Monday, May 24, 2010

Add a Caprese Salad to your Memorial Day menu!



Posted by Lyndi

As you start to plan out the upcoming Memorial Day weekend menu, may I suggest you add a Caprese Salad to your list?

Let’s face the truth.  We all know we are going to eat heavy, fatty, greasy, and gooey burgers, sausages, or hotdogs, and we will end up b-l-o-a-t-e-d.   Ughh.

Why not balance the menu out this year and add the delicious caprese salad.  Pronounced phonetically as “kah-press-ay,” this salad not only looks pretty, it is also very delicious, refreshing, and easy to prepare. 

Another plus?  It will please your guests who may not prefer the greasy side of life!

How do you make it?  It really is easy and you can’t mess it up.   Really, don’t think to hard about it.  It will turn out just right!

Caprese salad for a Crowd
Serves 9-12

6 large tomatoes (leave at room temperature)
2 soft mozzarella balls
Basil
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar


·       Slice the tomatoes into ½” thick slices.  Lightly salt and set aside.
·       Slice the mozzarella balls into thin slices.  The idea is to have one slice of mozzarella for each slice of tomato.
·       Wash the basil and tear off enough leaves so that you have one for each slice of tomato. 
·       Now you are going to arrange the salad: tomato, mozzarella, basil, tomato, mozzarella, basil, tomato, mozzarella, basil… continue until you run out of tomatoes.
·       In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.  Wisk and add pepper to taste.
·       Last step:  Drizzle the olive oil mixture so that each tomato and mozzarella receives a lick.  Let it set to soak in the goodness of the dressing.
·       Serve and wait for all the ooohhhhs and ahhhhhhs.


I hope you enjoy!  I would love to hear what your family or friends thought of your Caprese Salad addition!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Appreciation Weekend! Starts TODAY at Cook’s Natural Market!



Posted by Lyndi

Are you living a gluten-free life?  Or… do you suspect you have gluten sensitivities?  If so, this event is for you!

Starting TODAY, Cook’s Natural Market in historic downtown Rogers is hosting a gluten-free appreciation weekend with free samples, demonstrations, and crazy discounts. 

We all know that gluten-free is NOT always the least expensive item to purchase, so here is your chance to try before you buy!

P.S.  I know for a fact that Northwest Arkansas local:  Fran from OhBabyFoods will have a demo today from 3-6pm!  Locally made baby food that’s not only wholesome, it’s gluten-free!


Cooks Natural Market is located in historic downtown Rogers at 726 W Walnut St. (corner of W. Walnut and 71B/8th Street).  Hours are M-F 9:00-6:00 and Saturdays 9:00-5:00. Closed Sundays

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And the $25 Carrabba’s Italian Grill winner is…. (drumroll, please)



Posted by Lyndi

And the winner of the $25 Carrabba’s Italian Grill penguin bill is…

Jamie

You’re the Lucky Winner!!  Congratulations Jamie!!  This time you can finally try that chicken with white sauce!!!  I will DM you via twitter so I can provide you with the penguin bill!

Thank you to everyone who entered!  It is pretty cool to hear everyone share their favorite dishes... and to hear what dishes you were interested in trying.  I say we all head to Carrabba's and have at it!  Maybe Jamie will treat us all!  :)

Like Kupcakes? Redbud Café.  Bonefish?  Copelands?  Oh yes, these giveaways are just around the corner! 

Stay tuned for more penguin bill giveaways from Dave at NWArestaurants.com!  Check out his website and facebook and follow him on twitter Thanks Dave, you rock!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Food Tip: Trimming Rack of Lamb improves the flavor!



Posted by Lyndi

My favorite red meat of all time is lamb.  Top of my list?  Rack of lamb.

If you are like me and find lamb particularly delightful, you most likely have picked up a rack or two from your local butcher and prepared them yourself.  I purchase my rack of lamb from Sams Club.  The price is right (two racks for approximately $14), it is fresh from New Zealand, and I have never been disappointed in the taste.  In fact, my husband who is definitely is NOT a lamb fan… absolutely loves my rack of lamb and has remarkably remarked, “this is just as good as filet mignon.”  Bingo!

Here is my quick food tip of the day:  

Always, always, always trim away every piece of fat and sinew from your rack of lamb. 


Removing every trace will tremendously add to the tenderness of your meat and removes any unpleasant “lamby” taste.  You know the baaaaaaaaa-d taste I am talking about (sorry for the pun). 

If you have never experienced rack of lamb or would like to know how to prepare it, drop me a comment and let me know!  I’d be glad to share!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I found the source for perfect mangos!



Posted by Lyndi

I cannot tell you how many times I have driven past an insanely bright yellow Latino market in Rogers on 8th Street/71B. 

