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    The New HTC One (M8)

    I recently got the chance to try out the newest HTC One smart phone the M8, courtesy of Verizon Wireless. It is now time to send it back but before I do, here is the scoop on some of the features I enjoyed about the phone. I am not that tech savvy, so for a […]

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    The New HTC One (M8)

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    The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo

    The cool folks over at Verizon Wireless recently loaned me the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo charging unit. It has come in very handy and have to say it has been a lifesaver with all of the summer traveling we have been up to. From Texas to Alaska with a few stops in between this […]

    Read More

    The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo

  • MasterChef Semi Finalist and Kansas City local Becky Reams sets sail on the first ever MasterChef Cruise

    Fans of the reality cooking show MasterChef, can get ready to set sail on the first-ever “MasterChef” Cruise. This cruise will be a culinary adventure through the Caribbean, hosted by “MasterChef” Judge Graham Eliot, “MasterChef” winners Christine Ha and Luca Manfe, “MasterChef Junior” winner Alexander Weiss, “MasterChef” Season 3 semi-finalist and KC native Becky Reams […]

    Read More

    MasterChef Semi Finalist and Kansas City local Becky Reams sets sail on the first ever MasterChef Cruise

IMG_6764

The New HTC One (M8)

I recently got the chance to try out the newest HTC One smart phone the M8, courtesy of Verizon Wireless. It is now time to send it back but before I do, here is the scoop on some of the features I enjoyed about the phone. I am not that tech savvy, so for a […]

Read More
IMG_6739

The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo

The cool folks over at Verizon Wireless recently loaned me the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo charging unit. It has come in very handy and have to say it has been a lifesaver with all of the summer traveling we have been up to. From Texas to Alaska with a few stops in between this […]

Read More
Becky Reams

MasterChef Semi Finalist and Kansas City local Becky Reams sets sail on the first ever MasterChef Cruise

Fans of the reality cooking show MasterChef, can get ready to set sail on the first-ever “MasterChef” Cruise. This cruise will be a culinary adventure through the Caribbean, hosted by “MasterChef” Judge Graham Eliot, “MasterChef” winners Christine Ha and Luca Manfe, “MasterChef Junior” winner Alexander Weiss, “MasterChef” Season 3 semi-finalist and KC native Becky Reams […]

Read More

The New HTC One (M8)

IMG_6768I recently got the chance to try out the newest HTC One smart phone the M8, courtesy of Verizon Wireless. It is now time to send it back but before I do, here is the scoop on some of the features I enjoyed about the phone.

I am not that tech savvy, so for a list of specifications, sim card sizing, storage information and slew of other tech lingo I do not quite understand you check the HTC website.

As far as the ease, use of the phone and features I liked, here is my take.

Aesthetically: The new HTC One is a sleek looking phone. The rounded edges and brushed nickel finish give it a stylish look. The curved back is slightly slick so if you are a butterfingers like me, I would suggest some kind of rubberized case.

Sound: With front facing speakers on both the top and the bottom of the screen gives this phone excellent sound.

Screen: The large five inch HD display screen is vibrant and is easy to see even in the sunlight. The text is sharp and clear.

Battery: On most days the battery lasted all day. If I found myself out with the battery getting low I could switch to the “Extreme Power Saving Mode” which allows calls and texts to come in but shuts everything else down to save on battery life.

Blink Feed: Keep on top of social media, trending news and more with this home screen news feed. Pick and choose the highlights you want to keep track of and if it ever gets to take up more of your home screen than you like, it can easily be removed.

Camera: This phone has both a front and rear facing camera that produces super sharp images. Additionally there is a “selfie” taking mode as well as a dual capture where you can take a shot of both of the images that are appearing on the rear camera and front facing. There are also plenty of editing and filter options as well to add even more character to your pics.

Sense TV: In just a few short steps, you can pair the HTC one to your TV, cable box and home theater and then use it turn on the television, change channels and adjust volume.

Apps: The HTC One is an Android format so searching the Google play store will get you plenty of cool apps that will work beautifully with this phone.

