Posts filed under Food & Entertaining

Night time snack with Sejoyia Coco-Roons!

I've always been a big fan of snacking throughout the day. If you look inside my purse, you will probably find at least two different kinds of snacks in there. Whenever I'm busy or on the go, eating something light gives me the energy I need to be more productive.

When it comes to the type of snacks I like, I like them all! Sweet, savory, you name it, I'll eat it but ideally I prefer having healthy snacks on hand.

I recently discovered Sejoyia Coco-Roons and have been enjoying them all week. I love that all the ingredients are things I recognize and can pronounce. These delicious superfood cookies are organic, gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, paleo and made without refined sugar!

Coco-Roons

Perfect for day time snacking but also for my personal favorite: Night time snacking!

Right before I go to bed, I don't know why, I always get a craving for something sweet. Instead of going for ice cream or a pastry, I've been eating Coco-Roons! They're the perfect size to satisfy my craving without the guilt!

There's nothing better than curling up in bed, watching my favorite show and eating a healthy cookie!

Coco-Roons

Sweetened with pure, organic, maple syrup, Coco-Roons are so decadent and delicious that it will make you forget you're eating something packed with so many nutrients. These bite size cookies come in a variety of flavors. The two I've tried so far are Brownie, made with the finest raw, organic cocoa and Lemon Pie.

Although I love the deep rich flavor of Brownie, I think my favorite is Lemon Pie. It has a light and refreshing citrus taste without it being too overpowering.

Coco-Roons

Coco-Roons can be eaten at any time/multiple times a day because of the quality and health of the ingredients that goes into each bag.

Perfect for day and night time snacking!

Coco-Roons

I found Coco-Roons at Walmart in the gluten-free section. Check Sejoyia's website to see if your locations carry them.

Take advantage of the $0.75 off ibotta offer when you purchase 1 Sejoyia Coco-Roons at Walmart, while supplies last! Also, get an additional $.50 for redeeming the rebate on 3 different shopping trips!

 

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sejoyia, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CocoRoonsAtWalmart  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV


Posted on August 30, 2017 and filed under Food & Entertaining.

Healthy Muffin Parfait with Garden Lites

This post is sponsored by Garden Lites, but the content and opinions expressed are my own.

With the new diets and trends coming and going, there is one message that has forever remained constant- “eat your vegetables."

Luckily for me, I've always been a vegetable person. Even as a young kid, I enjoyed anything green served on my plate.

My love for vegetables has only grown in my adult years. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time to cook up a nutrtious veggie meal. This is why I love finding new and creative ways to get my nutrients in-especially when I'm traveling or on the go.

I recently discovered Garden Lites muffins at my supermarket. They're the perfect snack to help get in my vegetable intake for the day, without having to cook anything.

These little muffins are gluten-free, dairy free & nut free and contains 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of whole grain in each serving, making them the ideal snack.

They're a great way to sneak in zucchini and carrots in your diet without really trying. If you have a sweet tooth and don't like the taste of vegetables, then these products were made for you!

I was pleasantly surprised on how delicious and moist the Garden Lites muffins were. You would never know they are low in calorie and fat. Plus, I like how the portion is just the right amount, enough to statisfy your craving.

At Garden Lites, they are pioneering nutritious foods that make eating your veggies much easier and much more enjoyable. They are on a mission to create delicious foods that are truly healthy since every one of their products is veggie-rich with vegetables as its first and primary ingredient. 

Looking for a fun and different way to eat your muffin, here is a quick 5 min recipe that will transform your muffins into a delicious and healthy parfait style snack.

Muffin parfait

INGREDIENTS:

 • 1 Muffin
 • 1/2 cup yogurt
 • Strawberries (or any fresh fruit)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut muffin into three pieces
2. Put down first muffin piece to serve as your base and pour a spoonful of yogurt
3. Put sliced strawberries (or any fruit) on top of the yogurt
4. Layer another piece of muffin and pour yogurt and sliced fruit on top
5. Place last muffin piece and decorate with a piece of strawberry

muffin parfait
muffin parfait
muffin parfait
muffin parfait
muffin parfait
muffin parfait

I found the Garden Lites Chocolate and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins at my local Publix. You can also find them in the freezer section of your nearest Stop & Shop, Giant, Shop-Rite, HEB, Kroger or Costco.

Save a $1 off your purchase here.

Garden Lites

Learn more about Garden Lites by visiting their website at www.gardenlites. com/about


Posted on January 30, 2017 and filed under Health, Food & Entertaining.

Orlando Sugar Factory Grand Opening with Kylie Jenner!

sugar factory orlando

The internationally renowned Sugar Factory American Brasserie recently opened it's doors in the heart of Central Florida- at the new I-Drive 360 Orlando Eye Complex.

