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!

    How Big is Starbucks Trenta?

    “Trenta” means thirty in Italian. Starbucks announced earlier this year their largest-ever drink size: the TRENTA. Right now, it is only offered for iced coffees, iced teas and iced lemonades. But how big is it?

    Have any of you tried a Starbucks Trenta and lived to tell the tale?

    Bravo’s Top Chefs Must-Have Ingredients

    Last night, I was the host and provided commentary on a “Quickfire Challenge” between Top Chef Season 7 contestants Tiffany Derry & Ed Cotton to benefit Dallas Furniture Bank. If you are not familiar with Bravo’s Top Chef, a Quickfire Challenge is where the chefs must create a seafood dish in 20-minutes. They are able to request items that they’d like in their “pantry” to make their dish.

    This lead me to wonder what are the must-have items that chefs always have at home. Chef Tiffany Derry always has on hand dijon, creole mustard, champagne vinegar, kosher salt and Creole seasoning.

    Chef Ed Cotton focuses more on the big picture and prefers ground meat, taco shells, fresh produce and some canned beans to create a Mexican fiesta.

    What are your must-have items at home to season up your food or items needed to make an easy meal?

    P.S. Chef Tiffany Derry is busy planning her next restaurant in Uptown across the street from Bread Winners called “Private Social” this summer.

    Rosebud’s Restaurant Is Sweetness

    Officially known as Rosebud’s Giftique & Bakery, the sweet little family-owned cafe was packed at lunch time when I decided to dine. The restaurant serves homemade soups, salads & sandwiches, and the bakery counter is full of freshly made brownies, cookies, cakes & ice box pies. There were a couple of regulars who told me that they love the “Turkey Reuben” and not to forget to enjoy a slice of fresh pie.


    I ordered “The Rosebud Plate,” which offers four finger sandwiches, a cup of soup, deli salad, fresh fruit salad and a choice of dessert or truffle. I really enjoyed Brian’s Special Chicken Salad which included red grapes, pineapples, dried cranberries and walnuts.  The corn chowder soup was delicious. But, the show stopper was the chocolate cream pie, filled with a wonderful balance of bitter & sweet chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. It was the  perfect ratio of filling to cream.

    I will definitely be back to enjoy this sweet cafe if not just to stop by the bakery and pick up a pie to share with others.

    Rosebud’s Giftique & Bakery
    5600 West Lovers Lane 
    Dallas, TX 75209 

    Dallas Gets Lucky with The Clover®

    Only once in a while does a true innovation like this come along.

    A few years ago, The Clover® brewing system changed the game on coffee brewing. It’s an “innovative design that lets you discover new layers and dimensions within a coffee’s familiar aroma, flavor, body and acidity. The result is a deeper experience – one that’s carefully prepared and made to order, one cup at a time.” So far, the only place in town that you can find the Clover® is at the Knox Street Starbucks.

    *It should be noted that I am not being compensated by Starbucks for this review, only caffeinated! This is just an opinion of a coffee aficionado. 🙂 Let me know what you think!

    Creamy Corn Casserole

    4 tablespoons butter, softened (or microwave 1/4 cup, but allow to cool before mixing with egg – or will scramble the egg)
    2 eggs
    8 oz. package of cream cheese
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1/2 cup finely chopped red or green bell peppers
    1 pkg frozen whole kernel corn, defrosted
    1 (14.75 oz.) can cream style corn
    1 package (8.5 oz.) corn muffin mix
    1/2 pound cheddar cheese
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 can green chiles, chopped
    Crumbled bacon (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Pull out butter, eggs, and cream cheese out of refrigerator. Set aside to reach room temperature and soften. Open cans of corn and chiles. Chop onions, bell pepper and shredded cheddar cheese.

    In a small skillet, add 1-2 tablespoons of butter, saute peppers and onions, until tender. Set aside. Combine the softened butter, eggs, and cream cheese in a large bowl, stirring with whisk until smooth. With a spoon, stir in the onion and peppers mixture, corn and chile. Stir until combined. Add muffin mix, cheese and black pepper.

