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Jazzing Up Banana Pudding

I love ordering takeout.

(Who doesn’t, right?!)

When I ordered some Chinese food for delivery tonight from a local takeout joint, I received a sweet treat coupon during my online order.

I had the choice of free pineapple, chocolate pudding or banana pudding.

I chose the banana as it’s a lighter refreshing pudding .

But I decided to take that pudding up a notch.

Continue reading “Jazzing Up Banana Pudding”

Cool Articles 10/9-10/22

This post is going to be chock full of cool articles!

These come from some of my favorite foodie sources: Eater, BuzzFeed Food, The Daily Meal and Serious Eats.

Here are some cool articles for you to check out:

1) Inspired Desserts from the New York Wine and Food Festival Godiva Truffle Showdown, Serious EatsThere was a Godiva Truffle Showdown at this year’s New York Food & Wine Festival, and get ready to feast your eyes on a slideshow of mouth-watering, decadent chocolate treats, because you are in for one tasty ride!

2) 18 Reasons Pizza is Your Best Friend, BuzzFeed Food: This is a super fun read. Especially with the pictures. It tells the tale of why pizza is, and will always be with you for the long haul. From Lunchables, to Bagel Bites, to late night munchies. Yum.

3) 23 Most Glorious Balls of Cheese, BuzzFeed FoodWho doesn’t love cheese? And who doesn’t love a big ball of cheese? But honestly, I would not eat the one that looks like a rat (would you? Do tell below!)

4) 13 Things You Didn’t Know about Dunkin Donuts, The Daily Meal: Time to make the donuts! The Daily Meal puts out a fun list of things you (may) not have known about the coffee/donut shop. Something I didn’t know:

There are Dunkin’ Donuts coffee experts that taste an average of 200 cups of coffee a day to ensure that they’re delivering the best possible coffee to consumers.”

Did you know this? That’s so cool! Can you imagine being a coffee taster for #DD? Brilliant.

Enjoy!

Cool Article of the Week: 9/15-9/21

This week, I have a tie of cool articles of the week!

Both of these come from one of my favorite foodie sources: BuzzFeed Food.

The first ties in with a big awards show tomorrow, the EMMYs!

Primetime TV’s big night!

We’re all rooting for our favorite shows, but hey, how about the food the actors use during their performances?

This article highlights 21 Emmy-Worthy Performances by Food in a Television Series.

You’ll even see how the food is used, like a pizza pie that flies in the air!

The second cool article of the week is for people that are looking to eat some really delicious treats, but may be lactose intolerant.

This article highlights the 18 Treats You Might Not Know Are Dairy Free.

One being….drumroll please….Oreos!

Did you know this? I certainly didn’t realize the cream in Oreos Isn’t actually…well…cream. Woah!

Enjoy both articles, and please let me know what you think, join the conversation below!

 

 

FOODventures in CLEVELAND

One of my very good friends lives in Cleveland. Over the weekend, I road tripped up to #CLE to visit her and her boyfriend!

#FIRSTTIMEINCLEVELAND !

My friend has been telling me about all the amazing #CLE food, and the week prior to me coming, she even sent me an awesome link to a garlic festival. Garlic rules. We did drive by it, and not only was there a HUGE blow up garlic in the park, there was a guy dressed up in a garlic costume walking around.

In preps of visiting this dear city of Cleveland, who loves The Drew Carey Show? Me!

In my head I cue this song (which I played via my phone in my friends apartment Sunday to figure out what buildings I recognized this weekend):

There is SO much energy and pride for this city going on in #cle. Huge crowds headed to Indians games, people of all ages bustling around all of the cool neighborhoods, people grabbing drinks with their friends at the cute outdoor beer garden restaurants. Just a gorgeous place.

Here are some of the foodie places my friend took me to:

1) Tommys Restaurant

1824 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
216-321-7757

Hours:   Sunday – Thursday:  9am – 9pm
Friday:                       9am – 10pm
Saturday:                  7:30am-10pm

What I ate: Veggie Burger with cheese:  Brown rice, scallions, carrots, garlic, parsley, onions, adzuki beans, shaped like patties and fried. Served on a wheat bun. $8.75.