I've been wanting to check out this fun establishement and luckily, was extended an invitation to take part of their grand opening event.

sugar factory grand opening orlando

Celebrity influencer, Kylie Jenner, hosted the VIP Grand Opening and red carpet event.

Around 3,000 people came out just to catch a glimpse of the star, and of course to preview the gorgeous new Sugar Factory.

Sugar Factory Orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando- kylie jenner

I've had the pleasure of meeting a few celebrities in my lifetime. But never, I repeat, never have I seen such an adoration for a public figure as I did for Kylie Jenner.

The crowd went absolutely crazy for her!

Not to mention, that day seemed liked the hottest day of the year and yet they still patiently waited in the heat in hopes to take a selfie with her.

That's true fan dedication right there! 

sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando

After a few selfies, the celebration proceeded inside the Sugar Factory.

sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
Sugar Factory Orlando
Sugar Factory Orlando
Sugar Factory Orlando

Not only is Sugar Factory's atmosphere one of a kind, but their menu is a great mix of sweet and savory items- including the legendary King Kong Sundae, Sugar Factory Burger and premium sweet cocktails like the Lollipop Passion.

Sugar factory orlando

The Sugar Factory is a great place for late night drinks with friends.

I mean, how could you ever go wrong with a candy filled cocktail!

Can't wait to go back and try more of their crazy drinks and menu items!

sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
sugar factory orlando
Sugar Factory Orlando

Sugar Factory

8371 International Dr #70

Orlando, FL 32819

Phone: 407-270-7082


Posted on June 23, 2016 and filed under Food & Entertaining, Around Orlando.

Umi Japanese Fusion Cuisine

If there is one dish I could eat every day, it would easily be sushi.

I've tried many places around town but there are only a couple of restaurants I like and frequently visit.

Umi is definitely one of them!

umi restaurant park ave

I was first introduced to Umi a year ago, when I was invited to their grand opening event. From the moment I walked in, I loved everything about their establishment. From their set up, to customer service and food- Umi does it right!

Since then, I've gone back for girls night, lunch, hosting an event, and even International Sake day.

Yes, that's an actual holiday. But to be honest, I'd find any excuse to throw down Umi's Pineapple infused sake any day of the year.

Celebrating International Sake Day at @umiwinterpark!! 🙌🏼🍍🍸

A photo posted by Fiorella // Metanoia Living (@metanoialiving) on

To celebrate their one year anniversary this month, Umi has added some fresh new menu items to present new flavors and ingredients and expand upon variety and quality to their already popular menu.

Umi graciously invited me to sample their new delectable dishes.

The delicious feast started off with a couple of refreshing cocktails, Fresh Suika and a Very Berry Mojito, edamame and a Spicy Jalapeno Roll.

Umi Winter Park

The sushi chef is very particular in the type of fish and seafood he purchases. Quality is the main criteria he looks for and will not use anything that does not meet his standards. He buys the whole fish and prepares it himself. Deliveries are done up to 3 times a week in order to maintain freshness to their guests.

The sushi rice is made using the highest grade rice grains and it's prepared in traditional methods using a large wooden rice mixing tub called a Hangiri.

Spicy Jalapeno Roll: Shrimp tempura, cream cheese, jalapeño, wrapped with spicy tuna, sliced jalapeño, spicy mayo drizzle, and side of spicy kobachi sauce.

sushi umi park ave
Umi Winter Park

After devouring the first course, the focus shifted to the next plate.

Umi's Bento Tray! Their creative twist to the typical Japanese Bento box.

There are two versions- raw and cooked. I opted to sample the cooked Bento Tray.

Umi Winter Park
Umi Winter Park

My Cooked Bento Tray du Jour- consisting of the chef's daily selection of assorted cooked and small dishes was exceptional!

That day, the selection had a great variety and I was able to sample a few items I probably wouldn't have ordered on my own.

  • Homestyle Bibimbap served with a perfectly poached egg.
  • Cured Salmon over vegetables with balsamic teriyaki sauce.
  • Kimchi Croquette
  • Bacon Wrapped Cherry Tomatoes
  • California Roll
Umi Winter park

I was most excited to try out the Kyo Katsu- a dish you cook yourself on a hot rock.

Kyo Katsu: Panko breaded NY strip steak (5oz)- flash-fried, served with a side of napa cabbage tossed in house-made orange dressing and a side of katsu sauce.

All sauces at Umi are homemade, even the soy sauce (which is called "Tsukuri") is modified to create a smokey flavor.  It's made with Mirin which is a rice wine, sake and bonito flakes.

