Threadcakes, the cake-baking and design contest that has bakers use Threadless t-shirts designs as their inspiration, is back. Bakers, from the professional to the amateur, are welcome to submit a cake. It’s been around since 2007, and each year I tell myself I am going to enter. This year I have decided to take the plunge, even though I am firmly in the amateur camp. If you’re interested in entering yourself, go to www.threadcakes.com to learn the rules. The contest is open until 11/3/14 so get baking!
As long as there has been baking, there have been cookies. No, really. I looked it up. Of course, they’re not the cookies we know and love today. Cookies were more like wafers, and were baked because they were easy to travel with. In the 7th century, when the use of sugar became common in Persia, cookies somewhat similar to ours started to appear. From there, the cookie spread throughout Europe due to the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century all of Europe had hopped on the cookie wagon, though they wouldn’t resemble the cookies we know today until the 18th century.
Why all the cookie trivia? I’m glad you asked. The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck – Orlando’s favorite cupcake food truck, & Whisk and Bowl – the place to shop for the best quality baking tools, teamed up to make one delicious cookie. We were there to document it all. Take a peak of what happens when two titans of the kitchen come together.
If you’re interested in watching them bake the cookies from start to finish, follow this link to our YouTube video. They go through the process step by step and give some great tips, too. The recipe will follow in a few days.
The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck will be featuring those mouthwatering cookies at the Windermere Food Truck Bazar on July 25th. Karen from Whisk and Bowl will be joining the Yum Yum guys on the truck too.
Karen Manfredi of Whisk & Bowl & Alex Marin from The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck show off their cookies!
But wait! There’s more! We want to give you things! Baking things. Well, not give you. You have to win them. Enter yourself for a chance to win an amazing prize pack (worth over $200) from Yum Yum Truck & Whisk and Bowl.
- Large Emile Henry Citron Deep Mixing Bowl
- Fletcher’s Mill French Rolling Pin
- Matfer Exoglass Spatula
- Best Flat Stainless Steel Whisk
- Fat Daddio’s Piping Bag Set
- Copper Stand Mixer and Bowl Cutter
- Copper Bow Tie Cutter (not pictured, but one was used to make those cute bow tie cookies Karen & Alex are holding.)
- A dozen Yum Yum cupcakes
- A Yum Yum Cupcake Truck t-shirt
Alas, I am not eligible to win, but YOU are. So get those entries in and good luck!
A quick tweet is required for the first entry (which can be done daily). Earn bonus entries with various likes and follows.
Whisk and Bowl can be found at East End Market, or items can be ordered through their website: http://www.whiskandbowl.com/
The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck can be found traveling all around Central Florida, or orders can be made through their website: http://theyumyumcupcaketruck.com/
Growing up, one of my favorite after school snacks was a bowl of frozen blueberries with milk poured over them. The milk would freeze around the edges of the blueberries making them look like little frozen stars. It was a naturally sweet and healthy snack my mother couldn’t say no to.
I don’t think I could picture my childhood without milk. It was a staple in our house of three boys, and me, who all were active athletes. My parents knew that milk was important for our bones to grow strong and healthy. Now, grown up, with a son of my own, I make sure he drinks his milk because I want him to grow up strong and healthy, too.
Sadly, there are many kids out there who do not get enough milk. Milk is one of the top items requested at food banks, but it’s rarely donated. That’s why Eat More of It, Florida Dairy Farmers, and FLBlogCon are teaming up to tell you about the Great American Milk Drive. By donating, you can help families get the milk they need. Your donation will deliver nutritious milk to families in your community. So far, almost 62,000 gallons of milk have been donated.
Go to http://milklife.com/give to check out how you can donate. You can also see how many gallons have been donated in your state. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a great example of one of the many location that are collecting and distributing donations to families in need.
One of the hardest things for me to write about are things that I enjoy. I’m always afraid that I won’t be able to translate that joy into words. Recently, I had my 33rd birthday party at Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park. Yes, I had a chocolate birthday party. It was awesome. I’ve been trying so hard to adequately write about what a great time I had, that I’ve started and restarted this blog several times! Hopefully, I can express just how much fun my friends and I had that night and maybe you’ll want to have your birthday party there, too.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park is owned and operated by the wonderful Jami and Kevin Wray, two of the nicest people you will ever meet. Their shop is located on idyllic Park Avenue, just down the road from Rollins College (Go Tars!).
The night started off with the delicious smell of chocolate wafting onto Park Ave. You can almost taste the chocolate before even stepping foot in the door. When inside, your eyes jump back and forth between the wonderful displays. There were regular chocolates, chocolate covered dried fruit, chocolate pizza, chocolate shoes, and even chocolate covered potato chips! My friends and I window shopped while we waited for the night to begin.
