A Platter of Thoughts · Travel

2018 Mercedes E400 Coupe

 

 

I’m excited to share another beautiful car with all of you.  Meet the 2018 Mercedes E400 4Matic Coupe. This car is super stylish, as if it came off of a car runway.  The interior is stunning, providing you with all the latest luxury.  Beautifully comfortable seats that even massage your back and an excellent Burmester audio system make it even more noteworthy.  You would think that a coupe wouldn’t be comfortable for 4 people but I️ was surprised at the leg room the backseat had and how comfortable it was.  It’s roomy and perfect for backseat passengers.

The E400 Coupe excels on wide, open highways, where it maintains speed effortlessly. Providing you with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque in the E400.

Let’s breakdown some of the other amazing features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth are the standard smartphone connectivity tools. Other highlights include ambient interior lighting with 64 color choices (may we suggest a calming Cerulean during the day and daring Magenta at night?), heated armrests, and a rockin’ Burmester sound system.


Every 2018 E-Class Coupe comes standard with a backup camera, electronic stability control, active braking assist, and two Pre-Safe® technologies that activate before an impending crash. When the vehicle senses it will be T-boned, the front seats automatically push driver and passenger three inches towards the center of the cabin. The intelligence of the car is outstanding. Also can’t forget to mention the panoramic roof, leather trim, 12.3-inch widescreen. Make sure to checkout my video below. All and all I give this car a 9 out of 10. For more information visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/index
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Food!!

Sweet Potato Balls

Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s my favorite time of the year. The smell of delicious food and laughs with family and friends is simply the best. These sweet potato balls are great as an appetizer, side dish or even perfect for those leftovers.

I️ wanted to create that perfect bite of sweet potato casserole. Some people use marshmallows or pecans to top their casserole. I️ used both in this little bite. I️ promise you this will be a crowd pleaser for all those sweet potato lovers.

I️ hope everyone has a fantastic thanksgiving. Remember to “Gobble til you wobble”. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sweet potato balls

Ingredients:

2 cooked sweet potatoes (mashed)
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 egg
5 cups vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups panko crumbs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Mini Marshmallows, for stuffing

Preparation:
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, cook until tender 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside until cooled.

In a medium bowl add the butter, flour, milk, 1/2 brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, ginger, vanilla, egg and a good pinch of salt. Mash some more to make them super creamy.

Place the panko crumbs, pecans, remaining brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Use a tablespoon amount of sweet potato and place them in the breadcrumbs. Gently roll the sweet potato balls through the breadcrumbs, forming balls as you go and evenly coating each ball. Make a small indent to add marshmallows and roll back up. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the balls in the refrigerator for about an hour.

In a medium pot add vegetable oil bring to 350 F degrees. Place 4 balls in at a time and fry until golden. Remove from oil and on to paper towel to drain. Toss in cinnamon and sugar.

Place on serving dish and enjoy.

 

A Platter of Thoughts · Food!!

Manna Pie in the Sky

 

 

The Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA)’s 21th annual Pie in the Sky event, presented by American Airlines, is MANNA’s largest fundraiser with a host of exciting pie events leading up to Thanksgiving. Funds raised through Pie in the Sky enable MANNA to provide a delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal for four to a MANNA client. MANNA serves individuals battling life-threatening illness in the Greater Philadelphia region. Buy a Pie, Feed a Family!
Pie sales begin October 1 and end November 17. Pies can be purchased at http://www.mannapies.org. The interactive website makes buying and pie selling easy.

 

The 2017 Pie in the Sky season is more competitive than ever – with a goal to sell more than 8,600 pies in six flavors. Pie flavors include: Aberdeen Standard Apple, Pecan, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Pecan and American Airlines Sky Pie which is a delicious cheesecake pie with caramel, chocolate, and walnuts. A brand new Berry pie makes its debut this year and is available in a very limited quantity.
Pie selling teams are led by Presenting Sponsor American Airlines, and are the heart of MANNA’s Pie in the Sky campaign. Dozens of teams and hundreds of individual pie sellers participate from all over the Philadelphia area.

