Mac and Cheese

2 cups macaroni
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk (I prefer a can of evaporated milk & 1/2 cup of milk)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally until it is almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Put half the macaroni into a buttered 2-quart casserole and top with half the cheese. Repeat. Pour the milk mixture over the macaroni and cheese.

In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with paprika, remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the macaroni and bake until brown and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Spotted: FOOD Eatup at Whiskey Cake

Ever wondered “What’s good around here?” Well, there’s an app for that called Foodspotting. As opposed to the standard research-and-read restaurant reviews, Foodspotting offers an out of the box and in-your-plate take on food recommendations. 

Wouldn’t it be fun to show up somewhere with a bunch of other spotters to “foodtograph” a popular “nommed” place?! Fortunately for you, Dallas is having its first Foodspotting Eatup on Tuesday, June 7 at Whiskey Cake in Plano. You get to have fun, takes some pics, eatup, drinkup and meetup with other foodies. We’ve set up an official Dallas Foodspotting Community on Meetup!

Variety Shows at Uptown Popcorn

It’s the beginning of summer blockbuster movies season! So, what’s better than munching on some gourmet popcorn while you enjoy these summer flicks. The good news is that you don’t have to travel to Chicago to grab a bag…Uptown Popcorn located in NorthPark Center, The Village at Fairview and Uptown Village at Cedar Hill has all you want and more.

As you walked up to the shop, the wafting smells of freshly popped popcorn and luscious caramel fills the air. Uptown Popcorn produces 70-plus flavors of gourmet popcorn. What is awesome about this shop is that they give out free samples, so you can try before you buy! They have ever flavor from strawberry cheesecake to beer popcorn.

Paul’s Caramel and Hannah’s Caramel are amazing! You also need to try these flavor combos: The Chick Flick (Cookies & Cream, Rocky Road and S’mores) and The Chili’s (Chili Cheese and Loaded Baked Potato).

What’s your favorite gourmet popcorn flavor? What combo should we try next?

In-N-Out gives Texas a Double-Double

As you have probably heard on the local news, Twitter and Facebook, California-based fast food burger joint In-N-Out Burger has officially opened in North Texas at Allen and Frisco. This burger chain seems to have a cult following, so I decided to to see why people where acting like “animals” for a burger. Here’s a video of the opening madness:

In-N-Out allows you a few options other than the regular hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, shake and double-double that appears on their printed menus through a secret menu. I have to admit that in college, I devoured an animal-style 4×4…oh, those were the days

Another unknown fact of In-N-Out is that they have Bible Scripture on their packaging, like John 3:16 on their drink cups, Proverbs 3:5 on their milkshake cups and Revelations 3:20 on their hamburger and cheeseburger wrappers.

So, will you be waiting in line for hours in line for a fast food burger?

Simple Food For Busy Families

It’s nice to start traditions and making a meal for Mom on Mother’s Day can be a lot of fun for the whole family! It can also help children begin to try new foods because helping with the food preparation usually peaks their interest to try what they have prepared.

Simple Food for Busy Families: The Whole Life Nutrition Approach
provides busy families with practical information, strategies and healthy recipes for feeding nutritious, tasty meals and snacks quickly and easily every day.

Strawberry-Peach Smoothie
1 cup Peaches, Frozen sliced unsweetened
1 cup, unthawed Strawberries, frozen, unsweetened
1/2 cup 8 oz Greek Yogurt
1 1/2 cup Almond Milk Original
2 Tbsp ground Flax Seeds (sprouted)
2 tsp Honey
Cinnamon sprinkle (Optional)
1-2 Tbsp Whey Protein 1-2 tbsp (Optional) for Brain power and curbs appetite

Place all ingredients in blender. Mix for 1-2 minutes, or desired consistency. Divide in three 8 ounce cups. Drink and enjoy!

Veggie-Cheddar Naked Quiche
Since the kids will be involved in the preparing of the naked quiche, the likelihood of them experimenting with trying new vegetables is great. The veggies look so vibrant in the quiche. You can also simply make one with onions and cheese and have them add one of their favorite veggies.
recipe_veggiequiche Ingredients
1/2 cup, chopped Onions
1 1/2 cup Cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli or a combo chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 large Eggs
1/2 cup 2% Milk
1 tsp Paprika
¼ tsp pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter an 8 x 8 casserole dish or 8-9 inch pie pan. Spread onions evenly throughout casserole dish and put it in the oven while you are preparing the other ingredients.

