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Travel

I had the opportunity to head to Kansas City with a group of wonderful bloggers to learn all about Gold Medal Flour who I’m partnering with this Fall.  What an exciting wheat filled 2 days we had.  This first photo was taken at a wheat farm.  How fun is that?  Let’s take a look at my trip.

We stayed at the lovely Raphael Hotel.  The room was adorable!

I kind of LOVE Room Service and enjoyed Bananas Foster French Toast the first morning and a Belgian Waffle the second.

The first afternoon I arrived, met up with Jamie, Kristen, Maria and Bev for a fun lunch and cupcake party.  Love these ladies.  Yes, for those of you who do not know yet, I AM indeed 7 months pregnant as it is now very obvious, lol!

Here we are day 2 in the wheat farm.  Bloggers include:  (Top Left) Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg MD of Artisan Bread in 5, Jamie Lothridge of My Baking Addiction, Maria and Josh Lichty of Two Peas and Their Pod.  (Bottom Left) Lori Lange of Recipe Girl, Me and Meagan who will be the new blogger for Betty Crocker.com.

We had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with the wheat farmers and watching how the wheat is cropped.

We even had the opportunity to take a ride in the giant tractor.  Being 7 months pregnant, I passed.  Lol!

All the wheat berries getting transferred.

After the wheat farm, it was off to General Mills to see how Gold Medal Flour was made.  It was incredible to see the wonderful passion that each of the General Mills employees had for their job.  Loved spending time and learning from all of them.

 

Here we are geared up for our grand tour :)

Our last day in Kansas City we headed over to a charming Culinary Center where we got to bake with each other.  Lots of fun.

 

Our tables were assigned for us!

We got to bake each others’ recipes. Meagan was baking my Baked Pumpkin Ice Cream Donuts and I stopped by to help.

A sneak peek at the new Gold Medal Flour packaging.

Here we are getting started at the culinary center.

I had the opportunity to bake Zoe and Jeff’s Almond Raspberry Pastry.  It was gorgeous!

Braiding dough is quite fun.

Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar!

Transferring our lovely pastry to a serving tray.

Had so much fun with these lovely bloggers.

After our baking, we whipped up some homemade pizzas for lunch.  Delicious!

Thank you to the Gold Medal Flour team for having us in Kansas City.  Had a wonderful time and look forward to working together this year!

**All photos minus a few of my own Instagram photos are courtesy of Gold Medal Flour**


This post is in partnership with Gold Medal Flour, but opinions are my own.


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What a whirwind of a weekend Amanda and I had last week.  I thought for sure since we had a good 5 nights in Seattle that this trip would seem nice and long, but nope, it went by in the blink of an eye.

BlogHer Food Conference was going on which is why we came out.  We didn’t go to any sessions, but rather ran around town to eat and see our way through Seattle and caught some fun parties too.  Let’s take a look at our fun-filled weekend :)

photo via Amanda

Last Thursday started out with a fun cooking video day with the National Pork Board and these wonderful bloggers listed below.  We had good food, great conversation and lots of laughs.  Look for our pork videos coming up later this year.  Should be fun :)

From Left to Right: Sandy & Paul @ Reluctant Entertainer, Jaden @ Steamy Kitchen, Diana @ Eating Richly, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Lauren @ Lauren’s Latest, Jessica @ The Novice Chef

After our video shoot Amanda and I scooted over to Top Pot Doughnuts which we heard wonderful things about.  They were gorgeous and that Old-Fashioned one in the front should be illegal, lol!

 

The inside of the shop was adorable.  Had it’s own little library and upstairs seating for a relaxing experience.  Loved it.

 

Yes, this is what Amanda and I look like most of the time on our trips.  Snapping photos at our food :)

Look at the size of that glazed doughnut?!  Fabulous.

photo via Amanda

Here’s Amanda and I at a party Thursday evening.  Keep in mind my chubby face is also almost 7 months pregnant, lol!  Gotta love it.

 

 

photo via Amanda

Loved meeting Leigh Anne of Your Home Based Mom in Seattle.  Her blog is beautiful and what a wonderful sweet person she is.  Not to mention has the cutest style too.  She always looked perfectly adorable!