 

Pie in the Sky gets bigger and better each year, thanks to the tremendous support from the greater Philadelphia community.” – Sue Daugherty, MANNA CEO. MANNA proudly recognizes American Airlines for celebrating their 10th year as Presenting Sponsor of Pie in the Sky!
The event is generously sponsored by – American Airlines (Presenting Sponsor), Aberdeen Standard (Premier Sponsor), Sysco Philadelphia (Premier Sponsor), and CBS 3 (Media Sponsor).
Pie in the Sky Highlights:

Saturday, October 1 – Pie sales officially begin. Thursday, November 2 – The Mayor’s office, along with other dignitaries, declare “Pie Day” through an official proclamation at MANNA. MANNA shares delicious pie samples throughout the festivities. Pie Man and many of the Pie Teams are on hand to celebrate. Friday, November 17 – Pie sales end at midnight on MANNA’s pie website. Tuesday & Wednesday, November 21-22 – Distribution and pie pick-up days, where hundreds of MANNA volunteers are on hand to distribute and deliver pies to 50 pick-up locations. Pick-up locations will open from 4pm-8pm (November 21); 10am-2pm (November 22).

Check out the event’s website here http://www.mannapies.org

ABOUT MANNA MANNA prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life. A small professional staff and 4,500 dedicated volunteers bring more than 95,000 nutritious, home delivered meals each month to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life threatening illnesses. MANNA dietitians promote wellness through nutrition education and counseling. Through these services, MANNA provides opportunities for caring people to extend loving support to families, friends, and neighbors.

Food!!

Dunkin Donuts Munchkins

When you think about having a birthday party of course the highlight is the cake or cupcakes.  Some people may just go to the supermarket and pick up cupcakes or spend a good amount of money on a cake creation from a bakery.  There’s nothing wrong with either of those, but after having so many birthday parties for my kids I decided I didn’t want to spend a fortune on cakes or cupcakes for little kids.
This is just my opinion. Maybe when they get older I’ll go back to cakes but for now we are enjoying my childhood favorite munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts. These are perfect for a kid’s party with no messy frosting all over the place. You can get super creative with these little guys as well. Kids and adults alike will love it. There is no shame moms and dads to present this at your child’s birthday party.
If some of you don’t know what munchkins are, they are BITE SIZED TREATS.   Donut hole treats come in a variety of delicious flavors – the perfect, poppable treats to share with others. Stop by your local Dunkin’ Donuts of Greater Philadelphia to pick-up donuts for any occasion.
A Platter of Thoughts

Oriental Trading Birthday Party

This past weekend was my daughter and husbands birthday. Since their Birthdays always fall near Halloween we always do a Halloween theme. Planning a party at home can sometimes be stressful for people. Luckily I love to entertain but sometimes I have a vision and can’t find certain items at the store. But not to fear that’s when Oriental Trading comes in to play.

Oriental Trading has everything you need to plan that perfect gathering. Below I listed all the items we got for our event. The hit of the party was the Eyeball drink dispensers. Both kids and adults loved it.

Party supplies
Halloween Silhouette Plastic Cups
Eyeball Drink dispenser
Jumbo corner spider web with spider
Creepy cloth
Black and Orange polka dot napkins
Black and Orange polka dot plates
Orange and Black polka dot straws
Halloween fringe table skirt
Mini squeeze jack o lantern stress toys
Orange and Black party kits (which came with table decor and balloons)
Black and Orange polka dot banners
Halloween pinwheels

These supplies were perfect for our Halloween birthdays. I can’t wait to get some things for my holiday parties/get togethers. They have some fabulous holidays items that will make those table settings stand out.

Food!!

Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces Event and Recipe

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This is a sponsored post with Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces; thoughts and recipe are my own.

