Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Anniversay, nwafoodie blog!

Posted by Lyndi

Today marks my one-year anniversary of this blog!  What a great year it is has been!  Thank you for reading, sharing, participating, and overall making this a fun adventure. 

I have so much more to share with you all!

In honor of this milestone, I am hosting a week of giveaways, starting yesterday with Celtic Grill and today with Glow gluten free cookies.  Come back daily to see what’s new.  Good luck!

Curious to know what the top five blog posts are from Year1 in terms of traffic and comments?


Curious to know which blog post was my favorite?


Thanks again for a great year!  Please let me know what I can do better to help you in your foodie life adventure!

Salute!

Happy Anniversary giveaway: Glow gluten free chocolate chip cookies!


Posted by Lyndi

Recently you heard me go on and on about a new gluten free discovery at Cook’s Natural Market in downtown Rogers:  Glow gluten free chocolate chip cookies!  I must say the adorable package caught my eye so I bought them. 

Next came the taste: Oh me, oh my! 

These crunchy babies are just as tasty as a non gluten-free chocolate chip cookie!  I am a big fan!  Glow™ gluten free cookies come in four flavors:  chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and gingersnap.

I have one Glow gluten free chocolate chip cookie package to giveaway to one lucky reader, courtesy of Jill Brack, owner of Glow™ gluten free, who contacted me after reading my blog post and thanked me for the nice press!  Wasn’t that sweet of her?  She sent me a box of cookies, too!  So, here I am… giving them away to one of you!  Thank you Jill!

Prize:

1 lucky winner will receive a Glow™ gluten free chocolate chip cookie.  Contest ends this Saturday, September 4th at midnight (CDT).  I will pick a winner via randomizer.

Eligibility:

Leave me a comment using the comment form, below, preferably with your twitter or blog name to make it easy to contact you if you win.  

The comment is up to you:  Are you gluten-free?  Are you a crunchy or chewy cookie person?  What store or retailer would you love to see Glow™ gluten-free cookies stocked at?  Let us know what you think!

Tip:  If you enter using the Name/URL option, you can leave the URL blank.  The Blogger format can be a little confusing!   See the “How to leave a comment (please do!)” link at the top of this page for step-by-step instructions!

No purchase necessary to enter. Contest void where prohibited. Contest open to members who are 18 years or older. Contest open only to Continental US residents only.

Good luck!
           

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary giveaway: Celtic Grill restaurant in Bentonville!



Posted by Lyndi

Are you into hole-in-the-wall, off-the-beaten-path, and “themed” restaurants?  If so, then Celtic Grill is for you.  Located in Bentonville in a business park close to the intersection of Olive and “J” Street, Celtic Grill offers something different than the every day cookie-cutter fare:  Irish food!

I personally am a big fan of the shepherd’s pie (beef tips, peas, carrots, with potatoes baked golden brown) and reuben sandwich (okay, back in the day before I discovered I couldn’t eat wheat).  And, according to an informal poll on my facebook page, their fish and chips (Icelandic cod fried golden brown in Guiness beer batter) are rated a fan favorite!  Unfortunately, Celtic Grill does not have a website so I am unable to post their menu link.  If you like traditional Irish fare, you won’t be disappointed.  Want something less “theme” based?  Don't worry, there is plenty to please both young and old from salad bar to burgers to fish to steak.

For almost five years now, Celtic Grill has been open everyday from 11am until midnight.  There is a bar (with Guiness Extra Stout, of course) and a main dining room.  Rumor has it there is an outdoor patio but I have yet to see it!

Now is someone’s lucky chance to score a Celtic Grill with a free $15 penguin bill gift certificate.

There’s a catch:  You have to add a comment and you have to add it fast because this giveaway ends THIS Friday night at 8pm CDT!  Yes, 8pm!

I have a $15 penguin bill gift certificate to give away to Celtic Grill, courtesy of my friend Dave with NWArestaurants.com!  NWArestaurants has crazy deals on featured restaurants that sell out fast.  Usually deals of 50% of gift certificates (aka “penguin bills”)!  Check out his website, twitter, or facebook page!   His site is great if you want to search for area restaurants and it has the ability to “filter” on key items, such as private rooms, gluten free, low carb, etc.  Check it out!