 

Thursday night the fun continued at a Ziplist party.  My pregnant body was pooped by the time I got there but had fun in the photo booth with these adorable ladies :)

Darla @ Bakingdom, Shelly @ Cookies and Cups, Kristan @ Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Leslie @ The Hungry Housewife, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Shaina @ Food for My Family, and Tara @ Unsophisticook.

photo via Amanda

More fun continued Friday, lots of sightseeing and eating for sure.  We met up at this Tasty Kitchen party that Ree and Betsy put together.  Had a blast with all of these ladies listed below.

Jenna @ Eat Live Run, Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Elise @ Simply Recipes, and Bev @ Bev Cooks.

photo via Amanda

So fun to meet Lisa of With Style and Grace.  ….and we are both pregnant and in stripes.  Too fun!

photo via Amanda

Bev @ Bev Cooks, Lisa @ With Style & Grace,  Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, Jessica @ How Sweet It Is, Me, Tracy @ Shutterbean

photo via KitchenAid

Maria, Amanda and I at the KitchenAid table.  Yup, there’s that baby bump of mine :)

Saturday, we stopped at a fun cupcake shop called Yellow Leaf Cupcakes.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

photo via Lori

Wouldn’t be a food conference without a dessert PJ Party right?!  Met up with some of our favorite friends Saturday night and Brooks of Recipe Boy came for a visit!  What a cutie he is.

Sunday morning, we took a bus ride with the Tree Top group to Lake Chelan, Washington.  Here’s a shot from outside my hotel room.  Gorgeous!!

We had a tour of the Tree Top Apple Orchards.

How pretty that the orchards overlook Lake Chelan.  Loved it here.

After the orchards, we had one of the most beautiful dinners I have ever had at Benson Vinyard Estate Winery.  The views were breathtaking.

 

photo via Epicurean Mom

The ladies in our group: Me, The Epicurean Mom (Katie), Kevin and Amanda (Amanda), Reluctant Entertainer (Sandy), Food for my Family (Shaina), Kim Sunee, The Healthy Apple (Amie), The Novice Chef (Jessica), The Kitchen Magpie (Karlynn), Mom Start (Louise), Mommie Cooks (Julie)

We started with these gorgeous appetizers.

After our appetizers, we headed into this gorgeous banquet room where we had a beautiful dinner.  It was unforgettable and we ate until we busted, lol!  Thanks Tree Top for a perfect end of our trip!

 


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Last weekend I flew out to Orlando for a Food Blogging Conference, The Food Blog Forum.   The conference is put together by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple and Julie of The Little Kitchen.  These people are downright incredible and made the best weekend happen.  It’s hard for me to even know where to start because of all the fun we had.   I will let my pictures do the talking, let’s take a look.

I arrived Friday evening right before our opening party at the gorgeous Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  I met my roomie Angie of Bakerella at our hotel and we hustled over.  As you can see, we had a beautiful arrangement of good eats ready for us.

We were dying over the size of these shrimp!  They were so good :)

Lots of these photos will be from my Instagram, so bare with me :)  In this photo Left:  Nikki, Krissy, Julie, Me, Angie and Rachel.

These salads were suspended and so delish!

Oh the mac and cheese.  Let’s just say it was perfect.

Photo via Julie

Here I am snapping photos as usual, lol!

Angie and I got a kick out of the cake pops, the chefs were making then from the baby cakes machine, lol!  Didn’t they know Bakerella was in the house?!  Too funny :)

Loved this chef making baby creme brulee for us!

Hard at work :)

Yup, it was a real treat :)

Left:  Rachel, Julie, Angie, Me, Nikki and Krissy.  After our dinner, we went straight to Magic Kingdom.  You know me, I am a Disney fanatic, so I was in heaven.

Krissy, Me and Angie enjoying some Disney World Churros.  What a treat!

We even caught a few minutes of the Electric Parade.  I was so excited since they don’t do this in CA!!

Left:  Julie, Rachel, Angie, Me and Nikki

Here we are enjoying our Dole Whips!!  At Disney World you have the option of adding a vanilla swirl to your Dole Whip and you can even get an Orange Whip.  What?!  Come on CA, we need this :)

Saturday morning we woke up nice and early, hopped on the monorail and headed to Epcot Center for our Conference.  Talk about a fun place to have a conference.  This park is absolutely stunning.  If you haven’t seen this giant ball in person, you must!

 

We had our lunch break in a gorgeous decorated ballroom full of Disney Chef’s feeding us their best dishes.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  The food was out of this world!