If you are in the market for a new smart phone, this one will not disappoint.

I wish to thank Verizon Wireless for lending me the phone. I had a blast trying it out!

For information on specs, ordering or pricing visit the Verizon Wireless website.

The Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo

IMG_6726The cool folks over at Verizon Wireless recently loaned me the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo charging unit. It has come in very handy and have to say it has been a lifesaver with all of the summer traveling we have been up to.

From Texas to Alaska with a few stops in between this Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation has kept our devices charged and ready to go.

We were able to charge the iPod to keep the tunes going and for movie watching while on flights and waiting in airports it kept the iPad’s battery full! While on the road in Colorado for ten days it kept our, phones up and running so we never missed a call or text and allowed us to get the directions we needed from the GPS app at a moments notice.

The unit is sleek, small and portable, being just a little narrower than a deck of cards. It even came in handy at a couple of hotels where we stayed when the outlets by the bed were unreachable to plug in our regular phone chargers.

IMG_6725It is now time for me to send it back but before I do, I wanted to give you a sneak peek at all the cool features and why I will probably end up buying one!

The Mophie Duo Juice Pack is sleek with a rubberized black plastic body and stainless steel outer band.

It measures 4.3 by 2.3 by 0.8 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.9 ounce.

It has two full sized USB ports, which allows two devices to be charge simultaneously.

The 6,000mAh battery unit charges easily when connected to a laptop or iPad wall adapter via the USB cord and comes with an LED indicator light to let you know when it is full and ready to go.

With a charging output of 2.1 amps, the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo can handle all of your charging needs and is truly a lifesaver when you need portable power!

Retails for $99.99.

For further details on specs, ordering or additional information visit VerizonWireless.com or mophie.com.

I wish to thank for Verizon Wireless for letting try it out.

 

MasterChef Semi Finalist and Kansas City local Becky Reams sets sail on the first ever MasterChef Cruise

Fans of the reality cooking show MasterChef, can get ready to set sail on the first-ever “MasterChef” Cruise.

MC Cruise

This cruise will be a culinary adventure through the Caribbean, hosted by “MasterChef” Judge Graham Eliot, “MasterChef” winners Christine Ha and Luca Manfe, “MasterChef Junior” winner Alexander Weiss, “MasterChef” Season 3 semi-finalist and KC native Becky Reams and “MasterChef” fan favorite Bri Kozior.  Also included will be the winner of “MasterChef” Season 5, which is currently airing now! Catch up on all of the latest episodes here.

The cruise takes place November 8 – 15 aboard Holland America’s Westerdam ship and will feature intimate cooking demos, competitions, meet & greets, shore excursions and more. Ports include: Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

I have to admit I am a fan of cruises and have actually been on this exact ship and a few of the ports of call on a previous cruise and can assure you this will be an amazing time!

I am also a fan of the show and even tried out for the first season when they had a casting call in KC. I got a call back and went through some other hoops they required, but that is a far as I got. I have been watching every season since and of course with Becky being a local, I was rooting for her all throughout season 3.

Becky Reams

I recently had the chance to chat with Becky about her MasterChef experience, whats in her fridge and future plans involving KC and more. Below is our Q & A with a few questions under a variety of categories.. I hope you enjoy learning more about Becky and join her on the MasterChef Cruise.

“MasterChef” Behind the Scenes

1. Did you have recipes available or were you able to bring you own?

We did not have recipes, but we were allowed to bring some cookbooks with us, to keep in our rooms and read during down time, to help us find inspiration, be inventive, etc.

2. Which celebrity chef gave you the most encouragement?

Graham, most definitely. I immediately related to him for some reason, and he mentored me the most during the show. Having said that, since the show I have seen Gordon several times, and just following his career and reading his books– he is a true inspiration. He started from zero and built an absolute empire, all the while never compromising his food. His passion for cooking is absolutely genuine and I respect him so so much.


