A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

Taste of the Nation NYC

New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry, the signature tasting event featuring NYC’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, takes place Monday, April 24, on the East River Waterfront at the stunning 180 Maiden Lane. The evening is led by Honorary Chair Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group) along with Culinary Co-Chairs Anita Lo (Annisa) and Bryce Schuman (Betony), and Host Committee members Eli Sussman (Samesa), Chris Jaeckle (Uma Temakeria), William Elliot (Maison Premiere and Sauvage), Jack Logue (Betony), Flynn McGarry (Eureka) and Oskar Kostecki (Union Square Wines). United for a cause, these and other culinary tastemakers lend their talent and time to ensure a future where every child in this country gets the healthy food they need, every day. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event benefit No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in America.

Taste of the Nation 2017 will feature more than 40 of the city’s most popular eateries, offering guests bite-size fare, craft cocktails and inventive desserts. Participating restaurants and bars include Lalito, Union Square Cafe, Atoboy, Massoni, Pig Bleecker, Dead Rabbit, Black Tail, Pig & Khao and Daily Provisions, among others (full list below).

 

This year, Taste of the Nation is introducing new special culinary programming such as The Candy Carnival featuring a colorful selection of local, handmade candies and cotton candy making from Brooklyn Floss. The event is also bringing back favorites from previous years such as The Donut Derby with creations from the city’s best donut shops and the always-popular Rosé Garden.

In support of No Kid Hungry, alt-rock chart topping band The Strumbellas will perform a special acoustic set during the event, presented by Citi.  Listen to their new single “Young & Wild” here.

Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry tickets start at $250. For additional information and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://ce.nokidhungry.org/events/nyc-taste-nation

Every Kid, Healthy Food, Every Day

One in six children in this country struggles with hunger, including 22% of children in New York. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast in the classroom, have access to the food they need in the summer, and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. Since the campaign’s launch, No Kid Hungry and its partners have connected kids facing hunger to more than 500 million meals.

In 2016, New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry raised enough to help feed children in need more than one million healthy meals. Local beneficiaries include: City Harvest, Hunger Solutions NY, Food Bank for New York City and Hunger Free America.

New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry is supported by national presenting sponsors Citi and Sysco®, national media sponsor Food Network, national sponsors OpenTable and The Glenlivet, and local sponsors Bazzini, Empire City Casino, Fenton Models, Lifeway, Loacker USA, Moishe’s Moving and Storage, Nobletree, Prosciutto di Parma, PTG, Shawmut Design and Construction, S. Pellegrino, Tito’s, TouchBistro, Virgil Kaine and Zwilling J.A. Henckles.

The best eateries in the New York City area will be represented at the event, including: 21 Greenpoint, A&E Supply Co., Acme, American Cut, Atoboy, Bay Kitchen Bar, Bessou, Blacktail, Cafe Clover, Cafe2 & Terrace5 at MoMA, Cienfuegos, CUT, Daily Provisions, Davio’s, Dead Rabbit, DOE Mobile Meals Truck, El Atoradero, Fifty, Finback Brewing, Freek’s Mill, Fresh Kills, Huertas, Karasu, Lalito, La New Yorkina, Le Compagnie, Le District, Maialino, Maison Premiere, Marta, Maialino, Massoni, Oddfellows Ice Cream, Pig & Khao, Pig Bleeker, Samesa, Talde Brooklyn, The Jones, The Vnyl, Union Square Cafe , Union Square Events, Up & Up,

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Food!! · Travel

Kalahari Waterpark Resort

Last month my family and I got invited to the most amazing resort, Kalahari here in Pennsylvania. Kalahari Resorts and Conventions isn’t your typical resort – its authentically African theme is designed to bring families together, and that isn’t just a marketing ploy.  The spirit of Africa is reflected in every aspect of Kalahari – from the handpicked Rwandan coffee beans that are brewed on-property (if you love coffee you will enjoy this delicious cup), handcrafted artwork on the convention center walls, furniture placed in guest rooms, recorded music from the streets of Cape Town echoing in the resorts, and original crafts for guest souvenirs.  It’s all part of Kalahari’s commitment to bring guests a beyond-expectations experience.  Below you will find some great information.

