Big Game last week, the Olympics and the Trumpet Awards this week, there will always be a reason for me to try new snacks. In fact, who am I fooling, I do not need a reason a game or an awards show to try new snack options. I was able to try Pork Clouds for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. #ad #powertothepork
So I had my first bag just because I wanted to try them without anything, just plain in the raw, and the first one that I tried was Rosemary and Sea Salt. Yum. The rosemary is prominent and the salt is there but barely noticeable. I was fine with that and I was pleasantly surprised that no one has made an rosemary flavored pork rinds/clouds. This is a winner if you do like rosemary.
The second bag, I must admit I was calling myself being daring, so I did a little pico mixture and some cubed grilled chicken thigh and put it over the Malabar Black Pepper pork clouds and this was a great idea. I had never thought to put pico or chicken for that matter over pork clouds. This was a keeper as well, but wait there is more…
The third bag, Habanero Pepper, was I believe my favorite way to enjoy the pork clouds. I made vegetable beef soup and put some on top of the soup and oh my, so tasty. Hubby even enjoy this, so much so he put more in the soup and some on his next helping. So hot, but sooooo good!!! My favorite by far.
Pork Clouds are a delicious carb free alternative in the salty and savory snack category. They are cooked in olive oil, only 100 calories per bag and an awesome source of protein (over 11g per serving). All flavors are gluten free and free of added hormones, which makes these the perfect game day snack or perfect snack for any gathering or just to have instead of potato chips.
Have you tried Pork Clouds before? If so, what flavor was your favorite?
I have received samples of Crunchies in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. #ad
Just in time to end National Oatmeal Month, I wanted to share what you can do with fresh dried fruit from Crunchies. It is okay to play in your food, just any kid you know and in my case you can ask me one of the biggest kids I know:) Crunchies has been mentioned in so many times in various Health and Fitness Magazines that once you try them you will see why. Great snack even for the kids.
I put a big S in my oatmeal using Strawberry Banana and decided to dress it up some and use it in my dessert. You do not lose any of the flavor with the fruit and or vegetable being freeze dried.
Brownies and vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry crunchies.
Crunchies comes in 8 varieties and it is nothing but pure freeze dried fruits and vegetables.
CHOCOLATE BERRY BARK
Picture and recipe from Crier PR
Prep: 10 mins / Cook: 1 hour / Total Time: 1 hour & 10 mins
1 (16 oz.) bag of dark chocolate chips (the higher the quality, the better)
¼ cup Crunchies Strawberries
¼ cup Crunchies Raspberries
¼ cup Crunchies Blueberries
See how easily Crunchies can be incorporated into your Valentine’s Day meals? Have you tried Crunchies before?
I had the opportunity to attend the Whole Hog Class at Pine Street Market for free in partnership with Culinary Local in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I learned oh so much from Rusty #knowyourbutcher. #ad
Warning: A cut up animal picture is below.
If you do not like to see cut up animals, this class is definitely not for you.
Have you always wondered where various parts of the pig come from? Have you wondered about the process of how bacon is made or pork butt? Did you know that the pork butt actually comes from the shoulder of the pig? I had no clue, but I found out that and more.
Some of these questions and more have crossed my mind, but I never thought that I would be able to get the answers upfront and personal. Education is the key if you ask me and I like to be educated especially about things I eat, so as mentioned, thanks to culinary local I was able to learn some things. True, I could have looked online and some of it is true, but what is better than getting the information first hand from a butcher who has been doing in the business for over 15 years.
First things first though, a waiver had to be signed before we could go to the back to start the class which made sense to me, but what I did not expect were the recipes for some tasty treats including bacon.
To me there could not have been a better teacher, so from start to finish Rusty Bowers, Whole Animal Craft Butcher, #knowyourbutcher, from Pine Street Market, showed about 10 of us from start to finish the breakdown of a pig. We saw everything from the cooler and the room used for curing and smoking the pork.
After showing us how to cut our pork chops, each one of us took turns to cut our own and when class was over we took some home with us and yes it was good if you were wondering. Each participant received as well 2lbs of bacon and it was good. Simply seasoned and oh so tasty.
If you were wondering if they had more than pork, they do, including lamb, chicken and turkey.
