Avocado Bread

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Avocados have become the new craze on the Internet.  I had appearances on the Dr.Oz show and Fox 29 here in Philadelphia and they wanted me to prepare different avocado recipes for each.  Being that my dad is a baker I wanted to try what I’d been taught since a child and resorted to baking an avocado bread.   I know it sounds weird but why let all the other fruits and veggies have fun being bread?  Avocados are so versatile and I promise this recipe will not disappoint.

Avocado bread
Ingredients:
 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado*
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preparation:
 Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla throughly and then the mashed avocado and lemon juice.
Gently fold in the flour mix, being careful not to over mix.
Spoon the batter (it is very thick) into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until an inserted wooden skewer is clean with a few crumbs clinging. Cool completely, slice and enjoy.

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Mitsubishi Outlander

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I had the pleasure of trying out the new 2016 Mitsbushi Outlander a couple of weeks ago.  I have heard on and off reviews on the Outlander so I was excited to check it out.  It had a cute look with nothing too stylish compared to its opponents.  The interior was standard for a crossover.  The 3rd row seating in my opinion isn’t worth having, but it is a convenient option.  It’s super cramped even for my kids who are still little.  I say get rid of the whole 3rd row. The trunk is very small , this is why I think they should just get rid of the 3rd row all together, but the leg room for the passengers in the middle seats and front is wonderful.

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To my surprise the Eco feature on it actually saved us on gas.  I loved that feature.  EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2016 Outlander are average for this class, starting at 27 mpg combined (25 city/31 highway) with the four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive and dropping to 26 mpg combined (24/29) with all-wheel drive.  The V6-powered GT returns 23 mpg combined (20/27). 
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Standard safety features on the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, hill-start assist, a driver knee airbag, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags for the first and second rows. 
The dashboard has a sleek, subtle look, and it’s covered with a refined soft-touch material that’s matched by supple trim on the door panels. Infotainment features are class-competitive, highlighted by standard voice controls and a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface that’s standard on all but the base ES trim.
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There is not too much power to the acceleration if you’re in eco mode on the highway.  Driving around town isn’t to bad. 
All in all it’s not bad for the average starting price of 22,995, and of course you can add other features.  I think it’s a great car for people who are just starting a family or for people who have older kids.  Out of a 10 I give it a 7

Philly Burger Brawl!

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The Sixth Annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl presented by Comcast Business will be held on Sunday, June 26, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., VIP access starts at 3:00 p.m. XFINITY Live hosts the event at 1100 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148. The event will be held rain or shine.

The event will feature restaurants presenting their versions of Philadelphia’s best burger and (for the first time) best taco. Organizers expect 40 burger contenders and 12 taco contenders. Guests 21 and over also can sample signature specialty cocktails using Jim Beam and Sauza Hornitos from approximately 20 competing bars.

Winners will be determined by a panel of judges including Mike Jerrick from Fox 29, Matt Cord and Steve Morrison from WMMR, former Philadelphia Phillies player Garry Maddox. Im also so excited to be part of the judging panel. Prizes will also be awarded for the People’s Choice winner in each category and every attendee’s vote counts.

Burger Brawl contenders scheduled to participate to date include:

2312 Garrett Bar, A. Bar, Amanda’s Bar None, Bareburger, Blue Duck Sandwich Co., Butcher & Singer, Broad Street Ministry, Burger Fi, The Dandelion, Fine Palate, Fireside Smoke House, Harvest Seasonal Grill, Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House, La Peg Brasserie, Lucky’s Last Chance, Moonshine Philly, NBC Sports Arena, New Wave Café, Parc, P’unk Burger, Pineville Tavern, Prime Stache, Revolution House, Rogue’s Gallery, Rouge, Samwich by Suppa, Spot Burger, Steam Pub, Taproom on 19th, Twisted Tail, Valley Beach, Village Whiskey, Vintage Wine Bar.

Taco Takedown contenders to date include: 

1100 Social, Buena Onda, Café Ynez, El Vez, IndeBlue, Heffe Tacos, Loco Pez, Lolita, Revolution Taco, Sancho Pistola’s, Taqueria Feliz, Wahoo’s Tacos.

The event began as a neighborhood fundraiser for founders Rob and Maggie Wasserman’s children’s school, The William M. Meredith Elementary School, in South Philadelphia. Five years ago, their goal was to gather a few restaurant industry friends to create a small event at Fleisher Art Memorial that would eventually fund a new computer lab for Meredith. Burger Brawl soon outgrew Fleisher and in 2014 moved to the XFINITY Live! Complex. More than 3,000 people attended and more than 50 restaurants participated. After funding one computer lab and two technology initiatives, Burger Brawl has set even higher goals.

