because at the end go the day, it was still avocado and I did not want to be scratching my throat at the table, making that embarrassing noise, like I do in the privacy of my own home.  Don’t act like y’all don’t know that noise.  We finally stopped eating the guac, we still had entrees to eat, tacos, nothing fancy, and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed.  Grilled steak street tacos.  Lacked seasoning, pretty bland. Blah. Blah. Blah.  We wanted to take the guac home so bad, but you know how that is.  It would’ve been brown in color by the time we got home.  Not very pleasing to the eye.  So, we kept our gluttony levels low.

I’m sure you guys get what I’m saying.  WHEN you go to Mi Día From Scratch, sit at the bar, order the tableside guacamole, make friends with the bartender and try out all those interesting drink concoctions on the menu and I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

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First, I want to start by saying, I am addicted to Amazon Prime!  I know I’m late, but I can’t stop ordering things, it’s RIDICULOUS!  I mean things get to you quick, fast and in a hurry with just the click of a button!   So, earlier this week, I was watching recordings of one of my favorite shows, Top Chef, on Bravo and Chrissy Teigen was a guest judge for the Quick Fire Challenge.  Well, Padma, whom I really don’t care for, which is neither here nor there, mentioned that Mrs. John Legend had a book that recently came out, Cravings.  Now, I will say, that I never really cared for Chrissy Tiegen, she just didn’t sit right with me.  Don’t ask me why, but she kinda annoyed me.  But, honey….let me tell you, that has all changed within a matter of about a month.  She has grown on me tremendously.  You know why?! She’s a freakin’ FOODIE!  I mean, she enjoys her food, she savors her food, she gets happy around her food, food is pretty much LIFE to her, and I LOVE IT!  You already know what I did next: Amazon Prime HERE I COME!  And I got my book in two days, as promised and it was everything and more than I expected.

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First, upon opening it, I love that it’s a hardcover, made it very easy for me to stand it up in front of all of the books that I’m currently juggling.  Second, the pictures.  They take up whole pages.  I’m a visual woman, especially when it comes to food.  I don’t play.  I like to see damn near every ingredient.  I want it to make me lick the page.  I think that’s why I’m so obsessed with and following so many food pages on Instagram.  Don’t y’all judge me!  And of course, the recipes.  She’s taken simple recipes, things that are made everyday and added her own greedy, glutinous, buttery, bacon-y, bready-y, family tradition, personal touch to it.  It’s perfect!

As soon as I opened it, I flipped through every page and a few recipes that stuck out to me and I drooled over instantly…

  • Artichoke, Spinach & Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Capon’s Chrissy Burger & Onion Rings
  • Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch Dressing
  • John’s Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Pull Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy (this though!)
  • Dump and Done Ramen Salad
  • Dad’s Fried Fish Sandwich with Coleslaw and Tartar Sauce

Ok, let me stop, because I’ll end up listing the whole book.  Literally.  Y’all I don’t even order cookbooks, because everything is at your fingertips now, thanks to the World Wide Web i.e., Instagram , Pinterest.  I must say I’m very excited about this book.  I even Tweeted, that for the month of April, since I gave up meat for Lent, that I will try my hardest to make a recipe from Cravings either every day, yes that’s extreme, OR at least every week.  The recipes look so fun, so freakin’ delicious, and Chrissy AND John look so happy in the book and I’m SURE it’s because they’ve whipped this stuff up in the kitchen numerous times.  I wanna be like THAT! LoL…And trust me, when these recipes are made, y’all WILL know.  Get Ready!

 

 

 

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This review, this acknowledgement, this recognition of culinary goodness is well overdue.  It brings me joy to write this, really.  I’ve been putting it off only because I want it to be nothing less than fantastic.  Let me say, I absolutely loved everything about Pink Magnolia.  My expectations were more than met.  Let me keep it really real though – they exceeded my expectations, above and far beyond, even with our rather sarcastic, somewhat slick-talking waiter Mr. Chip.  I’ll leave that subject sitting right here though.  It’s all about the part that y’all wanna hear about: the FOOD.

From the moment my reservation was made for Sunday Funday brunch, I could not stop looking at the pictures and suggestions on Yelp (of course), couldn’t stop perusing the restaurant website, looking at what I might possibly order and I was most excited about meeting the amazingly fun, Chef Blythe Beck.

If you don’t know about Chef Blythe, get into her.  Quickly. I fell in love with her brash, blunt, colorful, saucy attitude back in 2009 on her reality show The Naughty Kitchen, especially when she hosted former Dallas Cowboy Bradie James’ engagement dinner.  It screamed classy, elegant, yet casual and entertaining.  So well put together and I remember one thing specifically – the Mini Chili Dogs.  The fact that she could prepare such a nostalgic item, with her flare to it, I knew for sure when I saw it served, along with every other mouth-watering meal, I was sold on Chef Blythe Beck.