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My thoughts: Now THIS, my friends, is what I call a burger. By first glance, would you think this is all veggie? Me, no (well, maybe the sprouts would make me think it, but really, no). This burger is HUGE, and it will fill you up. The patty itself did taste very “meaty,” and had great a great flavor combination. I normally don’t like sprouts, but all the veggies piled together, along with the big wheat bun, made for a fantastic sandwich. It’s one of those stretch-your-jaw ones. What brought it over the top for me was the brown mustard sauce that came on the side, giving it the extra kick. The sandwich as a whole was not dry by no means: it was moist and juicy.

Why you should go: Now yes, I ate a veggie burger, but Tommy’s isn’t just a vegetarian place. There are lots of meat options. For breakfast, you can get items such as omelets or breakfast egg sandwiches (including the Elsie Combo, which has two fried eggs, two strips of bacon, Mayo, American cheese and peanut butter made into a triple decker sandwich (choice of toast). My friend told me the breakfast at Tommy’s is really, really good, but if you want to get that, you will have to come at the right time (we unfortunately missed it by 15 minutes). For lunch and dinner, there are plenty of beef-filled burgers, tuna sandwiches (such as the A.D. which has tuna, mushrooms, falafel, tomato and cheese), falafel sandwiches (such as the D.C. my friend got which has falafel, veggies, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, sesame sauce, cheese, pictured below), hummus, etc. Tommy’s is also known for its milkshakes, with flavors of Vanilla, Chocolate, Cherry, Peach, Strawberry, Coffee, Mocha, Mint Chocolate Chip, Root Beer, Black Cherry, Cookies & Cream, Cookie Dough, Moosetracks and Black Raspberry Chip. Pumpkin Pie & Peppermint Stick are its seasonal flavors. Tommy’s has also had visit from the likes of famous celebs such as Al Roker, Drew Carey, Heather Graham, Molly Shannon and Sheryl Crow’s band (yes, her band. One of our favorite parts of reading this on its menu). You can check out all of the celebs that have been to Tommy’s here.

2) Melt Bar and Grilled (several locations, I went to Lakewood)

14718 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
216.226.3699

Monday-Thursday: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00am – 12:00 midnight
Sunday: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Bar open till 2:00am every night.

What I ate: Monte Cristo: honey ham, smoked turkey, Swiss, American, crispy battered & deep fried, mixed berry preserves $11.50 .

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My thoughts: One of the best grilled cheese sandwiches EVER. HANDS DOWN. I’ve had a Monte Cristo at Bennigan’s before, but this blows Bennigan’s sandwich wayyy out of the water.I wasn’t sure which sandwich to choose at first. All of the grilled cheeses (the restaurants specialty) on its menu were mouthwatering. I narrowed it down between that one, The Dude Abides (homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella wedges, rich marinara, provolone & romano) and the Parmageddon (potato & onion pierogi, fresh napa vodka kraut, sautéed onions, sharp cheddar). I originally didn’t want the Monte Cristo, but when I saw the guy next to me get it, AND the waitress said its the restaurant’s signature sandwich, and with my friend saying I should try it, I got it, and woah. This is a balanced nirvana sandwich: there’s the savory of the honey ham, smoked turkey and two cheeses, then with the sandwich being battered and deep fried, AND with the sweet powdered sugar on top, AND having the tangy mixed berry sauce to dip in on the side, it was like this beautiful fried dough cheesy goodness. I was hungry, and devoured the entire plate. The hand cut fries were great too. A great bang for your buck too.

Why you should go: The experience itself is even more reason to go. There will be a bit of a wait depending on the time you head there, but instead of being given the standard beeper or just name calling when your table’s ready, this restaurant steps it up a notch with labels. But not just any name labels. Mine said something along the lines of “Garfield 1232-3”. My friend and I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the awesome fun. And hey while you’re waiting, check out all of the cool decor around the room, as well as throughout the restaurant.  As you head to your table, the host will explain the label’s meaning to you. Apparently the one I wore was a phrase from a jingle from a roofing company commercial. Tons more funky phrases like that on the labels. The #1 reason: its grilled cheeses are to die for. And if you’re vegetarian, there are plenty of options too (even though the menu has a lot of meat filled ones). Just check the menu for V (vegetarian), VA (vegetarian option available), and VG (vegan available). Truthfully, as it’s a grilled cheese place, I’m not really sure why people would get anything else on the menu, but I will say, the other stuff on the menu, such as burgers, desserts and appetizers, look great too. But yes, when you go to Cleveland, you need to head to Melt. ASAP.