The Philadelphia Burger Brawl is one of the partners with The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, the Olitsky Family Foundation, AIM Academy (Academy in Manayunk), and The Philadelphia School District to run a four year pilot program for two Philadelphia public schools that were selected based upon district- wide RFP process in 2014; Andrew Jackson Elementary School located at 1213 South 12th Street, in South Philadelphia and the William H. Ziegler School, located at 5935 Saul Street in Northeast Philadelphia. This four year pilot program will utilize technology to increase literacy for elementary school age children. If the program proves successful, it could be rolled out district-wide. A portion of the proceeds from this day will go to Compete 360, an organization founded by Garry Maddox to support the education and development of urban youth.

Ticket information:

Tickets are available at www.phillyburgerbrawl.com and sold exclusively through Ticketfly.com.

General admission tickets are $50 and include one vote for the best burger and a complimentary beverage.

VIP tickets are $125 and provide early access for one hour to explore and sample the 60 contenders at this year’s event, as well as access to a VIP lounge, opportunities to meet celebrity judges and one vote for your choice of best burger. 

Children ten years old and younger will be admitted free.  Guests who are ages 11-21 can purchase tickets for $35. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Parking for the Burger Brawl at XFINITY Live! is free.

The Sixth Annual Burger Brawl is presented by Comcast Business. SloaneAutos.com (Sloane Toyota Malvern, Sloane Toyota Philadelphia, Sloane Toyota Glenside, Sloane Honda, BMW of Devon) is the Heavyweight Sponsor. Other supporters include Agile Cat, Arc Document Solutions, Arway Linen Co., Comcast Spectacor, Eastern Pass Tattoo Company, EMR Company, Firstrust Bank, The Governor’s Woods Foundation, Home Depot, Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls, Multi-Flow Fountain-Dispensed Beverage Solutions, Origlio Beverage, Peco, Southern Wine & Spirits of Pennsylvania, Sugar House Casino, The Tuttleman Foundation and Wells Fargo Bank. Media partners are Billypenn.com, CBS Radio, Philly.com and WMMR 93.3.

For more information please visit www.phillyburgerbrawl.com. Stay in touch with the latest event updates on Twitter @PHLBurgerBrawl and Facebook @Philadelphia Burger Brawl.

 

Chocmeister banana pound cake

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My kids love chocolate, so when I was presented with the opportunity to partner up with one of our favorite brands (Peanut Butter & Co.) we were all over joyed.  Peanut Butter & Co. has created a chocolate hazelnut spread with 25% less sugar and more protein than the leading brands of chocolate hazelnut spreads.
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Developing this recipe was fun. Pound cake is always a favorite in our household. By add the Chocmeister spread and bananas to the batter it made it that much better. The only problem you will have is trying to keep away from the pound cake when it comes out. A great way to enjoy leftovers (if any) is to place slices on the grill and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream. 

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Serving 8 to 12 people 

Prep time: 25 min Cook time: 60 minutes 

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar 
5 eggs, room temp 
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 bananas, peeled and sliced 
Dash of salt
Preparation: 
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. 
In a large bowl, using a mixer, combine the butter and sugaruntil creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well. Add the flour, milk and Chocmeister mix for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt. 
 
Next grease 2 loaf pans. Place a couple pieces of banana on the bottom of loaf pan then pour batter. Top with extra slices of banana. Repeat for the second loaf pan. 
Place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove let cool, slice and enjoy. 

Philly Beer Week 2016

Spring Orzo salad

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Memorial Day weekend is almost here. This weather in Philadelphia needs to start getting warmer so we can start to enjoy BBQs. In our house we grill all year around. I love to create different sides for our BBQ dishes. This one I think is by far one of my favorites. It’s a super easy and delicious orzo pasta with sweet corn and asparagus. The dressing is light and fresh. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 package Orzo pasta, follow cooking instructions on package
2 cups cooked corn kernels
Stalk of asparagus, chopped and blanched
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chives, chopped optional

Dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup EVOO

Preparation:

In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper and EVOO until well incorporated.

Now in the same bowl as the dressing add orzo, asparagus, corn and chives toss everything together. Place in the refrigerator to cool. Serve in a large bowl.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #sensationalsides below:

The Mom 100: Pasta Salad with Chicken, Picholine Olives and Ramp Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spring Orzo Salad
Devour: Pasta Salads That Go Beyond Mayonnaise
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta Salad with Arugula, Bell Pepper & Spring Onion
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Pasta Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
Taste with the Eyes: Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad, Lime Ginger Dressing
FN Dish: Picnic-Ready Pasta Salads with Hundreds of Sky-High Reviews

 

Party City Party Star Wars

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Partnering up with Party City was perfect for my son’s 6th birthday.  As some of you parents may know planning a little kid’s birthday can get kinda crazy.  Making sure you have the right theme and party supplies is a huge undertaking.