“MasterChef” Cruise

1. How were you notified you would be invited to join the cruise?

I was shocked, to say the least, when I was invited to be a part of the cruise. It was something I had always thought about (and kind of dreamed about) to be a part of something so huge, as to be the face of the entire “MasterChef” series. Especially because I’ll be in such great company. I’ll be cooking alongside Luca and Christine, two “MasterChef” winners! Not to mention phenomenal people who I know well and have cooked and cried and laughed alongside. Also Alexander, whom I have communicated with on many occasions and who inspired everyone he meets with his unbelievable culinary mind at such a young age. Then Bri, whom I loved on the show last year and am so excited to meet! Needless to say, I’m honored to be involved and cannot wait to see all my “MasterChef” family again.

2. Is the evening entertainment going to be the cooking challenges?

The cruise is going to have so much fun stuff happening, it’s going to be constant. I myself have several cooking demos as do the other Chef guests. We will be teaching guests how to prepare/cook certain things, as well as having interactive cooking challenges and games. Honestly, it’s going to be a lot of fun, and very interactive for the guests.

3. Have you ever cruised before?

I have never cruised before!! Which only adds to my excitement. I am looking forward to this adventure. And as my dad always said, anything can be an adventure, you have to fill your life with them…new experiences.

Kansas City

1. Where did you grow up in Kansas City?

I grew up in Stillwell and Overland Park, KS.

2. What are a few of your favorite restaurants?

People never think of Kansas City as a culinary destination…but they’re wrong. KC has a really solid food culture. Not to mention excellent new spots opening all the time, that I haven’t even had the chance to try yet! Some of my favorites are nostalgic, and some are new tasty finds. I love Hayward’s BBQ, Rye, Blue Stem (same owners as Rye– Chef Colby and his wife are amazing chefs and super rad people). I also love The Rieger hotel, Julian (Chef Tio is awesome and a friend– I did a pop up there a few years back) and lastly J. Alexander’s, just because I’ve been going there since childhood–you can always go there for a big juicy steak and really tasty mashed potatoes.

3. I heard a rumor you would like open a restaurant in Kansas City, is that true?And if so any details you can share including type of cuisine, location, opening date etc…?

Haha, well you know I have mad love for my KC people…and I would love to feed them some contemporary American/Thai food… in a small setting, with really great music and cocktails… But that’s just speculation :)

4. Do you have any plans to come back to Kansas City for guest appearances anywhere?

I try to come back to KC any chance I get, but for now LA has been keeping me pretty busy. I’m hoping to come back in late August for some cooking and family.

Cooking and Career

1. What is in your fridge right now?

Spicy sausage, organic eggs, Boulevard Christopher Elbow Chocolate Ale (I found little mom and pop liquor store out here in LA, that sells Boulevard Kansas City Beer, which makes me very happy), Fage yogurt, miso paste, brown butter, opal basil, quinoa salad, and a lot of different kinds of mustard.

2. How do you define you cooking style?

I define my cooking style as contemporary American with strong Asian influences. I love down-home cooking, like my mom’s swiss steak. But I am also in love with Kimchi fried rice, Ramen with black garlic broth, Korean BBQ, Miso glazed anything… you get the picture. I use my favorite parts of all those cuisines, and pull them together. Like Miso devilled eggs, or Ramen broth with pulled pork and dumplings.

3. What are you currently doing career wise?

I’m currently cooking full time. I work with an awesome app where I teach people how to cook, via cooking videos, delivered in a beautiful, user friendly platform, available for iphone/ipad. It’s called Appetites. I also have cooking videos on You Tube, on the Appetites You tube channel, where I teach people fun and creative cooking tip/tricks/techniques. Things like, how to open a coconut, how to clean a crab, substitutes for common kitchen ingredients, and even profiling different ingredients, like peppers, mushrooms, and pastas. It’s a ton of fun, and really informative for viewers.

I also Food style for TV, primarily The Queen Latifah Show, which is a ton of fun, and contribute to their website regularly, with seasonal recipes and cooking tips.