All of the staff helping Rusty were very very helpful and knowledgeable and it was kinda fun to see while the class was going some of his patrons’ watching the class take place (they are all future attendees I am sure). We learned about various types of pigs and this one came from Riverview Farms.
We were served various parts of the pig and all of them were moist and we received tips on how not dry out the meat, how long let certain pieces sit in brine, and more. Rusty had one of his good friends there, Brad from Moody Tongue, that provided us with some refreshments that paired well with what we had.
Check out the pics of what we were able to try during our visit:
Would I pay for a class? Yes, I would and would not hesitate. How about you?
For information on the next class, coming up soon so stay tuned to www.culinarylocal.com for the upcoming classes.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of my most favorite things to eat anytime of the year. Why? Simply because I enjoy cheese and I do not discriminate. It is perfect in the summer with a refreshing beer and in the winter with a hardy soup. There seems to be no wrong way to make a grilled cheese sandwich and that excites me.
Just in time for National Cheese Lover’s Day, January 20th comes, Grilled Cheese & Beer: Recipes for the Finer Things In Life.
Ménage à Cinq
3 slices of sourdough bread
2 slices of cheddar cheese
1 slice mozzarella cheese
1 slice of Muenster cheese
1 slice pepper jack cheese
1 slice provolone cheese
Directions: Grease one side of each slice of bread and place in a pan on medium heat, greased side down. Cover all three slices with cheese (in no particular order). Once the cheese is melted, put avocado on two slices. Slap it together and enjoy!
Beer Pairing: This is our ode to one of our favorite show, The League. Except, instead of it being Andre’s swanky wine bar, it’s a delicious sandwich paired with a light refreshing lager—one with some punch behind it. Otter Creek’s Citra Mantra is a pretty good bet if you can find it. If not, the guys on the show always prefer Stella Artois or Bud Light. Old post office boxes are a pretty sweet idea for a bar, though. Right?
Johnny Apple Cheese
2 slices whole grain bread
4 slices Adirondack cheddar cheese
1 granny smith apple
3 strips of bacon
Directions: Grease one side of each slice of bread and place in a pan on medium heat, greased side down. Place the cheddar on the bread so that all of the bread is covered. Thinly slice the granny smith apple and place it on one slice of bread so the cheese and bread are completely covered. Add bacon strips to the other slice of bread and cheese. Once the cheese is melted, put the sandwich together and tada! You are all set.
Beer Pairing: This one has a lot to work with for something so simple. A good European-style lager will do well to complement the sharpness of the cheddar and the smoky flavor from the bacon. Heineken and Grolsch would both do fine, but for those looking to accentuate the apple, why not try it with a cider? Although not beer, anyone trying this on a warm sunny day shouldn’t shy away from a nice Angry Orchard or Naked Flock to hit the notes a beer wouldn’t.
Surprise Giveaway, Enter to Win a Copy for Yourself:
Grilled Cheese & Beer Book Giveaway
About the Authors:
Kevin VanBlarcum is a brewer at Keegan Ales in Kingston, NY. After graduating from the University at Albany, he began pursuing a career in the brewing industry. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Kevin currently resides in Pine Hill, New York. James Edward “Eddie” Davis has honed his skills as a chef from Brooklyn, NY to the Catskills. Eddie fell in love with the culinary arts and began to hone his skills at a local favorite, The Caboose.
Pics and press release: Hatherleighpress
Have you ever celebrated National Cheese Lover’s Day? If so, what is the oddest item you put on your grilled cheese sandwich?
I have received a meal free in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. #ad
Recently I was invited to First Watch to help promote a new coffee program that they have called Project Sunrise. More about that later, but I am so upset that prior to my visit I had not heard of First Watch and after tasting the food, I really could not understand why unless people were trying to keep the place to themselves. A hidden gem in Smyrna, GA (currently 7 total locations in Georgia), only serving breakfast, brunch and lunch and truly they do specialize in the three and they truly do not disappoint. My hope is to expose you to a new restaurant that you will dine frequently for years to come and can feel good because you are helping one of the many great community programs they are investing in.
There are 5 reasons to Run to First Watch and I will not prolong the reasons why:
One Reason: Cinnamon Chip Pancake
Our classic multigrain pancake batter featuring seasonal cinnamon chips. So filling and so good.