Umi Winter Park
Umi Winter Park
Umi Winter Park
Umi Winter Park
Umi Winter Park

Another unique signature for the restaurant is the use of their Robatayaki Grill.

Umi uses Binchotan charcoal- made from White Oak. The charcoal is imported from Asia and is quite expensive.  It is as natural as can be- no chemicals. It burns odorless and smokeless and burns at over 1,000 degrees Celsius. It instantly sears and locks in the juices.  

The meats, seafood and vegetables cooked on the Robatayaki Grill are implemented into the sushi rolls and plated menu items.  There is a section of the menu that is just Robata grilled items that are ordered a la carte and served for dinner.

Umi Winter park
Umi Winter Park

Pretty much anything cooked on the Robatayaki Grill will be delicious, but my favorites so far are the pork belly, skirt steak and squid. So good!

Besides all the mouth watering food at Umi, they also carry a boutique wine list of over 40 wines, Japanese imported beer, local craft beer and Soju cocktails

HAPPY HOUR

Drinks
Everyday: 5-6:30p
Sat & Sun: 12p-3p

Small Plates
Mon - Thu: 5p-6:30p

Umi is the perfect place for any occasion or celebration. From lunch, happy hour to dinner- Umi will be your new favorite restaurant on Park Avenue!

Umi Japanese Restaurant

525 S. Park Avenue
 Winter Park, FL 32789

407-960-3993


Posted on March 16, 2016 and filed under Food & Entertaining, Around Orlando.

Wahlburger's Grand Opening in Orlando!

The long awaited Wahlburgers in Orlando is finally open!

I was lucky enough to score a coveted spot to their invite only VIP grand opening party held at their new Downtown restaurant- which is the first Florida location so far.

Walhburgers Orlando

As you can imagine, the street was shut down and filled with hundreds of fans eagerly waiting to get a glimpse of the Wahlberg brothers,  Paul and Mark.

Donnie unfortunately couldn't attend due to a prior work engagement.

A&E cameras were also present filming for the brother's reality TV show, Wahlburgers, now on their 5th season- premiering on March 9th.

The restaurant, located in the SunTrust Building at the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue, was only open for the VIP guests that night. 

Among the VIPs included Johnny's House from XL 106.7, former N’Syncer Joey Fatone, attorney and billboard giant Mark NeJame, franchise investors and owners and Orlando city officials.

The grand opening red carpet event brought a lot of excitement and attention to the downtown Orlando area.

The brothers raved about Orlando saying that it was the perfect spot to start their franchise in Florida. Other locations are rumored to be in the works, including Miami and Tampa.

Owner, Manny Garcia, signed a deal that will bring 20 Wahlburgers locations throughout Florida over the next several years.

"These agreements put us closer to our vision of making Wahlburgers a happy part of people's lives across America and around the world. Donnie, Paul, and I appreciate the support of our fans and all those who love great burgers," said Mark Wahlberg.

Mark Wahlberg said it’s his job to bring as much attention as possible to the brand but humbly gives all the credit to his brother Paul, who serves as the restaurant’s executive chef.

“People may come in to the restaurant out of curiosity because of myself or Donnie but the reason why they’re going to come back is because of the experience that Paul provides,” said Mark Wahlberg.

I've been to a few grand openings before but nothing compares to this one. The amount of people and love shown was incomparable.

Even though the party was inside the restaurant, both Paul and Mark made sure to say hi to everyone waiting outside.

Everybody was drawn in by the brothers... and of course the food!

All of their burgers are made with quality, fresh ingredients that are classic favorites with a few creative spins.

The Wahlberg brothers are the real deal- super talented and so down to earth. I can't say enough about them. Genuinely nice guys!

wahlburgers orlando

Before the event came to an end, Mark and Paul went outside and shared a touching speech and toast with everyone from the VIP party, as well as their devoted fans that had been waiting outside for hours. 

After the toast, Mark was whisked away but Paul, being hands on, stayed behind to make sure everything ran smoothly inside the restaurant.

I stayed behind for some more food... What a shocker!

Not pictured but I highly suggest getting the onion rings- crispy fried Bermuda onions sliced thin, tossed in sea salt and parsley. They were everything!!

And this is coming from someone who hates onion rings.

Get them... and everything else on their menu!

Make sure you stop by and taste one of the best burgers in town!

Walhburgers Orlando

                 200 S. Orange Avenue                 

Orlando, Florida 32801

Telephone: 407-293-7777


Posted on February 26, 2016 and filed under Food & Entertaining, Around Orlando.

Chipotle: Eat (Red). Save Lives Avocado Hummus

It's no surprise I am a huge Chipotle fan!

Their fresh ingredients, flavor and involvement with their community, doesn't come close to rivaling any other food chain out there.