 

We walked from station to station eating our hearts out.  I think it’s safe to say we were stuffed!

These pork sandwiches were one of my favorites.

How good does that look?  Those are crispy quinoa fries on the side :)

The desserts were equally as beautiful.

This pretty little cheesecake was to die for.

Our last day, Sunday morning, we spent at a local Whole Foods Market,  The set up was absolutely beautiful and the food was non stop.  They went above and beyond for us.  Really had a beautiful time.

 

Left:  Angie, Me, Lindsay and Julie

The Whole Foods Chefs were so good to us.  Get a load of this banana french toast?!  So good.

This quiche was so addictive.  Think I had half of this platter, lol!

These babies were equally as good.

 

 Angie was the best roomie ever.  Loved our late night chit chats,  and crazy time at Disney.  I seriously love this girl to pieces.

Thanks to the Food Blog Forum Team and Walt Disney World who made it all possible.  There were so many wonderful food bloggers I got to meet,  Wish I had photos of everyone!  I am so grateful for our wonderful foodie community.  I feel so fortunate to do what I do.


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A few weeks ago I was in NYC for literally less than 24 hours and one of the only things I was able to squeeze in other than what I was there for was a visit to Serendipity for one of my favorite treats…..the Frozen Hot Chocolate.  It is massive, chocolaty and perfectly ice-y.

When I got back home I told the boys all about the treat I had and said I would re-create our own version!  So…..I got to work :)

 

Here is your line up.  Please add one more hot chocolate to the picture.  I ended up using 5 packets.  Use your favorite brand of hot chocolate mix.  I used the Trader Joe’s brand of cocoa.  This literally takes 5 minutes to make, not kidding.

 

I had my little guy hop on the counter and help whip the cream and sugar.   Whip it until perfectly creamy.

 

Like so :)

Let’s start with the milk.  Pour it right into the blender.  PS…..LOVE my Blendtec!

Cocoa time!

Give it a good blend!

Add the ice and crush it up!

I found the perfect consistency and was in love :)

See those little ice crystals?!  Those are the best part.

Time for the sweet cream and chocolate!

I used mini chocolate chips, but you can used shaved chocolate that looks more authentic to the original :)

Ahhhh, wait until you try this!  Love!

A few boys I know enjoyed the treat :)

It was so fun bringing a little bit of NYC to my stinkers :)

Frozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity Style

2 cups whole milk

Five 1.25 ounce packets of Hot Chocolate mix

4 cups ice

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or grated chocolate

1. Place milk into blender. Add hot chocolate packets and blend until combined. Add ice and blend until ice is blended into tiny chunks. Pour evenly into 4 glasses on top of plates to catch any dripping frozen hot chocolate.

2. Whip cream and sugar until whipped cream. Top each glass with whipped cream and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Makes 4 servings




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A couple weekends was one of the best weekends my family has had together…..ever.  We celebrated my birthday and our anniversary at Disneyland and The Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim California.  I snapped pictures of our time to share….let’s take a look :)

To start, the hotel is under some construction right now, so make sure you ask about that if you plan on staying soon.

When you pull up to the hotel you have the option to valet your car for $22.00 per day or self park for $15.00 a day.

We checked in on a Thursday evening and met with friendly staff that showed us to our room.  As you walk out of your elevator you are greeted with this fun Disneyland banner on the carpet.  Too fun!

 

Skipping down the hall anxious to see our room.  Now, I will say I called one month in advance and most of the rooms were already booked.  The only rooms available were the suites so…..since it was my birthday and anniversary we splurged :)

 

As you open your door to the suite, you have a bathroom, separate living room and bar area.  Lots of space.  We had a decent view…not fabulous.  Next time, I will make sure we have a view of the park.

 

To the right of the living room was a separate bedroom and bathroom.  The beds were fabulous, soft and fluffy just like you would imagine.  My favorite part of the entire suite was the lighted Disneyland headboard.  Not only did it light up, but when you turn the light on, the lamp plays “When You Wish Upon A Star.”  It is magical without a doubt.  The boys and I would come into the room just to play the sweet song and watch the headboard light up.  Loved this :)

 

Every corner had Micky…..everywhere.  Perfectly festive.

 

My sweet boys had these fancy chocolate covered strawberries and Sparkling Cider ready when we checked in.  They were delicious.  There is also a room service menu you can peek at HERE.