Walking up to Pink Magnolia, well just looking at the building, located on Davis St. in the heart of Bishop Arts District in Dallas, TX, it’s so home-like, comfy and cozy.  Walking inside, everything is literally right in front of you.  The bar, the kitchen, an open kitchen, which is love, it’s so personal and intimate and an outside, covered patio area for more seating.  The place gets pretty packed, from what I could tell on this beautiful Sunday.  As soon as we sat down, I saw her.  Chef Blythe and her bright red hair, going to work over the fire-blazing stove, flicking her wrist, pots and pans everywhere.  I was so star struck, but I had to focus and figure out what I was about to devour.

What’s crazy is, the weekend I chose to to visit Pink Magnolia, it was within the 21 days that I chose to give up any form of bread *blank stare*.  So, unfortunately I wasn’t able to indulge in the Garlic Biscuits & Cinnamon Brown Sugar Butter.  I must say, they looked so flippin’ good and smelled even better.  So flaky, hot and fresh.  Because I didn’t get my bread fix, I was ready to eat.  Fast.

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I decided on the Corned Beef Hash.  I see it on pretty much every brunch menu I’ve ever looked at, but I’ve never had it, so what’s what I got.  It was very good, a filling portion, lots of thick, flavorful, savory corned beef, not thin and shredded like I’ve had before.  Chunky potatoes, seasoned perfectly, a little too much grease at the bottom of the bowl, but I saw it as flavor.  The egg on top, was supposed to be sunny-side up, but it wasn’t runny at all.  Cooked hard, kinda rubbery, but I just moved it to the side, didn’t let it ruin my moment.  Along with my main entree, I couldn’t resist ordering sides, a side of grits, buttery cheese grits and Kentucky Bourbon sausage links.  So much food, but who was not complaining?! Is this girl right here.  I didn’t get to taste the other dishes at my table: Steak & Egg Tacos and the Fried Chicken and Mini Waffles, but judging from the clean plates spread about the table, I’d say everything was pretty dang tasty.

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One really neat aspect of this restaurant, the restrooms.  Weird huh?!  Sure you weren’t expecting me to say that.  You walk in, and plastered ever so neatly on the walls are Chef Blythe’s family recipes.  To share such personal keepsakes with complete strangers, strangers that have fallen in love with her food within an hour or two, is just so cool, such a loving touch.  It really shows where her passion for food comes from.

The hospitality from Chef Blythe and her staff, was awesome, so energetic.  We paid our bill and ended up talking more, an hour or so more, and ended up ordering dessert and coffee.  It was only right!  If you have the pleasure of visiting Pink Magnolia, which it should already be on your “To Visit” List, get the Butter Cake or the Gingerbread Cheesecake.  Trust me.  I would not steer you wrong.  You all should know that by now.  The ending to a great Sunday, happened when Chef Blythe Beck, took the time out, even while running a hectic kitchen, to take a picture with little ol’ me.  Smelling like “bacon and shame” as she said, with a huge smile on her face, we were both ready for the camera.  It truly made my day.

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The magnolia flower is a symbol of sweet, southern strength.  Chef Blythe Beck spreads positivity in everything that she does, from every picture that she takes, to every customer she greets in her restaurant.  Not just any kind of positivity, PINK positivity.  Pink Magnolia exemplifies this all.

 

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Welp! I’m back at it, no surprise at all.  Another BuzzFeed Tasty creation…it NEVER lets me down!  AND, my community residents that I cook Saturday morning breakfast for, YES I have to cook them breakfast every Saturday, they can’t get enough of my cooking. Like EVER.  Spoiled rotten.  So, what you see above is the Blueberry Croissant Breakfast Bake.  Super simple to make, no sweat at all, beyond tasty, a real “Good Morning” treat!

You’ll started with an 8oz. package of cream cheese.  Now, I didn’t have an electric mixer, so to make things easier for me, I placed the cream cheese in a glass bowl, nuked it for about 25-30 seconds, softened it right on up for me.  To the cream cheese, add 2/3 cups sugar and one teaspoon vanilla.  Mush it all together with a spatula, cream it real good, until it’s as smooth as you can get it.  Make sure to get all the cream cheese lumps.

Next, go ahead and add two eggs and a 1/4 cup milk.  With those two wet ingredients added to the equation, I had to bring in a whisk and I went to work.  Oh, I put in all my elbow grease, plus some.  I wanted to make sure that the mixture was smooth and creamy.