Second Reason: AM Superfoods Bowl and Fresh Fruit Juice (Vegan Options)
Coconut milk chia seed pudding w/fresh bananas, berries, blackberry preserves and housemade granola. Served with whole grain artisan toast topped with almond butter and Maldon sea salt. Fresh fruit juice all day every day. One’s shown: Kale Tonic, Morning Meditation (my favorite) and Chilled Pear Cider.
Third Reason: Avocado Toast
Thick-cut whole grain toast topped with fresh smashed avocado, EVOO, lemon and Maldon sea salt. Served with basted eggs. Nuff said. Who does not like avocado toast?
Fourth Reason: Million Dollar Bacon
Hardwood smoked bacon with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and maple syrup drizzle. So yummy. I wanted to eat all of the bacon on the table.
One of my most favorite pics. I had to see the bacon and avocado again.
Fifth Reason: Community
First Watch is always doing something in the communities they have locations. Project Sunrise involves high quality coffee grown and harvested by a group of women in the Huila region of Colombia. The coffee has medium body, hints of cherry, orange, toasted nuts, honey, milk chocolate and caramel, which makes for a fantastic complement to our menu’s variety of fresh breakfast dishes.
Check out just one Community Outreach that First Watch is part of:
Have you been to First Watch Cafe? If so, what is your favorite dish or let’s face it dishes?
I am totally a girl with natural curls that can use these tips, so I am sharing them with you and yours.
International Stylist and Curl Master Creator of The Doux
Gets Real About Real Hair
People with wavy or curly hair are always looking for new products, tips and tricks to lock in their desired look. Whether they want to blow it straight, create looser curls or maximize their tighter coils, Maya Smith, Celebrity Hair Stylist, salon owner and creator of The Doux, the “Indie” haircare line with cult following available at Target is truly the master. Here she shares her best tips for girls with curls who want to revel in their natural hair and create a style they love.
Understand the battle between oil and moisture.
The first thing people must understand is that there are opposite things going on at the same time. “Due to the shape of curly haired strands, the hair tends to be under moisturized. On the other hand, the curly haired scalp can get very oily. Managing these opposite demands is the struggle of girls who wish to keep their curls. The key here is knowing how best to address both,” explains Maya who led the movement for women to transition from relaxers to natural curls.
Be gentle when washing curly hair.
According to Maya, kinky, thick, coiled textures tend to appear “tough” and strong enough to withstand heavy manipulation. “In my experience, these hair types are actually the most delicate, and should be handled with care, she recommends.”
Step One: Pick your products wisely.
Maya applied over 2 decades of research and development based on working knowledge of hair texture and listening to what people wanted. “I created The Doux™ SUCKA FREE Moisturizing Shampoo and FRESH RINSE Moisturizing Conditioner as the one-two step that delivers both deep cleaning plus exceptional nourishment necessary for styling.” It’s now available in Target stores and the full product line is available online at www.thedoux.com.
Step Two: Prep for shampoo.
Maya’s professional instructions for curl mastery begins with rinsing hair thoroughly with water for a minimum of 30 seconds. “This helps to eliminate any water-soluble product buildup, such as hair gel or heat protectant. It also helps you save shampoo! Assuming you’re shampooing in the shower, letting the water run over the hair in a downward motion helps prevent further tangling, and allows the hair shaft to swell and the curl pattern to fully rebound.” For those with extremely thick hair, Maya suggests separating hair into 4 sections prior to wetting the hair for increased manageability.
Once the shampoo is applied, Maya recommends light manipulation at the scalp, going from the crown of the head to the nape of the neck. “Squishing” the hair up toward the scalp is a no-no. “Shampooing this way can cause unforgivable tangling and matting. I recommend repeating the shampooing process at least once.”
Step Three: Condition and comb through like a pro.
If your scalp was properly shampooed, conditioning is easy. “This time, you’re focusing on your thirsty ends first, working upward toward the scalp. Gently detangle with a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush (our favorite is Felicia Leatherwood’s “Brush with the Best” detangling brush) before rinsing, starting at the ends, working up toward to the roots. Remember to rinse with cool water which snaps cuticles shut, locks in moisture, makes your hair shinier and reduces frizz.”
