Local Treats (Winter Garden Edition): David Ramirez’s Chocolates & Macaroons Review

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Macaroons are everywhere, and they should be. This decadent French treat has been around for centuries and has not lost its *insert trendy French word here to describe anything cope/cool/wavy/sassy, followed by a suffix of -ness*. These petite treats, of so very delicate and challenging to make are competition to many other baked goods, and you can find a variety in the Orlando, Winter Park and Winter Garden Area.

David Ramirez’s chocolates, a Winter Garden Plant Market vendor, has decadent varieties of macaroons. They’re honestly one of the best I’ve ever tasted, amongst my favorite (another favorite being Le Macaroon, in Winter Park). My first time there, I noticed the generous sizes and fun flavors, such as mango raspberry, staple flavors like vanilla, chocolates, strawberries, rose and lavender to fun fall flavors, like pumpkin and apple pie. My first out of three was the birthday cake. The “upper shell” and bottom tasted like a standard macaroon vanilla flavor, but the cream filling was a perfect replica of cake batter with fun sprinkles.The texture was pillowy.

Image may contain: foodThe pumpkin, my favorite, was spicy in terms of fall flavors, with a great combo of sweet and last- the mango raspberry, my favorite, has a perfect balance of mango and tart raspberry. On another visit, I tried bacon and peanut butter. Addicting. I love anything salty and sweet, and found this eccentric pairing a winner. Salted caramel was also memorable. The caramel having a deeply buttery aftertaste to dance with the salt.

 

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The chocolate varieties are a fun and colorful assortment. I decided to give the cinnamon habanero chocolate a try. Perfection. The dark chocolate subtly hugs the cinnamon and the habanero peeks its head out. Not at all overpowering.

 

 

Have you ever tried this chocolatier or the macaroons/gelato? What were your thoughts? Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe!

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Ihop’s Cupcake Pancakes ūüėć

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If you haven’t tried Ihop’s limited time cupcake pancakes, you’re missing out. Inspired by bakery-themed sweets, this item is part of a trio of treats, including a cinnamon swirl brioche French toast and red velvet crepes. I have yet to try the other two, but the cupcake pancake features a cake-flavored batter, sprinkles and a sprinkled frosting, that is surprisingly appropriately sweet for both children and adults.

I highly recommend the combo featuring eggs, bacon and sausage (in my case, turkey bacon and sausage) with the red potato hash versus the hash browns. These are cubed potatoes with onions and peppers. Translation, a party on a plate.

Cupcake Pancake Yumfactor: 4 tongues. Addicting and fun.

Red Potato Hash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud. A great alternative if you’re not into hash browns like me.

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Coconut Oil in My Coffee?

Sleeping Moon–one of my most favorite and frequented local independent coffee shops‚ÄĒmaintains an eclectic menu and fun coffee concoctions. In the past, I‚Äôve tried Turkish coffee, lavender coffee (imagine, the acidic¬†taste of coffee, with a subtle floral finish on the last sip) and today, coconut oil coffee. This coffee has a strong base of espresso, milk and an almond flavor, with the texture of coconut oil creating a delicate drink. All favors are well combined, the espresso containing the core of the punch this coffee has, balanced with the almost sharpened nuttiness of almond; the layer of flavors is a tug of war of sweet and earthy. I added a bit of sugar, as the almond flavor was strong but not overpowering, which made for an even smoother blend of flavor.

Sleeping Moon is an artsy coffee shop in the Winter Park area known for its weekly poetry readings and local artwork. The establishment combines a global and urban mood with diverse music and a warm atmosphere. Unique treats included here are Thai tea milkshakes, and an array of exotically-flavored paninis (such as the New Zealand Bistro–a turkey panini flavored with a tangy-sweet kiwi sauce) sure to delight your spirit. The¬†pleasant staff is knowledgeable and caters to customer’s questions and needs. I’ve also heard of people adding butter to their coffee, as well as a crushed, raw egg before brewing the cup of coffee. Have you had any interesting, out of the ordinary items added to your coffee beverage? Don’t forget to comment, rate blog posts and subscribe for more food stuff!