Last week I headed to NYC to attend a Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta Sauce event. It took place at The Gramercy hotel rooftop, and was absolutely stunning. The table was set beautifully. Everyone was there was to try the delicious brand new Bertolli Pasta Sauce called Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces. As all of you know, I love to make my own sauce but when I don’t have time I love to grab a good jarred tomato sauce. I was always a fan of traditional Bertolli Pasta Sauces but after trying the new Rustic Cut Pasta Sauces I was hooked. Not only does the sauce taste fresh but, the veggies are still a little al dente, giving you that homemade hearty sauce that we all desire.

 

The event had some delicious wines to pair up with dinner. Appetizers started out with Arancini balls topped with Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Roasted Garlic Marinara with Garden Vegetables Sauce , mini Meatballs topped with Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta Sauce Marinara, and dates wrapped with prosciutto. These all were very delicious. Now let’s get to dinner.

For starters we enjoyed a Tuscan salad and rustic bread topped with Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces with a Pinot Grigio. The main course was a family style Roastes Branzino, Chicken Cacciatore made with Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauce Sweet Peppers and Portobello Mushroom (delicious), Cavatelli tossed in Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauce Roasted Garlic, mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes topped with Parmesan cheese (I could have eaten the whole bowl, haha) and finally for the table was a creamy marscapone and Parmesan polenta with Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauce Spicy Marinara. The wines paired for dinner were Chianti and Chardonnay.

After a fabulous dinner of course we needed dessert, so we had fresh berries and tiramisu.

The event was fantastic.  I met so many amazing people and learned a little more about the brand Bertolli and about founder Francesco Bertolli and his love for simply cooked meals.  They use quality ingredients and olive oil to lock in flavors.

Below I wanted to share a recipe with you guys using Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce.

This is a great little appetizer or a side for a main dish. Its round little polenta topped with roasted garlic sauce, sautéed wild mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and basil. The perfect bite.

What I absolutely love about the new Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta Sauces is it contains NO additives like artificial colors, artificial flavors and added sugar. This is key when feeding my family. I always read the label.

Also this month Bertolli is launching the Bravo Rewards program, rewarding you with an opportunity to receive a custom, ceramic spoon rest when you purchase two or more jars of any Bertolli Pasta Sauce in one trip to the store, and post a photo of the receipt on bertolli.com/bravo. Eating a delicious sauce and getting a chance to win a little gift sounds like a plan to me.

Round Polenta Bites with Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce recipe

Ingredients:

1 store bought ready-made polenta roll (about 8oz)
1 jar Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
1 lb Wild mushrooms, chopped
1 Garlic glove, minced
1 sprig of thyme
1 teaspoon evoo
Salt & pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese
6-8 Basil leaves, chiffonade for garnish

Preparation:

On medium to high heat add evoo, thyme and mushrooms, sauté for about 5 minutes. Next season with S&P cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside.

Cut the store bought polenta into round bites. Top with Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce, sautéed mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Place in the oven at 375 F degrees for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven top with Basil and serve.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bertolli® Rustic Cut™ Pasta Sauces.

 

 

Food!!

Healthy Roasted Veggie bowl with Cauliflower rice

I’m really excited to share this recipe with you. A lot of vegan and vegetarian meals get a bad rep.  People say it doesn’t have flavor and that it’s bland. Well I’m here to tell you that the rumors aren’t true. Seasoning, herbs and Extra virgin olive oil are your friend when preparing a veggie meal. 

I have done a cauliflower pizza crust but I wanted to make cauliflower rice with my roasted veggies for dinner. The flavors in this dish didn’t even make me miss meat (don’t worry I’m still a carnivore, but love a good healthy shake up now and again). I have said this before but by roasting veggies you are bringing out the sweetness in veggies which is a great way to get kids to eat them. 
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family did. 
Cauliflower Rice ingredients: 
1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets and add it to the food processor pulse until the size of grains or you can buy cauliflower crumbles already done for you. 
2 tablespoons of EVOO 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon paprika 
Parmesan cheese, optional 
Parsley, roughly chopped for garnish 
Preparation: 
In a large saucepan add evoo, garlic powder, onion powder on medium to high heat. Season with S&P sauté for 5 minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley. 
 