When it comes to “co-washing” or “conditioner washing” Maya equates the popular trend to washing your clothes with fabric softener. “In my experience, co-washing causes build-up on the hair, coating the cuticle and impairing the hair’s natural ability to absorb water. Oils, waxes, and product residue harden on the hair shaft, making it more brittle and less porous over time. When the hair can no longer effectively absorb water, the elasticity of the hair is compromised, leaving the hair “crunchy” and stiff, where it is more likely to break. The result is hair that feels dry and brittle, no matter what product you use to moisturize it,” explains Maya.
One of the things Maya Smith and her team of stylists are known for is their ability to restore hundreds of their clients’ curls, simply by getting them to trade in the co-wash for a gentle, pH-balanced moisturizing shampoo, like The Doux’s SUCKA FREE which properly cleanses hair of product residue. “Once you have the hair thoroughly clean it “drinks” up the necessary amount of moisture, and returns to its natural softness,” Maya clarifies.
Avoid alcohol and kick the crunch to the curb.
Styling products high in alcohol give curls a crunchy feel. They suck up every last bit of moisture. Hair spray tends to contain the most alcohol, while gels, mousses and anything that provides hold or lift come in second. “I recommend water-soluble gels that don’t feel sticky on your skin, and aerated mousses or foams that resemble beaten egg whites, to give hair fullness, control, and non-brittle curls,” Maya says.
She adds that she created The Doux so it can be used on hair that is worn curly or straight. “Our clients purchase one set of products, and apply them differently to achieve the style they want. If you’re rocking curly hair today, you’re using The Doux’s Mousse Def and Bonita Afro Balm for softness and definition, and The Light for shine. If you’re wearing a blowout, you’re still using the same products, but applying them less liberally, and using the shine mist as a heat protectant. It’s super simple and easy to follow once you’ve seen the results each of them deliver,” Maya explains.
Blow-Dry with a diffuser or hooded dryer.
Maya’s first choice for curly styles is to air dry. “If you don’t have the time to air dry then dry with a diffuser or hooded dryer on a low heat setting. A regular blow dryer nozzle disrupts the curl pattern and focuses hot air on one small section at a time while a diffuser, dries curls evenly for a full, uniform look,” she explains.
Maya recommends always applying a heat-protecting product, then flipping your head upside down using a diffuser at the roots and mid-length making sure to dry the area completely to lock in volume. “It’s important to leave the ends for last, and leave them only semi-dry. Air drying the ends is your best option.”
Care for the curls you were born with!
About Maya Smith:
Maya Smith is an International Master Stylist and Founder of The Doux Salon and haircare line now available in Target. With over two decades of styling experience Maya dedicated two decades to cracking the code on curl care, maintenance and expert styling. When it comes to caring for one’s natural hair and styling it, Maya is the best there is.
While still in high school, Maya got her hair cutting license and graduated from beauty school. Soon after graduating high school, Maya began following her passion and worked as an assistant for celebrity stylist Tracy Johnson. She learned from Johnson and progressed as a hair stylist for celebrities and entertainers. Years later the military wife would relocate to Germany, where Maya opened up her first salon The HoneyComb, a mecca for textured hair care for women from all over Europe, The UK, and as far as Africa. Maya’s unique system of textured hair styling sparked the development of The DOUX® haircare products, first launched overseas, and distributed throughout Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Currently, Maya leads a carefully selected team of stylists at The DOUX® Salon in Macon, Georgia and on Christmas Eve 2017, celebrated the arrival of The DOUX® in Target stores nationwide. Maya Smith, wife, mom of 5 and savvy business woman is an example not just for women of color but for all women who believe their gifts can impact the world, striving for entrepreneurial endeavors with grace, ease and hustle.
Next time I am in Macon, I will be going to this salon for some natural hair love.
As a member of Women of Culinary, I had the opportunity to review Tracy’s Gourmet Dressings and Marinades free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review of the products. #ad
For the past 6 years of so, I have been changing up my eating every January and with it includes more salads, but the dressings. They have so much in them that I am better off just doing oil and vinegar and adding my own seasoning, but I get bored with it.
With the need for clean salad dressings that have ingredients that you can read, pronounce and actually understand, there are not many in that category that I have found. There are even fewer that have a woman as the owner, creator, crafter and master blender, so it is a pleasure for me to be able to introduce to some of you and refresh the memories of others of Tracy’s Gourmet.