Why you could add coconut oil to your coffee: http://thecoconutmama.com/coconut-oil-coffee/

 

Recipe Testin’: Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

appleI love Pinterest for its multitude of awesomeness. It’s no surprise it’s an extremely popular interactive vision board many use for ideas on an array of categories–food included. I often utilize Pinterest’s food boards and pins for cool recipes. Deciding after much procrastination to try a perfect fall¬†treat incorporating basic ingredients, I found a simple, yet delectable recipe using sprite, crescent¬†rolls, apple, butter, sugar and¬†cinnamon. The original recipe¬†comes from¬†The Pioneer Woman, whose¬†version includes 2 cans of crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. I had to improvise by adding Sprite and 1 can of crescent rolls, but it did the trick.¬†(Click on this link for the original recipe. This has step-by-step¬†pictures, and some of you may prefer that.)

The following is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few tweaks I added for creativity. It takes 10 minutes to prep, 40-45 minutes to cook (depending on oven and browning) and serves 6-8 people. The recipe is straightforward, the dessert is undeniably scrumptious and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • ¬†2 cans of original crescent rolls. I used one can and it worked just fine.
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1¬†teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8¬†oz/ 1 cup¬†Mountain Dew or sprite.
  • Cinnamon to taste. I added¬†nutmeg as well. (To put it in quantative terms,start with 1/2¬† of¬†1/4 of a tsp. I eyeballed it, and this is the best I’ve got.)

Directions: (Preheat over to 350 degrees)

  • Peel, core¬†and cut apples into 8 slices. This is an opportune time to use that apple peeler and corer if you have one. If not, it’s a great investment.
  • Open box of crescent rolls, and separate them into triangles. Place dumplings into a 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a round clear pan, lightly greased with butter.
  • Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll, starting from the top of the triangle, rolling downward to the tip of the crescent roll. Secure by applying gentle pressure to create an adhesion.
  • Melt two sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add vanilla, sugar, and gently stir. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth.
  • Pour butter and sugar mixture over the apple crescent rolls, thoroughly¬†covering apples. Pour Mountain Dew on the sides of the pan, around the appley crescents.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon. (I got creative and used¬†nutmeg and sugar in conjunction to cinnamon. I thought a good idea would be¬†apple pie spice¬†or a¬†dash of sugar and ginger for next time.)
  • Place into oven and bake for 40-43 minutes, until apples are soft, butter bubbles and the crescents¬†are golden brown and crispy.

Serve while warm. Toppings may¬†include: ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever works for you! Why not try¬†both versions/substitutions and incorporate the optional ingredients for variety? I’d love to hear your experiences in your comments.

S’mores Coffee+ Goldfish Strawberry Shortcake=Worth the Diabetes

Summer time is in, and that means flavors of s’mores, strawberries and fresh berries that will infiltrate the snack isle. I scored a few fun snack items today: a bag of strawberry graham crackers by Goldfish, ¬†and s’mores-flavored coffee via Archer Farms. But first, I’d like to express my gratitude for the Target. Yes, I meant to say the Target. I go there and constantly find myself amazed with the glistening fun items they parade on the shelve. Just a few days ago, there were flavored sugars (chai, vanilla, maple). This is relevant because this is where I found two blessings:

  • S’mores coffee (Archer Farms): For a limited time, you can find the summer-celebratory flavor of s’mores coffee. I’ve had other s’mores-related coffee concoctions, and what I like about this one is there is a balance of chocolate and marshmallow flavors. In previous situations, s’mores coffee flavored items have been too heavy on the chocolate, smelled like graham cracker, but I didn’t get much marshmallow. The downside is if you’re expecting graham cracker flavor (yes, this can be detected in SOME coffee flavors, depending on the brand), you won’t find much here, but this is worth a try. ¬†4 out of 5 tongues. (4/5 stars) Just a note, International Delights released a s’mores coffee creamer that was rich and indulgent; however¬†there was more chocolate and very¬†little marshmallow. It was good, but not as balanced as this coffee in my personal¬†opinion.¬†
  • Goldfish Strawberry Shortcake Graham Crackers: These, for me, are more enjoyable than the vanilla cupcake flavor. Why? The strawberry provides a fresh and fun burst of flavor, and doesn’t come across as artificial as other strawberry flavors. 3 tongues (3/5 stars).

