Earlier this year, Susan and I traveled just outside of Houston Texas to book a new location for our food conference MIXED. We visited The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center last year and loved it so much that we knew it would be a great location for our conference, we just needed to iron out the details. What better way than to do that with a little girls trip that included a side stop at The Houston Rodeo (you know I love those boys, boots, buckles and bulls). If you follow us on Instagram you saw all the amazing FOOD and fun we had, and we didn’t even get into any trouble. Nope. Not us.
Despite being named after the beautiful Italian city of Florence, these cookies (sometimes referred to as biscuits) did not originate from Italy. We can thank the French for these lovely wafer thin delights that I can’t stop eating. Honest Cooking has a wonderful history lesson on these beauties if you’re into that such thing. I happen to be into almonds and cookies so I’m into them for those very important reasons, but I’ll thank the French and the city of Florence both just to be on the safe side.
I’m going to go ahead and tell you straight away that I am OBSESSED with this pasta dish. It’s pretty much brilliance on a plate. I wish I could take credit for it but it’s not mine, it’s from the ridiculously gorgeous and talented Nigella Lawson. When I saw this particular recipe floating around online I was intrigued immediately. There was no book marking it for later, I made it RIGHT THEN. It’s super simple to prepare and the flavor factor is off the charts. Even the most novice of cooks could make this so is there absolutely no excuses for anyone regardless of their cooking level not to try this. Well unless you’re allergic to a particular ingredient in here and then well it’s okay to take a pass.
Back in May I had the opportunity to visit VIR (Virginia International Raceway) for the first time to see the Motorcycle Road Racing Series. It was an amazing experience and I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to return next weekend as VIRginia International Raceway Prepares for Season’s Biggest, Fastest Race Welcoming Back The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Aug. 21-23!
I know what you’re thinking … Another social media outlet? Well I hate to break the news but there will always be a “new” social media outlet. It’s up to us, however, to decide which ones are worth our time investment. I’ve come across a new to me website called Yummly. Since you’re here vising my FOOD and travel blog I think it’s a safe bet that you like to EAT as much as I do. Yummly is a FREE website with nothing but recipes that acts as your virtual recipe box. Did I mention this a FREE service that’s incredibly easy to use? You can add as many recipes as you like (you know all the ones from my site yeah?) You can even go as far as to save and categorize the recipes you’ve saved to your recipe box. You can also discover recipes that are in the feed and can browse popular categories. Ready to set up a profile and get to YUMMING? Yeah you are.
When it comes to frosting I am of the opinion that buttercream is best. There I said it and I’m sticking to it. Sorry, not sorry and all that jazz. Butter. Cream. I mean what is there NOT to love about that? Well maybe all the calories but sometimes a girl has to splurge on something besides shoes. I’ve said it many times but I exercise so I can eat. Period. Sadly I’m not one of those people that are blessed (yes you are BLESSED) with a fabulous metabolism and can eat e’vrything without having to even think about a treadmill. I eat e’vrything and then I MUST treadmill. Period. It’s a trade off I’m willing to make because again I like food. All the food, which is a good thing considering cooking is my job.
I have an obsession love affair with seafood. In my dream world I would live in a small cottage on the beach, wear maxi skirts, tank tops with flip flops and eat seafood ‘evry day. Fresh off the boat. I might even decide that deep see fishing was for me. Or not, because those boats are a rocking and not stopping. But that fresh seafood. Most definitely. High a top of my seafood list is Crab. Have I ever told you that I am a crab cracking queen? It’s a self appointed title and all, but I can crack open crab legs like no one’s business. It’s a special talent, my parents are very proud. I’m totally down with for any crab cracking contest so hit me up. I’m serious.