Earlier this month, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced a new partnership with (RED) to support the fight against AIDS. This partnership includes teaming up with 11 celebrity chefs and television personalities to create special recipes to support the EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVES LIVES campaign.

The list of participating chefs includes:

  • Chipotle culinary manager Nate Appleman ("Next Iron Chef")
  • Richard Blais ("Top Chef")
  • Rocco DiSpirito (chef and author, Cook Your Butt Off)
  • Graham Elliot (chef, Graham Elliot Bistro, "Masterchef")
  • Jennifer McGrother (author, The Nourished Kitchen)
  • Andrew Zimmern ("Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern")
  • The hosts of "The Chew," Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz, Michael Symon and Clinton Kelly.

Each unique recipe has been inspired by Chipotle's ingredients.

I'm most excited to try Chef Elliot's Avocado Hummus recipe!

I normally purchase my hummus premade, but last week I had the opportunity of making it from scratch at a local Greek restaurant. With a pilón and everything! I was surprised on how easy it was to make and wow, the flavor! 

Now add avocado to it and I think we have ourselves a winner!

INGREDIENTS (Makes about 4 cups)

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained 
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling   
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 medium ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp allepo (Optional. See note.)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes  
  • Shaved radish, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 3 to 4 pita bread wedges 

STEPS:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the chickpeas, garlic, jalapeño, olive oil and tahini until nearly smooth.
  2. Add the avocado, lime juice, sumac, allepo (if using), and cumin and process until the hummus is smooth.
  3. Scrape the hummus into a bowl and season to taste with salt. Fold in the chopped cilantro, parsley and red pepper flakes. 
  4. Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved radish, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Serve the pita wedges on the side.

"We are so thrilled to have Chipotle coming to the table for EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVE LIVES in 2015. Not only is the brand loved and enjoyed by young people around the world, it's fantastic to see Chipotle rallying its customers to join the AID fight as part of this campaign," said Deborah Dugan, CEO at (RED). "The impact is huge - Chipotle's contribution alone can provide more than a quarter million days of life-saving HIV/AIDS medication for those who need it most in sub-Saharan Africa."


ABOUT (RED) ®

(RED) was founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. (RED) partners with the world's most iconic brands that contribute up to 50% of profits from (RED)-branded goods and services to the Global Fund. (RED) Proud Partners include: Apple, Starbucks, The Coca-Cola Company, Bank of America, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere, Claro, SAP, Telcel and Live Nation Entertainment.


Posted on June 26, 2015 and filed under Food & Entertaining, Charities.

Lunch with Chipotle at Lake Meadows Naturals Farm

I was recenlty invited by Chipotle to have lunch with their marketing and management team at Lake Meadows Naturals Farm located in Ocoee, Florida.

Even though I live only 20 minutes away from the farm, I didn't know of its existence. Thankfully, after having the opportunity of touring their facility, I'll definitely be paying them a visit from now on.

Lake Meadows Naturals is a local farm that sells cage free chicken and duck eggs, grass fed beef and goat, Berkshire pork, honey, and fresh herbs. Everything is clean and organic, which is the main reason Chipotle gets most of their fresh ingredients for their Florida locations from there.

Lake Meadows Natural's mission is to supply the area with great tasting and high quality food, while at the same time educating their customers along the way.

Their mission is perfectly aligned with Chipotle's "Food with Integrity" motto.

Did you know that Chipotle is the first and only fast food chain to ban GMOs from their menu?

"This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, told the New York Times. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”

It's always nice to discover new places, especially a great find like Lake Meadow Naturals, that supports Chipotle's movement.

The owner of the farm, Dale, gave us a private tour around his property and explained to us in great detail everything that goes on in the farm.

We started off the tour by getting up close and personal with these little guys.

How cute is that face??

After falling in love with the baby chicks, we went inside the incubator room to see the baby turkeys.

A little baby turkey hatched while we were there!

After they're born, Farmer Dale puts them in the incubator to keep them warm.

We later entered the quality control/packaging room.

The eggs are placed on a conveyer belt that is lit up in order to see if the eggs have any imperfections. If they pass the test, they are washed and ready to be packaged. You can purchase these eggs in their farm market store.

Now came the fun part.

Picking our own eggs!

Mission accomplished!

It was harder than it looked but I successfully picked my dozen eggs.

If you're up for the challenge, you can pick your own every Saturday.

Before leaving the coop, I had to take a picture with my new friends.

Now onto the rest of the tour.

First time trying a mulberry.

Look at that smile!

Farmer Dale offered us fresh green beans straight from his garden.

How gorgeous is his house!!

Gorgeous views of his land from every angle.

