Celebrate International Margarita Day with a “Margarita” Margherita Pizza

We have every intention of celebrating the upcoming International Margarita Day by drinking a round or two of delicious Margaritas but believe it or not, there are more ways to enjoying a margarita than just drinking one…….how about eating one. In celebration of International Margarita Day, February 22nd, Patrón Tequila has released the first-ever edible margarita pizza entitled the Platinum Margarita Margherita Pizza. Alcohol-infused food is not new, we personally grew up on the alcohol-soaked black cake, but we’re seeing this food trend making a big resurgence in culinary markets we hadn’t before. Just last year we enjoyed Patrón Tequila-infused ice cream and popsicles at their National Tequila Day event.

Here’s what you need to know about this mindblowing and one-of-a-kind pizza:

This amazing bit of delicious food art is inspired by the signature Patrón margarita and was customized by Chef Michael Armstrong of upscale Mexican hotspot, Bodega Negra, located inside the trendy Dream Downtown Hotel. The $500.00 Platinum Margarita Margherita Pizza is infused with Gran Patrón Platinum tequila (retail value, $200.00) and Patrón Burdeos (retail value, $500.00).  The colorful pizza pie boasts layers of the most insane, over-the-top toppings, such as Osetra caviar, black truffles, tomato, avocado, glazed lobster, and mango, both cooked in Patrón Burdeos, pickled onions, and crema-infused with Platinum Patrón. All perfectly layered on top of a thin, flour tortilla crust.

They say good things come to those who wait and anything good is worth waiting for, which is good because the Platinum Margarita Margherita Pizza takes 45 minutes to create,  and it must be ordered two days in advance. Enjoying this medium-sized culinary journey is ideal for a group of  2-3 friends, preferably accompanied with an equally delicious Patron Tequila Margarita, like the Tropicante Margarita, created by Alexander Kady of Denver, Colorado, which we will highlight in our Patron Margarita write up.

 

Fair warning folks, you can only partake in this indulgence until International Margarita Day; after February 22nd, the limited edition, Platinum “Margarita” Margherita Pizza is gone for good. Are you up to indulging in this indulgent first ever “Margarita” Margherita Pizza?

Here’s How to Celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day

While we never need an excuse to indulge in a slice or two of chocolate cake, the upcoming National Chocolate Cake Day is the perfect reason to enjoy a slice or two in celebration of this most decadent of desserts. That’s right, on Friday, January 27th, two days from now, you are obligated to enjoy the sinful pleasures of chocolate cake. So without further adieu, in celebration of National Chocolate Cake Day, here are original recipes from Epicurious Wine, Veestro, and Terra’s Kitchen. We invite you to try out one or all of these delicious recipes. Here’s a great tip: To make your National Chocolate Cake Day incredibly fluffy, use sparkling water in your cake batter! We love using Sparkling Ice Essence of sparkling waters, an unsweetened, zero-calorie alternative with no artificial colors or preservatives. We promise each bite will be light as air.

Epicurious Wine’s “Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze”

YIELD: Makes 10 servings

For cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan. Heat chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let this National Chocolate Cake Day cool completely. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low and add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake cake until top is firm and edges are slightly darkened, 55–65 minutes (rely on visual cues; a tester inserted into cake’s center will come out clean before the cake is truly done). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in pan before turning out.

Glaze and assembly:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Epicurious Cabernet Sauvignon
Special equipment:
9″ springform pan
Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in the mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes. Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours. Cake can be made and glazed 2 days ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Veestro’s SuperFood Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 cups cooked amaranth
1 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup good cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Place in a cake pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry.

Terra’s Kitchen Bundt Cake Recipe

2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 cup high-quality cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan, room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sour cream
5 tablespoons cold brewed coffee
Butter Coffee Pour Over (recipe to follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a Bundt pan with butter (we used a heart-shaped Bundt for Valentine’s Day). Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and light in texture (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and coffee and mix until combined. Gradually add the dry JUST until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt and bake until the center of cake springs back when touched and a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean (about 45-50 minutes). Remove the cake from the oven and pour Butter Coffee Pour Over mixture over the hot cake. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Release the sides and bottom of the cake from the pan with a narrow metal spatula or knife. Invert the pan onto a plate or cake stand. Remove the pan and dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar before serving.