In the back of the store, which you can’t get to without passing the gelato (free tasting samples!), is where the party was held. The room holds more than 15 people, but there were 13 of us and I believe it made it more comfortable as everyone had more room to move around. On a long table were squares of wax paper, each containing a caramel apple, an Oreo, a Nutter Butter, a graham cracker square, and pretzel rods. Running down the center of the table were edible decorations such as sea salt, sprinkles, chopped nuts, and chocolate covered popcorn. We each wore a Peterbrooke apron and a paper hat. Markers were provided for the decorating of the hats.
The party begins with a history lesson: a chocolate history lesson. Danny, one of our wonderful hosts, taught us about the cacao plant that chocolate beans come from, the Mayans and their use of the cacao beans, and how chocolate evolved into what we know and love today. At the end of the lesson was a pop quiz. Correct answers were rewarded with white chocolate covered pretzels.
Peterbrooke has not one, but two chocolate “fountains:” one milk and one dark. These machines constantly churn the chocolate in order to keep it tempered and smooth so it does not seize up. Annie, our other wonderful host, showed us the proper way to dip our treats, gave us some rules, and let us loose. Some of us were more conservative with our decorations, while others went all out, piling everything on top of their treats.
The best part of the evening was something you can’t get at Peterbrooke, because the best part of my night was my friends. We drank (alcohol is allowed at the parties because Jami and Kevin rock), we laughed, we decorated, and we smiled all night long. My friends are all creative types. Celebrating with me were musicians, performers, teachers, planners, and lovers of life. For an hour and a half we were able to forget our troubles and focus our creative energies into crafting some impressive looking and great tasting chocolate treats.
The combination of chocolate and awesome people made my birthday party the best I’ve ever had. If this blog has whet your appetite for chocolate, head on down to Peterbrooke and grab yourself a dark chocolate sea salt bar, my personal favorite, or any one of their delicious treats. If you’re planning a party anytime soon, I cannot recommend Peterbrooke enough. You can never go wrong with chocolate, especially when it comes from Peterbrooke Chocolatier.
In order to become one of my favorite place to shop, a store has to have three things: quality, variety, and uniqueness. I honestly cannot remember when, or how, I found Scoutmob.com, but I am supremely glad I did.
Scoutmob believes that “by surrounding ourselves with the authentic, the unique and the curious, our lives are more awesome.” I wholeheartedly agree. Scoutmob celebrates independent makers and their inspired goods by highlighting local artisans. The goods on Scoutmob range from clothing, to furniture, to food.
Hand crafted, locally sourced, organic, beautiful food. Salts, cookies, oils, syrups, jams, candy, teas: you name it they probably have it. If you’re looking for gifts, or looking to try something new in the kitchen go check out scoutmob.com. Just don’t spend too much money.
On a beautiful Sunday morning, Josh and I headed to downtown Winter Park to take a three hour tour. Don’t worry: we weren’t on the water, and we didn’t get lost. We went on a journey for the love of food.
The Ancient Olive
Tucked back down a small side street near a charming Spanish-style fountain is The Ancient Olive. Specializing in infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, The Ancient Olive is a gem. There are many varieties of olive oils such as Basil, Blood Orange, and Tuscan Herb, and balsamic vinegars such as Cinnamon Pear, Dark Chocolate, and Grapefruit. All are free to try. You’re even encouraged to mix and match to find a combination you love. They host cooking classes, too. The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable.
The cinnamon pear is one of my personal favorites. It’s great on ice cream, as you might have seen in my previous post.
Kiel, one of our tour guides.
The Spice and Tea Exchange
Josh and I have been to The Spice and Tea Exchange many times. They have a vast selection of spices, teas, rubs, sugars, and small kitchen utensils. They have ready-made packets of spices for easy cooking and plenty of helpful, knowledgeable staff on hand willing to help.
I have not had a lot of Thai food in my life. It seems like there are not enough Thai restaurants around. Fortunately, Orchid Thai is there to save us from our loss. It’s a small restaurant on Park Ave. with seating both inside and out. We were given a table outside due to the beautiful day. We were served Pei Mussels with a lemon ginger sauce, and an appetizer sampler plate with summer rolls, spring rolls, crispy shrimp, dumplings, curry puffs, and a cucumber relish. I’ve never had mussels. I was thoroughly impressed. The lemon ginger sauce made the mussels shine. All of the appetizers were flavorful. There were not enough of them.
Kilwin’s Chocolates and Ice Cream
Good dessert should always follow a good meal. Ice cream and fudge was our treat at Kilwins. Kilwin’s specializes in fudge, but they have an array of delicious sweets to tempt you.
Sassafras Sweet Shoppe
Because one sweet treat just isn’t enough. We stopped at Sassafras, a small candy store on Morse St. There were plenty of sweets: old favorites and new ones. They also have a cotton candy machine. Who doesn’t love fresh cotton candy?