After reading some of Tracy’s story, I can honestly relate (heart disease in my family) and I am glad that she did journey down this road which helped improved her health as well as the health of others. You see, Tracy found herself weighing 257 pounds and having a history of heart disease she saw the need to change and it would have to start with her. Her change included eating more salads only to find the dressing had harmful and unfamiliar ingredients in them that did not help the situation at all, but she changed that by creating her own.
I was privileged to try three of the salad dressings/marinades and they are:
Great to use as a marinade on meats and then grill. If you are expecting this dressing to be very sweet, it is not. Do not worry about it. It has the perfect amount of pineapple juice and marmalade. Yum.
Photo Credit: Tracy’s Gourmet
Used on my simple salad (avocado, tomatoes, onions and romaine lettuce). Shake well and then use as you like. This was one of my salads that do when I have the bare minimum for a salad but you can taste the lavender. It is light, but you can tell by the smell and the floral taste.
Used to make a pasta salad that only require a few ingredients: onions, broccoli, tomatoes and Explore Cuisine Organic Red Lentil Penne Pasta. Coat the ingredients with this dressing to your liking and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Add some sea salt to your liking and serve. My first time making pasta salad, but it will not be my last. This dressing is perfect and not overpowering. Usually dill is not my favorite, but it is a keeper and next marinating some chicken.
The flavor of the dressings are 5 out of 5. Packaging is 5 out of 5, no broken bottles or leaking dressings. Price is $5.99 each which is reasonable for a clean and organic dressing. I cannot wait to see what else Tracy has in her arsenal:)
Have you tried Tracy’s Gourmet Dressings and Marinades? What flavor(s) are you interested in trying?
Are you gluten free? If so have you tried the Explore Cuisine brand?
Received this outfit for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Prancing around in new attire is one thing that I enjoy doing and thanks to www.cestcany.com, I was able to do just that. Prior to today, I have known this brand for their tulle skirts for the little girls and big girls alike, and now they are branching out into other garments and I want to share that with you. Stick around and see how you can get $20.00 off your next purchase.
I had the pleasure to take part in a collaboration and the cute dress that I chose, was Alice and it is beautiful.
Not your ordinary little black dress. Sheath silhouette, side pockets, and gray side panels. Perfect for special events and every day elegant wear. Silky terylene is the material.
Dresses and skirts are those things that hubby like to see me in because let him tell it, I have great legs, but who am I to disagree:) The dress is lined which helped me get it on a lot better, because I am a tweener size and it was sorry ladies that time of the month where there is extra water weight, so I was a wee bit bigger around some areas than I would have liked, but I still like the dress on me and so did hubby.
To see the dress I selected and many more, visit: https://cestcany.com/collections/casual-dresses and there you will find other cute dresses for your casual and evening wear. I almost forgot!! The great and exclusive deal for my special readers, thanks to CestCany, I am able to offer you $20.00 off your purchase by using Serena20 at checkout.
Have you tried the CestCa brand? I will be going back to get a tulle skirt. They are so freaking cute.
Received a couple of sample jars in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. Post may contain affiliate links. #ad
I am a major snacker and found that I had better learn how to snack smartly. Yes there is a such thing and I was about to try it out. I figured that I would need a go to recipe. Something that I can always make and make quickly if I need and/or want to snack. Perfect for adults as well as kids.
I decided to take a few things that I enjoy eating separately, apples, nut butter, chocolate and coconut and put them together. I know it sounds horrible, but it really isn’t see below:
I did not measure anything just winged it:
Betsy’s Butter Almond Butter as much as you would like to use
Red delicious apple sliced approximately 8 to 10 pieces
About a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips (melted in microwave)
About ¼ a cup of sliced coconut unsweetened
Betsy’s Butters are gluten free, non-gmo and all natural. You cannot go wrong. It is a great substitute for “regular” butters because of the added chia seeds that are found in her products which adds more protein, see benefits of chia seeds here: More About Chia Seeds.
As a registered dietitian and the 2015 Florida Young Mother of the Year, she hated it when she saw chemicals and artificial ingredients junking up healthy and delicious foods like peanut butter (there’s nothing gourmet about partially hydrogenated soybean oil.)
Betsy only uses wholesome, natural ingredients in her Seed Butter, Almond, Cashew and Peanut Butters and it is mixed with delish extras like cinnamon and chia seeds, to create products that are totally nutritious, delicious and different.
Have you tried Betsy’s Nut or Seed Butters? Which flavor do you like the most?