Category Archives: Food

Create an Edible Menorah with O Organics and Shaw’s Supermarkets

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Shaw’s Supermarkets. All opinions are my own.

In late October, I had the opportunity to participate in the Shaw’s #SeasonsEatings event, a wonderful holiday themed food occasion for bloggers. Held at their corporate headquarters, I learned about the unique and exclusive brands that Albertsons family of stores offers – O Organics®, Open Nature®, Signature SELECT®™, Signature Farms®, Lucerne®, and debi lilly designs™®.

Here in New England, Shaw’s is the local Albertsons Companies family store and is where I can exclusively find all these products. After shopping there weekly for over 20 years, I thought I knew everything about “my” favorite store.

Getting to see and sample many different foods that I hadn’t tried previously was a real eye opener. I also learned new tips and tricks to make an unforgettable holiday meal.

Some of the highlights of the event included:

    • Creating macaroon cookies. Coconut and orange zest combined with chocolate and slivered almonds is a great combination. O Organics has so many items for baking.

    • Learning how to cut up a whole leg of lamb into 3 smaller sized roasts. Seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh rosemary, this is a true delight. I was excited to learn that the Open Nature line has premium cuts of natural meats, including grass-fed and free range options, that are vegetarian fed and free of antibiotics or added hormones.

  • Getting to meet entertaining expert Debi Lilly. I asked for Hanukkah ideas and she was gracious enough to help me make a beautiful white bouquet. The silver vase is from the debi lilly design collection and the smaller size is just right for a centerpiece.

At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed an enormous feast with the various dishes each blogger had made earlier. I tried to sample as many different things as I could – everything was delicious!

After I returned home from such an inspiring event, I was eager to plan my Hanukkah menu, incorporating some of my favorite O Organics items into a special dish. Since food art is something I love, an edible menorah seemed ideal.

An edible menorah works well for Hanukkah because it’s distinctive, can be prepared ahead of time, and offers a variety of different nibbles on a single tray. (Who doesn’t love nuts, chocolate, and fruit, after all?)

To create this recipe, I used 4 products: O Organics Kettle Corn, O Organics Semisweet Chocolate Chips, O Organics Trail Mix, and O Organics Banana Chips.

Because it’s more art than science, exact proportions aren’t required. The order of design is what’s most important. To make an edible menorah, you will:

    • Start at the bottom of the tray and form a base of kettle corn.
    • The second step will be a horizontal row of banana chips. Leave space in between for the stem.
    • Using dried cranberries, connect the kettle corn and banana chips with a vertical row.
    • Stack chocolate chips above the banana chips.
    • Place cashews right-side up and then add an almond in the center, which is the flame.

See how pretty it looks when finished.

Not only do O Organics items taste great, I have such peace of mind knowing that they are natural. By using the MyMixx app I can often get extra savings with the digital coupons, too, making it affordable for all. From appetizers to entrees, décor to dessert and everything imaginable in-between, Shaw’s is my one-stop-shop for Hanukkah this holiday season.

No Shaw’s in your area? You can also find their product lines at all of the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Star Market, United Express, United and Carrs/Safeway.

It’s National Brownie Day. Which Kind is Your Favorite?

It’s National Brownie Day and there’s an interesting debate going on about what kind is the best. Honestly, a brownie’s always been just a brownie to me, but it’s evidently quite different to some folks and they’re very passionate about it. Most of us are familiar with the “Big 3” common varieties:

Standard:

The chewy, chocolate dessert that usually comes from a mix. Sometimes with nuts, sometimes without, but always good. 

Cream Cheese:

The marbling certainly looks spectacular, but I’m not sure it’s worth the extra step.

Blondies:

Lighter in color and some would argue also lighter in flavor.

I’ve eaten—and enjoyed—all of those, but I had no idea the world of brownies was so much larger and more exotic! Ever heard of “Deep Cherry Chipotle” brownies or “Tahini and Halvah Floss” brownies? I definitely hadn’t prior to today. Those two, along with a dozen more obscure concoctions, are featured on Hello Giggles. While not all of them sound appetizing to me, I am impressed with the creativity.

As for my personal favorite? Drenched in caramel! OMG, this would seriously be heaven on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream added.

 

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. What’s your favorite brownie?

NYC School Lunches Now Free, but None Are Kosher

NYC Schools have started offering free lunches for every student. Previously approved only for low income students, it’s now universal. The federally sponsored program is supposed to be inclusive, yet no Kosher or Halal options are available. While those dietary restrictions may be rare in most areas, 38% of the student population is affected, making it a big problem.

To be fair, a vegetarian selection is offered each day, so the kids certainly won’t go hungry. Even so, when more than 1/3 of the students are asking for Kosher and/or Halal, it’s not unreasonable to provide it. (If only a handful were concerned, that’s a totally different case and would be a burden to accommodate them.)

Because Kosher and Halal meat is more expensive, I’m guessing that’s the reason why it’s not included. I don’t think it’s a matter of discrimination in any way, regardless of rumors floating around. Trying to find a balance between cost, health, and food preferences is not easy and it’s going to take some time for the schools to work it out.

Parents can pack or buy lunches for their kids, after all. It’s not Burger King; you can’t always have it your way and that’s to be expected when the lunch is free.

Operation Turkey: Donating Thanksgiving Meals to Those in Need

Operation Turkey is donating free Thanksgiving meals to anyone in need who requests one online or by phone. The meals are delivered right to your door and contain turkey, stuffing, vegetables, pie, and a drink. Currently, they only service these states: Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. 

I think everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday with a special dinner, regardless of their wallet. This is the type of charity we should all support, since most of us are so incredibly fortunate that we take a turkey with trimmings for granted.