Farmer Dale was nice enough to have us in his home for our delicious lunch sponsored by Chipotle.

DSC05314 (2).JPG

Chef Tonda Corrente from La Femme Du Fromage prepared our meal.

The peach cobbler was pure perfection!

A perfect ending to the day.

Make sure when you visit Lake Meadows Naturals, you stop by their farm market store. It's filled with fresh produce, assortment of cheeses and plenty more!

After attending two events sponsored by Chipotle, I think it's safe to say I'm BFF's with them.

Well, the official term is "brand ambassador" but same thing right?

Huge thank you to Chipotle for including me in this lunch event and a special thank you to Farmer Dale for his generous hospitality.

Can't wait to whip up something delicious with the eggs I picked out!


Posted on May 15, 2015 and filed under Mind & Body, Food & Entertaining.

5 Fun Super Bowl Food Ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner! And what better way to cheer on your favorite team than with these easy to make food ideas for the big game!

Transform what you would already normally serve into something fun and creative that your guests are sure to enjoy!

Square brownies? Boring!! Use a football shaped cookie cutter and white icing to create these adorable mini football brownies.

Not only will your kids love them, but they'll be a winner for the grownups as well!

│SHOP THE POST│


Impress your guests with this classic party staple! Simply make your favorite deviled egg recipe and embellish the top with chives to look like the laces on a football.

Depending on what kind of platter you use, add lettuce to the bottom to make it look like grass. These are sure to be a big hit!

│SHOP THE POST│


Pizza any shape scores a touchdown- but football shaped ones? They take the trophy! Instead of ordering takeout pizza, build these delicious bite-sized pizza flatbreads!

Sprinkle whatever topping you'd like and use string cheese to create the lace topping. Score!

│SHOP THE POST│


I mean, could these sandwiches be any cuter? To convert your typical sandwich into a football party worthy sandwich, all you need is cream cheese! 

Pipe cream cheese stitching to the top of the bun and you're done. How easy is that? 7 points for you!

│SHOP THE POST│


Want to be the best Super Bowl party host? Have these lime footballs in hand! Even if you don't like lime, you'll still want to have these near your cocktails and beer. They make the perfect companion!

To make these little guys, grab a citrus zester, tilt it so you are only using the very last hole, and score your lime. Touchdown!

│SHOP THE POST│

Photo Source

Have a safe and fun Super Bowl Day! Hopefully the team you're rooting for wins!!


Posted on January 28, 2015 and filed under Food & Entertaining.

Cronut Mission Accomplished!

cronut

If you're wondering what in the world a Cronut is, let me introduce you.

Besides being my obsession for the past year, a Cronut is a cross between a donut and a croissant.

The pastry was created and trademarked by Chef Dominique Ansel in New York City. It was first introduced to the public on May 2013- and since then, I had been dreaming about sampling this delicious little creation.

These little $5 pastries caused a frenzy when they first came out. If you didn't have the time (or want) to stand in the long line (more on that later) or was lucky enough to get one (they only make 200 per day) then you could buy one for $40 on the black market.

You read that correctly, the black market!

The bakery quickly caught on and implemented a 2 Cronut per person rule, to avoid scalping from happening.

As you can already tell, these little guys are kind of a big deal!

Luckily, a few weeks ago, I attended a month-long course that happened to take place in New York. So you can imagine what was on the top of my New York to-do list.

Yep, you guessed it- my Cronut mission!

There was only one thing standing in the way between me and my Cronut.

cronut line
cronut line

Remember that long line I was talking about?

It wrapped around the corner!

(I guess I wasn't the only one obsessed with trying a Cronut.)

As I mentioned before, I was in New York for a whole month, but didn't attempt to try and get one until the last week I was there.

Why you ask?

Well, if there is something that I love more than food, is my sleep. And quite frankly, the thought of waking up before the sun came up for this bad boy, didn't seem too appealing. But how could I be in New York and not have one? I would never forgive myself!

So early Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:30am, got dressed and walked out the door determined and excited!

Since I'm not familiar with the subway system in New York, I decided to make the 45 minute walk to the bakery. I didn't want to risk hopping on the wrong train.

Determined people, determined!

After my mini exercise, I finally reached Dominique Ansel Bakery at 7:15 am.

dominique ansel bakery

Doors don't open until 9am on Sundays, but if you want to have a chance on getting your hands on a cronut, then there is no way in getting around the 1-2 hr wait.

My friend Allison was suppose to meet me at the bakery around 7am but she was running late.

So it was just me, my hunger, the strangers in line, and the rain.

Oh I forgot to mention, it started to rain while I was in line!

And to make things worse, I decided to take the umbrella (that I had been carrying with me every single day) out of my purse to avoid having to walk around with too much weight.