3) Big Al’s Diner

12600 Larchmere Blvd Cleveland OH 44120

What I ate: The dish that landed this mom & pop dining spot on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” show, its corned beef hash, along with some scrambled eggs and wheat toast.

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My thoughts: Chef Michael Symon named the corned beef hash the “best thing he ever ate,” on that show, also saying it “magic on a plate.” I definitely thought it was delicious: I liked how the corned beef was salty with the mix of the green peppers and the potatoes that were cut up and looked like unfried French fries. The eggs were fluffy and moist. I just felt like it needed a sauce on top. Just to make it a little more moist, and to add a creamy texture to the mix. I’ll admit, I added hot sauce and pepper on top to give it that extra oomph. So while Michael, I do not agree with you this time, you definitely have a contender.

Why you should go: It’s definitely that hole-in-the-wall diner in the neighborhood that people flock to, and I could see why. Prices are pretty cheap, the food is good, and you can get breakfast, lunch or dinner. A small forewarning though, something we learned while there: you have to seat yourself. We waited for a little bit and then noticed how people were seating themselves in tables as soon as a party upped and left, so we followed suit. Also, be prepared to wait a little while for your food, as they say they cook each dish to order. We did wait a little while for the food. But overall, we thought it was a decent place.

Now something I also learned from my friend while in Cleveland is that this city is full of amazing BEERS! Some places we checked out/walked by that I recommend: Market Garden, Nano Brew, Great Lakes Brewery, and Tremont Taphouse.

At several of these places we witnessed outdoor beer garden seating (I LOVED the outdoor seating at Market Garden at Tremont Taphouse: both had places to sit outdoors with beautiful hanging bulb lights).

I personally love the fruity beers myself, so here’s my list of what to find in #CLE that’s fruity and delicious:

IMG_4773ACE Pear Cider (pictured left): Got this at Melt Bar and Grilled. Essentially tasted like a cold sparkling glass of pear juice. It wasn’t overly sweet, but it wasn’t too bitter either. My friend agreed, saying she thought it tasted like pear juice.

Southern Tier Pumking (pictured right): My friend had this at Melt Bar and Grilled. A spice-filled, warm, cozy tasting beer.

ACE Pumpkin Cider (not pictured): Got that at Market Garden. My friend and I both agreed it tasted like Pumpkin Pie in a glass.

 

There are so many neighborhoods, so many foodie places to check out in Cleveland. The next time I visit, I want to venture into its Little Italy neighborhood, and check out the bar devoted to chocolate.

Next time you head to Cleveland, or if you are from there, please let me know where you go to eat/drink, or please let me know where I should go next!

Enjoy.

Cool Article of the Week — 7/29 — 8/3

Chocoholics (::raises hand::) this is for you.

This cool article of the week comes from one of my new favorite food news sources : BuzzFeed Food.

I saw they had tweeted this story, and I literally said out loud to myself, “Really?!”,in a surprised, yet intrigued way.

According to a study out of Belgian university (where coincidentally, ALOT of yummy chocolate comes from, the country of Belgium, i.e. Guylian), the smell of chocolate encourages people to shop for books longer.

Seriously!

Researchers pumped the scent of chocolate into a bookstore over there for half of the day.

201 customers were analyzed.

And the result was that “customers were more than twice as likely to browse through more than one book during the chocolate hours,” according to this study.

There’s another interesting factoid in the BuzzFeed Food article, but I don’t want to give it away, I want you to check this out for yourself, and let me know what you think!

If you smell some chocolate in the bookstore, who knows, you may just walk away buying a big stack load of books!

Here’s the article, pictures and all.

Photo Credit: lemonandlyme.com

 

SWEET TREATS: Buckeye Brownies

One of the first things I heard about when I moved here to Ohio was this:

Buckeyes.

I knew of the sports team, but what I didn’t discover until I was physically here in Ohio   were the chocolatey peanut butter desserts sold here.

Here’s an instance of a Buckeye foodie discovery I had while out and about.