The Orlando Food Tour was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We visited places new to us, and others we were already fond of. We also learned a little of Winter Park history along the way. If you’re new to the area, or just interested in getting a better look around (as well as eating some delicious food), we highly recommend taking a tour.
The promo code is “EatMore” and will give 10% off tickets to our readers. This promo code is good till March 31, 2014.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have found my newest foodie obsession: balsamic vinegar and ice cream. Specifically, cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar from The Ancient Olive and French vanilla ice cream. I am serious. This is one of the most delicious combinations I have had in a long time. Honestly, I don’t really like vanilla ice cream, but while visiting The Ancient Olive in Winter Park with Orlando Food Tours, Nick introduced us to the idea of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on ice cream. Using a combination of blood orange olive oil, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, and a small scoop of ice cream, he hooked an entire group of people on this strange new idea. I dare you to give it a try. Find a flavor you would like and give it a try. If you’re not sure where to start, head to The Ancient Olive in Winter Park, and ask for Nick. He’ll know what you’re talking about.
You know when you walk into a place and everything just feels right? It’s homey, warm, and inviting. A place that feels like home.
That’s what it feels like at Yellow Dog Eats. Yellow Dog Eats is nestled in a neighborhood in Gotha, right outside of Windermere. It’s located in a house that is over 100 years old. Inside, you’ll find wood walls, low lighting, and a cozy atmosphere. Oh, and a killer outdoor backyard setting that I know I would want to duplicate in my own yard.
It’s the food we’re here to talk about, though, and it doesn’t disappoint. The menu is extensive, filled with homemade sandwiches, BBQ, salads, and sides: both vegan and non. There are even a few choices for the kids though there is no, “kid’s menu.”
Josh went with the “Drunken Pig:” a pulled pork sandwich topped with pecan-smoked bacon, Gouda cheese, crispy fried onions, Fish’s Gold BBQ sauce, homemade beer cheese soup, and scallions.
I chose the “Mr. Smokey:” pulled pork sandwich topped with juicy pineapple slices, fried onions, pecan-smoked bacon, and Fish’s Gold BBQ sauce. I asked for no fried onions, though. I’m not an onion lover.
The little man got the “Puppy Love:” peanut butter, strawberry preserves, sliced bananas, fresh cut strawberries, chocolate chips, chopped roasted peanuts (which he nixed), served on multi-grain bread with animal crackers.
The pork was juicy, and the BBQ sauce flavorful. You can get that anywhere. It’s the toppings that pull everything together and make the sandwich memorable.
Find out location and full menu info: http://yellowdogeats.com/
I love tea. Be it green, black, rooibus, white, herbal, or any other kind of tea, I like it. I’ll take it hot or cold. My love of tea comes with a problem: I have a lot of tea at home. It takes up a lot of space. Fortunately, I ran across this beauty the other day; YouCopia’s Tea Stand. It holds over 100 tea bags, and it’s slim design means it doesn’t take up a lot of space in the pantry. Now, I have a great place to store my tea, and I’ve created extra space in my pantry where it was desperately needed. Double win!
As Samwise Gamgee once said about potatoes, “Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew!” There are many ways to cook a potato, and we’re about to show you a new one.
Accordion potatoes are baked potatoes sliced nearly through, with seasonings added before baking. Here is the caption on the Pinterest post where this recipe was found:
Slice whole potatoes almost all the way through, so that the slices are all still attached at the bottom of the potato. Drizzle with olive oil (or truffle oil, YUM), salt, and your favorite seasonings. Bake for about 40 minutes at 425.
I started with three potatoes; two large, and one small one for the munchkin. After a good scrub to get the dirt off (because no one likes dirt in their teeth), using a very sharp knife, I sliced the potatoes as instructed. I kept my slices somewhat thick because I didn’t want to accidentally cut a chunk out of the potato.
Washed and sliced potatoes.
I oiled, salted, and peppered the potatoes, adding a sprinkling of sea salt on top before tossing them in the oven. About half way through the cooking time, I added some pork chops (in a separate pan), into the oven.
Oiled, and seasoned, and ready to be baked.
Along the way, I think I made a few mistakes. Firstly, I didn’t drizzle the olive oil, salt, and pepper in between the slices. Doing so might have distributed the salt and pepper more evenly, adding more depth of flavor.
Secondly, the pork chops. I should have cooked them separately from the potatoes, allowing the potatoes to cook through completely. By adding the pork chops in the oven with the potatoes, I took heat away from the potatoes which did not let them cook all the way through.
Finally, I should have added more seasonings. I played it safe with the salt and pepper. Next time I might try rosemary, thyme, or maybe even some Mexican spices to give the potatoes a little kick.
All in all, they turned out fine. I would definitely make these again, but with a few changes.
What do you think? Have you made potatoes like these before? What did you do? What would you try if you were making these potatoes?