But remember, nothing or no one was going to get in the way of me and my Cronut, not even a little rain!  Thankfully, I chatted up a few guys that were in front of me and they shared their umbrella. Lifesavers!

After 30 minutes, the rain stopped and an angel appeared with samples! It's like my prayers were answered!

samples
samples

There's nothing better than free food to make the time pass by faster.

Allison finally showed up at 9:15am, just in time to go into the bakery! (perfect timing)

We were greeted with a beautiful display of pastries.

bakery

They looked delicious, but I only had one thing on my mind.

The Cronut!

As I was about to order, I somehow remembered that I had seen on The Today Show, Chef Ansel talking about his new creation- the frozen S'more. And the week prior to that, the bakery had unveiled their latest creation, the Pretzel "Lobster Tail".

So obviously I had to try them all!

This is what a nutritious, well-rounded breakfast looks like.

dominique ansel

And this is what a giddy, happy girl looks like.

cronut

Allison was excited to try the S'more.

s'more
s'more

The Frozen S'more consists of honey marshmallow wrapped around a Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafer crisps, served on a smoked willow branch and torched to order.

s'more
s'more

Delicious!

We decided to split the lobster tail since it looked big enough for both of us to share.

lobster tail

The "Lobster Tail" is a soft pretzel filled with peanut butter and buttercrunch, topped with Maldon sea salt and served with a whipped brown butter honey sauce.

After sampling the opening acts, I was ready for the main event- the star of the show!

cronut

The moment had finally come!

cronut

(insert cheering and the close-up)

cronut

So, I bet you're wondering...

Was it good?

YES!

I enjoyed it, although I would've preferred it plain, without the frosting and filling inside. The pastry dough with just the sugar would've been enough for me- that part was amazing!

Would I wait in line for them again?

NO!

I came, I saw, I conquered!

Plus, just the thought of waiting in that line again... no thank you.

If you're interested in trying a Cronut but are not in the New York City area and are not as crazy as I am to wait in a 2hr line, then you're in luck!

Chef Dominique Ansel is spilling his recipe secrets in his new cookbook. You can order his book Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes here.

You can take a glimpse of the detailed Cronut recipe, that was just released this week, here.

I don't know about you, but just looking at all the steps and knowing that it takes three days to make, makes the two-hour line, seem like a walk in the park.

If baking is not your forte, you can preorder the Cronuts online. Keep in mind, there is a 6 Cronut limit and you have to order at least two weeks in advance. The pre-order list fills out fast, so make sure you order ahead.

After a year long wait, I'm happy to finally be able to check off cronut off my list!

Now, I have to find something new to obsess over, any suggestions?

In the meantime, I'll...

cronut
Posted on October 8, 2014 and filed under Food & Entertaining, Travel.

Teavana® Oprah Chai Tea

Starbucks owned Teavana and my girl Oprah have come together and created a new "spirit warming blend" of chai tea, appropriately named Oprah Chai Tea- which launched today.

As some of you may already know, I love Oprah- so I jumped at the chance to attend the taste testing event held at the Teavana store located in the Altamone Mall.

The lovely lady at the store explained how to properly steep the tea and the different ways you can prepare it.

You can view how Oprah prepares her chai tea here.

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teatestings.jpg

Oprah, who is a tea aficionado, did not only associate her name with this project- which is the first time she's ever done that with any brand- but she also had a huge part in the creation of the chai tea. With the aid of Naoko Tsunoda, Teavana's lead teaologist, Oprah crafted a tea blend that is an infusion of loose-leaf black tea, rooibos and the standard masala chai spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom.

Watch as Oprah, alongside Starbuck's CEO Howard Schultz, come up with the perfect blend- love her reaction!

"I looove tea," said Oprah Winfrey. "My daily tea ritual is a vital part of my morning. Savory and spicy chai, with its deep flavor, has long been a favorite of mine. When Howard Schultz offered to have me come into the Starbucks tasting room and create my very own tea blend, I thought that sounded like such a unique opportunity and fun to the tenth power. To share one of my favorite things with the rest of the world and support youth education at the same time is truly the perfect blend."

For each Teavana Oprah Chai product sold, Starbucks will make a .25 cent donation to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, which benefits a variety of youth education charities. So not only will you be enjoying that delicious cup of chai tea but you'll also be giving back at the same time.

teavana
teavana

In addition to creating the new tea, Oprah launched Steep Your Soul, which is an extension of the Super Soul Sunday series. This new online destination will inspire moments of reflection and an insider's behind-the-scenes look at how the Starbucks partnership came together and how Oprah "steeps her soul".

You can find Oprah's Chai Tea, starting today, at Starbucks and Teavana stores nationwide, offered as a handcrafted latte or loose-leaf tea, and at Teavana online.