 

The next morning we walked out the back door checking out the pool and restaurants.  Loved these Disney shaped bushes.

 

Here is the monorail water slide.  It was quite chilly when we visited, so we didn’t swim, but it looked very fun for summer!

 

Here is a separate pool area.  It was under construction during our stay, but it looked lovely from a distance.

 

Here is a shot of the vibrant blue hotel from the pool.

 

A couple shots of the water slide area.  The water slides didn’t open until 11am, but kids were still swimming around them.

Plenty of places to sit and watch the kids :)

 

Some of the scenery around the hotel grounds.  The boys loved the steam coming from the rocks.

 

One of the restaurants at the hotel, Tangaroa Terrace.  It is a casual dining experience.  We didn’t make it to this one, but will be trying it soon.  Click HERE to see the menu.  There’s also Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar you can see their menu HERE.

 

There is a Disney Fantasia shop to purchase plenty of Disney gifts for family and friends.  It was like a smaller Disney Store.

 

For breakfast one morning we dined at Steakhouse 55.  Next door is Goofy’s Kitchen (review coming soon) which is very busy.  Keep in mind if you waited last minute getting reservations to Goofy’s Kitchen you can generally get seated right away at Steakhouse 55.  Take a look at the menu.

Menu Date: March 2011


All That Jazz

Espresso – $2.99

Caffe Latte or Cappuccino – $4.19

Mocha – $4.29

Brewed Regular or Decaffeinated Coffee, Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream, Hot Tea – $2.99

Juices: Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Apple or Tomato – Small $2.99, Large $4.99


Steakhouse 55 Struttin’ Selections

Buttermilk Stack – Steaming buttermilk pancakes piled high. Served with whipped butter and Warm Bananas Foster or Warm Berries. $11.00

French Toast – Thick-cut French toast dipped in eggs, cream with vanilla and powdered sugar served with Warm Bananas Foster or Warm Berries. $12.00


Sunrise Rhapsodies
With fresh-cut fruit or roasted potatoes with peppers and onions

Eggs Benedict – Two fresh eggs, expertly poached atop Canadian bacon and an English muffin. With hollandaise sauce. $14.00

Two Times Four – Two slices of French toast, two fresh eggs, any style, plus two strips of bacon and two links of sausage. $12.00

Build-Your-Own-Omelette – Choice of three: cheese, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, ham, avocado, tomato, onion or roasted peppers. With toast or bagel. $12.00

American Breakfast – Two eggs, any style with ham, bacon or sausage. With toast or bagel. $12.00

New York Steak and Eggs – A juicy, 7-ounce certified Angus steak, with two farm-fresh eggs, any style. With toast or bagel. $17.00


South-of-the-Border Serenade

Huevos Rancheros – Two fresh eggs, corn tortillas, cheese and black beans with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. $12.00

Sunrise Burrito – Scrambled fresh eggs, chorizo, potatoes and cheese in a flour tortilla with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream on the side. $12.00


Healthful Harmonies

Egg-White Omelette – Egg whites, with mushroom, tomato, onion and peppers. With toast or bagel. $11.00

Bakery Basket – Choice of three: Blueberry or Bran muffin, Croissant or Fruit Danish. $6.00

Granola – Rolled oats with sliced almonds, with choice of one: fruit, yogurt or small juice. $8.00

Seasonal Fruits with Yogurt – Fresh-fruit cocktail or a grapefruit half. $8.00

Kellogg’s Cereals – Froot Loops, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Special K or Corn Flakes, with choice of one: fruit, yogurt or small juice. $8.00

Oatmeal – Served with brown sugar and raisins, with sliced bananas or strawberries. $10.00

Smoked Salmon and Bagel – Dill cream cheese and traditional accompaniment. $12.00

Here is a fun seating area as you walk into the restaurant.  My son was trying to dance like Michael Jackson and got embarrassed when I tried taking a picture :)

 

You’ll find a very nice dining area.  I will say this is not really kid friendly, however there were other families with kids dining around us.  This is more of a nice dinner atmosphere, but the breakfast was really good.

 

I ordered the eggs benedict, which was great.  The boys wished they would have ordered it for themselves.  They loved it….so did I!

 

The boys ordered the Micky Pancakes.  What kid doesn’t like pancakes in the shape of a mouse?  They gobbled these up no problem.  I like that it came with a side of yogurt and fruit.  Here is the menu for kids.