Butter Coffee Pour Over (Makes 1 ¼ cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brewed dark roast coffee
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
Add ingredients to a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

We’re sure one of these decadent chocolate cake recipes will help you celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day properly. We know our favorite (all of them), which chocolate recipe is your favorite?

#SprinkledWithCare: Care Bears X Sprinkles Cupcakes Decorating Event

There’s something a bit magical when you get to relive moments from your childhood. For us, it was celebrating the collaboration between childhood Saturday morning cartoon favorite, the Care Bears, and the decadent Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery. To honor the 35th Anniversary of the iconic children’s characters, we had the pleasure of attending a Care Bears X Sprinkles Cupcakes Decorating Event held at Sprinkles Bakery.

Don’t worry dear readers, you get to participate in some cool Care Bears X Sprinkles Cupcakes activities as well, where you can win prizes. From January 5th through January 25th, Sprinkles is offering limited-edition, regular and mini Care Bears cupcakes and sweet surprises to satisfy your cupcake cravings, at all their bakery locations nationwide.

In addition to limited-edition Care Bears cupcakes, special “whisper words” will be revealed on the Care Bears and Sprinkles Instagram pages every week, with instructions on how you can redeem them for freebies and special goodies at all Sprinkles checkouts. A huge celebration will also take place at select Sprinkles stores on January 21st for National Hug Day. On this special day, Care Bears X Sprinkles Cupcakes fans of all ages can enjoy product giveaways and lots of cheerful activities.

”Our freshly baked, handcrafted cupcakes bring our customers cheer and delight, and we think the loveable, huggable Care Bears evoke those same feelings,” exclaimes Nicole Schwartz,VP of Marketing, Sprinkles. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Care Bears!”

As we stated above, guests not only had the pleasure of enjoying Sprinkles’ amazing vanilla, chocolate, red velvet and banana cupcakes, already decorated with edible Care Bears decoration, we got to customize our own. For our Care Bears X Sprinkles Cupcake (which you can see above), we chose an incredibly delicious banana cupcake and topped it with vanilla buttercream, fondant stars, and a heart. As you can imagine, it was addictively yummy and we can’t wait to go back for more.

”We are thrilled to kick off the Care Bears 35th Anniversary celebration with Sprinkles and know fans of both brands are in for something truly sweet,” shared Sean Gorman, President of American Greetings Entertainment, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings. “We look forward to celebrating our 35 years of caring, sharing and hugs with Sprinkles and other great partners in 2017.”

For more information regarding the Care Bears x Sprinkles cupcakes, including the select stores participating in National Hug Day, please visit www.carebears.com and www.sprinkles.com and follow the #SprinkledWithCare hashtag on Instagram. We’re really looking forward to stopping by Sprinkles on January 21st, although we can’t wait that long, we’re keeping an eye out for those special “whisper words” on Instagram, will you?

 

Meatless Monday: Delicious Vegetarian Meal Options for Fall

When most people think of fall comfort food, they tend to think of hearty meat soups and stews, cuts of steak or chicken bathing in gravy, and so on. But there’s nothing that says vegetarian meals can’t be hearty or fall under the comfort food category.  Today, for meatless Monday we sharing two vegetarian meal options from CedarLane Natural Foods and Pereg Natural Foods to show you just how delicious and hearty vegetarian foods can be during the cooler season.