Since I love being in the kitchen, I can’t stay away, and still also work part time at a great restaurant here in LA called The Church Key, under Chef Steven Fretz. It’s a great restaurant with a seasonal inventive menu—it’s a great place to eat and work, and I love that I continue to learn more and more each day. Being able to work under different far more experienced and seasoned Chefs like Kris Morningstar, Michael Cimarusti and Steven Fretz helps me to better understand the business and continue to learn and grow as a cook. I respect these people, as I do every chef in any restaurant immensely and feel humbled to share the kitchens they slaved over to create.

The network of chefs in Los Angeles runs deep, and I have been lucky enough to get to know many many cooks in this city, which is a pretty rad thing. One day when I have the opportunity to open my first restaurant I will be better prepared for success having spent the time now, putting in work, learning and apprenticing under such talent. The journey to becoming a chef is not something that happens over the course of 2 months, or 2 years… it’s a journey. A tough, arduous journey, but one that earns you respect and poise which you can get no other way than to just do it. You gotta put in that work. You can’t buy it, and you can’t fake it– other cooks can see through a hack faster than it takes to brunoise a shallot.

4. Tell us about some neat opportunities you have gotten to do since your appearance on “MasterChef”.

You could feasibly say that every culinary opportunity that I’ve had since “MasterChef” has been because of “MasterChef,” for one simple reason: “MasterChef” gave me the confidence to pursue a cooking career and leave my past career in dust. Once I got in front of those “MasterChef” judges, and they told me I had a knack for cooking, and this wasn’t a fluke, something snapped in my brain– I just committed to cooking. You have to.

Cooking professionally is not glamorous, it won’t make you rich, it’s not easy, it’s not pretty, it’s hard work, long hours, it beats you up, breaks you down, wears you out, separates you from your family and friends, and the hardest of all (for me) it’s not instantly gratifying…at first. But, there is always one moment for every cook, when you see the light, and something small happens that makes it all worthwhile. Your chef turns to you, after a long butt-kicking 5 hour service– you’re sweating in places you didn’t know you could sweat, you fingers are calloused from the grill, you have oil splatter burns on your forearms, your calves ache from being on your feet for 12 hours (all this before clean up and break down)… But the chef reaches across the line and high fives you, “nice work, you crushed it.” All worthwhile. That’s what cooking is– its unglamorous, but we (cook people) get a deeply satisfying feeling from creating beautiful, tasty food for folks. When I realized it was for me, I made the jump. I could never go back.

I wish to thank Becky for taking the time to answer my questions and wish her the best of luck on the upcoming cruise.  I am hoping to save up some pennies so I can join the fun and hope you do to! For more information on the “MasterChef” Cruise visit the MasterChef  Website.

The Peanut Wings Now Available For Delivery

The Peanut Bar and Grill now offers worldwide  delivery of their famous chicken wings and the amazing folks over at The Peanut sent me a delivery of the wings to try.

The wings are huge and absolutely just as good as in the ones in the restaurant.

The wings are delivered vacuum sealed and frozen, and come with extra wing sauce and your choice of dipping sauce. Wings can be ordered in 18, 25, 50 or 100 wings on the bar’s website and have them delivered directly to your door.

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To prepare, the directions suggest to thaw the wings overnight in the fridge but we were ready for the wings when they arrive so I just popped them in the oven frozen and baked them a little longer. (The directions suggest baking in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.)

They came out perfect and everyone agreed they were some of the best wings they have had.

Visit The Peanut’s website to order.  Mention discount code 1266 for a special discount.

New Herb Infused Cocktail Menu at the Westin Crown Center

The Westin Kansas City Crown Center and Sheraton Kansas City hotel bars have just introduced a new herb-infused cocktail menu to kick off summer. Available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, these cocktails are inspired by the outdoor garden at The Westin.

The new menu that locally sources herbs on property such as rosemary, basil, cilantro, lavender and more include the new Arnold Pepper cocktail, the Roseberry- St. Germaine and a host of others including Green Tea Agave Mojito, Cucumber Cilantro Margarita and Strawberry Basil Lemonade.DSC_054

The Arnold Pepper mixes flavors of gin, lemon juice, spears of red bell pepper, basil leaves and agave while the Roseberry- St. Germaine has Vodka, lemon juice, rosemary, raspberries and agave.