Prize:

1 lucky winner will receive a $15 penguin bill gift certificate to Celtic Grill located in Bentonville on 11 SE 28th Street.  Contest ends this Friday, September 3rd at 8pm (CDT).  I will pick a winner via randomizer.

Eligibility:

Leave me a comment using the comment form, below, preferably with your twitter, email, or blog name to make it easy to contact you if you win.  

The comment is up to you:  This is going to be a fun one!  Leave a comment telling us your Irish name and/or the funniest Irish food combination you can think of me.  Here’s an example:  My name is O’Lyndi McFoodie and I would like to see a Guiness-battered krispy crème donut!

Tip:  If you enter using the Name/URL option, you can leave the URL blank.  The Blogger format can be a little confusing!   See the “How to leave a comment (please do!)” link at the top of this page for step-by-step instructions!

No purchase necessary to enter. Contest void where prohibited. Contest open to members who are 18 years or older. Contest open only to Continental US residents only, although this one really makes sense if you are in Northwest Arkansas since the penguin bill is for the Bentonville location.

Good luck to you, lad and lassies!  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I know why Hannibal Lecter craved fava beans.



Posted by Lyndi

You know the scene I am talking about.  The scene with the famous (and repulsive) quote about “fava beans and a nice chianti.  Chianti? Been there.  Done that.  Fava beans?  Hmmmm. Let’s face it.  Fava beans are difficult to locate. 

But then, it happened.  I tasted them. 

And now I know why Hannibal Lecter craved fava beans. 

They are the filet mignon of beans. 

I rank them on my top 3 favorite purely delicious food tasting moments of all time.

Last fall I had my first encounter with a fava bean while on vacation in beautiful Vail Village, Colorado at Kelly Liken’s namesake restaurant (yes, the same Kelly Liken on Top Chef Washington, DC).  I ordered a side vegetable dish of freshly picked peas, pea tendrils, and wild mushrooms.  Shortly after diving into our appetizers, the waitress came to my table an apologized about running out of the mushrooms and asked sweetly, “would you mind a substitute of freshly picked fava beans?”

Would I mind?  I’ve been looking for fava beans my whole life!  “Yes! Yes! Yes,” I gushed.

Wow.

When I tell you that fava beans are the filet mignon of beans, I literally mean they incredibly taste like filet mignon. 

Why are they not a household staple? 

Why?

Here comes the catch.  These babies are hard to locate.  In early spring, fava beans are smaller and bright green.  As the summer goes by they grow quite large and are also called “broad beans.”  Towards late summer they can get mealy and quite hard, which is fine for pureeing as a spread but not as wonderful as a side dish.

So I’ve been searching.

Ozark Natural Foods has dried fava beans in bulk.  I purchased them, soaked overnight, and cooked them.  Result?  Not so good.  I found a canned fava bean.  Neh, so-so.  I’ve yet to find them in the frozen vegetable aisle, but I keep looking in every store I enter.  I kid you not.

But then.  It happened. I found them! 

Fresh, beautiful fava beans!  At Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville!  “Yes!  Yes!  Yes!”  I gushed in the aisle and danced the happy dance. 

Who cares who saw me?  I found fava beans!!!



Forget putting them on your foodie bucket list for the future… run over to Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville as soon as you finish reading this and purchase some.  Even just a few .  Try it out for yourself and tell me if they aren’t amazing.

Curious how to prepare?

Fava beans come in pods.  So you must first remove the beans from the pod and drop them in boiling water.



Remove the beans from the boiling water after approximately 5 minutes.  Essentially, you are blanching them before you sautee them.  Drop them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.



Remove the beans from the ice water.  Now you are going to remove the outer skin of the bean.  How?  Use a fingernail to lightly pry open the end and then you just “pop-push” the bean out.  Viola!

Sautee lightly in a frying pan.  I sautéed in butter with a little salt, pepper, and dash of garlic powder. 

You are now ready to bite into pure delight.  In this example, I went literal and added a sprinkle of sautéed fava beans over my filet mignon.  It was like an Iron Chef battle:  filet mignon vs fava beans, the filet mignon of beans. 