    Butter 11×7 baking dish and pour in the mixture. Sprinkle with the optional bacon, if desired. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

    Breakfast with Cheryl Forberg, RD

    Come enjoy a breakfast with Cheryl Forberg, RD, Award Winning Cookbook author and nutritionist for NBC’s The Biggest Loser on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 7:30 AM- 9 AM at SYSCO Dallas, 800 Trinity Drive, Lewisville, TX. If you are a fan of this popular show, you can ask Cheryl questions about what takes place when the cameras are not rolling on the ranch and learn weight loss tips that Cheryl teaches to the Biggest Loser contestants. This full breakfast will even include Cheryl’s pumpkin polenta.

    Register at Tickets are $25.00. All proceeds from this event will go to the American Institute of Wine and Food’s Days of Taste Program. The program was modeled after one in France and quickly picked up in our own country, now Days of Taste Dallas helps fourth and fifth graders from the Dallas public schools discover the farm to table concept as well. These students tour the Dallas Farmer’s Market and meet with local farmers and chefs who help to teach them about the local produce and how to grasp enthusiasm for local, fresh ingredients.

    What a great way to start your day!

    My Endless Feast

    I’m a staunch supporter of buying local. I buy organic and try to stop by the local farmers market when I can (not as much as I’d like.) I made all my kiddos’ baby food because I wanted to know what was going into their body. I even go so far to try to dine only at local restaurant because there is a vested interest in their food. So, when I read about this upcoming event called Chefs for Farmers where local chefs with a passion for local ingredients paired with local farmers create market-to-menu dinners, my hubby and I jumped at the chance to attend. Fortunately, the date of the event coincided with the week of our 10 year anniversary. 

    The evening began with hors d’oeuvres. We mingled with “honey bee queen of the DFW area” Susan Pollard, Brian Luscher, the Executive Chef/Owner of The Grape Restaurant and his beautiful wife/General Manager Courtney Luscher,  and Scardello Artisan Cheese owners Rich and Karen Rogers, and that was all before we sat down for dinner. At 5 p.m. sharp, we were rounded up and led to a table set for 80 in the middle of Eden’s pasture in Balch Springs, Texas. We were treated to a delectable five-course dinner by eight of Dallas’ premier chefs. The chefs of the night included Abraham Salum and Al Havens of Salum Restaurant; Bruno Davaillon of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; Janice Provost and Chad Houser of Parigi Restaurant; Matt McCallister of Stephan Pyles Restaurant; Nathan Tate and Randall Copeland of Restaurant Ava in Rockwall; and Ryan Tedder, sommelier of GRACE in Fort Worth.

    Barking Cat Farms Roasted Sweet Peppers with Local Green and Brazos Brie
    Seared Scallop with Edens’ Cucuzza Squash, Caprino Goat Cheese and Pancetta Bread Pudding with Grain Mustard Vinaigrette
    Smoked Tennessee Duck Breast with Spiced Pumpkin Puree and Rockys’ Swiss Chard
    Confit of Local Pork Belly with Blood Sausage, Heirloom Apple, Rapini, Chestnut and Aged Sherry Vinegar
    Burgundy Beef “Pot Roast” Deconstructed
    Gleaned Sweet Potato Panna Cotta with Coconut Lemongrass Sauce

    Dinner pals included Jon and Amy Davis, owners of Hear, Hear Wines; Adam Jones, owner of GRACE in Fort Worth; Blaine Staniford, executive chef of GRACE in Fort Worth; Randall Copeland, chef/owner of Restaurant Ava; and my wonderful husband of 10 years. The weather was perfect, the sunset was absolutely gorgeous, and by the end of the night, it felt like one gigantic family dinner. It was truly a spectacular evening!

    **The money we raise will not only help local farmers but goes specifically toward a great organization called The Gleaning Network , which collects surplus produce and makes sure it gets in the hands of people in Texas who really need it.**