You all know how much I adore panna cotta (just do a quick search with the words panna cotta in the search box above and you’ll find a plethora of flavors). It’s a super simple dessert that will literally only take you 10 minutes of “working” time. The rest of the time your refrigerator does the work. That’s what I call winning. Why do I love it so? Because you can take the classic vanilla panna cotta recipe and by simply adding additional seasonal flavors it changes the whole scrumptious shebang. Making it perfect the perfect year round dessert. These gorgeous jars of vanilla bean panna cotta are topped off with fresh blueberries and a finger licking organic Blueberry Balsamic Sauce from Robert Rothschild Farm. It lends just the right amount of sweet and tart to the creamy vanilla base. Winning again.
My birthday falls in the month of July (I was an early firecracker as my Mom likes to say still to this very day, and I gotta admit, the description still fits). I’m one of those people that really digs birthdays and tend to celebrate it for at least a week if not more. Doesn’t everyone? I also really dig chocolate and COFFEE so it was only natural that I made a celebration worthy cake that would make chocoholics and caffeine addicts rejoice right along with me. I am super duper pleased with how this one turned out. So much so it might become my yearly birthday cake tradition. If it didn’t take a hot minute to pull together it might be my every time I’m craving a chocolate cake recipe but this one is firmly in the special occasion category.
While this may look like mayonnaise, Aioli isn’t mayonnaise. What’s the difference you ask? Mayonnaise is basically an emulsion of bland neutral flavored oils (think canola), egg yolks, vinegar and/or lemon juice. Aioli, on the other hand, hails from the southern French region of Provence, and traditionally begins by using a mortar and pestle to bash cloves of garlic into a paste. Once you’ve got yourself a nice chunk of garlic paste, it’s then blended together with egg yolks, lemon juice and olive oil (for a more robust flavor). It magically thickens and transforms right before your eyes and Boom you’ve got Aioli! What do you do with this new spreadable edible goodness? While I think it’s great spread on sandwiches like it’s cousin mayo, try serving your Aioli as a dip for crudité (fancy for vegetable tray) or as an accoutrement to shellfish (hello crab cakes).
These are pretty much my version of homemade Shake and Bake pork chops in grown up form. I would seriously get excited for shake and bake night growing up. There is something oddly exciting about shaking things up in a gallon zip top bag. Who knew? Well that’s unless you got too into it and the bag burst and then you were on clean up duty. Sigh. Maybe I was the only one?
I have a lot of little quirks with food. For instance, I’m not a fan of cucumbers (I will totally pick them out if they’re in let’s say a salad) but I’m all about the PICKLES. I know, I know, it makes ZERO sense but try telling that to my taste buds. My all time favorite pickle is the bread and butter pickle. My Mom has made Bread and Butter pickles every single year she’s had a garden and that’s like well my whole life. Strange name for a pickle yeah? I can’t imagine eating them on buttered bread but whatever floats your boat.
Sometimes a girl just wants a big fat juicy burger. One that doesn’t require fourteen napkins or a bib around my neck would also be nice. This is that kinda burger. We’ve packed a lot of flavor into that all beef patty by using a few secrets. Well it won’t be a secret any longer since I’m sharing it with y’all now will it? But good food is meant to be shared with good people so here goes.
Sweet. Spicy. Tart. No need to pick one, nope. You’re going to get all of that in every spoonful. If you like mangoes you’re going to love this supped up mango ice cream. Just like every summer in our house, our ice cream maker bowl stays in our freezer. We like it to be ready when we are to mix up a batch of frozen fabulousness. Which is quite often if the number of ice cream recipes posted on our little site is any indication. Go ahead and search ice cream or gelato here on our little neck of the interwebs, right up there at the top in the search box. See it? We’ve got something for everyone. I’m pretty sure we could open up an ice cream beach caddy but eh who has time for that.
Oh Shishito! I first had a taste of these babies in Austin a few years back at a seriously swoon worthy restaurant called Swift’s Attic. I’ve been dreaming of these peppers forever. They’ve been alluding me in my markets here ever since until now. This year when I was grabbing my garden plants there they were with a spotlight on them and the angels were singing, OH SHISHITO! I bought 4 plants and they’re now producing like my tomatoes should be. I’m not going to complain because hello shishito peppers. Once you have a taste you’ll understand my obsession with these little green goddesses of goodness.