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This fresh and artisanal approach to these cocktails will give some other bars in the city a run for the their money.  Grab some friends and check out these new cocktails tonight!

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The Up24™ Fitness Band By Jawbone®

For health and fitness buffs that are on the go, the UP24™ fitness band by Jawbone® is for you.

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I recently had the opportunity to try out the band which was loaned out to me by Verizon Wireless and thought it was great.

The sleek wristband which is made from a textured medical grade rubber, comes in a variety of colors and sizes. The band tracks steps and movement, sleeping patterns and meals as well as goals, reminders and workouts. Below is my take on each feature.

Activity Tacker – The overview tracking feature tells you how many steps you have taken and by looking at the graph chart you can tell at what time you were most active. There is an overview of the days activity that lets you know how long you were active and idle time. The calorie burning feature breaks down your total calorie burn in active and resting burn. You can also manually enter workouts.

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Sleep Tracker – To track sleep you have to manually press on the end of the wristband and a light vibration from the band as well as a crescent shaped light flashes on the band to let you know it is in sleep mode. The overview chart of the sleep tracker tells you how long it took you to fall asleep, how many hours were sound sleep, how many hours were light sleep, how long you may have been awake for in the middle of the night and how many times you woke up. It also has an overall time you were in bed.

To wake up your band, press the end of the wristband again and a light vibration and sun shaped light will flash on the band letting you know it is awake.

If you forget to put your wristband into sleep mode you can always open up the app and manually put in the time you went to bed and the time you woke up.

The same goes if you forget to wake the band up you can manually go in and put in activity for a certain amount of time.

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Food Tracker – This feature allows you to log food and meals. There is an internal list of a variety of foods and brands with all the nutritional information included. You can manually enter foods or use the scanning feature as well as photos from your phone gallery. The food tracker also keeps track of calories so you can always know where you are at if you are counting calories.

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Goals and Reminders – You can set activity and sleep goals as well as set reminders to where the band will nudge you with a light vibration to remind you get up and move if you have been idle for too long. There is also a team setting where you can link up with other friends.

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Connectivity – This fitness band does not sync with computers so it is handy for those who rely on their mobile devices. It wirelessly syncs via Bluetooth® with these compatible devices that have the free Jawbone App installed. The battery last six to seven days before needing recharged.

I am a bit of a fitness buff and try to eat pretty healthy so I had a ton of fun using this device and am bummed I have to send it back. I own a couple other activity devices, one which has a subscription fee and the other no sleep tracker so overall, I really enjoyed all of the features of this fitness band and would recommend it if you are in the market for an activity tracker.

I wish to thank Verizon for lending the Jawbone® UP24™ out to me. Click here for information including, specs, pricing, purchasing and features.

Plan a Staycation with these Summer Packages from The Raphael Hotel

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The Raphael, a Kansas City boutique hotel noted for its portfolio of romantic getaway and special interest packages, introduces summer travelers to the places and attractions that make for a distinct Kansas City getaway with two new value packages.

The Kansas City Zoo Penguin package showcases the Kansas City Zoo’s new Helzberg Penguin Plaza and the antics of Nikita, the zoo’s rock star polar bear, with admission and special amenities plus a bonus coupon valid through July for house-baked cookies and ice cold Shatto milk.

The War to End All Wars Century package presents the poignant lessons learned from World War I (1914 – 1918) with a century look-back experience in the National World War I Museum. All packages include choice of accommodations, complimentary self or valet parking, use of Fitness Center, high-speed Internet, newspaper and refreshments in the Lobby morning and afternoon. More packages are available by calling 816.756.3800, visiting the newly revamped raphaelkc.com.