For Kids Ages 3 through 9
Each meal includes a side of Seasonal Fruit and Yogurt plus one of these beverage choices:
Minute Maid Juice, Low-Fat Milk, Low-Fat Chocolate Milk, Dasani Water

Kellogg’s Cereals – Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies or Special K $6.99

“Mickey” Shaped Pancake. $6.99

Jr. Scramble – Scrambled Eggs with Breakfast Potatoes $6.99

My husband ordered the French Toast with a Banana’s Foster Sauce.  This was heavenly.  Overall, Steakhouse 55 was a great place for breakfast with no wait during a Holiday weekend.  Love that!

The Disneyland Hotel

1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802

_______________________________

Goofy’s Kitchen review coming next!

Hope you enjoyed our review of the hotel.  Have you been?  Tell us your experience.

 


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Sep
5
2011

La Paz Mexico

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A little over a month ago, I had no idea La Paz Mexico existed.  I put a rush on my passport and now have such fond memories of this beautiful part of the country and  am thrilled to share with you the highlights of my weekend.  A group of food and travel bloggers were whisked off to the Costa Baja Resort and Spa for a fun filled weekend.

The travel was intense, but the memories that were made were worth it.  My one regret is not bringing my big camera.  I was unsure whether or not to bring it and wished I would have.  My point and shoot did pretty good, but you’ll see some borrowed pics from my good friend Amanda who was smarter than I :)  For the record, I felt completely safe in Mexico the entire time of our trip.

Scroll down and I’ll show you everything :)

Photo via Amanda

The group arrived Thursday August 25th to the resort.  This is a photo of the lobby.  It was open and airy with beautiful views of the pool, beach and marina.

Photo via Amanda

When we checked in, we headed off to our rooms.  Amanda snapped this gorgeous photo.  It was nice with a view of the pool, giant glass door shower, flat screen tv and comfy bed.

Here is the pool area.  Nice and inviting.

 

Friday morning we had breafast right down the beach from our resort, this is The Beach Club.  We LOVED spending time here.  It was just gorgeous as you can tell in the photos.

Another shot of the pool at The Beach Club.  This infinity pool was so pretty.  This is definitely a place I would like to hang with my family all day.

Right across from the restaurant where we had breakfast were these fun little cabanas.  You can rent these for no extra charge.  How inviting does this look?!

Here is the front view of The Beach Club Restaurant.  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We had a little of everything during our trip….and it was all delicious.

Another view of The Beach Club.  We had the whole place to ourselves for breakfast.

Here’s Amanda, Lisa, me and Katie enjoying our breakfast.  We had a lovely table right by a waterfall behind us.  So relaxing.

No kidding, the best fresh squeezed orange juice I’ve ever had.  Wish I had a glass right now :)

Friday morning after breakfast we met in the marina to get ready for our snorkeling adventure to Isla Espiritu Santo.  This was by far the highlight of my trip.

Just sailing off, passing beautiful boats and yachts.

Getting our sunscreen on and enjoying zipping through the water in our party boat.

I am still in awe of how crystal blue the waters were.  It’s hard to believe it until you see it for yourself.  Stunning.

Couldn’t help but snap a photo of the fish swimming all around our boat.  I have never seen water this clear.

This was the area where the sea lions hung out.  They chose a great home :)

Love this.

Photo via Amanda

Here we are getting ready to snorkel.  The water was perfect.  Lots of little fish all around us.  The sealions were on the rocky area behind us.

Lori and I.  I am ready to go snorkeling again.  My boys would love this.

Photo via Amanda

On our way back , we found a group of dolphins that enjoyed racing the boat and jumping over our waves.  Adorable!  Love this photo Amanda captured.  We were all in awe!

Photo via Amanda

There they go.  It was a fun game for them to jump through our waves.  Little cutie pies!

Photo via Amanda

Saturday morning we headed to Todos Santos to the Hotel California.  Very bright and full of personality.

Here is the lobby of Hotel California.  Loved the colors.

Walking to the back of the hotel.  Great seating areas.

Nice sparkling pool area.

Photo Via Amanda

It was time for lunch!  We had a Mexican feast, all delicious.

