Disney World For Food Blog Forum Orlando 2012

I couldn’t be more excited to attend and speak at my 3rd Food Blog Forum, but this time in Disney World in Orlando. It is a great line up produced by White On Rice Couple, Steamy Kitchen, The Little Kitchen and Dawn Viola. The line-up looks amazing with too many incredible people to name. I am thrilled and honored to be speaking on a roundtable with the talented, Angie of Bakerella on “Writing a Cookbook from Two Perspectives.”  I am jumping up and down typing this. Have a great weekend!

Photo via Pinterest

Weekend Inspiration: Recipes, Yoga, Decor and Travel

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Here are a few of my favorite finds across Pinterest and the web last week along with a Lightened Up Saint Patrick’s Day Herb Dip I posted a few years ago. Let me know which of these inspires you. Enjoy and have a great rest of your weekend!

Saint Patrick’s Day Idea via The Ritzy Bee Blog

Kitchen Island via Decor de Provence

Photo via Pinterest

One day I hope to go to Paris

Amazing Doggy Yoga picture via Pinterest

Golden & Red Beet Tartare with an Apple Cider and Dill Vinaigrette via Food Wanderings

 Homemade Samoa Cookies via Spabettie

Five Heath Benefits of Drinking Water

We hear it all the time-“Drink more water!” “Stay Hydrated” But WHY? I am so excited to have a guest post by Crystal Springs of Alabama on this topic. Read on… 

It all boils down to one word: Dehydration. We all know that dehydration means our bodies aren’t getting the amounts of fluids they need – we’re not replenishing what we’ve used. The effects of dehydration may surprise you though, and get you to pay attention to the old “eight glass” rule.

Depending on several variables, like weight and activity level, it takes about 60 to 80 ounces of water (7.5 to 10 cups) to replace the fluid the body naturally loses in one day. Water makes each organ in your body run the way it’s supposed to. Think of water in your body as gas for your car (just, not as thick or smelly, hopefully).

The health benefits of drinking plenty of water can’t be denied. Drinking enough water each day can lead to:

  • Fewer headaches. Ever get a mild to moderate ache in your cranium that Tylenol just won’t fix? It could be due to a lack of water in your system. Drink up to feel better!

  • More energy. When you have enough water working in all the systems of your body, your body functions better and you have more energy.

  • Better skin. Healing blemishes or reducing wrinkles from the inside out is a natural way to look better.

  • Better breath. Ever been around someone with a raging case of halitosis? It’s not pleasant. Ensure your breath is at its best by drinking enough water daily.

  • Weight loss. Having a glass or two of water before meals can help fill your tummy with liquid volume, actually helping you eat less, according to Today.

So what if you’ve got an aversion to drinking glass after glass of the clear stuff? Not to worry. According to the Mayo Clinic, food provides around 20% of your daily water intake on average, especially water-filled fruits and vegetables. And if you just can’t stomach plain ol’ water, take a look at our blog post about the best diet drink alternatives – drinks that hydrate you while giving you a little flavor.

Crystal Springs of Alabama is a home and office water delivery service, providing crisp, clean spring water right to your door. We offer individual bottles and 5- or 3-gallon jugs with coolers. For more information about our services, visit our website.

Holiday How-to Class at Four Seasons Atlanta


When I think of a luxurious hotel, I always think of the “Four Seasons”. I have never actually stayed a Four Seasons hotel (until now), but I have visited many. When I was traveling in Milan this summer, I visited the Four Seasons Milan. Trust me. If I ever get the opportunity to go to Milan again, I will definitely want to stay there. The closest Four Seasons hotel to me is The Four Seasons Atlanta. So, when I heard about their “Holiday How-To Classes”, I put it on my to-do list. The Saturday afternoon 1 1/2 hour class was packed with great food and recipes, entertaining ideas and even new friends.

The class started with Executive Chef, Robert Gerstenecker, teaching us how to make Candied Pecans with only 3 ingredients. So easy and so good…

Chef Gerstenecker shared recipes that that make entertaining easy. He taught us how to prepare several crostini appetizers such as Pimiento Cheese, Chicken Liver Pate and a creative Red Pepper Dip. He demonstrated how to make Homemade Cheese Crackers which are only 5 ingredients (I couldn’t stop eating them).

He also proved that Kale Chips are so easy to make and delicious. Most of the women at my table had not tried kale chips before and were hooked.

Next, The Four Seasons Mixologist, Matthew Buckly, demonstrated how to make some holiday cocktails. Oh darn!

