Tag Archives: foodie

The Cheeses of Europe Pop-Up at Fashion Valley

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I love attending events that are different from what I’m used to, especially at a place like a major shopping mall.  Recently, I attended the media event for “The Cheeses of Europe” pop-up shop held at Center Court at Fashion Valley.  It featured several varieties of cheeses from Europe (mainly France), offered at a lower price point.  The Cheeses of Europe is presented by The Cheeses of France Marketing Council, and their hope is to build awareness and demand for The Cheeses of Europe in the US and the world through national and regional programs.  My favorite cheeses of the sampling were the creamier ones and the salted butters.  Although I didn’t purchase any that night, I’m happy to know that these cheeses are available at any local Whole Foods, because I will most definitely be trying some of the fabulous dishes on their recipes page.  Without a doubt, The Cheeses of Europe know how to Make it Magnifique!

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Wine and champagne was available to try with all of the wonderful cheeses for the evening!

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The dishes in this mini-sampling were so delicious!

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It was great to check out all of the tasty cheeses with Lilia of Curls and Fashion and Vanessa of Fashion Mixtape.  One of my favorite cheeses was that Paysan Breton whipped cheese, and another favorite was the Baked Brie with Chipotle Mango Honey Cilantro Shots from the flight of dishes pictured above (pictured bottom right).

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Of course I downloaded the app!

Cave Tools Kabobs Skewer Set Review: Perfect Party Food!

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New Year’s Eve is upon us, which means parties galore!  My husband, Deon, is quite the BBQ connoisseur and is known to create some fabulous meals on his Traeger Grill for several parties here right at home, especially during football season.  Recently, Deon made amazing kabobs with the Cave Tools Stainless Steel Kabob Skewers Set.  He really liked the overall design, especially how the skewers set on the rack (they can be set in eight different positions).  He also thought the “built-in-food-slider” was the most convenient part of the skewers, in addition to how easy they were to clean.  Above all, the kabobs were evenly cooked and didn’t stick to the grill because the rack sits right atop it.  Overall:  These are Deon approved!   So if you’re looking for a dish that will be a hit for your next party and have a great grill like we do (we have the Traeger Junior Elite Grill), grab this great skewer set from Cave Tools (check out below how fantastic his kabobs turned out).  Cheers and see you in the New Year!

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To purchase your own Cave Tools Kabob Skewer Set, click the links below AND, you can get 15% off with the following code!

Kabob Set 15% Off: LHWJZQMZ

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0117OY5IA/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&sr=8-32&me=A3IEEDMWTA8OSP&keywords=kabob+set&linkCode=as2&tag=hyacinth17-20

Cave Tools: http://cavetools.com/products/kabob-skewers-rack/?utm_source=Blogger&utm_medium=Review&utm_campaign=KabobSet

FTC Disclosure:  I received product in exchange for a product review.  Although I did receive product, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

Changing Up Snack Time with IFS Bulk

Toffee Cashews Peanuts CranberriesIt’s the beginning of a new year, and although I really do refrain from making resolutions because I tend to break them, I did actually resolve to improve the way I snack.  By coincidence, I was given the opportunity to review some fantastic snack foods that are on the healthier side, and are just as tasty as any donuts or cupcakes (although I may not give those up entirely).  I had friends and family sample these great items from International FoodSource, one of the largest suppliers of snack items in the Northeast of goodies such as nuts, dried fruit and snack mixes.

Immediately after opening the package, my mother stole the Toffee Cashews and kept them all to herself because they were so delicious.  Me, my husband and our friend Anthony tried the rest and although all of it was great, a crowd favorite was the Caramel Apple Crunch which satisfied my need for something sweet and salty.  If all of my future snack foods taste this great, I think I can finally keep one of my New Year’s resolutions!

Caramel Apple CrunchFTC Disclosure:  I received product and was asked to review the product in return.  Although I did receive product, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

Absolutely Fabulous: The 2014 San Diego County Fair

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It’s that time of year again for The San Diego County Fair, and this year’s theme was called “The Fab Fair” featuring all things Beatles.  Of course that made me happy because it meant lots of British references, and I’m all about anything that brings me closer to the UK!  It took two days with my family and one day with a friend/co-worker to get through the San Diego Fair this year.  As it happens every year, we were able to partake in the sights, sounds, rides, games and of course the fab food.  Next year, I’m going to take my family on a Tuesday to take advantage of “Taste of the Fair”, where some food vendors offer a sample portion of one of their menu items for just $2, which is worth the price of admission itself!  I spent just $10 on food that day and was able to sample five different items.  I hope the pictures speak for themselves of what a great time we had at this year’s fair.  The San Diego County Fair is open until July 6th, 2014, which gives you just a few more days to enjoy one of San Diego’s finest traditions, including the 4th of July!