We hit the hills! I think hills probably isn’t the best word but it flows better so I’m going with that. Last month we took a two wheeled road trip to the mountains of Georgia for a rally. While I am and will always be a beach girl I have to admit the mountains definitely don’t suck. Especially with views like that. This was by far, to date, the longest I’ve been on a bike. We broke the trip up into two days (because North Carolina to Georgia on a bike). Stopping in Cherokee North Carolina the first night and then finishing the last leg the following morning.
I’m sad to report that my garden tomato plants aren’t doing so hot this year. I think all the rain we’ve had is the culprit. While I’m extremely sad about the state of tomatoes in the bell’alimento household, the silver lining is my fresh herbs are going CRAZY. I have more fresh herbs than I can use. I’ve been garnishing ALL the things and I’ve made more bouquet garni’s than I can shake a rosemary sprig at. I’m thinking if I have this problem (if you can call it that) then maybe YOU do too! Because sharing is caring, I’ve put together a few of my favorite things to do with all those herbs.
Disclaimer: I have received information, product and materials from McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co., the makers of PEPCID®, as part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.
Heartburn. It’s something we’d all like to keep off of our menus whether we’re eating at home or out, right? I’m no exception. I have always enjoyed foods with a spicy kick to them. I’m not talking super spicy (I’m just not personally cut out for super spicy) foods that would make me cry (think Indian hot), just a little tingle thank you very much. Sometimes however, spicy and occasionally overly rich (read fatty) foods don’t necessarily agree with me. What am I left with when they don’t? You guessed it, heartburn. It happens to the best of us. When it does I want relief and I want it stat. Fun fact: did you know that heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, so why in the world do they call it heartburn?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Mom it Forward and M-DISC. Opinions are my own. Always have been. Always will be.
I am what most people would call a shutter bug. Whether I have my big daddy DSLR or my iphone on me, I’m always snapping a photo of this or that. Of people and moments that mean a lot to me. Memories that I wouldn’t be able to access if they just disappeared. Do you ever worry about your data disappearing? Your precious family photos. Videos you’ve taken of vacations, your children’s recitals, graduations? I don’t have to worry about that any more since I was introduced to M-DISC. What is M-DISC you ask? “M-DISC is a unique storage solution that preserves photos, video, and important documents…practically forever. People use M-DISC to create a “hard copy” of their treasured memories, and important information. By hard copy we mean something they can hold in their hands, and have complete control over. This process is also called “archiving”, formerly only embraced by businesses and universities, it is not gaining traction among consumers. M-DISC is the brand leader in personal archiving because it’s economical, simple to use, and will preserve data for more than 1,000 years.” 1,000 years people. That means generations and generations to come behind us will be able to share and cherish our data.
I’ve always been one to love a good challenge. Heck, coming up with dinner every night can be a challenge. You know those nights when it’s you against the refrigerator and pantry. Opening the doors, staring inside and saying what in the world am I going to put together to feed all these people that live with me? Those are the times creativity comes into play. I’m putting that creativity to good use with today’s recipe challenge. “To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Dreamfield’s Pastapalooza summer promotion, we are calling upon bloggers to compete in five “Market Basket” challenges throughout the summer. Bloggers will be challenged to use the ingredients in the Market Baskets (plus up to 2 more of their choice) to create original pasta salad, side dish or summer entrée recipes. Fans and friends will vote for their favorite recipe from each Market Basket category, with the winning blogger receiving a $1,000 donation to their local food bank/pantry; a $200 donation will go to the food bank of choice of the remaining bloggers. One randomly drawn fan/participant who voted will win a family pack of Dreamfields + a $1,000 donation to their local food bank/pantry.”