Best Ever Strawberry Shortcake

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This recipe is a family favorite and a recent contest by Driscoll’s Berries inspired me to share it with you.  The drop biscuit method adds a nice crunch to the shortcake that compliments the sweet strawberries and whip cream. #Driscollsberry @strawshort

For the Shortcakes

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar (divided use)

4  teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

2 large egg

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon buttermilk (divided use)

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 For the Topping

2 quart strawberries, hulled

3 cups heavy (whipping) cream

2 tablespoons of sugar

Instructions

Turn on the oven to 400 degrees. Measure the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and the salt into a food processor. Scatter the chilled butter evenly over dry ingredients.

Pulse the processor 10 to 12 times (1-second pulses) until the butter is in tiny bits.

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Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Pulse until the soft dough just comes together and is a drop biscuit consistency.

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The dough will be very moist.  Scoop dough with serving spoon until you have a small fist size amount and drop dough onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Dough should yield 12 -14 shortcakes.

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Brush tops with the remaining 2 tablespoon of buttermilk, then sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned. Cool.

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Thinly slice the strawberries and scoop into a medium bowl.

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In separate  chilled bowl,  beat the cream with electric mixer and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (using the whisk attachment if available) until the cream holds soft peaks. Just before serving split each biscuit as you would a bagel. Top the bottom layer with a generous dollop of whipped cream, spoon on a portion of the strawberries on bottom layer then set top in place.  Garnish with additional whip cream and strawberries.

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Strawberries may be mixed with a few tablespoons of sugar for a juicer consistency if desired.

Summer Fun Series at Urban Table and Taco Republic

The Bread & Butter Concepts (BBC) restaurants Urban Table and Taco Republic have dates for their 2014 Summer Fun Day series.

urban table summer fun

The events, scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays from late May through July, will consist of live music, food and drinks in a festive outdoor atmosphere.

The highly successful Patio Opening Parties that each BBC restaurant threw earlier in the spring inspired the Summer Fun Day series. Like those parties, each Summer Fun Day event will be planned around a theme, and is intended to help bring community together in a festive atmosphere.

The Full Summer Fun Day schedule follows:

Urban Table: May 25, June 8, July 5, and July 19th

Taco Republic: June 1, June 15, July 5, and July 27th

All events will run from 3pm to 6pm. For further information, find the restaurant websites online at BreadnButterConcepts.com, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter at: Urban Table: Facebook.com/ UrbanTableKC and @UrbanTableKC; Taco Republic: Facebook.com/TheTacoRepublic and @TheTacoRepublic

BREAD & BUTTER CONCEPTS (BBC) is a locally owned and operated restaurant group based in Kansas City, Missouri. BBC presents modern dining options to the Kansas City metro area through creating restaurants that are relaxing while remaining energetic and exciting. The menus show a commitment to culinary excellence created by chefs whose passions for flavor are comparable to the greatest names in food. Efficient service, a soothing vibe, and outstanding cuisine are to be expected at each of the restaurants: Gram & Dun, BRGR Kitchen + Bar with two locations, Urban Table, Taco Republic, and Taco Republic Truck. For more info go to breadnbutterconcepts.com.

The Bread & Butter Concepts (BBC) restaurants Urban Table and Taco Republic have dates for their 2014 Summer Fun Day series.

The events, scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays from late May through July, will consist of live music, food and drinks in a festive outdoor atmosphere.

The highly successful Patio Opening Parties that each BBC restaurant threw earlier in the spring inspired the Summer Fun Day series. Like those parties, each Summer Fun Day event will be planned around a theme, and is intended to help bring community together in a festive atmosphere.

The Full Summer Fun Day schedule follows:

Urban Table: May 25, June 8, July 5, and July 19th

Taco Republic: June 1, June 15, July 5, and July 27th

All events will run from 3pm to 6pm.

For further information, find the restaurant websites online at BreadnButterConcepts.com, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter at: Urban Table: Facebook.com/

UrbanTableKC and @UrbanTableKC; Taco Republic: Facebook.com/TheTacoRepublic and @TheTacoRepublic

 

BREAD & BUTTER CONCEPTS (BBC) is a locally owned and operated restaurant group based in Kansas City, Missouri. BBC presents modern dining options to the Kansas City metro area through creating restaurants that are relaxing while remaining energetic and exciting. The menus show a commitment to culinary excellence created by chefs whose passions for flavor are comparable to the greatest names in food. Efficient service, a soothing vibe, and outstanding cuisine are to be expected at each of the restaurants: Gram & Dun, BRGR Kitchen + Bar with two locations, Urban Table, Taco Republic, and Taco Republic Truck. For more info go to breadnbutterconcepts.com.

