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Food

Brunch, Food, Live Like a Local, Moms, New & Hot, Restaurants, Reviews

Bottiglia at Green Valley Ranch

Fitting that Bottiglia ( pronounced boh-TEE-yah) means “bottle” because even if you don’t go for the food you will want to be there for the drinks. Styled as a European yup-scale 1960s farmhouse chic restaurant it’s the perfect blend of retro elegance and modern touches. I could not help but imagine Audrey Hepburn here; Breakfast at Tiffanys? Brunch at Bottiglia! Picture a gastro pub that has been white washed, studded with reclaimed wood furniture, pastel fabrics, geometric chrome accents and sporadic wicker whimsy. They must have designed their drinks according to their decor. YES, I want my bellini to match my plush peach seat and YES, I would love for you to make my white sangria smell like the bouquet on the back of my chair damnit! And YES, I want my Malbec to be inspired by my velvety fig colored booth. Pinks, peaches, plums, gold and robin-egg- blues? I’ll drink all of it please…….Oh and I’ll be waiting for my drinks on the wrap around terrace if you don’t mind, thank you. I know what you are thinking: this sounds all very…… feminine.

Don’t let the décor fool you though the fine dining side of things could impress the likes of Anthony Bourdaine. This IS a fancy Italian restaurant and they’ve got the Lobster Fra’ Diavolo to prove it. I think we can all agree, Italian cuisine is all about love and you can tell where Chef Patrick’s heart is: The sea…. The sea of love….. I want to tell you just how much… I love his Halibut….. Among other things. One word ANTIPASTA. Their mastery of wood-smoked eggplant spread is only surpassed by their straight up ownership of lemon ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms. The tuna carpaccio blushes as deep as the beets in the roasted beet salad. The chopped salad is nothing short of an orgy of tart, tang and sweet kiss of green grapes. The eggplant parmesan? Miniature like a ballerina and just as ‘en pointe’ ( sul punto in Italian) If you want to get some romance get intimate with the appetizers. You’ll go home satisfied.

But let’s get back to that Halibut. You put a piece of fish in front of me and all of a sudden I look like  teenager that just had her first drink. I giggle, I wiggle and smile. Most sushi chefs think I’m flirting with them. Maybe I am and I don’t realize it, but if I am, it’s only because I’m part penguin. For that reason, the Pan Roasted Halibut spoke to me, even though I don’t speak Italian or even understand most Italian, that fish and I understood each other. It knew I would adore it no matter what. But the condiments and garnish excited me more than the fish by itself. The fish was laid on a bed of faro (thick fluffy grain) with a water color green butter sauce, dollops of carrot puree and then the peas (ohlordthepeas!) The peas were short spring inspired love poems, each a pleasurable burst inside my mouth whispering sweet nothings to the fish.

They didn’t have to bring anything else out. But they did and to be completely honest The Shrimp Puttanesca and the Lobster Fra’ Diavolo could have their way with me too. I KNOW I sound like a cheating foodie perv but if I could have a menage`a trois of fish shrimp and lobster in one sitting every time I dine at Bottiglia….. I WOULD. Both the shrimp and the lobster are equally spicy and beautiful. While sexy in name, puttanesca, meaning whore’s pasta, in Italian has become slang for “a bunch of sh*t in the cupboard goes in the pasta”. Classically, you need the capers and olives to kick the ever loving crap out of you in order to make this dish a success, which is what made this my favorite of the pastas, because capers are my life. The creamy pink sauce on the lobster though was seriously indulgent. It was almost like a deconstructed lobster ravioli. But a warning: if you don’t like you food to look at you, request the face to be removed cause you get the entire lobster.

Dish after dish was placed and removed by what seemed like six different super models which made the dinner feel like a seduction. If I can’t be seduced in Italy then I’ll gladly take a little Italian seduction in Henderson. So…. while I’m in the mood, I’ll tease you with some dessert. I’ll give you some hints: one melts in your mouth and the other was filled with fun ….. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination… Bon Apetit!

