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desserts

RED BANK: Fruity Pebbles Cake Pop 

Cereal for dessert?

It’s a thing.

From Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cereal Milk ice cream , to getting cereal as a fro yo topping, to good ‘ol Rice Krispies Treats.

Well my friends, I have found a delightful, whimsical cake pop that I think you’re going to like.

Continue reading “RED BANK: Fruity Pebbles Cake Pop “

RECIPE REVIEW: The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Sunday.

A day of rest, watching TV (Netflix & chill? 😉 For me today, it’s Food Network & chill), and cooking/baking.

It dawned on me today to try to bake some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Not the break and bakes you buy at the store, the real deal.

Continue reading “RECIPE REVIEW: The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies”

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”

DAYTON: #grocerystoreobsessionsMay21

I love grocery stores.

I’m fascinated by them.

Ever since I was younger, I’ve always loved to browse the aisles for unique items.

I’ve done this with friends, I’ve done this flying solo (i.e. the 24 hour Wegman’s in Syracuse, and here, the 24 hour Kroger‘s).

As I’ve said before on this blog, for the most part I like to eat cheap, and eat out of convenience.

Sometimes that can get tough when you feel the need to jump on the healthy train.

But I’m on my latest healthy kick, and I’ll tell you, I have found some guilt-free items at the grocery store I am full on OBSESSING over! And if you tried them, I think you would too.

Without further ado, here they are:

1) SKINNYPOP – Ultra Lite White Cheddar flavor

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POPCORN. It’s the movie time staple we all know. But when doused in a ton of movie theater butter (I’m guilty of this, trust me), calories can add up. But this popcorn is a guilt-free gold mine. If you love cheese, this is the popcorn for you. It’s just enough of a cheesy taste to fulfill a craving, but it doesn’t overdo it (and you won’t get orange or white powder on your hands!). According to its website, the ultra lite white cheddar has a serving size of 3.5 cups, which is generous! And at only 160 calories, 9 grams of fat and 95 mg of sodium per serving size , guilt-free is definitely the word. And as it says there’s “no artificial anything,” as well as zero trans fat and a good source of fiber, I say DIG IN and bring this to your movies (or try it as a snack anytime).

2) Green Giant Seasoned Steamers: Brussels Sprouts with Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper

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These are something that if you offered it to me as a kid, I would’ve said no. Brussels sprouts! The ultimate healthy green vegetable that you either like, or pass on. I grew into liking these green morsels in recent years, and came across these frozen ones at Kroger recently. Very easy to make, just microwave and when you open the bag they’re hot, steamy, and perfectly seasoned with the salt and pepper. The serving size is 3/4 cup at 3 grams of fat. The only thing to watch would be the sodium (at 250 mg).  But according to whfoods.com, brussels sprouts have special cholesterol-lowering benefits, and is also a great cancer protector!

3) KIND Bars

photo 1Have you ever had a protein bar? I’ve tried different kinds, from PowerBars to CLIF, and while not all of these are “protein” bars, they’re amazing for breakfast or as a dessert to resist eating sweets (and I’m a chocoholic, I love sweets!). In fact, it says on the bars’ packaging that “A recent study conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center found that two KIND bars a day can curb appetite and even help prevent weight gain.” The company is all about using ingredients you can actually pronounce, i.e. nuts. But many have nuts in them, so if you don’t like nuts or are allergic, be cautious at the store. There are so many sweet/savory combinations to choose from, but two of my favorites right now are Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants and Dark Chocolate Chili Almond. 

4) Brad’s Raw Crunchy Kale Chips, Vampire Killer flavor:

photo 4Friends, these kale chips are mind-blowing.

Mind-blowing.

So much so that as soon as I finished the first pack I bought a few days ago, I went out and bought another one tonight at Kroger. Right now they’re situated near the vegetable section.

Now you’re probably thinking, Vampire Killer?!What’s up with that!

I’m a huge garlic lover, and that’s exactly what Brad set out to do in this chip, bring out the garlic and cheese with a good crunch.

Here’s what makes up Vampire Killer chips, according to its website:

“Coated with red bell pepper, cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, scallions, chickpea miso, garlic, and Himalayan sea salt, these kale chips may kill vampires, but they liven up your taste buds!”

Its website also points out that all flavors of Brad’s Raw Crunchy Kale is dehydrated, to preserve the nutrients that “enhance digestion and dramatically increase energy levels.”

Woohoo!If you’re looking for something fun to munch and crunch on guilt-free, this is IT. And to give you an idea of the fat content, serving size is 1 ounce, 7 grams of fat and 116 mg of sodium.And Brad’s story on the website is inspiring in itself, please check it out. Brad, if you read this, I give you MAJOR kudos to an awesome chip. —What are your current #grocerystoreobsessions?Comment below or tweet at me, @kathleenhessman!

TOLEDO: Real Seafood Company

 

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TOP PHOTO: Toledo skyline BOTTOM PHOTO: The Docks, Toledo.