Now, open up a package of croissants, I had eight total.  Roll up each one and place them in a non-stick pan.  Not a huge pan, I think my pan measured 11×7, it definitely wasn’t 9×13.  Then, take 3/4 cup of fresh blueberries and sprinkle them all over the pan.  I used way more than that.  I think it was a good cup and a half.

***Side Note:  In my opinion, I think a lot of other fruits could be used with this dish.  I’m thinking peaches, blackberries, raspberries and oooooh, strawberries!  Whatever your tastebuds desire.

Once your pan is covered with the blueberries, take your cream cheese mixture and pour it all over the croissants and fruit.  Make sure it’s evenly spread and place it in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  As it bakes, you’ll see it all rise slowly, the blueberries explode throughout the dish, the color of the blueberries are gorgeous, and the croissant tops will turn this golden brown color.  Really, the dish is just pretty. It’s perfect to look at.

Everyone’s favorite part…digging in.  The best way to explain the taste is licking the back of the spoon after mixing up blueberry muffin batter.  It was delicious.  The taste of the fresh, hot blueberries, really shone through.  I took a bite with a piece of the croissant and I got the nostalgic taste of a hot blueberry pancake. Sugary sweet, luscious batter, fresh blueberries and buttery croissants, all hot and fresh.  Not a bad combination AT ALL.  As it cooled off, it thickened up a bit and tasted just as good.  Let’s just say, I didn’t have much, if any, to rinse out of the pan.

Now, do you see why my residents love the Saturday morning breakfasts?!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it lately, but I recently started back on Weight Watchers.  I kid you not, it is hands down, one of the best programs I’ve ever done to lose weight.  About a year ago, when I first started, and I was serious about it, I lost about 20lbs. in a month, and I felt good doing it!  You literally can eat whatever you want, but it’s how much you eat that matters.  Make sure your eyes don’t get bigger than your stomach basically.  I don’t call it a “diet”, it’s more like a lifestyle change, as they teach us in the meetings.

Being such a social network junkie, I usually go to Instagram to find pretty much anything.  I ended up finding a lot of WW-friendly sites full of recipes, where I can pretty much treat myself to damn near any dish, but they’re made over to be a little bit more healthy, WW points friendly.  Some of my favorites, like true go-to’s, they never let me down are Emily Bites, Drizzle Me Skinny! and the star of this blog Skinnytaste.

I was craving veggies one day, but I didn’t want any boring steamed veggies, or just seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.  I remembered seeing this cheesy spinach recipe on Skinnytaste, Makeover Spinach Gratin.  VERY similar to Spinach Artichoke Dip…just without the artichoke.

Very easy to make, you’ll probably hear me say that a lot, because I like quick, easy, simple, delicious recipes.  The faster I make my food, the faster it cooks so that I can devour it.

In my favorite saucepan, I melted the butter and added the chopped onions.  The recipe called for a cup, finely chopped, but I used a whole onion, which equaled roughly two cups.  The smell, delicious of course, that’s why I just went ahead and used a whole onion.  Anything sautéed in butter is the best.  Lots of onion in butter, is the best.  Let those cook until translucent.

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added flour…

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then nutmeg

Now, when you add those two dry ingredients to your butter onion mixture, it’s gonna dry up right away…that is O-K, it’s normal.  This will thicken up the sauce; a roux basically.  Once your flour and your nutmeg are incorporated evenly, add your milk, slowly, whisking while pouring.

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You’ll whisk, whisk and whisk some more, making sure the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and your sauce will thicken.  Next, I moved the saucepan from the fire.  I quickly took my thawed out frozen spinach, I only used one 16oz. bag and placed it in cheesecloth.  The recipe called for three bags, which is three pounds, but my gratin turned out just fine and it was still thick.  Once all the water was squeezed out of the spinach, I added it to the sauce and placed the saucepan back over the fire.

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continue whisking, making sure that the spinach is mixed in well with the onion, butter, milk sauce

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add a portion of the parmesan cheese, mix in well…I used Kraft, nothing fancy

Once that’s done, you can start personalizing your spinach gratin, seasoning to your taste, to your liking.  I love spices and seasonings, but I didn’t go too overboard with it.

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Once you like the taste, once you’re satisfied, dump the spinach in a casserole dish, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top along with the Swiss cheese (I used Sargento slices), it’s gonna look so pretty, and place in the oven for 20 quick minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

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I was extremely happy eating it with a spoon, tasted great right out of the dish, my brother paired it with tortilla chips, he killed it, either way you wanna dig in…it’s G-OO-D, GOOD!

 

 

 

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