In a small bowl, beat eggs and milk with a whisk. Take the dish out of the oven using oven mitts. Spread cauliflower and cheese evenly throughout casserole dish. Pour mixture over cauliflower, onions and cheese. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until vegetables are cooked and casserole is golden brown. Refrigerate in a sealed container for 2-3 days.

Flank Steak with Mango Salsa with Vegetable Kabobs
Meat and fruit is a refreshing combination; the sweetness of the fruit complements the tender succulent meat. If possible it’s to your health’s benefit to buy organic grass fed beef. Grass fed beef’s fatty acid composition is lower in overall fat and in saturated fat, providing more omega-3 fatty acids. Meat from animals that graze on grass is high in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is associated with a decreased cancer risk. Grass-fed animals raised on pastures not confined to feedlots have more positive life force energy which then in turn effects your body. Veggie Kabobs are fun for kids to put together and will help them explore tasting new vegetables.

1.5 lbs Flank Steak, (Grass-fed pasture raised preferably)
1/3 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp Tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Ginger Root, minced or cut in slices
2 Tbsp Honey
Mango Salsa:
2 Mangos, peeled and diced
1 Roma Tomato, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp cilantro, chopped (optional)

Combine all ingredients together and mix gently. Adjust ingredients to your taste. Store covered in fridge until ready to use. Keeps in refrigerator about 3-4 days.

Pierce steak with a fork. Place steak in a glass dish with marinade. Cover and marinade for best results at least 2 hours to overnight.

Prepare and preheat grill. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Grill for 5–7 minutes on each side, turning once, until the steak reaches desired doneness.

Let steak stand, covered with foil, for 10 minutes, then slice very thinly across the grain. Serve with Mango Salsa.

Vegetable Kebobs
1 large Red peppers, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large Zucchini
1 cup Baby portabella mushrooms, cut a small portion of the
1 medium Vidalia onions cut into small pieces
6 Kabobs (if using wooden kabobs soak them in water so they don’t burn.
¼ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ teaspoon paprika
Black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl or plastic bag combine the marinade ingredients. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat the grill on medium-hot. Thread the vegetables and continue to make a pattern on the skewers. Grill for 4-6 minutes, turning the skewers occasionally until soft and light brown. Serve hot with a whole grain such as brown rice, couscous, quinoa or millet.

Coal Vines Opens in Plano

Did you know that Americans eat 350 slices of pizza every second? Pizza is a $30 billion-a-year industry. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that pie?

Today, Coal Vines, a coal-fired pizza bistro from restaurateurs Joe Palladino and Phil Romano, opens at The Shops of Legacy in Plano. The original Uptown restaurant and wine bar opened in 2006. Executive Chef of the original Coal Vines as well as Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse and Nick and Sam’s Grill Samir Dhuradhar developed and oversaw the menu.

The menu offers a Smoked Salmon Tartar, a gorgeous and delicious tower of ruby salmon cubes layered with goat cheese, fresh avocado and splashed with a pomegranate vinaigrette. Other starters and appetizers include prosciutto-stuffed Mozzarella Sticks (which were good but I couldn’t taste the prosciutto), delicious Seafood Risotto Cakes, fresh Bruschetta and cheesy Garlic Bread.

Smoked Salmon Tartar
Bruchetta, Garlic Bread, Seafood Risotto Cakes, Mozzarella Sticks (clockwise)

Coal Vines limits its menu to six traditional pies. They’re simple creations: four are vegetarian-friendly and the meaty remainder — a Bolognese version with a thick blanket of meat sauce and a very tasty sausage with roasted red peppers. The crust on the pizzas are thin and crispy. The prices are very reasonable, and a perfect place to go for a first date or a girls’ night out.

Sausage & Roasted Pepper Pizza
Coal Vines
7300 Lone Star Drive Suite
Plano, TX 75024

Texas Restaurant News Update: Larry Klinghoffer, the developer of this Coal Vines, said they are looking to open more Coal Vines in Texas soon…Austin & Sugarland, you’re next 🙂

Healthy Habits Help!

Today about 1 in 3 children (ages 2-19) in the United States are already overweight or obese. 

Obese & overweight children are at risk for serious health problems like type 2 diabetes, asthma and heart failure. Extra weight can make it harder to breathe and can inflame the respiratory tract. Also, being overweight or out of shape makes the heart work harder. This breaks my heart to hear that children are suffering, and WE can do something to change this.

How can reverse this trend? 