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought, “surely that place has good fruit and vegetables because their insanely bright yellow sign has pictures of fruits and veggies painted on it.”

Time after time I drive past and think, “I must drop in and check this place out.”

I did!  And I was right!  It is a gem of a find!

Today I am going to highlight the mangos because well, look at them!  They are juicy, perfectly palm-sized, and a delightful addition to my life.  


I promptly brought them home and that night we made mango-infused margaritas and all I can say is wow, wow, wow!  The best part was the chunks of mango in the drink because they were so fresh and a complete delight!



Okay, La Finca Market (means “estate” or "farm") is located in Rogers on 71B, almost directly across from the Walmart Neighborhood Market.  Just look for the insanely bright yellow building!  Their hours are 9am – 9pm ("ish", the cashier told me, sometimes they stay open until 10pm).  They do not have a website but they DO have a phone number in case you are interested: 479-636-4088.

It’s worth it to check them out!

Oh, just wondering… are you interested in may mango-infused margarita recipe?





Sunday, May 16, 2010

Introducing… the Rogers Farmer’s Market!




Posted by Lyndi

Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner!  What does that mean? 

It’s farmer’s market time!!

Wednesday was my first visit to the 2010 Roger’s Farmers Market and I wasn’t disappointed!   Even this early in the season there is a plenteous bounty:  I purchased radishes, romaine lettuce, onions, strawberries, and even two edible flowering plants!

If you haven’t been to the Roger’s Farmers Market, put this on your to-do list.  It is great to support our local farmers. 

The picture above showcases Sarah Jones of Sweet “T” farms.  She is just one of the many super-friendly and helpful farmer’s market folks who are eager to help us on our journey to eat local, fresh, and even organic!  It really is a treat to buy fruit and vegetables from someone who can say, like Sarah said to me, “These organic radishes were picked just this morning,” and “these organic strawberries are from a farm in Pea Ridge.”



What a treat, both emotionally and physically!

I hope you are able to get out and explore the Rogers Farmer’s Market.  They are open Wednesday and Saturdays from 7am to 1pm in downtown Rogers on the corner of Arkansas and Elm.

You can’t miss it.  No, really… don’t miss it!

Have you been to the Roger’s Farmer’s Market yet this season? If you’re on twitter, follow them to hear what’s new!

What is your favorite item?  Or, what seasonal fruit or vegetable are you most looking forward to? 




Friday, May 14, 2010

Want a free $25 penguin bill for Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Rogers?


Posted by Lyndi

Who wouldn’t want this??!

I have one to giveaway... courtesy of my friend Dave with NWArestaurants.com!  NWArestaurants has crazy deals on featured restaurants that sell out fast.  Usually deals of 50% of gift certificates (aka “penguin bills”)!  Check out his website, twitter, or facebook page!

If you haven’t been to Carrabba’s before, there are many great options to choose from!  I am a BIG fan of their Zucchini Fritte appetizers!  And I have been known to go there simply because I crave their house salad.  It’s fresh, crispy, and loaded with a garden-full of veggies. Check out their menu, here.

If you are dining gluten-free, be sure to ask for their gluten-free menu!


Prize:

1 lucky winner will receive a $25 penguin bill gift certificate to Carrabba’s Italian Grill located in Rogers across from Embassy Suites.  Contest ends Wednesday, May 19th, at midnight.  I will pick a winner via randomizer on Thursday the 20th.

Eligibility:

Leave me a comment using the comment form, below, preferably with your twitter or blog name to make it easy to contact you if you win.  

The comment is up to you:  What is your favorite menu item (if you have dined at Carrabba’s before) OR which menu item you are most interested in trying (if you have never dined at Carrabba’s before)!  Or, why you want a night out at Carrabba's!  I love hearing what you have to say!

Want one more chance to win?... tweet this contest to your friends and followers!  Thanks!

Tip:  If you enter using the Name/URL option, you can leave the URL blank.  The Blogger format can be a little confusing!

No purchase necessary to enter. Contest void where prohibited. Contest open to members who are 18 years or older. Contest open only to US residents only, although this one really makes sense if you are in Northwest Arkansas.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When was the last time you had juicy raspberry preserves? Me, oh yesterday.


Posted by Lyndi

Love raspberries?  Love preserves?  Well now you can have both! 

I found this newly stocked product at The Pinnacle Station Local Market (aka the gourmet gas station in Rogers). 

Produced by Ozark Mountain Smokehouse, a local independent smokehouse that has been around since 1946, this raspberry preserve is not too sweet and not too thick.  Scoop a spoonful on your toast or biscuit and you have a perfectly smooth treat to devour.

What are the ingredients?  Fruit, Sugar, Pectin, Citric Acid.

How much? $4.69 for an 8oz jar.

Where in the store is it located?  On a steel rack close to the peanut butter and yogurt section.