        

Reserve your table today: Bottiglia at Green Valley Ranch ***BRUNCH SERVICE BEGINS SUNDAY 28 AUG 2016***

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Truffles N Bacon Cafe : A Culinary Love Story

Welcome to my first sentence ever to post on a blog! I’m just a guest here. I don’t know how guest blogging works really or how many more of these you’ll see from me but I am so appreciative to Las Vegas Moms Blog for having me here. Blogging is fun. wheeeeeee!

TNB foodiesWhen Cee Cee from LVM asked me to come to a private lunch tasting at Truffles N Bacon AND write about it, I almost flipped. I think I actually squeed.  The name Truffles N Bacon, in my mind, evokes images of smoky fat crisped bacon and indulgently pungent truffle oil, right? Nope! I was totally wrong and super okay with it. Think sweet pork and chocolate with a little bit of South Pacific flair. Truffles N Bacon Cafe namesakes are attributed to their award winning bacon jam and their chocolate truffles. The chocolates are pretty self-explanatory: little rolled balls of chocolate covered in things. Simple and delicious. And then their bacon jam, so complex and versatile, they can (and do) put it in nearly everything. In fact, two of the foods that blew me away were dishes that both boasted the jam.

Our hostess, Magnolia, had prepared us a gorgeous French Countryside High Tea experience (sans tea.) Wild flowers floating in tea cups placed on floral chiffon table cloths next to 6 types of finger foods piled on porcelain hors d’oeuvre tiers.  Each tier of food was labeled. The entrees: The Lucia, Kahlua sliders, Mad Bird and Not Yo Mamma Mac. And the dessert:  Cocoa powder dusted chocolate truffles, coconut covered chocolate truffles and balsamic strawberries.

Kahlua Sliders

Kahlua Sliders

As the Instagram pros got up to start their photo shoot, I started swilling down water to keep from sweating and swearing in public: At that moment I hated myself for not ever taking up photography. I also had not eaten all day in anticipation of this tasting and I was starting to imagine fight scenes between lions and hyenas.  After the sandwiches had been staged or “styled” and were taken away to be snapchatted, periscoped, and instagrammed, the writers felt comfortable enough to loiter around the tables and sneak away with plates of food.

I have a confession to make. Even though I tried and enjoyed all of the foods we tasted, there are two I really want to talk about and it’s because they are, in my opinion, extraordinary. While the Mad Bird (the turkey burger with pepper jack cheese, roasted tomatoes, artichokes and sriracha avocado spread on ciabatta) and the Kahlua Sliders (slow roasted pork shoulder with tropical slaw on Hawaiian sweet roll) were lovely and delicious, I am in awe of Not Yo Momma Mac and I am in love with The Lucia.

Not Yo Momma Mac is THE unicorn of macaroni and cheese. It’s the mythical mysterious mac that has eluded me for years. I knew something like it existed but could never find it….until now. This is nothing short of ambrosia.  As if unadulterated mac and cheese wasn’t good enough, TNB had the audacity to put pieces of brisket, kale and their signature bacon jam in theirs and thank the gods they did. I want to dump truck the entire dish in my mouth and drown in it. This is pure creamy, crispy, spicy, smoky, melty, sweetness. I have found the mac and cheese Valhalla. I can die now.

The Lucia

The Lucia

And yet, as magical as the mac and cheese was nothing compares to the Lucia. This is my love letter to a sandwich… I think about you my beautiful grilled cheese, aka my finger food soul mate, EVERY DAY. Cheddar, bacon jam, tomato compote, chipotle ranch spread an on grilled white toast. The smokiness of the tomatoes in a bath of chipotle and the sweetness of the bacon jam is everything I never knew I wanted. That sandwich did something to me.  I find myself humming the Andrea Bocelli tune “Santa Lucia” throughout the day. I often think about making my own grilled cheese but then… it just wouldn’t be the same. My friends say I am changed. I didn’t realize I was empty until I had this sandwich. If it is possible for Tesla, one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century (and possibly ever) to be in love with a pigeon, then I believe it is possible for a 21st century girl, to be in love with a sandwich (especially in the current dating climate).