Health and nutrition starts at home. Make sure your children are eating five or more servings of fruit and green vegetables. There are great cookbooks coming out like Deceptively Delicious that help you incorporate this into your child’s meals. Don’t expect the schools to feed your child well, as we see on TV shows like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Get rid or at least minimize your child’s fats, sugars, salt and calorie intact. Some of the easiest foods to feed our children are the worse for them. They may help you now, but there will be consequence in the long run.

Finally, get your kids out and moving. Did you know that 92% of elementary schools do not have daily physical education (PE) classes year-round? On top of that, nearly 1/3 of elementary schools do not schedule recess on a regular basis. Hello?! Recess is every child’s favorite subject 😉 Recess is not merely “child’s play,” but rather that it’s hard for children to learn without a morning break as they get antsy and less focused after long periods of sitting.

How are you going to help stop this epidemic?

Cupcakes Are A Smashing Success!

With Cupcake Camp Dallas less than a week away, I think it’s fitting for me to share my top 5 cupcake bakeries found courtesy of Bizzy, a local business recommendation website & mobile app based on the favorite places of people like you. To test the strength, accuracy and reliability of Bizzy recommendations, they created “Top Secret Mission #1: Cupcakes.”

Mission: Use Bizzy to identify your Top 5 recommendations for cupcakes. Further identify the best recommendation based on the quality of the cupcakes available at those five venues.

Details: Cupcake quality is to be determined by this specific methodology.

  • Obtain one “specialty of the house” cupcake from each bakery.
  • Observe and document the aesthetic beauty of each cupcake.
  • Note the “enticement of smell factor” of each cupcake.
  • Determine the “smashability” of each cupcake by smooshing it on your face.
  • Assess the flavor by sampling what is left of the cupcake.

  • Here are the results:

    Fortunately for me, none of these places will be at Cupcake Camp Dallas. The family looks forward to trying out more local bakeries and “amateur” bakers’ cupcakes this weekend. What is your favorite cupcakery? What’s your favorite flavor?

    Whiskey Cake Impresses!

    I was pleasantly surprised by the new addition to Plano called Whiskey Cake.  Since I’m known amongst my friends as a locavore (a person who are interested in eating food that is locally produced),  I was recommended this place because it is known for its farm-to-kitchen cooking and boosts local grass & grain fed cattle.

    From the folks behind Bolsa comes comfort food with rustic touches like stacked firewood and dangling bulbs. We started off with fried green tomatoes, which were crispy, well-seasoned and not too thick to overwhelm the tomato. To read more on this appetizer, click here

    We ordered grass-n-grain-fed beef OMG Burger (topped with an onion ring & roasted crimini mushrooms), BBQ Bahn Mi (smoked pulled pork, sweet & tangy veggies, arugula and cilantro between a crispy baguette) and Shrimp with Grits which were perfection.


    Finally, you can’t go to Whiskey Cake without trying their Whiskey Cake. It is absolutely FABULOUS! It is served warm and is moist and very flavorful. It comes with homemade whipped cream on the side.

    Whiskey Cake
    3601 Dallas Parkway
    Plano, TX 75093

    FREE FryDay & Other Hot News

    As a mom who frequents Chick-fil-A, I’m excited to see them expand their breakfast menu to offer the Spicy Chicken Biscuit. The Spicy Chicken Biscuit revealed itself to be the same spicy chicken patty Chick-fil-A uses for lunch, minus the bun and pickles. Did you know that they prepare their biscuits in house? The Feast shows you how they make the Spicy Chicken Biscuit. The flavor of Chick-fil-A’s biscuit gets masked by the chicken patty’s spiciness, as well as the crispiness of the breading. Today only before 10:30 a.m., all 70+ Dallas/Ft. Worth-area Chick-fil-A locations are giving away FREE Spicy Chicken Biscuits, but you must say “Eat Mor Spicy!”

    Want to win free Chick-fil-A breakfast for a year? Enter the Bovine Breakfast Brigade by liking ChickfilADFW on facebook or following ChickfilA_DFW on twitter and use the hashtag #BovineBrigade before Friday, March 11, 2011!

    For those of you not up early in the morning, don’t fret! Nationally, Chick-fil-A is offering a free medium order of waffle fries from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today in celebration of the launch of Heinz® Dip & Squeeze™ Ketchup. The packages allow customers to either, well, dip or squeeze their ketchup. It also holds three times more ketchup than a traditional single-serve packet. Mention you’re trying the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze and get one free medium order of Waffle Potato Fries™.

    Tell me what you think of the Heinz® Dip & Squeeze™ Ketchup 
    or the Spicy Chicken Biscuit!