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Inside “The Fab Fair Experience”.  It was a wonderful, musical feast for all of the senses.

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This was an awesome interactive display of Abbey Road!

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Old school records, speakers and a display on how records are made.  So nice to give the younger generation a wonderful musical education!

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“A Hard Day’s Night” is one of my favorite Beatles albums.

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One day, we will take Dominic to England to experience everything my husband and I have.  I know he’ll love it! (Crossbody purse by Bagjunki)

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Food and fun await!

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My boys at The Transformers display through Chevrolet.  Bumblebee has always been my favorite.

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My hubby is so happy to know our boy is growing up a daredevil and will ride pretty much anything with him!

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Dominic said, “Dada, help me kill zombies!”

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Our little snake charmer!

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Prizes we won each other: Deon won Dominic the minion, Dominic won me the donut, and I won the “Coon-munk” for Deon (we didn’t know what to call that cute cross between a raccoon and chipmunk)!

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Dominic was ready to try some awesome fair food…

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But none of us were brave enough to try the Triple Decker Krispy Kreme burger!

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My first two dishes of the day: Deep Fried Cream Cheese with sweet chilli sauce and a Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Melt.  The deep fried cream cheese was fantastic and everything I hoped it would be, but the pulled pork sandwich left much to be desired.  Oh how I wanted it to be good!

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Next on the menu: Deep Fried Birthday Cake and the Spaghetti & Meatball Sandwich.  The spaghetti sandwich was quite good.  I think I was hoping the deep fried birthday cake was a cake pop dipped in batter and deep fried…hmmm, maybe a new recipe I should try out?


Food For “The Big Game” From Allrecipes.com


If you’ve been following my blog, you know just how big of a football fan I am.  Although my San Diego Chargers didn’t make it all they way through the playoffs this year, I’ll still be watching the Superbowl because it’s the final football game until the new season in August.  My husband is big on preparing great food for any sporting event, so I’m glad to share with Any Second Now readers some awesome recipes for your Game Day get together through this fantastic graphic from Allrecipes.com, in partnership with Tabuleau Software.  After you click on the picture above, it will take you to the graphic where you can use the circular icons to filter recipes by type, which will update the map to show you the top recipes for that type by state.  If you would like to see all of the recipes available regardless of state, the list on the lower right hand side will also update by type as well.

I’m going to spend some time clicking through all of the great recipes in the graphic to help my hubby create our final menu to enjoy while we watch the Seattle Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.  Cheers and enjoy “The Big Game” on Sunday!

Allrecipes.com, the world’s largest digital food site with more than 1 billion visits each year, partnered with Tableau Software to share a state-by-state look at America’s Super Bowl game day favorites, including chili, dips, drinks, sandwiches, snacks and wings.  Using a massive amount of data from nearly 95 million visits, Tableau has created an interactive graphic that can be viewed here (or by clicking on the graphic above). Some interesting findings include:

– When it comes to snack recipes, we are a nation divided. Depending on where you are, Americans appear to have a strong preference for Little Smokies recipes, nachos or meatballs as their gameday snack of champions. Note that in both Washington and Colorado, the top snacks recipe is Mexican Potato Nachos. However, in New York/New Jersey, the top snacks recipes is The Best Meatballs.

– New York stands alone as the only state whose favorite chili recipe is turkey over beef.

– Two dip recipes stand out as head and shoulders above the rest – the recipe for Seven Layer Taco Dip dominates much of the Western part of the country (including California) and the Northeast and Southeastern states have a preference for Buffalo Chicken Dip.

– The one thing all Americans agree on is wings. The recipes for Baked Buffalo Wings is tops in all 50 states.

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Row one:  1. Baked Buffalo Wings; 2. Buffalo Chicken Dip; 3. Mexican Potato Nachos

Row two:  4. Seven Layer Taco Dip; 5. Simple Turkey Chili; 6. Slow Cooker Chili II

Row three: 7. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork; 8. The Best Meatballs; 9. The Real Mojito

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The picture above is of the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork my husband made last year, using the exact recipe from Allrecipes.com (we had the barbecue sauce on the side).  SO. GOOD! 