 

Photo via Amanda

Lori, me and Katie waiting patiently for our lunch :)

photos via Amanda

We started with chips, guacamole and salsa along with some fish tacos.  Delish!

photos via Amanda

We also had chicken verde enchiladas and a chocolate truffle cake for dessert.

Photo via Amanda

Bloggers I spent the weekend with:

Rachelle Lucas, Lisa Overman, Katie Goodman, Amanda Bottoms, Katja Presnal, Dian Emery, Mardi Michels, Gary Arndt, Lori Lange and myself :)

A big thanks to the Mexico Tourism Board for having us and to the PR folks who worked so hard to show us a good time.  Had a great time in LA Paz.  Will treasure the memories forever!

Disclosure:  This was an all expense paid trip via Mexico Tourism,  thoughts and remarks are my own.

 


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One of the highlights of my time in New Orleans was going to Commander’s Palace for Brunch Sunday morning. It’s hard to explain the ambiance of the restaurant, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before, or at least that I have ever seen. A long line of waiters lined the halls and greeted us as we walked through the door and balloons were centerpieces at every table. You also get a live band that plays at your own table. The food was…..unforgettable. Scroll down, you’ll see what I mean.

So, here we are just walking off the bus, snapping photos like crazy as we did at everything :) To the right is Adam, Matt and Brooke looking great!

Here are those waiters that greeted us at the door and the balloons at each table. So fun and festive. It was also a treat to see some of the local women in their fancy Sunday hats as well. So different from what I am used to.

We got to walk through the giant kitchen to see all the kitchen staff hard at work.

More table shots

Tables were placed by big windows with gorgeous views of lush green trees.

Alright onto the food we enjoyed at Commander’s. We started with a single fried Oyster with Caviar and the Brandy Milk Punch (minus the Brandy) Both were a dream, especially that milk. It tasted like melted vanilla ice cream, yum!

Marla had that gorgeous salad and I ordered trio of soups that included a turtle soup. That was another first for me :)

Here were the guys from the band. Loved them!

Here were some of the brunch entrees that came out. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Amanda ordered this shrimp that was probably the best shrimp I have tasted. Want it again!

I ordered the White Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes…..they were as good as they look.

Photo via Marla Meridith

Amanda, Marla and me at our table, love these gals!

Dessert was a dream. Here is the Cookie Dough Bread Pudding.

The Pralines dessert and the Strawberry Shortcake. Both delicious.

The cheesecake was so photogenic and tasted even better.

This Bread Pudding Souffle was my favorite and I have the recipe for you from the restaurant! Enjoy friends!

Bread Pudding Souffle With Whiskey Sauce

Recipe by Commander’s Palace, New Orleans

Butter, for greasing pan and ramekins

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

3 medium eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups New Orleans French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see *Cook’s Note)

1/3 cup raisins

Whisky Sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

Meringue

9 medium egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

Directions

*Cook’s Note: New Orleans French bread is very light and tender. If another bread is used that is too dense, it will soak up all the custard and the recipe won’t work.

Make the bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, and then work in the heavy cream. Add the vanilla, stir to combine, and then the bread cubes. Let stand so that bread soaks up custard.

Place the raisins in the greased pan. Top with the bread mixture, which prevents the raisins from burning. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden brown color and is firm to the touch. If a toothpick inserted in the pudding comes out clean, it is done. The mixture should be moist, not runny or dry. Cool to room temperature.

Make the whiskey sauce: Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch and water together, and add to cream while whisking. Bring to a boil. Whisk and let for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the mixture on the bottom. Remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and the bourbon. Taste to make sure the sauce has a thick consistency, a sufficiently sweet taste, and a good bourbon flavor. Cool to room temperature.

Make the meringue: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 6 (6-ounce) ramekins and set aside. Make certain that the bowl and whisk are completely clean. The egg whites should be completely free of yolk, and they will better if they are at room temperature. This dish needs a good, stiff meringue. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar gradually, and continue whipping until shiny and thick. Test with a clean spoon. If the whites stand up stiff, like shaving cream when you pull out the spoon, the meringue is ready. Do not over-whip, or the whites will break down and the souffle will not work.

In a large bowl, break half of the bread pudding into pieces using your hands or a spoon. Gently fold in 1/4 of the meringue, being careful not to lose the air in the whites. Add a portion of this base to each of the ramekins. Place the remaining bread pudding in the bowl, break into pieces, and carefully fold in the rest of the meringue. Top off the souffles with this lighter mixture. Smooth and shape tops with a spoon into a dome over the ramekin rim.