I go to one of the local supermarkets here (Dorothy Lane Market), and am browsing around one of the cases of desserts. I’m seeing all of these Killer Brownies it makes (that could be a whole other post by the way: these are these thick, moist brownies with gooey delicious layers in the middle), and then lo and behind I see a Buckeye.

Thinking about it now, here’s something coincidental about this.

The size of the buckeye I tried there, at least circumference wise, is the size of an O you form with your hand. O for Ohio! Eyyy! 🙂

If you haven’t tried a Buckeye before, it’s a peanut butter ball covered in chocolate just enough so the peanut butter is still sticking out.

It looks just like the nut that comes off of a Buckeye tree.

The other night I was thinking about something I could bake (and surprise!) for a dear coworker whose last day was Monday. She is moving away from Ohio, and so I went to Pinterest for some inspiration.

I love baking brownies. While browsing for brownie ideas, I by chance came across this recipe.: (thank you My Patchwork Quilt!)

Buckeye Brownies

19 1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. plus 6 T. butter, softened and divided
8 oz. jar creamy peanut butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare and bake brownie mix in greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan according to pkg. directions. Let cool.

Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 c. butter, and peanut butter in a bowl.

Mix well (I used electric mixer) and spread over cooled brownies.

Chill for 1 hour.

Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Spread over brownies.

Let cool; cut into squares.

Makes 2-3 dozen.

I modified the recipe just a tad: I used a brownie box mix that wasn’t 19 1/2 oz (honestly, I couldn’t find one that big!), so I used an 18 oz box.

Another thing I did that’s different from the recipe: the brownie box I got didn’t have the cooking time for the brownie pan that was required in the recipe (9 x 13), so I played with the timing with my trick below.

With any brownie or cake, what you want to do to tell it is done is to stick something in the middle of it (normally I’d go for toothpicks, but since I don’t have any right now, I used a fork). If it comes out clean, your baked good is done, if it comes out with dough stuck to it, you need to cook it some more. This is when you keep a close eye on the oven, these final minutes.

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Another modification I did was I added more chocolate chips instead of just 6 ounces (because I ran out when it was just 6 ounces), and added some more butter in when I added the extra chocolate.

A good trick for melting ANY chocolate (and thank you Culinary Arts class in high school for this tip), is to melt it in a double boiler (pictures above), not just in the saucepan alone. That way, there is no chance of your chocolate burning. A double boiler is when you boil a pot of water (or in this case, I put it to medium heat), and put a bowl on top with the chocolate in it, and melt it / stir it up that way.

Another thing I did was I chilled the brownies overnight in the fridge after putting the melted chocolate on top.

Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!
Pouring the melted chocolate on the brownies!

Now I’ll admit, it was a little hard to cut them today, but I will tell you, these brownies are SUPER delicious, chocolatey, fudgy and moist. I especially loved the chocolate with the fluffy peanut butter frosting/filling concoction in the middle. My now former coworker enjoyed them too, which I am so glad about :). I made them especially to remind her of home before she leaves for another coast :).

I officially really really really love Buckeyes :).

Enjoy!

Cool Article of the Week — 7/13-7/20

This week,  it isn’t exactly an “article” per se that struck me as my cool article of the week.

But it’s an intriguing thought that caught my eye, to spread into the foodie-sphere.

It’s a tweet that comes from an awesome radio morning show based in Long Island:
 Dana & Jeffrey in the Morning.

Tweet from Dana & Jeffrey!
Tweet from Dana & Jeffrey!

Isn’t it amazing how packaging for food in general has transformed itself over the years? Yes, we can thank technology for how the packaging of the one of the left compares to the one on the right. But the one on the left versus the one on the right, there are clear differences. I actually really love that the left one you can see the cookies in the packaging.

Dana & Jeffery raise a great question for the #foodies out there.

The tweet flashes me back to the Oreo commercials in the 1990s.

I’m also flashing back to when Oreo would put out collector cookie tins in the 90’s too. Myself and my family would put the cookies in there at Christmas time, as it had a cute picture of Santa Claus on it (but well, we would use that tin during the year too, Christmas all year!).

Flashing forward to this decade….and Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday last year, and now  there are so many types of Oreo’s for us all to split in half , lick the cream, put it back together and dunk it in milk then eat it.

Bottom line: I will always love Oreo’s.

And thank you, Dana & Jeffrey for the awesome reminder!