What are your thoughts? Comment below. Image

Salads: They’re Only As Boring as You Make Them!

Many people frown up at the idea of eating a salad, providing endless excuses as to why they’re uneatable. With a little creativity, you can create appetizing¬†salads, full or meat (or not) and fun toppings to satisfy the beast within. Below are quick tips to sprucing up greens, and adding a dash of colorful¬†nutrition¬†to your lifestyle.

  • Themed salads. Make salads with meats and follow through on flavor with themed ingredients. You can try a chicken taco salad, beginning with a layer of bagged salad, cheddar cheese, taco-seasoned¬†chicken, ¬†sour cream, tomato and beans. Adding rice underneath the layer of mixed greens can be a more filling option to give you carbs and a feeling of fullness.
  • Add fruit and be merry. Adding¬†berries, ¬†oranges and other fruits can fan any salad fun. Here’s an example. Take a half a bag salad, add mandarin oranges (1-2 8 oz. servings), a Asian Toasted Sesame flavored salad dressing, and add fried chow mein noodles. Stir until you’ve got a fun Asian-inspired salad your tastebuds will beg you for. This can be spruced up with cold¬†grilled¬†chicken strips or shrimp seasoned with peanut sauce. Adding cold noodles in place of the fried chow mein noodles will also rock your mouth’s tastebuds off.
  • Be creative and add seasonal touches to your salad. Fall usually beckons orange and red-colored fruits and veggies, savory flavorings such as apple or pears spiked with nutmeg and cinnamon, and the ever¬†popular¬†butternut squash. Why not try to expand the borders of plain salads and dressings to a mountain of colors, roasted veggies and ripened, yet tangy fruit? Cranberries, croutons and¬†chicken¬†with a balsamic¬†vinaigrette¬†would make anyone’s tastebuds rave. Here is another savory, autumn-themed salad for the spirit.
  • Pair up your salads with comforting and indulgent soups, sandwiches or fuller meals. Still think salads are for sissies? They can make fun side dishes and are a versatile, easy way to up your¬†nutrition. The water content in salads¬†hydrate¬†your body and invigorates the living sludge out of your low energy levels. They perk up your day and are chock full of vitamins to help you live your best life possible. Just go out, have fun and make the salad your canvas.

Visit this site to find out more about salads and their purpose in life. ¬†Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe to this blog for fun food ideas, restaurant reviews and must try products!¬†

Dunkin Donuts has an amazing new Donut!

Dunkin Donuts has quickly hopped on the pumpkin pie bandwagon, and has released exciting new coffee concoctions, such as pumpkin mocha coffee and pumpkin white chocolate coffee. I sampled the pumpkin white chocolate flavor iced coffee drink, and loved it. I had never had a white chocolate and pumpkin flavor pairing, but the buttery white chocolate rounds off the edges to any spicy overtones in the the warm pumpkin overtones.

Similarly, I also ordered a pumpkin pie filled donut. The center is mousse-like in consistency, a whipped, brown dollop of spicy cinnamon, clove and pumpkin flavors that roll off the tongue. The icing, which is a standard buttercream is nestled under graham crackers, which all balance the sharp spiciness in each bite.

Pumpkin Pie Yumfactor: 3 tongues (3 stars). This is a fantastic seasonal donut. The pumpkin flavor is pretty authentic for it to be in a donut, thought there are obviously natural and artificial flavors. There is a bit of a wax coating like finish as many sweets have, but worth a try.

 

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