Bake immediately for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Using a spoon, at the table, poke a hole in the top of each souffle, and pour the room temperature whiskey sauce inside the souffle.

_________________________________

Have a great day, I’ll be dreaming of Commander’s Palace :)


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Photo via Marla Meridith

What a great weekend I had in New Orleans last week.  I was fortunate to spend 4 days with a group of bloggers and the LA Seafood Board.  We ate our way through the best restaurants and met with seafood fisherman to get a hands on look at how much love and work goes into their jobs.  A real eye opening experience, I have so much respect for all of them.

Let me take you through a peek at the adventures we went on day 1.

We were so lucky to stay at The Bourbon Orleans Hotel, right in the middle of the French Quarter.

Photo via Marla Meridith

We had a lovely gift bag of sweets from Sucre’ Bakery Boutique and a giant arrangement of Zatarains products waiting in our rooms.  How gorgeous is this?

Last Thursday evening we dined at the Bistro at Maison De Ville.  The  food was delicious, I tried my first set of frog legs.  So cliche, but yes tasted like chicken :)

I am not sure what I will do without Camillia’s Grill. Amanda and I enjoyed their charming diner 3 times in 4 days.  No kidding, they had the best breakfast Western Omelet I have ever had.  See photos below.  We spotted their secret ingredient.  Finely chopped ham and peppers sauteed in LOTS of butter before the eggs get poured over.  Worth every single calorie.

Here is the inside diner.  Love Love Loved it :)

Here are the guys hard at work, they were as sweet as the food was delicious.  It’s a must do if you are in New Orleans.

The photos don’t even do these dishes justice.  We split a side of pancakes and some grits too.  Love!

After breakfast on Friday, we headed to the Louisiana Seafood Festival, lots to see and even more to eat.  I got a kick out of the gator offerings.  You don’t see this in Orange County :)  Matt and Adam tried the gator sausage and everyone raved about it, guess Mr. Gator is mighty tasty.

We also had front row seats to chef demo’s at the festival.  Talented local Chef’s prepared beautiful seafood dishes and shared.  How good does that shrimp and coconut look that Chef John Folse is holding?

Here we are getting interviewed by the LA Seafood camera man.  Not sure where our faces will show up.  Matt and Amanda doing a fine job on camera :)

Photo Via Matt Amaranderiz

Marla, Me and Gaby taking pics of the gorgeous chef dishes.  Always snapping photos aren’t we?!

Ahhh, the ever so famous Cafe Du Monde.  Before I went to New Orleans, EVERYONE said you must get beignets from Cafe Du Monde.  I don’t drink coffee, but I hear their coffee is a must order as well.  It’s a small outside coffee shop with powdered sugar all over the floor.  You can see why by the looks of those beignets.  Very charming indeed and how can you go wrong with a fried piece of goodness covered in powdered sugar?

Happy girl with my beignets :)

We also had the pleasure of watching cooking demo’s from Chef Ann at the New Orleans School of Cooking.  The food was outstanding!

On the left is Ann the cooking instructor who was the cutest sweetest grandma you’ll ever meet.  On the right is Dan serving up the grub.  We could come up and help ourselves….and even have seconds :)

Photo via Amanda

Maggy and I snapping some serious photos, lol!

Photo via Amanda

Me, Maggy and Amanda at the cooking school :) We enjoyed Corn and Crab Bisque, Crawfish Etouffee, Banana’s Foster and Homemade Pralines….which I have the recipe for you!!

Homemade Pralines

Recipe by The New Orleans School of Cooking

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a “softball stage” (238-240 degrees F), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Stir until mixture thickens (again stirring constantly), becomes creamy and cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in mixture. Spoon out on buttered waxed paper, aluminum foil or parchment paper. When using waxed paper, be sure to buffer with newspaper underneath, as hot wax will transfer to whatever is beneath.

Note: To roast pecans, bake them on a sheet pan at 275 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.

Options: Praline sauce (add 1/2 cup corn syrup to mixture). Chocolate covered praline candy. Flavored pralines (chocolate, coffee, brandy, etc.)

Makes 1-50 pralines depending on size

________________________________

Stay tuned for more New Orleans Adventures and more recipes!

To see the full list of bloggers who I was with click HERE


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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!





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