The bacon jam dishes should be enough of a reason to visit Truffles N Bacon Cafe, but if food isn’t really your thing, they double as an art gallery and offer high tea service too. You just have to call ahead to schedule it. I plan on doing that soon. (I need to visit my boyfriend Lucia, anyway)

photo credit: 
Erik Kastner and Arianna Domingo of Fifty Fifty Studios
LVM: Cee Cee Bautista
via Instagram: @happytummy_702@ninser_the_foodie, @hei02miyachi

TNB 2    

Truffles N Bacon Cafe
8872 South Eastern Ave, Ste 100
Las Vegas, NV 89123
702-503-1102

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Chuck E. Cheese’s New Menu Review & ***GIVEAWAY***

Hey mamas! This past week, the fambam and I got invited to Chuck E. Cheese’s to test out their new menu, which included: new pizzas, appetizers, healthier options and dessert. But of course we went, who doesn’t like playing at Chuck E. Cheese and eating pizza!

 

Check out their new menu:

New Pizzas:

* Thin & Crispy crust – you can make any pizza in the menu thin & crispy

* Cali Alfredo – newest specialty pizza made with Alfredo sauce, fresh spinach, shredded mozzarella, chicken breast, sliced mushrooms, and sausage

* BBQ chicken pizza- features crispy onions and a new BBQ drizzle

Sandwiches and Wraps:

* Caesar and Club Wraps made with whole wheat tortillas

* Oven Roasted BBQ chicken ciabatta sandwich

Chicken Wings and Breadsticks:

* BBQ and Sweet Chili Boneless and Bone-In chicken wings

* Soft Parmesan Breadsticks

* Buffalo chicken cheesy bread

Dessert:

* Dessert Churros served with salted caramel and white chocolate icing

* Cinnamon Sticks- new and improved stuffed with more cinnamon crunch and topped with white chocolate icing

So my foodie review is an A+ for the new thin and crispy pizza options that they offer for any pizza on the menu, I loved their thin and crispy pizza! I also enjoyed the Chicken Alfredo pizza because all the ingredients were fresh (no canned mushrooms, thank goodness)! The BBQ chicken pizza was quite delicious as well, the crispy onions just give it a wonderful texture and had a delicious BBQ flavor. As for the two new wrap offerings, it was OK because of the overwhelming amount of dressing for my taste, however my father-in-law enjoyed both of them and would order them again. The sweet chili wings reminded me of the Thai chicken wings I make with Mae Ploy sauce, but a little spicier. The kiddos’ favorites were the pizza, BBQ wings, BBQ sandwich, Parmesan breadsticks and the Churros with the salted caramel sauce. Overall, the menu had something for everyone to enjoy.

 

After eating, we had to get our game on to burn off all the yummy food. It’s imperative for me to hit the arcade basketball, it’s my favorite game of all time (yes, I get competitive) so I couldn’t pass it up! My kiddos love playing all the ticket games and of course, cashing in their tickets.

Here’s a tip: Prior to going to Chuck E. Cheese, download their free game app on Apple Store or Android, so that you can redeem real tickets to use (my 8 year old son managed to get 540 tickets!) FYI: You need to redeem the tickets, which then get emailed to you, and then you need to print it out to bring and give to the ticket attendant (Lol, I didn’t so that’s why I’m forewarning you, but hey, we’ll use it next time). So 4,000 + tickets later we got some nice prizes and it was time to go.

Until next time Chuck E. Cheese’s…We’ll be back!

Contest Alert:

We are giving one lucky winner a Chuck E. Cheese’s Guest pass that gives you 1 large pizza, 4 soft drinks, and 30 game tokens!

Make sure to like Las Vegas Moms Blog on Facebook and comment below with your favorite Chuck E Cheese memories new and old! Contest ends Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 8pm PST. Good luck, mamas!

