Saturday, July 27, 2019

More Cheese, Please! - Tillamook and #MeltyFest come to Baltimore!

This post is in partnership with Tillamook. All opinions expressed are my own.

If you follow along on Instagram, it's no secret that I recently had the chance to attend the menu takeover at The Food Market to celebrate Tillamook coming to Baltimore. It was my first time at The Food Market, much less the "secret" private dining room in the basement. 

Owner and head chef Chad Gauss treated us to an incredible menu full of smoky, savory, cheese-y goodness. In fact, my mouth is starting to water at the thought of the delicious meals he created. Not one to keep anything to myself, you too, will have the chance to sample these amazing meals THIS WEEK at The Food Market, Baltimore as well as try out some of Tillamook's world famous ice cream at several of the Baltimore Ceremony Coffee Roasters locations. Not sure where to find Tillamook? Click here to see where it's carried in your local grocer!

Back to the good stuff...

Chef Chad is a pretty cool guy. Super chill and down to earth, really appreciates hospitality and making people happy through food. It's no wonder he's so good at what he does. His plan for our intimate Tillamook dinner was to "make food to make the cheese pop rather than the other way around. It's almost a sin to manipulate Tillamook in a way, the cheese is just that good."

With my glass full of expertly paired Boordy Vineyard wines, I was more than ready to begin this extraordinary food journey. 

It all started with our own personal serving of Habanero Crab Dip. If you know anything about us Marylanders, you know we sure do love our crab. Prepared with Tillamook's Extra Sharp White Cheddar, this dish was the perfect balance of creamy and spicy. 

We then moved on to my absolute favorite course of the night, the Reuben Charred Salad. Growing up in New Jersey, the best place to get a Reuben is the local diner. There are so many emotions tied to this one simple sandwich for me. Eating at the diner with my Dad on Saturday mornings, bringing my Nanny there on special holidays and gathering there after every school mixer, formal and social event. 

Chef Chad's spin on this traditional staple was to die for. The charred cabbage lent a smoky element that complimented the melty swiss cheese and corned beef perfectly.

Oh but wait. Then came the scallops and if you know anything about me, you know that if there are scallops on the menu, I'm ordering them. These scallops arrived over a bed of the creamiest, savoriest risotto prepared with Tillamook white cheddar, tomato butter and charred zucchini. If I wasn't so sure I'd ruin the scallops on my own, this would most definitely be a dish that I try to recreate at home. 

Chef Chad's take on grilled cheese "steak" was nothing like I've ever had before. Wagu beef over a grilled slice of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar was simply amazing. Straight forward and with a side of vinegar shoe string fries, much of the table enjoyed this course the most. 

Whether it's savory or sweet that you desire, Baltimore's Melty Fest has something for everyone. You can find these meals at The Food Market or if it's ice cream you're after, Ceremony Coffee Roasters will be dishing out delicious nitro ice cream floats. Bring your girlfriends, bring your family, it's something everyone can enjoy!

Looking for a way to bring Tillamook cheese into your home? Here's Chef Chad's famous recipe for Beer Cheese Fondue, typically served with their house made Amish soft pretzels: 

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Because Feeding Your Kids Dessert for Dinner Doesn't Count in the Summer... Right?

Thank you Tillamook for sponsoring this post. Visit your local Costco today to bring Tillamook Ice Cream Sandwiches home to your family this summer!

Out here in Maryland we're closing in on the final days of the school year. It was touch and go for a while- having lived through a terrible case of "May-cember" buried under last minute field trip slips, Sign Up Genius party supply lists and lost library books. I know it's a touch dramatic but there were times I wasn't sure we'd make it out alive. Now that it's June though and the last day of school marked by a giant red heart can be found at the end of this week's calendar row, I'm happy to report that summer is so close we can almost taste it. 

These last couple weeks haven't been without struggle though and I know fellow parents will feel me on this one. Bedtime is near impossible to enforce when the sun's rays are beating down through my kids' windows at 7:30pm, heavier than the beats dropped by the Jonas Brothers on their new single. When the kids are out in the yard playing nicely together for, what feels like the first time in 2 years, you can't bear to call them inside even though it's so late they'll have to go to bed without showers (that's what all those leftover baby wipes are for when they get older, right?) And God help me if one more kid tells me they can't find their uniform shirt, I swear I'm sending them to school half naked. (Wouldn't that be a fun phone call to home?) It's bad enough we're already down to a rotation of two presentable shirts (and two that look like they've been drug through the streets of Baltimore by a rabid dog), we've just got to make it through Friday.