Your tweet is donned my cool article of this week.

Do you love Oreo’s? Join the conversation below!

Midnight Snack: ABO Balls

Ever since I recently wrote about the PBNO Balls I made, I haven’t stopped eating nut butters since.

(Nut butters meaning peanut and almond butter.)

After I wrote that post, I made my way to Trader Joe’s one night after work. My mission was clear: find some amazing almond butter to bring home.

I found myself in the nut butter part of one of its aisles staring at all of the different kinds of nut butters. I was fascinated. There were all kinds of varieties of not only nuts, but creamy or chunky choices too. I was then approached by a very friendly employee who guided me in my search. We spoke for several minutes about which almond butter I should choose: creamy, chunky, sea salt, no sea salt.

After showing me the several types the store had, I ended up choosing the creamy one with sea salt in it (see picture).

If you asked me if I prefer creamy or chunky nut butter, honestly I have no preference. I love both just the same.

I’ll admit, I was curious about the salt content in the butters while standing there speaking to the employee. However, the man assured me that there wasn’t a ton of salt in the salted almond butter if you’re watching your salt (if you’re curious now too, it has 60 mg of salt in a 2 tbsp serving, not bad!), and the non-salted one doesn’t have that same flavor the salty one has.

The night I bought it, I opened the jar and mixed it for awhile with a spoon (as the oil of the natural butter can separate). I haven’t had almond butter in a long time, and to take that first taste was magical. A very grainy texture, with a hint of that sweet-salt taste, but not overly sweet.

Rich.

Thick.

Delicious.

So now, I’ve been alternating these past few weeks, between having a spoonful of almond butter on occasion, or having a spoonful of peanut butter with an oreo placed in the middle of the spoon on another occasion.

Which brings me to tonight’s midnight craving. My love of chocolate was calling my name, and I immediately started thinking about the almond butter and how I could combine the two to make ABO Balls.

My next thought: “Hey, I can put these in the freezer to harden them up a bit!”

And here’s what resulted:

ABO Balls.

ABO Balls (a sister to PBNO Balls):

-1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter of your choice (I chose Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter with sea salt)

-2 chocolate sandwich cookies (I chose some Oreo Double Stuf’s. Oh, yes.)

-chocolate syrup (for decor)

Method:

1. Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies onto a plate.

2. Spoon the almond butter on top of the cookies.

3. Roll almond butter and oreo’s together to make two ABO Balls.

4. Place ABO Balls in freezer (covered in plastic wrap) for 20-30 minutes (you can even let them sit for longer if you want them a little crunchier).

5. Take ABO Balls out of freezer and spritz a little chocolate sauce on top for decor.

6. Enjoy!

These balls, like the PBNO Balls, had a great texture and a great balance of sweet and savory. Because this nut butter in particular was grainy and thicker than a regular store-bought nut-butter, it thickened up quickly and very well in the freezer. It had a good consistency to pick up in your hands and not get too messy.

You’ll still want that mug-o-milk to wash it all down!

A fun, quick, easy snack to make in the middle of the night, or any time of day.

Enjoy!

Live Tweet Food Reviews!

The waffle with the gingerbread spread - Wafels & Dinges NYC

Within the past week or so I’ve been trying out something new in addition to blogging. A new experiment per se, regarding my food reviews. I’ve been live tweeting reviews from restaurants and food trucks in my travels!

So far I’ve reviewed three places in NYC: the Morris Truck that serves delicious grilled cheeses and an amazing homemade hot chocolate with cinnamon fluff (that I’m obsessed with!), Korilla BBQ where I tried one of its burritos that reminded me of a mix between a fancy moo shu and a Vietnamese spring roll, Wafels and Dinges where I had one of its Belgian waffles covered in a gingerbread spread that reminded me of peanut butter minus the nuts, and tonight I reviewed the Bagels ‘N A Whole Lot More store in Stony Brook on route 347 which had an amazing crowd, a wonderful sandwich deal and great service.

 

The burrito I had at Korilla BBQ, NYC

I am having a blast writing these, as they’re even faster ways to let you know what I’m eating!

For all of my latest quick updates and foodie-tweets, please check out my Twitter, either at the link above in my blog at the top right hand corner, or click here.

I look forward to having you join the food conversation via another wonderful social network.

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