I would recommend checking out the new menu available in Las Vegas at: www.chuckecheese.com/newmenu

You can also visit and like Chuck E. Cheese’s Facebook page

They’re also on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and you can use hashtag #CECLasVegas

****Did you know you don’t have to spend all your tickets in one day, the ticket attendant will print out a new ticket of your remaining tickets, so no need to rush the kiddos to pick out prizes they don’t care for because they think they have to spend all their tickets in one day.
(Disclaimer: I feed my family less processed foods for the most part but I believe that you can eat other foods in moderation). Click HERE or at the end of my bio below to read other posts by me!

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If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie

Russian Teacakes and Milk
Let the wild holiday rumpus begin.

Let the wild holiday rumpus start.

In our house, the Christmas season is not allowed to start before Thanksgiving. But it really doesn’t start until Christmas Mouse is pulled out of his (her? – not sure, it’s a mouse) plastic bin where he lives with the other holiday decorations. Christmas Mouse was sent to our family by my father-in-law and his wife when our boys were babies.

When you squeeze his foot, he sings We Wish You a Merry Christmas in a high, warbly voice. And he waves his little mouse arms and rocks side to side at the same time. At first, I hated this little singing and dancing rodent.

But surprisingly, he grew on me. These days, he is a bit temperamental in his singing. Maybe he’ll sing for you, maybe not. But we keep him.

The important thing is that once Christmas Mouse is unpacked, the wild holiday rumpus can start.

(Click this link to see Christmas Mouse in action!)

And the most important holiday tradition in our house is…

I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer this, so I asked the three main guys in my life what they thought. Two quickly said, “Christmas cookies.” The third talked about being allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and waking Russian Teacakes and Milkup really early Christmas morning. But when he was told the others wanted Christmas cookies, he became super animated and agreed wholeheartedly.

When I was growing up, my mom made double or even triple batches of cookies each holiday season. Between my three brothers, me, and our friends tromping into the house after sledding or ice skating, it’s hard to believe there would be enough. But there seemed to be an unending supply.

I loved baking with my mom, and now my kids bake with me.

 

This recipe for Russian Teacakes is from the 1960 edition of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. Russian teacakes are my favorite Christmas cookie.  My mom, and now I, have baked them every single holiday season for my whole life. Even little kids can contribute to this tradition by rolling the baked cookies in confectioners’ sugar.

(I’m including the commentary from the original recipe because I love old cookbooks and their history.)Russian Teacakes

 

Russian TeacakesCrunchy, sugared, nut-filled snowballs.

This favorite with men came to us from a man. Carl Burkland, an eastern radio executive, often makes them himself at Christmastime.

Mix thoroughly:

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together and stir in:

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix in:

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Chill dough. Roll into 1″ balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet (cookies do not spread). Bake until set, but not brown. While still warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.

Temperature: 400°

Time: Bake 10 to 12 minutes

Amount: About 4 dozen 1″ cookies

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Halloween Treats, No Tricks

Spider cake

Candy corn and fun-size candy bars aren’t the only Halloween treats. Homemade Halloween-themed snacks are easier than you think. You can easily take familiar favorites and give them a twisted presentation for a horror-infused buffet. Let your imagination ooze to the dark side.

Spider Cake

Bake: Prepare cake batter using your favorite cake recipe or mix.
For the spider body, bake batter in an oven-safe glass mixing bowl. It will take longer to bake the batter in bowl than a cake pan, so watch carefully. It is done when a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing cake from bowl onto a cooling rack.
For the head, bake batter in a cupcake tin. (If there is leftover batter, bake more cupcakes.)

Assemble: Use a wooden skewer to attach the cupcake “head” to the larger “body.” Place on a serving plate, or a foil-covered cake base.

Decorate: Frost cake with gray or black frosting, which can be found in baking supply stores or craft stores (e.g. JoAnn). You can also use black food coloring to color vanilla frosting.
Alternately, chocolate frosting can be used.
For the eyes, use candies such as Atomic Fire Balls or Dots.
For the legs, position eight pieces of your favorite flavor of licorice.
If you desire, decorate the spider body by making a stencil out of cardstock. Sprinkle crystallized sugar over the stencil. Lift cardstock up carefully.