But like I was saying. Friday is right around the corner and just like the Little Engine That Could, "I think I can," "I think I can," make it to then. Summer is so close we can taste it and if it tastes anything like these ice cream sandwiches I fed my kids for dinner last night? It's going to be the bomb. 

Wait, did you think I was kidding? I really have waved the white flag. My kids are going to bed later, dirtier and occasionally having sometimes eaten ice cream for dinner. I feel pretty good about myself those nights considering these Tillamook ice cream sandwiches are made from only the highest quality ingredients. There's no high fructose corn syrup in them and the milk comes from dairy cows who haven't been treated with artificial growth hormones. It doesn't get much better than that! But, oh it does. The cookies they use to make the sandwiches are made with REAL butter and brown sugar. You know sometimes how the ice cream sandwiches taste a little bit like the wrappers they're packaged in? Not these babies. They're absolutely indulgent from start to finish. 

When I'm not feeding my kids dessert for dinner, I can promise you they'll be a staple at our house this summer. We're constantly getting together with our neighbors for impromptu BBQ's and while they're almost too good to share with the kids, I'll be sure to head to Costco to pick up an extra box (or two, or twelve) to have on hand for when they arrive en masse. 

Until Friday though, this box is for me. After all, nothing goes with a side of lost library books like a fine Pinot and an ice cream sandwich.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Becoming a More Mindful Mama... Impossible or No?

I'm about to share with you something I really suck at. (I like how that sentence makes it sound like I only suck at one thing... wouldn't that be nice?) But really though, I'm about to let you in on a secret. 

I suck at being present. Whether it's when I'm with my kids or while I'm in the grocery store or even while I'm at the gym, I'm constantly running through various To-Do lists in my head thinking about what needs to be done or what I've already failed to do. It's a constant battle trying to remain present in the moments of Motherhood without getting overwhelmed by busyness. 

This is where the practice of mindfulness comes in. We all have the capacity to be present. It doesn't require any fancy tools or apparatus. All we really have to do is look within ourselves to cultivate innate qualities of peace and presence. Sounds easy, right?

The practice of being mindful encourages moms to let go to of the notion of perfect parenting and all of the areas of motherhood that this spills over into. Mindfulness as a mom means learning to stay patient in the presence of meltdowns, finding ways to better manage stress, choosing ways to stay present with your family so you don't miss every day moments and prioritizing play over productivity. 

At the start of the new year, I decided that "mindful" was going to be my word of 2018 and I wanted to share with you today a few ways that I've been incorporating the practice of mindfulness into my day to day life. 

On my best days, I'm up before the sun and most importantly, I'm up before my three boys. Some days this looks like the 4am hour and others I can squeak by until 6am. On the mornings I'm fumbling around in the dark for my exercise clothes, I'm mindful that these quiet hours are a gift and to choose wisely how I spend them. It's been a little over one month now that I've been consistently going to the gym at 5am each week and in that time I have learned to love the dark and the quiet that comes with the early wake up. It's typically the only time of the day that I am not constantly needed or being pulled in numerous directions. The post-workout endorphin rush is another bonus to this newly adopted self-care practice.

Being mindful also means slowing down to enjoy the process of things. I wholly admit that I am not the best at this but I am trying each day to find peace in ordinary moments. For instance, when I return home to the gym and have to make school lunches, a task that I typically loathe with every fiber of my being, I try to stop and remind myself what a blessing it is to have three boys to pack lunch for and to belong to a school community that I truly love and appreciate. 

Recognizing what I'm putting into and on my body has also become a part of my own personal mindful practice. Adopting habits of clean eating and cleaner living have already benefited my family in so many ways. 

Last month I introduced you to prAna, a clothing company dedicated to inspiring healthy, active, living through the use of their sustainable fabrics. prAna is incredibly mindful of the way they source their materials and use them to create pieces that are designed to be worn in all aspects of life, from fitness activities to every day living. They recently sent me two pieces that have become comfortable reminders of my newly adopted practice of mindfulness. 

Getup Sweater // Shala Pant

I am a work in progress but I am also happy with the small changes I've made so far to become a more mindful mother. 
My friends at prAna asked that I share the following code with you. It's good for 15% off of all things regularly priced: MPAPS18. The discount code is active through March 20th. 

Happy Shopping!
#mindfulprAna #prAnaSpring18
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