The Candy Cane Martini demonstration was hugely popular. (I’m so glad he gave us the recipe.)

l

Floral Designer, James Hurley, gave us a flower arranging 101. I need this desperately. We learned how to create the napkin holder (top picture above), how to make individual place cards with fresh herbs and raffia, and how to make a pretty table arrangement. We turned this (below)

into this (below).

When the class was over, I explored the hotel. Since it was too cold outside, I found the perfect spot for relaxation or a workout. This indoor pool was was the perfect place to warm up.

And who wouldn’t want to step into this this jacuzzi?

The Four Seasons Atlanta also is equipped with a great workout facility, and the locker rooms were fully equipped with sauna, steam and everything you could ever need.

The Four Seasons Atlanta is located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta right near Piedmont Park, The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, The Georgia Aquarium, The High Museum of Art, The Fox Theater, World of Coca Cola and more. Since I needed to do some holiday shopping, I headed over to Atlantic Station which is an incredible venue for families with great stores so close by. The Four Seasons Atlanta is a truly special big city family destination or a great couples getaway.

Part 2 Marche Region: Food, Fashion and Travel

For 4 nights, we stayed at Hotel Emilia in Portonovo in Ancona, Italy which sits on the mountain where you have a spectacular view of the coast. It’s a serene spot that speaks beauty and relaxation. I loved to sit out here overlooking the mountains.

An outdoor bar was the perfect place to sit after a busy day.

The pool was beautiful sitting in front of the rooms of the hotel.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the most exciting part of the trip, but visiting Tod’s headquarters seemed to be the highlight for some of us women. Tod’s is the largest shoe manufacturer in Europe and the largest business in the Marche Region, which is publicly traded on the Italian stock exchange. We saw the entire shoe making process; how they check the leather and why these shoes are such great quality. This is the coolest work of art when you walk in the lobby of Tod’s.

Do you think these boots will be the hit of fall 2011?

After the tour, we went to the Tod’s and Prada outlets nearby. This is also a must stop if you’re in the Marche region :). I love these kid’s shoes.

Next, we were off to lunch in the town of San Benedetto del Tronto at Ristorante Mattia with Chef Marco Cameli. I loved his Miami-style restaurant. His specialty is fish since his restaurants sits right near the beach. This clever way to present an appetizer was a favorite. I call this an Italian version of ceviche.

Next was a pasta course with clams and shrimp. I have never tasted a dish so fresh. I loved that the Chefs don’t over-salt their food.

One of my favorite dishes on the entire trip was this fish dish. It’s monkfish cooked in garlic, olive oil, white wine, with fresh tomato sauce and rosemary. I am trying to recreate this one for sure. Delizioso!

And the dessert was phenomenal and nothing like I have ever had before. Bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) with Chantilly Cream and Limoncello topped with chocolate.

There’s more to come. So much to say…This region is too spectacular for words.

 

Italy Bound: Marche Region

Today is Sunday, and I am off to Milan and then the Marche Region of Italy. This is a picture of the sea of the Regional park of Monte Conero, where I will be staying for several days. It is considered one of the best views in the adriatic sea. Follow my site this week for more updates. First stop Milan.

Kid’s Cooking Class at Park City Mountain Resort

Last week, I spent spring break in the incredibly beautiful Park City, Utah. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a Kid’s Healthy Cooking Class at Park City Mountain Resort making Apres Ski Snacks.

The kids had a blast making four recipes starting with Mini Banana Bread Loaves made with Greek yogurt and ground flaxseed.

I loved working with the staff at the Park City Mountain Resort. They made it so easy for me even though sometimes it’s tough working back in a big resort kitchen. I was looking for a masher for our banana bread, and this is all I could find.

I do appreciate all of wonderful help from Krista, Mike and Deirdra. Y’all are the best, and I had such a great time working with you!

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, we also made a healthy Herb Dip appetizer that the kids devoured.

They also especially loved preparing the Homemade Granola Bars. It was one of the more difficult recipes, but definitely worth it.

The kids also made homemade make-your-own pizzas. Everyone used their own unique touch. When the food came out of the oven, everyone was ready. They were happy (and hungry) to eat all of their healthy homemade snacks, especially after a long day of skiing.

Be sure to check out Park City Mountain Resort and Snowmama’s the next time you’re thinking about a wonderful family vacation. My kid’s had never skied before, and they were off and running after a day of lessons from the wonderful instructors here. We all had a wonderful time and can’t wait to go back!