Roasted veggies ingredients: 
1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts
1 small butternut squash, cubed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
Salt & pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Garlic powder 
1-2 sprigs of rosemary or thyme, finely chopped, optional (both if desired)
 
Preparation: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut off buttons of Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Place in a large bowl.

Next cut up butternut squash into cubes (you can also buy cubed and prepped butternut squash at supermarket). Place in the bowl with Brussels sprouts. Drain and rinse chickpeas and add to bowl.

Toss veggies with seasonings, olive oil and herbs. Place all the veggies on baking sheet (don’t over crowd the veggies this will steam them instead of roasting) and roast for 35 to 40 minutes until tender and golden crisp color.  Move veggies around about half way through. Serve on top of cauliflower rice and top with pepitas and parsley. 

A Platter of Thoughts · Food!!

Dunkin’ Donuts Celebrates 10 Years as Official Partner of the Philadelphia Eagles and Launches New Game Day Offer for Fans

 

In honor of the tenth consecutive season as an official partner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dunkin’ Donuts today announced the launch of its new Eagles Game Day Offer to help keep DD Perks® members and Philadelphia Eagles fans running throughout the regular season.

Beginning Sept. 10 as the Eagles take on the Redskins, DD Perks members can score a $1 medium Hot or Iced Coffee on all Eagles game days when they pay with a DD Perks enrolled Dunkin’ Donuts card. Additionally, with the “Cheers, Eagles Won!” promotion, DD Perks members can score a $1 medium Hot or Iced Coffee the day following an Eagles regular season win when they pay with a DD Perks enrolled Dunkin’ Donuts card. The offers are valid at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the greater Philadelphia region throughout the 2017-18 regular season. Fans can become DD Perks members by enrolling at DDPerks.com or through the Dunkin’ Mobile App®.

“For 10 years, fans have come to rely on Dunkin’ Donuts to fuel their passion for the Philadelphia Eagles,” said Jessica Weissman, Field Marketing Manager, Dunkin’ Brands. “We are excited to launch the new Eagles Game Day Offer to reward our most loyal fans, our DD Perks members, with the chance to score $1 medium Hot or Iced Coffee on all Eagles game days, and look forward to keeping our Dunkin’ Donuts guests and Eagles fans cheering loudly throughout the regular season.”

As the Official Coffee, Breakfast Sandwich, and Donut of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dunkin’ Donuts will offer fans a chance to show their team pride with the official Eagles Donut, a yeast ring topped with green dipping icing and white drizzle, available today through Nov. 19 at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the greater Philadelphia-area. Dunkin’ Donuts hot and iced coffee, and hot chocolate will continue to be served in various locations throughout Lincoln Financial Field, while Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup® Pods will be served in each of the stadium’s suites.

“We are excited to celebrate 10 years of partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Ari Roitman, Eagles Senior Vice President of Business. “Their ability to engage with Eagles fans through unique, season-long promotions continues to fuel the city and our team. We are humbled to know that our on-field performance this season will once again directly benefit our community’s youth through the ‘TouchDDowns for Kids’ program.”

Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts will once again partner with Good Sports, Inc. for the 5th annual Dunkin’ Donuts “TouchDDowns for Kids” program, where for every Eagles touchdown scored, Dunkin’ Donuts will donate $250 to Good Sports. Philadelphia Eagles’ Tight End Zach Ertz will return as the program’s spokesperson, donating an additional $250 for each touchdown he personally scores this season. The funds donated through the “TouchDDowns for Kids” program will directly support Good Sports’ mission to increase youth participation in sports and recreation by providing sports equipment and apparel to youth organizations in need. To learn more or to apply for an equipment grant, visit www.GoodSports.org/DunkinPhilly.

To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com or follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DunkinDonuts) and Twitter @DunkinPhilly.

 

Food!!

Bourbon Peach Cobbler on Cast Iron

 

End of summer and peaches are all over the place, so I love having a quick dessert recipe in hand that utilizes them. This cobbler can be done with any fruit of choice. I also love the fact that it’s done right on my cast iron pan, caramelizing the fruit and intensifying the flavors. To this recipe I decided to add bourbon. Something about bourbon and peaches makes me happy. The only problem you will have is just having one slice. Another tip is to not forget the vanilla ice cream. It’s a must and you can thank me later.