**Be careful not to offer this cake to people with arachnophobia.

So easy, a kid can bake it.

So easy, a kid can bake it.

New Twists on Familiar Favorites

The food is easy, the presentation scary.

Worms on a treat!

Worms on a treat!

Popcorn. Stuff popcorn into food-service gloves for individual servings. Tie the wrist end with ribbon. For an extra snap, place a Hot Tamale candy in the tip of each glove finger.

Cookie-Cutter Snacks. Cutting cookies into holiday-themed shapes makes them that more festive, Try it for unexpected foods, too. Use Halloween cookie cutters to make bat shaped pizza or pumpkin shaped cheese slices.

Rice Krispies Treats. (Recipe here.) Add drops of green and yellow food coloring to the melted butter-marshmallow mixture to create a sickly hue. After the treats have been cut into squares, arrange on a plate. Decorate with gummy worms and sprinkle with crushed chocolate cookies to make “dirt.”

 

What’s in a Name?

It’s amazing how changing the name of a food changes your experience. (Like “escargot” sounds exotic, while “snails” sounds…eww.) Place menu cards on the serving table to set the mood.

Crunchy Cheetos = Witches’ Fingers
Red Velvet Cupcakes = Bloody Cakes
Chili = Ogre Vomit

You get the picture.

I Vant to Drink Your Blood

Little ghosts and goblins can work up quite a thirst wreaking terror in the neighborhood. Quench it with this easy drink, which is delightfully bloody and infiltrated with creepy-crawlies:

Start with Creepy Ice Cubes: Pour lemon-lime soda into ice cube trays. Add a gummy worm or other gross gummy to each cube compartment. Freeze until solid.

Strawberry Puree: Thaw a bag of frozen strawberries. Puree in blender, adding sugar to taste. (For a 20-oz bag of fruit, use about ¼ cup of sugar.) Add lemon juice to taste, if you wish.

Assemble: Place a few ice cubes in a glass. Fill with lemon-lime or other light-colored soda. Dip a straw into strawberry puree. Cover the end of the straw with your finger to draw puree up into the straw. Drip small amounts of the puree into the glasses of soda and serve. Do not stir up the “blood.”

 

 

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Healthy Habits For Picky Eaters

Being a mama of three small children can be a challenge, especially when it comes to eating. I noticed each one of my children goes through different eating phases as far as pickiness goes. I went through dessert negotiations when they were all toddlers. Like if you eat three more bites I’ll give you dessert. Then I realized that I was doing more harm by doing that. Usually this leads to negotiating other things, i.e. my son/daughters say if I do something, what will I get for doing that. For me, I want them to do something because they want to do it, not because they are expecting something in return. So I felt like I had to make a change and hopefully these tips will help your picky eater so they can have more of a diverse palate then just eating chicken tenders, pizza, or mac & cheese.

1. Take them with you when you go shopping for groceries so they can pick out some fruits and vegetables. I like taking my kiddos to the local farmer’s markets because it allows them to take some control of what they want to eat plus they get excited about what new fruit and vegetable they picked out. Another plus is they understand where their local food comes from and they get to know their local farmers and artisans.

2. Involve your kids in the cooking process. It’s so much more fun for them to be a part of cooking, let them be your taste testers. They’ll be proud that they helped out, hence they will more than likely eat the food you put on the table.

3. Educate them during dinner time. I tell them that its important to eat healthy and that they are fortunate to be able to eat different varieties of food. I want them to understand that food is fuel for the body and there are essential vitamins and minerals we need to eat for us to have a healthy body. I also tell them that there a lot of children all over the world that don’t have a choice or sometimes go without a food, it might sound cruel to some mamas but I’m just being real.

4. Be consistent with what you serve, they might eat a bite or two but eventually they’ll eat it. I always serve some sort of greens with our meal. My two older kiddos likes their greens plain but my toddler likes her w/ a little homemade salad dressing (balsamic vinegar and evoo/Avocado oil w/ sea salt).