Party City is great because it’s a one stop party shop.  Everything that you need or can imagine is under one roof.  If you don’t have a Party City near you, you can always visit their website.
My son wanted a Star Wars themed party.  I love that our Star Wars package included everything I needed to make his party a success. I choose the Star Wars Party Supplies Ultimate Party Kit, which included:
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Dessert Plates
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Lunch Plates
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Beverage Napkins
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Lunch Napkins
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Cups
2 Star Wars the Force Awakens Table Cover
16 Red Plastic Forks
16 Red Plastic Knives
16 Red Plastic Spoons
24 Assorted Candy Stripe Birthday Candles
2 Star Wars the Force Awakens Decorating Kit 23pc
1 Star Wars the Force Awakens Birthday Banner
1 Black Streamer
1 Blue Streamer
12 Star Wars the Force Awakens Latex Balloons
2 Red Curling Ribbon 40ft
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Blowouts
16 Star Wars the Force Awakens Favor Bags
2 Star Wars the Force Awakens Favor Packs 48ct
1 Star Wars the Force Awakens Pinata
1 Kiddie Mix Candy 240pc
1 Pinata Blindfold and Pinata

This was the perfect package. I also wanted to make this party a hit, so I ordered a life sized cardboard cut out of C3PO and R2D2. The kids loved it. Another big hit at the party was the 41 inch kylo ren balloon.

All in all it was a great party. Some of the parents were super excited to plan their kids birthday parties after seeing what we’d done. Below you will find some highlights and photos of the party. 

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Saffron Risotto with Shrimp

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Some people hear the word risotto and they think that’s it’s just too complicated to cook. Well it really isn’t that complicated, but time consuming maybe. In the end you will not be disappointed. Risotto pairs beautifully with shrimp, fresh herbs and seasonal veggies. This dish will be perfect for your next gathering.

Ingredients:
1 small shallot, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups arborio
1 cup white wine, (Preferably Sauvignon Blanc)
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons evoo
1 cup frozen peas
1 lb large to extra shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pinch of saffron
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation:

In a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shrimp seasoned with, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan. Add shallots. Cook until translucent about 3 minutes. Next add the garlic cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice. Stir until well coated and translucent (about 2 minutes). Add the wine. Cook and stir often, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until creamy.

Finally add the peas cook for 1 minute next add the shrimp back to the pan. Stir and add fresh parsley. Serve.

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Preakness at the Piazza 2016

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Its fast approaching one of the most fashionable events in Philadelphia, Get those stylish hats and bow ties ready.

Preakness at the Piazza, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual fundraiser, is Philadelphia’s biggest event of the spring season which includes a live screening of the 141st Preakness Stakes on The Piazza’s 400 square-foot LED screen, an open bar, food buffets, music, dancing, and raffles. Celebrity guests will judge a number of fashion contests, as attendees are highly encouraged to come dressed in their finest derby attire of hats, bow ties, dresses, and suits.  Last year’s event raised $120,000 for the National MS Society and brought together over 1,000 young professionals to benefit a great cause.

 

This year’s event will be hosted  by FOX29’s Good Day Philadelphia host Alex Holley and CBS3 Morning Reporter Pat Gallen. The fashion contests will be judged by radio hosts Bex of 96.5 AMP, Ike Reese of SportsRadio 94WIP, CBS3 Anchor/Reporter Meisha Johnson, and Philadelphia Eagles player and creator of Rock Avenue Bow Ties Malcolm Jenkins.

 

Useful links:
Tickets 

General Admission – $75. They also offer discounts for couples and groups both large and small. Visit http://www.preaknessatthepiazza.com/

 

Six Flags Great Adventure

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Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the biggest amusement parks in the world; with one of the largest roller coaster collections in the world.  It’s a place where Looney Tunes meet DC superheroes in a park filled with exhilarating rides.  If you’re a die-hard roller coaster enthusiast you will love six flags.  I love the fact that it does have a great selection of kiddie rides as well, but the rides are not all that it has to offer.   

My kids had such a great time but hands down their favorite parts were the animals.  We had the opportunity to have a private meet and greet with some adorable animals like Asian otters, sea lions (which were my favorite) and even got close to a male lion cub which was behind a cage, but we still got closer than you would in a zoo. 

Rocco the cub was abandon by his parents so the park took him in and cared for him.  After our meet and greets we went over to the safari ride.  I love that the park staff takes us through the safari giving us details on pretty much all the animals, on a mini tour around the world.  We even got to feed the giraffes, which is always an amazing experience.  

In the warmer months the waterpark opens, and at the holidays the fun doesn’t stop.  For more information visit  https://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure

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