Ingredients:

7 peaches, washed and sliced (I left the skin on but you can remove the skin of you would like)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
2/4 cups bourbon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees

In a medium bowl add the sliced peaches, cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, bourbon, pinch salt , cornstarch and set aside let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile add flour, baking powder, pinch salt, remaining sugar and cubed cold butter. Using a food processor or your hands work the butter into the flour leaving it coarse. Next add the heavy cream don’t over work it. It should be a little sticky and that’s fine. Set aside.

Next take a cast iron add some butter to sauté the marinated peaches on medium to high heat. Sauté for 5 minutes remove from heat. Finally add your dough with a tablespoon or ice cream scoop throughout the top of the peaches. Sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon if desired.

Place in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Now get ready to enjoy. Serve warm with that vanilla ice cream.

 

A Platter of Thoughts · Food!!

Diner en Blanc Philadelphia 2017 Picnic ideas

Diner en blanc in Philadelphia is almost here.  I’m beyond excited because it’s the most magical night. Here is a little inside scoop on what to expect.

At the last minute before the event begins, the top secret location is revealed to thousands of friends who have all been patiently waiting to learn where “Dîner en Blanc” will take place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in that public space.
 
Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city’s public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by good taste and a love of beauty. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it’s all not a dream…
 I wanted to share some ideas for my last minute friends who have no idea what to pack in those picnic baskets. Diner en blanc is all about elegance so a P&J sandwich will not cut it. Below I have some appetizers, a main course and dessert that will make guests next to you want to try. I hope you enjoy and for more information visit https://philadelphia.
Appetizers:
Watermelon and Feta skewers 
Ingredients:
  • 2 lb. seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into cubes
  • 4-6 oz of Feta cheese cut into cubes 
  • Mint leaves 
  • Wooden toothpick or Bamboo skewers 
  • Preparation:
Thread a piece of watermelon onto a skewer, followed by a chunk of feta and a mint leaf, Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Store covered in the refrigerator for up 1 hour, if desired. 
Cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cantaloupe – seeded, rind removed and cut into cubes 
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut into slices 
  • Preparation:
  • Remove the flesh from the rind of the cantaloupe; wrap each piece of cantaloupe with a slice of the ham. Serve cold.

  • Main course 
  • Roasted shrimp with orzo salad 
  • Salt & pepper, to taste 
  • Evoo
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup seedless cucumber, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup tarragon, finely chopped 
  • Feta, cut into large cubes or you can use crumbles 

  • Preparation:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Fill a large pot with water, bring it to a boil add salt. Next add orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Let cool. Whisk together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, 2/4 cups olive oil, 2 salt and pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well. Set aside.

    Now place the cleaned shrimp in a large bowl and drizzle with evoo, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out on s baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Let shrimp cool. 

Add the shrimp to the orzo and add chives, tarragon, cucumber, salt and pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and toss together. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight.
Finally the dessert 
Apple baked rose 
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 sheet thawed puff pastry 
1/3 unsalted butter, melted 
1 teaspoon confectioners sugar 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
2 tablespoons water
1 large red apple, cores and thinly sliced 
1/4 cup white sugar 
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees 
Grease 4 cupcake tins. Set aside.
Cut the apple in half and remove core and thinly slice apples. Place them in a microwave safe bowl toss with lemon juice and water. Set in the microwave for 2 minutes until the apples have soften.
Next mix together cinnamon and sugar. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into 4 pieces. 
Brush melted butter over dough; top with a cinnamon-sugar. Place apple slices along 1 long edge of dough, about 1/4 inch beyond edge of dough, overlapping slices slightly. Fold bottom half of dough over the apple slices to form a long “folder” of dough with rounded edges of apple slices exposed.
Brush painted surface with a little more butter and sprinkle more cinnamon and sugar.  Starting from one end, roll dough not too tightly to form a rose shaped pastry. Place in muffin tins and set in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove and serve.