5. Encourage and praise them when they try something new, especially when they are toddlers. I always clap my hands and tell my toddler I’m proud of her when she tries a different vegetable. It makes her feel so happy and she tends to eat more so she can hear me clap.

Hopefully some of my tips will help you mamas out there because we are in this together and healthy children are a good investment in our future and theirs.

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Strawberry, Blueberry, & Banana Smoothie Recipe

red white blue smoothie strawberry banana blueberryHey Mamas hope you and your fambam are keeping cool this summer especially with this extreme summer heat. My family and I like to keep cool with delicious smoothies from green to fruity to get our daily dose of natural vitamins and hydration besides our water. Here’s a simple delicious 4th of July smoothie for any smoothie beginner, for smoothie novices you could also add 2 handfuls of greens of your choice of spinach/ kale to maximize more health benefits. Hope you and enjoy and I wish you all a safe and Happy 4th of July!

 

Strawberry, Blueberry, & Banana Smoothie Recipe

2 cups of milk of your choice: regular, almond, soy, coconut, etc.
1/4 cup of greek or regular yogurt
1/2 tsp of organic vanilla extract
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup fresh/frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh/frozen strawberries
1 cup of ice or more as needed

In a blender, add whatever liquid you are using, 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, banana chunks, blueberries, strawberries. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds. Then add ice and blend another 30 seconds. Enjoy. Makes about 4-5 servings *You could also put this smoothie (without ice) in popsicle molds and add fresh berries in the mold too for another delicious treat.

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Mateando: Spending Time with Uruguayans

mate

mateLa Celeste, the Uruguay National Futbol team plays England today (12N PDT). Go Uruguay! Let’s take a look at the national drink…

A proud tradition in Uruguay, Argentina, Parguay and Southern Brazil where mate is the national beverage, mateando (drinking mate) has become a social experience in modern day. Much like coffee here in the US, mate is a caffeinated beverage that can be a shared experience, talking over mate, walking with mate, mate can also be a lovely gift. It doesn’t cause jitters or upset the stomach since it does not produce acidity or oil the way coffee does. Mate is an herbal tea enjoyed in a drinking receptacle called a “mate” (yes, same name) sipped through a straw with a sieve on the end (to avoid ingesting crushed leaves) called a “bombilla”. Water is boiled in a caldera & poured over the leaves in the mate. You sip mate through the bombilla so that you can drink the tea produced without swallowing any of the crushed leaves. According to a Portuguese tradition, mate is made from leaves only to reduce or eliminate acidity created by twigs and stems or “palo”. The less palo, the higher the quality of mate. Today, Uruguayans enjoy consuming mate from their own gourd as opposed to sharing one mate to be passed from person to person. Some use personal gourds for hygienic reasons, but others say no one has to wait their turn!

Leaves for yerba mate come from a tree (Ilex Paraguariensis) Pure mate leaves are Nativa. They are picked from mature forest trees & aged for at least 1 year. Trees that are shade grown as opposed to being harvested from commercially raised, sun-grown trees will yield more in tact nutrients. The leaves can be steeped for longer periods of time without becoming bitter since the tannin levels are low. In other countries such as Argentina, mate is sweetened with honey or sugar, but Uruguayans drink it pure. The bombilla is needed to filter the leaves out while sipping your mate and it is usually made of metal: nickel, silver, bronze, gold are common and mate (the gourd itself) is meant to last years.

The nativa boasts of two dozen vitamins and minerals, more than a dozen amino acids and countless antioxidants. Other herbs can also be added to increase the health benefits of drinking mate. Guayaki was introduced into the US a few years ago (2009) bring the “…first Fair Trade Certified yerba mate company in the world through IMO.” My favorite quote about describing mate is “Yerba Mate has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea,and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage.”

Let’s sip our mate while cheering on La Celeste! Viva Uruguay!!!

