Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent Event: 8 Days

We have been on the road for the last couple of days bringing our little one to Texas for the first time - she was very excited when we got out to take a picture in front of the sign just across the border.  As one of my friends likes to call it, we have returned to the "mothership"!  And it feels good, too.

So we always say that we eat our way through Texas when we are here because we just can't get food like that around our house.  So, although it has almost nothing to do with Christmas for anyone else, here is a small list of the food I would like to eat whilst home, in no particular order and with no consideration for caloric intake.  It is my Christmas gift to myself. And if I wrote a letter to Santa, this is what would be on it.

pecan tuile at the Grotto in Highland Village
sausage roll at Donut Palace (I have refined tastes I tell you)
ribs from North Main BBQ in Euless
a cheeseburger from Al's in Arlington
enchiladas from La Calle Doce in Dallas
sunset sauce and lemonade from Mi Cocina
a spicy international from Cero's Heros in Grapevine
biscuits and gravy with sausage from Cracker Barrel
enchiladas from Sylvia's in Houston
chiles rellenos from that place in Plano
brisket from Rudy's
peppermint and cookies and cream ice cream from Braums
Frito chili pie from Stanley's in Wichita Falls
chicken fried steak and fixin's at Babes in Watagua
breakfast tacos at Tito's in San Antonio
kolaches from Busy Bea's bakery
a corn dog from the state fair
pasta at Paesano's on the Riverwalk
fried okra from just about anywhere

Man, if I get what I wish for this year, I am going to have to go on a major diet in January.  One can only hope!!

Don't forget to check out my giveaway and enter to win (you can only win if you enter)!

Advent Event: 9 Days

One of the great things about the holidays is the holiday only (aka limited time) offerings at restaurants and grocery stores.  It is a time to indulge in the "holiday flavors" - peppermint, cranberry, eggnog, and gingerbread, et. al.  The bummer thing is that they are here for such a limited time and there are only so many calories a person can consume during a holiday season.  Here is a small sampling:
McDonalds actually makes a very good Peppermint Hot Chocolate this year.

The snowman one is cute enough to warrant a visit to Krispy Kreme, but I would like to try the Red Velvet Cake donut too!
Starbucks cranberry bliss bars are a holiday staple for some folks.

All the shakes at Chick-fil-A are worth it, but a Peppermint Chocolate Chip one is perfect for the holiday season.
I think one would have to have a death wish to partake in 3 of the 4 holiday pancake offerings from IHOP: eggnog, pumpkin praline, and white chocolate chip mint (wait, WHAT?).  But I might give the plain old pumpkin ones a try.

Apparently the chains haven't gotten around to trying to make something less decadent.  I guess they figure it is the season to do it.  WARNING: badly paraphrased joke ahead: 

It's like, "Baby Jesus was born...where's dessert?!"
Of course if you ever find yourself on death row, make sure that you request opposing holiday seasonal offerings.  Just a little holiday tip for you, no extra charge.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advent Event: 10 Days

So, we are in the homestretch for the Advent Calendar Event and I have to say I have really enjoyed doing this.  I have enjoyed the few comments I have gotten and have appreciated the feedback! 

Today's Advent Calendar treat is a little something special:  A GIVEAWAY!!! 

I want to really treat my readers (instead of just having cyber treats each day), so I am giving away a $20 e-giftcard to Williams Sonoma!!!  Oh, how fun!  And the neat thing is Williams Sonoma will also send a $5 gift to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  Yea!

I love a great giveaway, but every great giveaway has some rules.  Here they are:

1.  Go to the other Advent Event posts and find your favorite, then come back to this post and tell me your favorite one.   You must identify yourself in order for me to contact you later, should you win.  The best thing to do is to write your email address like this:  name at (that way you won't get crazy amounts of spam from someone trolling the net, just something from me stating you won!).

2.  Tell your friends on facebook about the giveaway, and earn an extra entry (just come back to this post and tell me about it).  You can do that by posting a link to this page like this one:

3.  Wait until the day after Christmas, when I will announce the winner!

Here's a little bit of help in finding the posts: click on the tag at the bottom of this post that says "advent event" (next to Labels) and it will take you to all off them at once. 

Disclaimer: Williams Sonoma is not providing the prize for this giveaway.

Advent Event: 11 Days

Tonight we went to the annual holiday party at Fixtures.  My husband is in the construction business for large custom homes.  Fixtures is the place he purchases the appliances and plumbing fixtures for the houses he builds.  So basically the evening is a covet fest of things I would have in that dream house we most likely will build when we win the lottery we don't play.

Since I am a foodie, it is hard not to dream every now and then about the kitchen I would have if money were no object.  Drew does this too because he works around this stuff all the time; so together we have great plans for our dream kitchen.  A little ogling doesn't hurt, right?

To feel like a French gourmand.

Or if we felt like the Jetsons (it's a lift oven!).

In my opinion, the most practical option.
Love the hood!
See that didn't hurt at all.  Oh to dream!

Advent Event: 12 Days

Day late, real good nap, so not a dollar short!