CEDARLANE NATURAL FOODS

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As the weather gets colder, we sometimes tend to hibernate in the warmth of our homes and binge of meat-filled meals. Why not warm up with a full meal that contains less than 400 calories and is made from natural ingredients.  This way you can feel good about what you’re eating without missing out on enjoying a delicious meal. CedarLane Natural Foods offers ten delicious vegetarian entrees, five of which are gluten-free, that are perfect for the colder fall and winter seasons. With amazing meal options like Eggplant Parmesan, Three Layer Enchilada Pie, Burrito Grande with Salsa Roja, Burrito Grande with Chili Verde Sauce, and Roasted Chile Relleno, there are enough delicious varieties to keep you satisfied every night of the week for lunch and dinner. Each entree is ready in about 5 minutes, the amount of time it takes us to decide what to eat. We got the chance to try a few of the meals and as meat eaters, we were blown away. There were so many favorites but we admit when it came to the Quinoa and Vegetable Enchiladas, we were in foodie heaven. Gone are the days of bland tasting vegan food options, get ready for an abundance of taste and flavor with every bite.

PEREG NATURAL FOODS COUSCOUS

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We continue our meatless Monday post with something a little bit lighter. Pereg Natural Foods introduced four new couscous flavors to their lineup. Couscous with Mushrooms (not pictured), Couscous Pearl Pasta Pumpkin Seeds, Couscous with Cranberries, and Couscous Pearl Pasta with Vegetables, join the range of already popular Pereg Food couscous offerings. Did you know Couscous is amongst the healthiest of the grain based products in the world? Mixed with Pereg spices and herbs, these light and fluffy vegetarian meals create an amazing combination of texture and flavor. We love these flavors because they can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, a side dish or a full meal. The couscous mixes are easy to prepare, taking only 10-20 minutes for prep, depending on variety. The above flavors, and much more, are available now.

we hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these wonderful vegetarian food options, and hope your meatless Monday is a delicious one.

It’s Apple Picking Season: Discover the Stemilt Growers Apple Varieties

Last summer we highlighted some summer fruits that we think make the perfect fast food. One of the fruits we highlighted were the deliciously sweet white cherries from Stemilt Growers. Today, in honor of the upcoming fall season, we’re celebrating the many tasty Stemilt Growers apple varieties. We had the opportunity to sample three of their apple varieties: Fuji, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith. Stemilt Growers has a total of fourteen apple varieties growing in their Washington State orchard. Those varieties include the above mentioned three plus Gala, Pinata, Honey Crisp, Sweetango, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Braeburn, Ambrosia, Mcintosh, and Cosmic Crisp. Let’s get to know more about the three apple varieties we enjoyed (all pictured below), starting with our favorite, the Pink Lady brand.

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PINK LADY BRAND

The Pink Lady brand is just as the name suggests, pink (with some slight yellow tones). This subtly sweet, crisp Australian apple will easily make you a fan at your first bite. It is a combination of the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apple varieties, which accounts for its sweet flavor with a slight tartness. The Pink Lady is very firm and dense, which gives its continuous crispness with every bite. The inside is a bright white flesh that is resistant to getting brown when it’s cut. Stemilt Pink Lady apples are harvested in October and November, and available through July.

FUJI

My second favorite apple (tied with Gala apples) is the Fuji apple. The juiciest and sweetest of the three Stemilt Growers apple varieties, Fuji apples are the perfect choice for those with a sweet tooth. A cross between two classic American apple varieties – Red Delicious and Virginia Ralls Janet, the Stemilt Fuji apple are harvested in September and October but are available all year round. You’ll recognize Fujis by their reddish stripes and slight red blush color over a yellow background color. Bite into the Fuji apple’s crisp exterior to reveal a firm, creamy-white flesh.

GRANNY SMITH

The only green apple, as well as the most tart, the Granny Smith is one of the most well-known apple varieties and one of the best apples for baking pies. The Granny Smith apple is firm with a strong tartness similar to a lemon. Its interior is as firm as its exterior and boasts a bright white flesh that also resists browning when sliced. Just like the Fuji apples, Granny Smith apples are also harvested in September and October and are available all year long.

Do you have a favorite apple variety or an apple recipe you like to enjoy during the fall season? What are your favorite Stemilt Growers apple varieties?