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Kalahari Resort – Pocono Mountains

  • Guest rooms and suites: nearly 1,000 rooms including one-, two- and three and five bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 22 guests 
  • America’s Largest Indoor waterpark: 220,000 sq. ft. 
  • Outdoor pool, large sundeck for relaxing, indoor/outdoor whirlpools and swim-up bar
  • Family Entertainment Center: 40,000 square feet with dry activities such as mini-bowling, cutting-edge arcade games, a 5-D theater and black light mini golf. 
  • The Arena – premier free-roam virtual reality experience on the East Coast
  • Gorilla Grove Treetop Outdoor Aerial Adventure Park
  • On-site dining experiences: 
    • Double Cut Charcoal Grill Liquor Bar:  Kalahari’s signature steak house experience featuring: premium cuts of meat, craft cocktails, family style sides and more 
    • Sortino’s Italian Kitchen: A new-aged, red-sauced restaurant where old-school Italian cuisine meets the modern age. The menu will include: wood-fired pizza, Italian family dining, a large variety of wines and more. 
    • Marrakesh Market: Grab and go convenience e bazaar style shopping, unique gifts, authentic-African items and everyday needs
    • Brandberg:  A classic tavern with a modern twist, Brandberg is an oasis in the Kalahari – a refuge for adults, a welcoming environment for families, and a destination for anyone in search of a distinctive dining and drinking experience 
  • Amenities: full-service Spa Kalahari and Salon, 6,000 square-feet of unique retail shops, a fully equipped fitness center
  • Convention Center:  100,000 sq. ft. with 65,000 square feet of flexible meeting space
I was impressed with all the restaurant options that Kalahari had to offer. Every restaurant is family friendly. They also offer breakfast with the Kalahari characters, which is an all you can eat sit down breakfast. 
For dinner we went over to Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar. Transport into our contemporary steakhouse, featuring a menu with robust selections cooked over hot coals including steak, seafood, chops, chicken and vegetables. One quality many items share: the distinctive flavor imparted by Double Cut’s charcoal grill.

The décor is modern, but not pretentious. The ambiance is sophisticated and multisensory, yet comfortable. The staff is educated, but not showy. The uniforms are unique, but classically tasteful. Welcome to Double Cut. 

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We started off our dinner with some fantastic wine and black pepper calamari. Our waitress was super helpful bringing out the different cuts of meat that Double cut has to offer. I ordered filet mignon with jumbo shrimp scampi and garlic mashed potatoes (my mouth is actually watering, thinking about it). The hubby ordered a NY strip with madiera mushrooms and charred asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Kids enjoyed some pasta, one with butter sauce and one with marinara.  Finishing off dinner we enjoyed some aged bourbon and creme brûlée.  I would recommend Double Cut to any steak lover. 
In addition to the amazing décor and dining experiences, the entertainment level is fun for all ages.  We had a blast with the kids at their massive indoor water park, had fun at the large arcade where you can win prizes and play some fun games, and my husband even got to try a new Virtual Reality experience in their “Arena.”  You can read his review of that here: https://scryptcomics.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/a-whole-new-experience/.  There’s lots of fun for all ages, and I hope to return again soon.
Visit https://www.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania for more information and to book your next family getaway
Food!!

Easter with Keller’s Creamery

Easter brings with it the heart of Springtime.  It’s a time to celebrate, and there is much symbolism in the flowers rising as well as having family or friends gathering for a feast.  Each year it has become a tradition to have certain necessities for our meal.  Wine and beer are the main drinks for us grown ups with a lightly carbonated juice for the kids.  Our table always pops with color.  For me the holidays aren’t about just making a plate look good, but the table needs to draw in the crowd as well.  My mother-in-law bakes a nice ham with some pineapple and maraschino cherries to accent it.  There’s usually a good green vegetable, potatoes, rolls, and coleslaw in the mix as well.  Being a baker’s daughter though, I can’t deny the bread, and can’t wait for the dessert. 

While planning how I’d decorate the table, I included a side bowl of jelly beans for the color, and after dinner taste.  When I found out about Keller’s Creamery Butter Bunny Sculpture, however, I knew I had to have that as well.  A regular stick of butter for the bread just wouldn’t do.  He may not be the Easter Bunny, but it’s one of the highlights of the table.  The kids even look past the jelly beans and dessert to the cute little bunny.  Just make sure they see it before you cut off the ears and start spreading him on bread. 

This year I’m making a butter cake using Keller’s Creamery.  I’m local to a Weis supermarket, which always has them this time of year.  Below is the recipe, which I hope you enjoy.  What Easter traditions do you have? Visit for more on Keller’s Creamery http://www.kellerscreamery.com/

Butter Cake Recipe:

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 cups sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs, room temp

Zest of one orange, for garnish optional

powdered sugar, for dusting top of cake

Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour a large bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well incorporated. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Add in the salt, baking powder, baking soda and butter milk, then add the sifted flour. Spread the batter evenly into the Bundt pan. Bake for approx. 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 1 hour.
  3. Once cake has completely cooled, invert onto a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Keller’s Creamery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Food!!