FTC Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.

Honey, I Love This Toast!

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I have a few food obsessions that I’ll be posting about in the next few weeks.  One of them is something I have been seeing everywhere, yet never had the pleasure of indulging in until very recently.  My husband and I had our first taste of honey toast at the Up 2 You Café in the Kearny Mesa area.  The picture above is what I ordered at the cafe, topped with custard, strawberries and vanilla ice cream.  The honey toast itself is such sweet, crunchy and buttery goodness, my hubby knew I was instantly hooked.  After we arrived home, I sat down at my computer and looked up several recipes on how to make this marvelous dessert, and found three that I liked from these tasty blogs and basically combined them:  A Taste of Koko, Notions and Notations of a Novice Cook, and Kirbie’s Cravings (from San Diego).  Below is a step by step pictorial of how I made my version of honey toast, and it’s so very easy to make.  I emulated what I had at Up 2 You Café, minus the custard (it would have taken a little too long).  The result is better than you could imagine.  Let me know if you’ve tried this tasty Asian delight, and if you’ve to make it yourself.  Enjoy!

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Originally, I wanted to use a thicker cut bread, but we couldn’t find any loaves in the grocery stores close by.  I know you can use basically any bread, but I thought a sweet bread would work best, like Hawaiian sweet bread.

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I used three pieces of bread:  one was the base, and the other two were the “bowl”.  Take a sharp knife and cut the center out of two of the pieces of bread, then cut those pieces into cubes.

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Melt two tablespoons of butter and brush the bottom slice, then set the other two pieces of toast on top and brush those as well (be sure to brush all sides).  Butter the cubes and toss them in a bowl, then sprinkle about two tablespoons of granulated sugar on the bread “bowl” and the bread cubes.  I placed them in our countertop oven and heated at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden brown (be sure to turn the cubes so that all of the sides are toasted).  Replace the cubes into the bowl, and drizzle generously with honey.  Very. Generously.

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This is the best part:  Whilst still warm, add your favorite toppings.  The result?  Honey toast heaven. 

Vegas Vittles: Monta & English’s

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My last post about my recent Las Vegas trip will be about the two new places we ventured for noshing:  Monta Japanese Noodle House and English’s Gastro Pub.  Deon’s Uncle Junior has been talking about Monta Ramen for a while, and since every restaurant has air conditioning, having hot soup actually sounded appetizing, despite the heat.  The restaurant is pretty close to the strip but very small, which caused a line to build quickly after we were seated.  We started off fried rice and gyoza, our favorites.  Apparently the gyoza is placed in a press that fries it on each side.  It’s also made fresh to order, and I can definitely say it’s the best gyoza I’ve ever had.  Finally, we had the ramen, which was again, the best I’ve had.  If you’re willing to venture away from The Strip, this place is definitely worth it.

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Fried Rice

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The. Best. Gyoza. EVER.

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From the Monta Noodle House menu:  “Tonkotsu-Shoyu Ramen (pork bone and special shoyu base) has a cloudy white colored broth. The broth is like a mix of the Tokyo and Kyushu style blend. This style is the newer trend in Japan.  Basic toppings are green onions, two slices of chashu, bamboo shoots and kikurage.”
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On the Saturday before we left Vegas, Deon’s mom suggested we try English’s Gastro Pub at the Town Square Mall, also off The Strip.  Being the Anglophile that I am, I jumped at the chance to bring a touch of England back into my life.  My mother-in-law actually suggested we do Afternoon Tea, but since all of us were eating there for an early dinner, we decided to have actual meals this time round.  My husband and father-in-law kept it simple with burgers and chips (my hubby added the house salad below).  Not pictured is the child’s version of the burger meal, which was with a slider and chips, and included a drink for only $5.  My mother-in-law had the cod and chips with crushed peas (aka mushy peas).  I decided to go all the way English and had the Toad in the Hole.  All of the food was good and fresh, and I loved the gravy of my Toad in the Hole.  The last time I had tea was in London last year at Harrods (post here), and I think I’m due for another go.  This visit to English’s just made me feel all nostalgic, and after seeing a few people who had the tea service, and I vowed that the next time we would be in town, my mother-in-law and I would venture on our own for Afternoon Tea.

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Photo 1: House salad (leaf salad, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, croutons); Photo 2: Burgers & Chips.

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Toad in The Hole:  Mini Yorkshire pudding wrapped bangers, onion gravy, mash.