PEREG Natural Foods Launches Six New Gluten-free Flour Varieties

Calling all bakers, celiac suffers, foodies, and fans of all things gluten-free, have we got some cool culinary news for you. PEREG Natural Foods, makers of gourmet spices, herbs and seasonings, launched a range of alternative, gluten-free flours for your baking pleasure. Six alternative gluten-free flours to be exact! Get ready to bake up a storm with the following varieties: Almond Flour, Banana Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Chickpea Flour, Coconut Flour, and Quinoa Flour.

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All of the PEREG Natural Foods flours are gluten-free, 100% natural, non-dairy, GMO-Free, Vegan and certified kosher. They are packaged in 16 oz. resealable stay-fresh bags which retails for $4.99 each. The 100% blanched Almond Flour is made from multi-purpose flour made from Almonds. It’s wonderful for use in pizza crusts, shortbread cookies, and as a coating for chicken nuggets. The Banana Flour, which mimics wheat flour, is made from ripe, peeled bananas. It boasts a light and fluffy texture, is a great addition to your morning smoothie, and as you can imagine, makes great banana bread. The Buckwheat Flour is made from whole ground buckwheat (the seed of a plant that is related to rhubarb) and makes great crepes, pancakes, English muffins, cookies and buns, and to thicken soups, stews, and sauces. We’ve actually enjoyed a Buckwheat pasta at Ornella Trattoria Italiana in Queens, so if you make your own pasta at home, we highly recommend using this. The high in protein, iron, and fiber Chickpea Flour is made from ground chickpeas and great for making delicious falafels, pancakes, cookies, and fritters. We all know the benefits of drinking coconut water, get ready to create healthy recipes with the PEREG Coconut Flour. Think cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, bread, etc. The possibilities are endless. The high in protein and fiber Quinoa Flour is one very versatile, gluten-free flour. It has a very slight sour flavor, especially after toasting, that adds a wonderful flavor to bread, tortillas, and English muffins.

“According to industry statistics, sales of gluten-free products will exceed fifteen billion dollars by 2016, twice the amount of five years earlier. PEREG is pleased to introduce an extended choice of gluten-free and ancient grain flour types, which offer health-conscious consumers more variety for delicious cooking and baking,” says Gill Schneider, PEREG Natural Foods president.

The PEREG Natural Foods Gluten-free Flours are available at select retailers throughout the US, Canada, and on www.pereg-gourmet.com.

Scenes from the Summer Fancy Food Show

We don’t know how we did it, but we survived attending the Summer Fancy Food Show. For three days, we got to know, tasted, and learned all about the newest food items hitting the market. Over 2,670 food brands exhibited their specialty foods at the famed industry food event at the Jacob Javits. We’ll be highlighting some of our favorite finds separately but today, we’re just celebrating the wonder that is the amazing Summer Fancy Food Show show.

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The Summer Fancy Food Show itself is too massive to cover completely, so we’re going to highlight the new products in the What’s New Showcase and The Sofi Awards. The three-day show (and you need all three days to properly enjoy the show) is a great way to discover new culinary items. As you can imagine, there were hundreds, maybe thousands of new products on display. This year’s Summer Fancy Food Show featured almost 400 first-time exhibitors presenting everything from chips made from various grains and vegetables in international flavors such as Indian, and Japanese; wonderful spices and sauces; frozen superfruit smoothies; nut butters, and dessert toppings, etc.

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Aside from the new products display, the Summer Fancy Food Show celebrates award-winning specialty foods with the Sofi Awards. On the first night of the show, the Sofi Award celebrated the 2016 winners and finalists with an Opening Night Party filled with cocktails, food, and music. The 2016 honorees were chosen from 3,200 entries to represent the best in specialty foods. A display highlighted the best of the best.

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Some of the categories from the Sofi Awards include Hot Beverage, Cheese, Chocolate, Dairy or Daily Alternative, Cooking, Dipping, or Finishing Sauces, and so on. As previously stated, we’ll be sharing some of the wonderful new specialty foods we discovered while attending the show. How do you discover what’s new in the food industry?