Get ready to fall in love and steep your soul with this delicious perfectly made chai tea!!


Posted on April 29, 2014 and filed under Food & Entertaining.

Delicious Gluten-Free Flourless Banana Pancakes

delicious

As I was researching healthier options for breakfast, I came across this picture.

A pancake recipe that didn't have flour and that was actually healthy?

This, I had to try!

All you need is a banana, eggs and maple syrup.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it all together.

Doesn't get any easier than that!

The consistency is much thinner than regular pancake mix, so when making them, I suggest going for mini pancakes. That way, when you flip, they won't break. Trust me on this one, first batch was a mess!

Feast your eyes on these delicious, gluten-free, flourless banana pancakes!

I found that that cutting the recipe in half, made more than enough for one person.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Banana (ripe bananas work best)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Tsp of Cinnamon (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • You can also add in flaxseed meal, chia seeds, or protein powder to make them even more healthier.

* This recipe will make about 5 mini pancakes.

I topped it off with maple syrup, blueberries, bananas, and a sweet nut mix.

Quick n' easy, delicious and healthy!

Give these pancakes a try- you wont be disappointed.

Enjoy!

Posted on April 18, 2014 and filed under Food & Entertaining.

How To End The Weekend Right

Last weekend consisted of exaggerated amounts of bread, sangria, soda, rice, cake, chips, bacon, pastries -you get the idea, not the most healthiest of choices- and that was just on Saturday! But you know what?

I'm perfectly fine with it.

binge
binge

I'm all about clean eating and taking care of yourself, but sometimes you just have to forget about that and enjoy the little things in life (literally- I'll get to that soon).

On Sunday I had a mother/daughter date with my sister and mom -which are my favorite kind of dates- and we ended going to the Florida Mall for a little shopping. I'm really not a big fan of that mall, but we were in the area, so we decided to stop in a few stores.

After spending a couple of hours in that mall, it quickly became my favorite.

I'll give you a hint on why:

churromania2
churromania2

I'll share the mouth-watering pictures at the end of the post though- save the best for last right?

Another (delicious) reason:

wasabi
wasabi

If you know me, you know I love sushi and I hate waiting for food, so this place was made for me!

photo
photo

The concept is simple:

  1. Sit
  2. See
  3. Grab
  4. Eat
  5. Repeat
table
table

Little plates of different kinds of sushi are placed on a conveyor belt next to your table. You just pick up what you think looks appetizing and enjoy.

tempura
tempura
shrimp
shrimp

Each colored plate represents a different price.

price
price

Although I'm a sushi fanatic, I still haven't mastered the art of eating with chopsticks (don't judge me) so I always get excited when sushi restaurants offer kid starter chopsticks.

helper
helper

I'd say it was a successful experience.

done
done

What comes after lunch?

Dessert!

churromania
churromania

Oh no, this isn't just any ol' churro. It's a "life changing, party in your mouth, too big for just one person but too good to share" type churro!

"Say hello to my little friend"

yum
yum
wholechurro
wholechurro

Not only is it covered in drizzled dulce de leche, but it's also filled with it too!

churro
churro

Filled people, filled!!!

filling
filling

You can choose what kind of churro you want, the topping and filling.

type
type
options
options

The sign alone lures you in. How can you not get a churro after seeing that?

sign
sign

Too good for words!

nosharing
nosharing
finished
finished

And that my friends, is how you end the weekend right.

On that note, Happy Friday and hope your weekend is filled with an abundance of sinfully delicious food!

Posted on March 14, 2014 and filed under Food & Entertaining.

My Delicious Fruit Smoothie

smoothies
smoothies

What isn't there to love about fruit smoothies? They're delicious, refreshing, easy to make, and the possibilities are endless.

Originally, my smoothie consisted of only three ingredients. Banana, milk and sugar. Tasty but probably not the best for you. A few months ago, I decided to cut back on my dairy and sugar intake, so naturally, my simple smoothie recipe had to be modified.

After trying various ingredients, I finally came up with the perfect combination. My smoothie went from having only three ingredients, to now consisting of 43 ingredients.

No, that's not a typo. It actually has 43 ingredients!

Don't believe me?

I'll explain.

I used to add fresh kale, spinach, chia and flax seeds to my smoothie, but that made it too thick and a weird murky brownish color, not appetizing at all.

Then I discovered this little bad boy.

raw
raw

Perfect Food Raw from Garden of Life. Not only does it include the chia, flax seeds, kale and spinach, but it also includes an organic green juice blend, a raw organic fruit and vegetable juice blend, a raw organic sprout blend, and a raw probiotic and enzyme blend. Totaling up to 34 ingredients.