Ingredients

For the shortcakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Wholesome Sweeteners Fairtrade Organic Sugar (divided use)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large cage-free organic egg
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp buttermilk (divided use)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican
1/4 cup grated semi-sweet or Mexican chocolate
For the topping:
1 qt strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Wholesome Sweeteners Fairtrade Organic Sugar, divided use
1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
Wholesome Sweeteners Fairtrade Organic Powdered Sugar, for garnish

Directions

To make the shortcakes: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Measure the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and the salt into a food processor. Scatter the chilled butter evenly over dry ingredients. Pulse the processor 10 to 12 times (1-second pulses) until the butter is in tiny bits. Add the egg, 1⁄3 cup buttermilk, vanilla and grated chocolate. Pulse the processor 7 to 8
times until the soft dough just comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured board and press together to form a disk that is ¾ inch thick. The dough will be very moist. With a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 4 biscuits. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently bring the scraps back together and pat out the dough again. Cut two more disks and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of buttermilk, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned. Cool.
To fill and serve: Thinly slice the strawberries and scoop into a medium bowl. Gently mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar. With an electric mixer, beat the cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (using the whisk attachment if available) until the cream holds soft peaks.
Just before serving, split each biscuit as you would a bagel. Top the bottom layer with a generous dollop of whipped cream, spoon on a portion of the strawberries (and any of their juices), then set the top in place (or off slightly off to the side, to show off the strawberries more). Sprinkle with powdered sugar and you’re ready to serve.

- See more at: http://wholesomesweeteners.com/Recipes/recipeindividual/tabid/196/RecipieId/290/Fronteras-Famous-Strawberry-Shortcakes.aspx#sthash.K8rqQOkR.dpuf

Mexican Layered Salad with Green Chili Aioli

This recipe uses canned Red Gold Tomatoes and all though I love supporting local and using fresh ingredients when I can, these tomatoes are perfect when those products are not available.

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Red Gold Tomatoes is a family owned Indiana-based company around since the ’40s focused on growing local in the Midwest where true seasons affect the flavor of tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown on numerous farms in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. All of their tomatoes are picked and canned at the peak of flavor so you get the taste of summertime tomatoes all year long.

The folks over at Red Gold graciously sent me a package that included some cans of tomatoes to promote their current sweepstakes on “How You Aioli”.

Red Gold is introducing a menu of Easy Aioli Recipes. Aioli is a versatile flavored mayonnaise that can be used as a sauce, spread, or even a dip. Red Gold is making it easy for you to create different flavored aiolis by simply combining a half-cup of light mayonnaise with any flavored Red Gold Diced Tomatoes.

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This Mexican layered salad is a favorite family recipe I make all the time and instead of a sour cream sauce that I normally make for it, I took a stab at Red Gold’s Green Chili Aioli recipe and it was a hit.

Try it for dinner tonight or head over to the Red Gold website and explore the many recipes they have created using their delicious tomatoes. To enter the sweepstakes head over to Red Gold’s Facebook page.

Enjoy!

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Mexican Layered Salad with Green Chili Aioli

One can of black beans

One can of corn

2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded

One can black olives

Shredded lettuce

Shredded cheese

Diced tomatoes

Diced red onion

Green Chili Aioli

½-Cup light mayo

1 Can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies

For the Aioli:

In small mixing bowl, combine mayo and can of tomatoes with green chilies and set aside.

For the salad:

Open, drain and rinse black beans and corn. In large serving dish layer black beans, corn and chicken then evenly spread the aioli over the chicken. Top chicken with desired amount of lettuce, cheese, black olives, tomatoes and onions.

Serve with additional salsa if desired.