On Your Grocery List: Health and Nutrition Can Be Delicious

Health and nutrition are things we have always taken seriously and enjoyed immensely. We grew up eating fruits every single day, and there were no colorful cereals at our breakfast table. Of course, for many this was not the case, but luckily there are food brands that are providing all your health and nutrition needs in delicious food offerings. Today we are celebrating some of these food brands and their offerings, some of which are just hitting shelves and others already available.

Whole Fruit Organic Juice Bars

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The temperature is heating up so what better ay to cool down than with a delicious and refreshing, on-the-go frozen juice tube from Whole Fruit Organic Juice Bars. These convenient range of frozen juices are only 60 calories each, USDA certified Organic and have no GMOs, HFCS, dairy or gluten. Cool down with any or all of these wonderful flavors: Apple Grape, Apple Strawberry, Apple Cherry and Apple Blueberry.

Lifeway Kefir Cultured Lo-Fat Milk Smoothie

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Looking for a high calcium, high protein snack? Look no further than the yogurt-style beverage that not only is delicious, it provides you with an amazing amount of health benefits thanks to its 12 live and active probiotics. Available this season is the limited edition Hibiscus Rhubarb Pie. This cultured, low-fat milk smoothie is both tart and tangy,  is gluten-free, 99% lactose-free and made with all natural ingredients. The very fashionable bottle design was made in collaboration with fashion designer Cynthia Rowley and inspired by the floral patterns and fresh spring flavors.

Ocean Spray Craisins

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Move over raisins, Craisins are here to take over their sweet, delicious taste. These surprisingly sweet dried cranberries are excellent for snacking on the go or liven up a recipe. The gluten-free Craisins Original dried cranberries are naturally cholesterol-free, a good source of fiber and 1 serving meets 25% of your daily recommended fruit needs.

Yoplait Plenti Oatmeal Greek Yogurt

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Take your morning up a notch with a cool new take on breakfast with the combination of cool, creamy Greek yogurt and Oatmeal. The Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt boasts 16 grams of whole grain, provides long-lasting energy, is a good source of protein, and can be enjoyed cold, straight from the fridge. Love oats, flax, and pumpkin seeds with your Greek Yogurt? The range of Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt is all the health and nutrition you need to start your day right.

Saffron Road Baked Lentil Chips

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So long potato and pita chips, and make way for a new healthy way to snack. Saffron Road Baked Lentil Chips unlocks the nutritional powerhouses that are lentils. These tiny legumes are dense in protein and high in fiber and are low in fat. These super crunchy Saffron Road Baked Lentil Chips come in six varieties: Sea Salt, Cucumber Dill, Garlic Parmesan, Moroccan Barbeque, Rosemary, and Cracked Pepper and are perfect to dip in hummus, guacamole, or salsa.

Dave’s Killer Bread

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Are you ready for bread that will blow you away? One sandwich made with this organic seeded bread is enough to fit all your health and nutrition needs. Dave’s Killer Bread is power-packed with whole grains, protein, fiber, and absolutely no artificial ingredients, and is always USDA organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Their vast variety of delicious bread options contains no artificial preservative or ingredients, no high fructose corn syrup, and no nuts, soy, or dairy, but they do contain very high levels of Omega-3.

DRY Sparkling Beverages

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Last but certainly not least on our grocery list of health and nutrition must-haves is DRY Sparkling Beverages. We’re quite familiar with this brand and have enjoyed quite a bit of their nine gourmet flavors. The full range boasts a clean ingredient panel is available in the following exotic flavors that are crisp and unexpected: Lavender, Blood Orange, Rhubarb, Vanilla Bean, Juniper Berry, Rainier Cherry, Ginger, Fuji Apple, and Cucumber. Keep an eye out for their new seasonal flavors, Malali Watermelon and Serrano Pepper.

What are your thoughts on these wonderful health and nutrition must-haves? Will they be making their way onto your ext grocery list?