So much goodness in one little scoop!

scoop
scoop

Since all the ingredients are raw, it has an acquired taste. Just make sure you add plenty of fruit to mask it.

Check out the ingredients:

PerfectFoodRAWPowder
PerfectFoodRAWPowder

Since I've been working out lately, I also add, Raw Fit from Garden of Life, which is a good source of protein. One of the ingredients is Svetol® green coffee bean extract, which some researchers suggest, might help promote weight loss. (source)

fit
fit

As if my smoothie didn't have enough ingredients, I also include collagen pills- for some even more added health benefits.

collagen
collagen

All of this combined adds up to 43 ingredients!

ingredients
ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Banana (I eat the other half as a snack)
  • 2/3 cup of Berry Mix (Cascading Farm Organic Antioxidant Blend- strawberry, blueberries and raspberries)
  • 4 small pieces of Papaya
  • 2/3 cup of Almond Milk (I use Pacific Organic)
  • 1 cup of Water
  • 1 scoop Perfect Food Raw
  • 1 scoop Raw Fit (I use the Perfect Food scoop, instead of the one it comes with- which is approximately half of the serving size)
  • 6 You Theory Collagen Pills

* I use the 32 ounce cup

fruitsmoothies
fruitsmoothies

Put it all in your blender, blend it up, and you're done! 

My weapon of choice is the NutriBullet Pro 900 Series blender. I'm absolutely in love with it! If you're looking for a blender that is a good alternative to the Vitamix (which is like the Rolls- Royce of blenders) and that blends evenly, then a NutriBullet is the way to go!

Purchase here/ here/ Magic Bullet NutriBullet Pro 900 Series Blender/Mixer System" target="_blank">here

A quick tip to save you time:

  • Premeasure and prepackage your fruit mix and place into a Ziploc bag. Take out when you're ready to make your smoothie.
frozen
frozen

A great guide to making nutritious and yummy smoothies:

formula
formula

Smoothies are great as a snack but they can also serve as a meal replacement- since they're so filling.

I'm always open to trying out new smoothies, so share with me in the comment section below, your favorite recipes. Also, let me know what you think about my crazy little concoction.

Enjoy!

Posted on March 7, 2014 and filed under Food & Entertaining.

The Health Benefits Of Warm Lemon Water

I'm constantly browsing the Internet and reading books in search of new ways to improve my lifestyle and health. This is why I recently added lemon water to my daily morning routine. After learning about all the great benefits, I decided to give it a try. I was worried at first that I wasn't going to like the taste, but to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it and look forward to drinking it every morning. I'm fortunate that I'm able to sleep 8-9 hours a day (I know, please don't hate me) but somehow in the afternoons I always found myself getting tired or sluggish and in need of a nap. Since I don't drink coffee, I was looking for a pick me up substitute.

Enter lemon water to the rescue!

Besides improving my nutrition, I found that drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning has increased my energy level. I can't remember the last time I've taken a nap. Since faithfully drinking lemon water every morning for the past two months, I've noticed an improvement in my overall heath.

lemonwater3
lemonwater3

Some of the Benefits:

1. Boosts your immune system: Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure.

2. Balances pH: Drink lemon water everyday and you’ll reduce your  body’s overall acidity. Lemon is one of the most alkaline foods around. Yes, lemon has citric acid but it does not create acidity in the body once metabolized.

3. Helps with weight loss: Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It also has been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.

4. Aids digestion: Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials. It  encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Efficient digestion reduces heartburn and constipation.

5. Is a diuretic: Lemons increase the rate of urination in the body,  which helps purify it. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate  which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.

6. Clears skin:  The vitamin C component helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which also helps  keep your skin clear.  It can actually be applied directly to scars to help reduce their appearance.

7. Freshens breath: Not only this, but it can help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. The citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so make sure you dilute the lemon juice with a sufficient amount of water.

8. Relieves respiratory problems: Warm lemon water helps get rid of chest infections and halt those pesky coughs. It’s thought to be helpful for people with asthma and allergies too.

9. Keeps you Zen: Vitamin C is one of the first things depleted when you subject your mind and body to stress. As previously mentioned, lemons are full of vitamin C.

10. Helps kick the coffee habit: After taking a glass of warm lemon water, most people experience less cravings for coffee in the morning.

(Source)

How I Prepare My Lemon Water:

lemonwater
lemonwater

Ingredients:

lemonwater2
lemonwater2

The way you start your day is incredibly important. Try swapping your cup of coffee this week for a cup of warm lemon water instead. Who knows, you might have just met your new morning friend.

Posted on January 31, 2014 and filed under Mind & Body, Food & Entertaining.