What if I am not in Northwest Arkansas?  Can I still purchase it?  Yep, check out Ozark Mountain’s Website for more info.


MM'mm... MM'mmmmm...



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quick Tip: Taking a leek.


Posted by Lyndi

I cannot remember exactly when or from whom I learned this food prep tip.  Mostly because it has been so long since I have cooked with leeks. 

Shame on me, leeks are exquisite.

A vegetable that is a cross between an onion and garlic, leeks can add a subtle depth to your dishes.  The white ends of a leek are the most tender of flavors and most recipes call for this.

The con of leeks?  They have many layers that trap dirt which can be difficult to clean.

Here’s the tip:  After cutting off the bulbous root and the dark tops (save these for stock later), slice through making a “fan” on each end.  Then, run each fan-end through water to easily hand clean off the dirt particles. 

Doing it this way makes it very easy.  And once cleaned, very easy to chop!

Happy leeking!




Monday, May 10, 2010

Starbuck’s Frappuccino now available with Soy Milk!


Posted by Lyndi

Now those of us with dairy intolerances can enjoy a Frappuccino!  Any size. Any flavor. Just like everyone else.

Not living a dairy-free life?  Well there is good news for you, too.  Now Frappuccino’s are handcrafted any way you like, just like all their other drinks.  Want extra coffee?  No problem.  Want to add caramel?  You’re good to go.

Rock on, Starbucks! 


P.S.  Enjoy any Frappuccino beverage at half-price during Happy Hour 3-5pm at Starbucks May 7 through May 16 (at participating Starbucks stores).




Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fruit smoothies with a twist: add spinach!



Posted by Lyndi

I simply am not a fruit person.  I aspire to be.

Recently my friend @bikeark1 explained to me how he is on a frozen fruit smoothie kick and he loves to add spinach for the health benefits.  So I thought to myself:  I love spinach, maybe I should think of this as a spinach smoothie… with fruit!

So I tried it.  It’s awesome!

There are many variations to create your own smoothies.  In fact, @tangerinedada says she makes hers with kale/mango/blueberry with almond milk and agave nectar.  Brilliant!

Try it for yourself for a great boost to your day.  Your body will thank you.

Fruit & Spinach Smoothie
1 apple
1 banana
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
Handful of raw spinach
Puree in a blender.  Add water (or juice) to get things moving.  Serves 2. 

Viola!  Enjoy!


And the $15 Table Mesa Bistro winner is…. (drumroll, please)



Posted by Lyndi


Shannon

You’re the Lucky Winner!!  Congratulations Shannon!!  I will DM you via twitter so I can provide you with the penguin bill!

Thank you to everyone who entered!!!  Sounds like there is many more items on the menu that I MUST try!

Stay tuned for more penguin bill giveaways from Dave at NWArestaurants.com.  Like Carrabas?  Kupcakes? Redbud Café.  Oh yes, these giveaways are just around the corner!  

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quick Tip: Don’t pound your chicken breasts. Make cutlets.



Posted by Lyndi

I used to pound my chicken breasts to make them flat and even.  But I never was a fan.  Not only was it a pain to keep the meat from “splattering” from underneath plastic wrap, but also the pounding action unattractively shredded the flesh.  Not pretty.

If you feel the same way I do… have you ever tried making cutlets?

I learned this tip way-back from Cooks Illustrated.  All you have to do is to hold your knife parallel to the chicken breast and slowly and carefully slice through the chicken.  Pressing your hand on top of the chicken breast also allows you to “feel” your way as you slice carefully through the chicken breast. 

Not only does this leave the integrity of the flesh, it also is a great way to extend your chicken.  When I used to prepare chicken marsala for two, I would cook with two chicken breasts.  Now, I use one chicken breast, make cutlets and we are good to go!

Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think…. or if you have an additional tips yourself!



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crazy deal on Red Delicious Apples.



Posted by Lyndi

I came across this great deal while shopping at Allen's Market in Bella Vista and just had to share it with you. They are large, firm, and crisssssp!

8lb bag of Michigan Red Delicious apples for $4.99. 

Allen’s is known for their special buys… so hurry because when they are gone… they’re gone! 


Sunday, May 2, 2010

And the “foodie” sterling silver charm winner is…. (drumroll, please)

Posted by Lyndi


from my motorhome to yours

You’re the Lucky Winner!!  Congratulations !!  I will DM you via twitter so I can find out your shipping address!  (I wonder if a motor home has a shipping address?)

Thank you to everyone who entered!  This charm truly is one-of-a-kind and do wish I had one for each and every one of you! 

A huge THANK YOU to my sister Stacey at Storm Flight Designs for designing and providing the charm!  You rock!  Oh, if you’re not following Stacey yet you are missing out on a great resource of custom-made sterling silver jewelry.  
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