Cigar City Brewing Joins the Craft Beer in Desserts Showcase at World Food Championships

After much anticipation and planning, we are thrilled to begin announcing the breweries who have partnered with us in our Craft Beer in Desserts Showcase at World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama in November 9-15

Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL)

ccb-logo-full-colorOver a hundred years after the first brewery opened in Florida, Cigar City Brewing was born in 2009, and in seven short years, it has grown to become the largest craft brewery in the state and one of the most recognizable and highly rated in the nation. Continue reading “Cigar City Brewing Joins the Craft Beer in Desserts Showcase at World Food Championships”

National Key Lime Pie Day!

AR-307159949Since it’s National Key Lime Pie Day, here’s my version. However, this isn’t the traditional key lime pie.  No, this key lime pie has a hint of coconut and cream cheese to keep it more stable in the Florida heat & humidity.  Likewise, this key lime pie also sits on a crust of vanilla wafers than the more traditional graham cracker pie crust.

Even with all the variations, this key lime pie is pretty tasty, and it just so happened to win a National Championship in 2013. Continue reading “National Key Lime Pie Day!”

WFC Showcase – World Food Championships

Dark Chocolate Espresso Torte with Strawberry Coulis #SundaySupper

photo courtesy of Adam Berliner and Loko Cuisine at Coppertail Brewing

For most, there are certain foods that naturally go-together…bacon & eggs, strawberries & champagne, burgers & fries. But, for me, it gets a bit more dark…as in DARK chocolate and rich DARK espresso.  I absolutely love the stuff!  Dark chocolate & a glass bottle of Cabernet…espresso & dark chocolate dipped biscotti…dark chocolate & a rich stout..dark chocolate rimmed cup of espresso…oohhhh…the list could go on and on.

Continue reading “Dark Chocolate Espresso Torte with Strawberry Coulis #SundaySupper”

Craft Beer in Desserts at #WorldFoodChampionships

Last year when I made cupcakes with Night Swim Porter (Dark Chocolate Espresso Porter Cupcakes with Amaretto Cherries) at World Food Championships, people were shocked. I’m not sure why. Desserts made with craft beer are amazing!
So when WFC was looking for chefs to head up showcase events, I pitched my idea…teach the audience that craft beer isn’t just for drinking and BBQs, and it can be a great addition to a dessert.

Well, WFC selected me and so began the recipe writing and brewery conversations. As of today, we have two confirmed breweries on board to be featured at a WFC in Orange Beach, Alabama.

#CoppertailBrewing is partnering with us for the showcase. It was their Night Swim Porter that we used in the epic cupcakes last year (Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Amaretto Cherries). My involvement with the Loft Supper Series hosted at Coppertail has given me LOTS of experience with their beer, so I am THRILLED to share them with the world.

Tampa’s very own #BrewBusBrewing is also on board for the trip to Alabama. With their blueberry wheat and Irish red ale, the Craft Beer in Dessert showcase just became a craft beer enthusiast’s dream.

We’re still waiting to hear from a few other Tampa Bay area breweries, but we are confident that we will be showing Alabama & the world just what Tampa Bay has to offer to craft beer lovers.

Breakfast Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers may be my newest pantry staple.  Aside from making traditional egg rolls, these beautifully simple sheets are extremely versatile.  In case you didn’t know, egg roll wrappers (yes, the ones in the produce section of the supermarket) are basically sheets of pasta and can be used in sooooo many ways, and as cheap as they are, they make the perfect canvas for a number of breakfast dishes.

Wrap n Roll Egg Rolls from Jones Dairy Farm

wrap-n-roll-breakfast-egg-rollsWhile it’s now featured on Jones Dairy Farm’s website, this was my recipe, and it was the third place winner in their 2014 Rise, Sizzle & Shine recipe contest.  Not only is this super tasty, it’s also quite convenient.  Make the egg rolls ahead of time, freeze them, and cook them whenever you want.  My kids absolutely love them!

Continue reading “Breakfast Egg Rolls”

Glamping Without the Price Tag

How to Camp Without “Roughing It”

20141011_192515_resizedTwo years ago, my husband ran a half marathon at Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, Florida. The day before the race, we headed down to the park to camp.  We set up our tent and cooked dinner.  Our little, homestead was set. And then, the rain came and came and came.  When the rain became a monsoon and there was a river of water flowing THROUGH my tent, we decided that we were done.  We loaded up the kids and headed to a hotel.  Please don’t think we’re weak.  There were literally flood watches out that evening and we had to drive through standing water, just to leave the island.

Well, that was the last time we tent camped.  The next week, we bought our first travel trailer.  Six months later, we traded in the small travel trailer and bought a bigger one.

Now, what makes all of this so interesting is that I hate the outdoors.  I hate bugs and bug spray. I hate flies and gnats and spiders, and God forbid, a roach actually crawls on me; we will be in the emergency room. I also hate dirt and dirty feet and dirty floors. I hate the smoke of camp fires. I hate shower houses and public bathroom.  No, I’m not made for camping; I’m better suited to B&Bs, all-inclusive resorts, modern hotels.  However, I actually like camping…now.

My Tips for “Glamping” Without Breaking the Bank

Before we bought our first travel trailer, my husband agreed to several “stipulations,” and over the course of the past two years, I’ve come to love camping, even though it’s FAR from most people’s idea of “camping”.  No, my version of camping is far more comfortable and enjoyable.