TGI Fridays Endless Happy Hour

This past week I had the opportunity to attend TGI Friday’s #EndlessHappyHour Celebration with Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Marcus Smith.  The Bensalem Friday’s location provided a showcase of new drinks and apps, as well as a fun atmosphere filled with excited football fans and food lovers.  Did I mention that the appetizers are endless?  Well you read right.  For ten dollars a person you can order as many apps as you’d like.  Among them are their newest addition of Meatballs & Fried Pickles.  TGI Friday’s also has an amazing selection of drinks, which I saw many people had in hand during the gathering.  Among those are the new Ultimate Boba Long Island Tea, The Best Fridays™ Margarita, and Strawberry Henny.  The excitement of the crowd really took it to a new level with plenty of laughs and enjoyment to go around.

While I wasn’t able to stay long due to other engagements, I will certainly be returning soon with my family to enjoy the experience.

Below are Ultimate Boba Long Island Tea and Strawberry Henny & Peach Sangria

Food!!

Peach Dump Cake

IMG_2371.JPGThe name of this easy cake doesn’t do it any justice. It’s called the “dump cake”. The reason why it’s called this is because you pretty much dump everything in one dish. No mixing required. This cake is so easy and by far my favorite way to satisfy a sweet tooth. The only bad part about this is waiting. Feel free to add any fruit to this mixture. I also topped with some ice cream and some lime zest. I felt like having some peaches since spring is in the air. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray for greasing the baking dish
Two 12-ounce bags frozen peaches
1 box moist yellow cake mix
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2cup rolled oats
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Ice cream, optional for topping

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Put the peaches in the prepared baking dish. distribute the cake mix over the peaches evenly. Sprinkle with the almonds and oats. Evenly drizzle the butter over the entire dish.

Bake until firm and golden brown, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Food!!

Coconut Pudding

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I love a good pudding.  It’s like the perfect ending to a delicious dinner.  I have made so many varieties of pudding (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, lemon and passion fruit), but this coconut one has now become a favorite on the list.  This is a must try recipe.  You will not be disappointed, and even the kids will want seconds.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (13.5-oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Raspberries, garish optional

Preparation:

Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan; whisk in milk and next 2 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Place in little ramekins and in the refrigerator for 90 min or overnight. Top with raspberries and chocolate.

Food!!

Rachael Ray Appearance Game Day ideas

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When I started this blog almost 6 years ago my dream was to meet Rachael Ray. I met Rachael when I was on the Dr.Oz show. I admire how hard of a worker she is. When I got this opportunity to be on her show I was beyond thrilled. In this clip I give you some fun game day ideas for this weekend. Enjoy!

Checkout the clip http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/24430_super_bowl_snacks_easy_football_shaped/

 

Food!!

Avocado dressing

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I guess I’m on a green kick, but this dressing is so delicious and full of flavor. I love homemade dressings because you control the amount of ingredients. Eating healthy during the week is key in my diet but it doesn’t mean that my weekends are on that plan too. I try to keep everything in moderation and portion control. I don’t like to deprive myself from not enjoying a piece of cake or that bowl of pasta.

Salads don’t have to be boring. Get creative by adding different veggies and making homemade dressings. Your body will thank you in the end.

Salad ingredients:

2 cups kale
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup julienne carrots
2 cups red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Dressing Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tablespoon evoo
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup scallions

Preparation:

Place all of the Ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until well incorporated. Pour over salad, toss and serve.

Food!!

Green overnight oats

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You’re probably thinking this is another overnight oats recipe, but don’t judge too soon. It’s so nutritious that your body will thank you. I know having greens in the morning may make some of you turn green, but after you try this I promise you that you will want more greens for breakfast. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup spinach or kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

Preparation:
Blend milk, chia, banana, spinach and berries for 1 minute. Add oats into a mason jar or bowl with lid, then pour blended mixture on top of oats. Refrigerate overnight.

Food!!

Golden Milk

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This recipe has been requested on my social media ever since I posted a photo of my overnight oats using golden milk.  Golden milk’s main ingredient is Turmeric. That’s what gives it that beautiful golden color.  Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.  Try adding this to oats, cereal, tea, coffee and smoothies.  We are all looking to have a healthy start to the new year and this is the perfect recipe.

Ingredients:

1 TBSP Turmeric

1/4 TBSP Ginger

1/4 TBSP Cinnamon

1 TBSP Honey, more if desired

2 TBSP Hot water

2 cups Milk, Cashew, Almond, Coconut or regular Cows milk

Preparation:

Place ingredients in a bowl. Mix Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and honey until incorporated. Next add hot water, stir. Now add Milk, stir.  Finally take Mason jar and pour milk, close and refrigerate.