There’s something magical about the water. The salty air, the breeze that sweeps your face, and when the sun shines on it, how that water glistens.

I really wanted to be near the water this past weekend. Living in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey growing up, I remember from being a little kid up until now always connecting with water, whether it be a beach, lake, pond, etc.

This past week I was really craving that experience. Cincinnati and Columbus are both cities I’ve been to here in Ohio that are on the water, but as I love to explore and venture to new cities, I decided to travel north to Toledo.

When traveling to any new city, a great guide to check out before you go is the city’s tourism (CVB) website. In this case, I was browsing Destination Toledo for my “plan.”

Perusing the restaurant section, I read about this place near the water called “The Docks,” in which the website described it as the following:

“Discover acclaimed waterfront dining at The Docks, a restaurant complex on the banks of the Maumee River. Savor daily fresh catches from Real Seafood Co., which also features a raw oyster bar. ”

I immediately knew I needed to check this out. After driving through the downtown area (which reminded me of the city of Dayton except Toledo on a huge body of water), I drove over to The Docks, which is directly across the Toledo skyline (see picture above, great photo opportunities here!)

I got there in the afternoon, so it was perfect timing for lunch. I had a choice to make, there were choices such as  Zia’s, an Italian restaurant, Real Seafood Company with its fresh seafood, El Vaquero at The Docks, Mexican food.

Of those three, I next consulted with the app Urbanspoon for user reviews of these restaurants.

After reading them, ultimately, my gut was saying, “I WANT SEAFOOD!”

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I’m SO glad I made that choice. Here’s why:

Lobster!
Lobster!

The atmosphere: Immediately walking into the restaurant, I was impressed by the decor, and the friendly waitstaff. Right off the bat the staff were very kind and as the hostess escorted me to my table, I had told her how it was my first time to Toledo. The waiter I had overheard this, and later in the meal, chatted with me about Toledo, as well as Dayton (he used to come to the Gem City to visit). Two words to sum up the decor: classy and bold. There are details in the walls, from the nautical paintings that were painted on the walls, to the words above the open kitchen listing the fish the restaurant serves, to the colorful display on the wall that’s near the restrooms, to one part of the restaurant with the beautiful mesh covering a section of booths. This restaurant is HUGE,  an open floor plan that has different levels, including a big glass fireplace in the middle of the restaurant you can be seated next to. There’s a hanging lobster from the ceiling (see picture above!). The seating itself was comfortable, tables and chairs as well as booths (I sat in a booth). And with it being right on the water, there were great views of the Toledo skyline that you can sit and look at. Another thing I loved, love songs were playing throughout the restaurant (i.e. “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal).

What I ate/drank: Rolls, bleu cheese cole slaw, Parmesan Encrusted George’s Bank Lemon Sole with skillet fried hash brown potatoes , chocolate decadence cake, diet coke.

Price: The Parmesan encrusted sole was $14.95, which came with the homemade rolls and bleu cheese cole slaw, on top of the side dish of the hash browns.

With the cake, diet cokes, and tip, I paid a total of  $31.90.

My thoughts: When I first got there, I had asked the waiter to break down for me the popular dishes. He explained how the fish is fresh caught and fresh delivered to the restaurant each morning. He took me through the lunch menu and which fresh fish I should look out for, the featured specials (which change frequently), but it was when he got excited about the Parmesan encrusted sole in the lemon sauce, I got excited and was sold on that. The service was a good pace: I wasn’t rushed yet the food came out at a reasonable time. The waiter first brought out warm homemade rolls with perfectly cut triangles of butter.

House made rolls. These came with my lunch entree.
House made rolls. These came with my lunch entree.

The fact these were served warm really made them amazing. When you cut these open, there’s fresh garlic inside, on top of the poppy and sesame seeds you see on the top there. They were light and not overly dough-y. Delicious.

Homemade bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette
Homemade bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette

The waiter then brought a small dish of its homemade bleu cheese cole slaw. It wasn’t the creamy kind, which I loved. The cole slaw was light, the vegetables were crunchy, not soggy, and the blend of the big chunks of bleu cheese and the fresh black pepper I had the waiter put on was a great “appetizer” before the main event.

PARMESAN ENCRUSTED GEORGE’S BANK LEMON SOLE.
PARMESAN ENCRUSTED GEORGE’S BANK LEMON SOLE with skillet fried hash brown potatoes, $14.95 (LUNCH PORTION)

The main event was incredible. I’ve had a fair share of seafood in my life thus far, and this was really some of the best I’ve had. The crust and the lemon sauce really brought it over the top, along with the scallion garnish. The sole itself was cooked great (moist, not dry, bright white inside). The crust was crisp but not super greasy. The lemon sauce, paired with the Parmesan from the crust was a nice sweet/savory blend I enjoyed. And the waiter recommended I get the hash browns crispy, which I’m glad I did, because those were great too, not greasy, but with a great crunch.

Homemade decadence chocolate cake.
Homemade decadence chocolate cake.