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This post is in partnership with multiculturalkidblogs.com Come learn about other countries participating in this World Cup event by clicking here.

DIY, Food, Healthy, Homemade, Recipes

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Wow! I can’t believe how easy, tasty, and economical it is to make your own yogurt! Having a family of five makes you find ways to stretch your dollar. So it makes sense to save in the kitchen, eat healthy, and it is especially satisfying to control the quality of ingredients that ultimately make up my delicious yogurt. Hope you enjoy mamas!

 

 

YOGURT RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 quart whole milk, nonfat, lowfat or unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, has to have the live and active cultures

  1. Warm up your oven til it reaches 145 degrees, then turn it off
  2. In a large pot heat the milk until it reaches 180 degrees, I used a stable read thermometer, like the polder. Remove from heat so it can cool, keeping the thermometer in the pot.
  3. Once the temperature drops to 115 degrees, stir in the yogurt until it’s thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Cover the pot and place it in the oven and leave it undisturbed for 10 to 12 hours. I put a towel over it and closed the oven. (I like a thicker and tangier yogurt so I let the yogurt sit an additional 3 to 5 hours)
  5. Refrigerate yogurt for at least 3 hours before eating.

 If you want, you can make it into greek yogurt by straining it with a cheesecloth, bouillon strainer, or a yogurt cheese strainer for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator or how thick you want it to be (I spooned the yogurt into the yogurt cheese strainer because it’s easy, less messy and I like to use the other homemade yogurt to put in my green smoothies, homemade frozen yogurt, or put in my mashed potatoes). Then you can use the excess liquid (whey) to put in your smoothies or fermented vegetables.   You can reserve 1/4 cup of your homemade yogurt to start a new batch.

CREDIT: Thanks to one of my favorite fitness healthy real foods advocate instagrammers @fitalicious_me for sharing this recipe!

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Food, Kid-Friendly, Mother's Day, Reviews, Support Local

My Mother’s Day Dinner at Havana Grill

On Mother’s Day I had made reservations to go to one of my favorite brazilian steak houses, Samba. Well to my surprise, I found out they do not allow children under 5 to dine in the restaurant . To make it easy I picked our closest Cuban restaurant, Havana Grill.  I have always loved Havana Grill, but earlier I had told my children that we were going somewhere very fancy. When we arrived at Havana Grill my four year old son got a disgusted look on his face and began to cry. I asked him what was wrong and he said the place was not fancy. I tried to convince him that, Yes, it was fancy. He started waving his arms around and saying, “Look! Just look at this place! This is not fancy! Even look at their paintings!” I was completely shocked! My husband and I had a hard time not laughing. Even though he was being a complete brat, it showed me that even snobbery is passed through genetics. You see, my husband only likes fancy places too and since I am the one who is with the kids most of the time, they don’t have much opportunity to have that trait rub off. Throughout dinner,  my son kept his disappointed face on and the rest of my four children went about and enjoyed their night out at an unfancy dinner.  The restaurant’s decor is actually very cute. It really is not that fancy but more like something you might find in a Cuban neighborhood in Miami. It’s has a little bit of a tropical theme going on with lots of ceiling fans that are shaped like leaves and old rustic looking Cuban paintings. It’s definitely not a super dressy place. It would be totally appropriate if you went completely casual to a little dressy. I always border on too dressy everywhere I go, but that is just how I feel most comfortable. The food was good as it has always been. I actually love the vegetarian plate which just consists of black beans, white rice, and fried plantains – so simple, but it is done just right.  image  All of the kids got Cuban style sandwiches and my husband had a chicken dish. I also made sure to order a mojito! Their mojitos are pretty much what I would expect, nothing too special, but just a classic mojito. The night we went, they were definely running behind and our service was slow, but what can you expect on Mother’s Day? Besides, we were in no hurry – we were having a great time. I recommend this place to anyone who enjoys Cuban food or is willing to try something different. Also this place is completely kid-friendly, and even though my little guy thought it was not fancy. it is actually very cute with a true Cuban feel. image4-1024x768 image3-1024x768