I think this is officially the last day you can buy anything online and guarantee it is under your Christmas tree by Christmas morning.  In light of that I thought I would let you know that one of my all time favorite gifts are cookbooks.  I have a small obsession with them and a growing collection. 

One of those deal a day websites, One Kings Lane is having a Kitchen essentials sale today and is offering a great deal on many, many great titles, including:

I know a few Southern ladies who would love this!
For those who love Julia Child and have already done all her recipes.

A cookbook for those who love spice!  Drew would be a happy man.
I have heard really good things about this one this year.
As I was compiling this list, I realized I was doing shopping for my best foodie friend Tara.  Tara, I would buy all of these for you if I could, but I already bought you the best (teacher) least I hope it is something you love.

If you are interested in checking out the rest of the sale, go here.  When you join their site you will save $15.00 off your first purchase.  That makes some of these cookbooks almost free or REALLY cheap!

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Event: 13 Days

I have many a food obsession.  And they change periodically.  But some are time-tested, full-on passions for specific food items.  One of them is olives.  I can't tell you exactly when I fell in love with the olive, but I can tell you what took the relationship to the next level: the relish tray at holiday gatherings.

Every year, a few times a year, my mom would make what she called a relish tray for special occasions.  It had cute little pickles, green olives stuffed with pimentos, black olives, and other stuff.  I never got to the "other stuff" because my brain stopped working after my eyes met olives.  My mom noticed my love for olives and has indulged it throughout my life.  Then, I met my husband.  And guess what?  He was a pickle enthusiast!  So my mom renewed the indulgent relish tray and took it to the next level.  Now literally EVERY time we go over for dinner, there at the end of the table where my hubby sits a small relish tray with pickles (of at least two different sorts).  Sometimes, she even puts out olives for me (oh, how things have changed!). 
So there is something about olives that make me think of the holidays.  And I was pleased to discover that Lindsay Olives is doing something special this year during the holidays for olive lovers and people in need.

They are doing one of my favorite things: a BOGO, with a twist. 

When you buy a can of Lindsay olives and put the UPC code in on their website, they will donate a can of olives to a local food bank!  I love it!  No one should be without olives for Christmas - am I right? 

They are giving up to 25,000 cans of olives and I am going to go get a couple of cans and participate today.  It's for charity.  Pay no attention to the woman with the open can of olives (no utensil, just fingers).

Merry Olive, y'all! Olive Juice.

Advent Event: 16-14 Days

What happened?!?! 

It happens to me every time I start an advent calendar: I start out doing it faithfully every day, and then it hit a wall. 

In this case the wall hit me...came right out and smacked me.  And it was like it was a taunting wall because I was specifically doing a "foodie" advent calendar and blam...first case of food poisoning in my life!!


So while I was miserable the last few days, I did have visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, so here are abbreviated days, with a catch up for today to follow shortly. 

Day 16.  Sugarplums.  I literally had sugarplums dancing through my head, but after I got on the Internet to find out what they actually are, I found out mine were nothing like the real thing - fake sugarplums, I guess.  I was thinking they were something along the lines of a baked apple or poached pear.  Wrong!  I was thinking, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could find a slow cooker recipe for sugarplums?"  Wrong, again. 

For the uneducated (that was me about 5 minutes ago), sugarplums are a type of candy made from dried fruit (not just plums) shaped into a ring.  Sounds interesting, right? 
So I found this recipe from Betty and think I might just have to try it:  

Day 15. Nuts.  I almost drove myself bonkers (did you see what I did there?) trying to figure out what to do with some nuts I got that no one seems to be interested in.  We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and I thought it would be lovely and somewhat decorative to put some nuts in a serving piece and place a nutcracker (old fashioned, not crazy looking, spooky figurine) next to it, so people could snack before or after the meal.  How many were eaten by the end of the day?  Not a one!

So, we are going out of town on Friday and I am at a loss.  They aren't the kind of nuts you can take with you on the road because they are in the shell and frankly, I don't think I want nutshells all over the car. 
So, my advent calendar treat is a question for you: What should I do with all my nuts?  Should I give them to a neighbor?  Find a squirrel?  Help!

Day 14.  Cooking with Class.  The only event I went out to do whilst sick was the annual open house for my local (and favorite) recreational cooking school, Cooking with Class!  I love this mother and daughter team of entreprenuers! 

Each year they have a Christmas open house and this one was wonderful.  They have food and wine tastings...which I couldn't partake (the aforementioned wall).  And they offer discounts on lots of great stuff.  I needed to pick up a very special gift for someone important, so I made the effort to get down there right when the doors opened.  It was packed and full of happy foodie shoppers - my kind of people!

So my foodie treat for the day is a shout out to my Cooking with Class people!  I love you guys and can't wait to take more classes with you in the future. 

If you are local, truly consider taking a class with them...any class; they are all good.  If you are not local, I encourage you to find a local cooking school and dive right in.  You will meet like minded food lovers and new friends. Oh, and you will get to eat amazing food!

Thanks for sticking with's hoping there aren't any more obstacles to Christmas!