My sweet tooth couldn’t resist the also homemade chocolate decadence cake: a flourless chocolate cake in a tart berry sauce. It was magic. Creamy, chocolate filled bites of heaven.

Why you should go:  The seafood was some of the best I’ve ever had. The atmosphere is beautiful: you can take in views of the city of Toledo on the water while enjoying VERY fresh seafood. The restaurant is a 2014 Diners Choice winner from the popular online reservation site OpenTable, and if you go on a busy night or weekend, especially now that its getting warmer, I recommend making a reservation either on that website or by phone. If you go in the afternoon however, you won’t have trouble getting a table. The restaurant also has a six-foot raw bar with clams, mussels, and other fresh catches. The restaurant is so big it can accommodate big parties as well.  And if you don’t love seafood,  not to worry. The menu also has chicken and steak entrees as well as a variety of sandwiches and burgers. There’s something for everyone. As I flat out said on my personal Facebook page, RUN, don’t walk to Real Seafood Company!

Location/Hours:
22 Main St.
Toledo, OH 43605

Reservations at:
(888) 456-3463 (DINE)

Hours of Operation
Mon-Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm
Friday 11:00am-11:00pm
Saturday 11:30am-11:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm

Happy Hours
Sunday-Friday 4:00pm-Close (drink specials end at 9:00pm)
(Bar & lounge area only)

realseafoodcotoledo.com

Cool Article of the Week – 11/11 – 11/17

These cool article(s) of the week are dedicated to all of you wonderful college people out there, living in the dorm rooms.This is also dedicated to the budget-friendly person who wants some really awesome, cheap and easy food ideas.

Ah, college.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Living in the dorms (er, residence halls, as one of my closest friends always corrects me on! She was an R.A. ), with those communal kitchens with the oven/stove. I remember having big communal group dinners with my friends at times, in our residence halls, sitting around the couches and having a great time.

You had to be strategic, because you don’t have a TON of space in those kitchens, but you had to have yummy food too! (Hence, as well as those group dinners in the dorms, there were tons of late night orders as well to various pizza places, ah, the days).

So as Thanksgiving is on its way, one article of the week speaks 11 Easy Recipes for Friendsgiving In Your College Dorm (thank you, BuzzFeed Food!).

Photo credit: BuzzFeed Food
Photo credit: BuzzFeed Food

I appreciate that they advise to make turkey cutlets. I’m actually a huge fan of those and when I was home living with my parents, that was one of our meals we’d make, breaded turkey cutlets with gravy and noodles. Delicious! And VERY easy to make. I approve!

The one on the list I probably would not make is #8 (Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussel Sprouts). As much as I love those vegetables, I think mashed potatoes, cornbread, biscuits, etc. are beautiful items for a Friendsgiving menu. Those personally don’t yell out “college comfort food” to me, but I see how throwing roasted veggies in the oven would indeed impress people.

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Photo credit: BuzzFeed Food

What would you make on the list? Let me know, comment below! 🙂

Speaking of college foods, this VIDEO is technically article #2 that I know ALL of you will love, again, from BuzzFeed Food.

Simple College Snack Hacks You Should Know.

Oh man.

First of all, love the use of Kroger products throughout this video (love you, Kroger!).

Second, these ideas are GENIUS.

If you ever wondered what to do with your cereal, ramen noodles, or kettle corn to spruce it up a bit, you will definitely be salivating over these easy ideas.

((And for the record, Nutella DOES make everything better.))

 

Photo credit: BuzzFeed Food
Photo credit: BuzzFeed Food

=)

Enjoy!

 

 

Cool Article of the Week: 11/3-11/10

This cool article of the week comes from Buzz Feed Food. It came up on my Twitter feed, and had to click it.

Ah, Johnny Depp.

The wondrous, dashingly handsome actor from all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

“Where’s the rum gone,” as Capt. Jack Sparrow says. My favorite quote from those movies.

I saw the following picture and was stunned. I’ve watched many-a-cake-decorating show, such as Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes , but this, well I’ve never seen anything quite like it:

Photo credit: Buzz Feed Food
Photo credit: Buzz Feed Food

Look at the picture above. Do you know which one is the “real” Johnny? For a second, you think you’re seeing doubles. But actually, the one on the right is a cake.

Yes, a CAKE, full length, Captain Jack Sparrow!

How cool is that?

It’s 5’5″, and what I especially loved is the baker’s story, that I don’t want to give away.

Let me know what you think!

Enjoy! And read on.

 

Cool Article of the Week 10/23-11/3

This cool article of the week comes from The Daily Meal.

Before I tell you what it is, my first reaction to this was “WHATTTTT?! OH MY GOD!”

I was happily surprised, but very curious as to how this was put together.

Alright. Are you ready?

GLOW IN THE DARK ICE CREAM.

Photo credit: Facebook.com/LickMeImDelicious

No joke!

An ice cream maker in the U.K., called “Lick Me I’m Delicious,” came up with the idea.

And how the creator made this glowing ice cream (literally), is through research of jellyfish. I don’t want to give it all away, read the article and let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

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!

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