  • Mimosas & Beermosas
    • wp-1468691158438.jpgI’m sorry.  Feel free to call me whatever name you like, but if I’m camping for the weekend, I’m going to enjoy myself.  I’m going to have a mimosa with breakfast, I’m going to have a glass of wine with dinner, and if I feel like it, I’m going to have a glass of Jameson before a I go to bed. There are plenty of people who will snarl at this and think that I’ve gone overboard. However, no one who has ever camped with me has complained when I bring out mimosas at breakfast or a bottle of wine at dinner.  Nope…they drink and they’re happy. So…if you drink wine or liquor at home, take it with you camping!!! Oh…and that space over the refrigerator is perfect for a wine rack.  We got ours at IKEA and cut the bottom off to make it fit.
    • IMG_20160301_140410Beermosas are a more manly version of the mimosa.  However, they aren’t just for men.  The best beermosas start with a wheat beer or an IPA. Then, topped off with orange juice or any orange juice blend.  It’s an easy one to remember…3/4 fill with beer, 1/4 top with oj.
    • Some of our favorite -mosa drinks
      • Cigar City Florida Cracker or Jai Alai and OJ
      • Champagne and red grapefruit juice cocktail
      • JDubs Passion Wheat and Blood Orange Juice
      • any unfiltered wheat beer and mango-oj
      • good ole FL oj and an extra dry champagne
  • Skip the burgers & hot dogs
    • There is no rule in camping that says you have to eat poorly.  No one ever said that camping required grilling burgers and hot dogs.  I’ve actually found that grilling cuts of meat, like lamb chops, pork chops, steaks, chicken breasts, sausages, and fish, are quicker and take less prep time than making burgers.  Throw some fresh veggies on the same grill and dinner is done.
    • 11254735_718097344991271_644401237_nSome of our favorite camping dinners
      • Grilled lamb chops, grilled brussel sprouts, and grilled/roasted acorn squash finished with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter
      • Grilled bison rib eyes with grilled asparagus and a baked potato (yes, they can be done on the grill too or quickly cooked in the microwave)
      • Grilled side of salmon with grilled squash (mix of zucchini and yellow)
      • Grilled sausage links and sweet potatoes (tossed IMG_20160515_102048in olive oil and thrown in a grilling basket)
    • Build a meat & cheese tray for dinner…create a tray of your favorite deli meats, nice cheese, olives, nuts, crackers, and a dip.
  • Buy a crock pot
    • As odd as it sounds, a crock pot in the travel trailer has been my best cooking idea yet.  Instead of being limited to grilling and sandwiches, I actually cook while we camp. And instead of being inside and cooking for hours, I put dinner in the crock pot while we are out playing and when we’re ready for dinner, it’s DONE!
    • Some of our favorite camping crock pot meals
      • Pulled Pork…one Boston butt in the crock pot on low for 8 hours and you2015-11-12_09.01.43 have amazing pulled pork
      • Chili…make sure the meat is cooked before you put it in.  Raw ground meat tends to become mush while cooking.
      • Spaghetti Sauce…again, make sure you cook the ground meat before you put it in
      • Dried Beans…favorite package of dried beans and a smoked ham hock and in 6 hours (on low), make/buy some cornbread, dinner is done!
      • Chicken tacos…4 FROZEN boneless, skinless chicken breasts and one jar of salsa cooked on low for 6 hours.  Shred the meat and set up a taco bar.
      • Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches…this is our 8 yr old’s favorite camping meal.  However, he likes his potato soup with fried shrimp.
  • Buy a propane grill with a grilled plate
    • There is no rule that says I, being THE woman of the house, have to do ALL of the cooking.  My husband loves grilled bacon, and he makes awesome pancakes, so, when we go camping, we always have at least one breakfast on the grill.
    • Set up a pancake bar
      • When we camp with a group of people, we set up several pancake toppings and mix ins.  Then, as my husband ladles the batter onto the griddle, the kids add their mix ins for custom pancakes.  It’s always a hit!
      • Pancake bar topping that travel well, require little prep, and have little mess…
        • chocolate chips…mini chips work the best
        • fresh blueberries
        • sliced bananas
        • peanut butter chips
        • coconut flakes
        • chopped nuts
        • whipped cream (in a can)
        • syrup…of course!
        • sprinkles
  • Plan evening activities
    • We often camp with other adults, so while the kids are out riding bikes, playing hide & seek, running amock, or even after they’ve gone to bed, why should the adults have to just sit around the campfire or go to bed too?
    • Suggestions for adult activities
      • Host a beer or wine tasting…we like to take several seasonal or limited edition beers and host a tasting with our co-campers.
      • Play cards with a nice glass of bourbon, brandy, or my favorite, Irish whisky
    • Suggestions for everyone activities
      • Host a movie night…buy a small projector (Amazon sold them for under $200 a few months ago) that will connect to your tablet or laptop, hang up a sheet on the side of your camper, and show a movie
      • Set up a s’more bar…don’t limit it to graham crackers and chocolate bars.  Try peanut butter cups, vanilla wafers, Oreos…omg!
      • Kids vs. Adults kick ball
      • Checker (or Connect 4) Tournament