It was a tie!



I hope you don’t mind my going long-winded today.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now everyone can BUY1-GET1FREE at Copelands!


Posted by Lyndi

Print off this coupon and use by August 30th for any of Copeland’s of New Orleans Restaurant new menu items!

Thanks to Jon Crenshaw for passing this along!  


Rinse, rinse, rinse your rice.


Posted by Lyndi

Here’s a quick and simple tip for next time you cook your basic white or brown rice:  RINSE!

Why?

Rinsing allows the excess starch wash away so it won’t be sticky! 

Of course, if you are making sushi rice, risotto, or rice pudding you will want to keep the creamy starch, so don’t please refrain from rinsing those items!

What’s the best way to rinse?

Eventually I worked my way to this simple technique:  I use a colander and keep the water running as I pick up handfuls of rice to “squeeze” out the starch.  Keep rinsing until water runs clear.  Don’t worry it doesn’t take long.  But I guarantee it will improve your rice presentation!

Let me know what you think… and… if you have a tip or two of your own!

Happy rinsing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And the $15 Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza winner is…. (drumroll, please)




Cary

You’re the Lucky Winner!!  Your comment said you have never been to Johnny Brusco’s… well now is your chance to taste for yourself!  Let me know what you think!

Thank you to everyone who entered!   Maybe next time will be YOUR time!  What giveaways are next?  Celtic Grill and Petit Bistro, to name a few!  Stay tuned.

Who gives you a chance to try out these fantastic restaurants in Northwest Arkansas?  Dave at NWArestaurants.com, the premier search engine for restaurants in Northwest Arkansas! 

Dave is nice enough to provide penguin bills each and every week so I can help spread the word about all the great restaurant information available on his site.  Check out his website and facebook and follow him on twitter to find out special deals (that often sell out in minutes!).  Thanks Dave, you rock!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A quickie giveaway for Johnny Brusco’s NY Style Pizza!



Posted by Lyndi

Did I draw you in with the gorgeous hunk of New York style pizza photo?  Oh man oh man! 

What’s not to love about an ooey-gooey-extra-chewy delicious steaming-hot slice of pizza with all the toppings you ever could want?

What’s not to love about a chance to score a free $15 penguin bill gift certificate? 

There’s a catch:  You have to add a comment and you have to add it fast because this giveaway ends THIS Saturday night at midnight!

I have a $15 penguin bill gift certificate to giveaway to Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza, courtesy of my friend Dave with NWArestaurants.com!  NWArestaurants has crazy deals on featured restaurants that sell out fast.  Usually deals of 50% of gift certificates (aka “penguin bills”)!  Check out his website, twitter, or facebook page!   His site is great if you want to search for area restaurants and it has the ability to “filter” on key items, such as private rooms, gluten free, low carb, etc.  Check it out!



Prize:

1 lucky winner will receive a $15 penguin bill gift certificate to Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza located in Bentonville on Walton Boulevard.  Contest ends this Saturday, August 21st, at midnight (CDT).  I will pick a winner via randomizer.

Eligibility:

Leave me a comment using the comment form, below, preferably with your twitter or blog name to make it easy to contact you if you win.  

The comment is up to you:  Have you ever had a NY style pizza?  Are you a thick or thin crust person?  What are your favorite pizza toppings?  Sorry all my fellow gluten-free foodies… Johnny Brusco’s does not have a gluten-free pizza option at this time… but there is always a salad on the menu!  I know, I know… not the same.  Sorry!  I purchased this pizza for my gluten-able husband and he was oh-so-happy!  Click here to view their menu.

Tip:  If you enter using the Name/URL option, you can leave the URL blank.  The Blogger format can be a little confusing!   See the “How to leave a comment (please do!)” link at the top of this page for step-by-step instructions!

No purchase necessary to enter. Contest void where prohibited. Contest open to members who are 18 years or older. Contest open only to Continental US residents only, although this one really makes sense if you are in Northwest Arkansas since the penguin bill is for the Bentonville location.

Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza is located in Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Good luck!  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top 5 tips I gleaned at the Gluten Freedom Day in Rogers.



Posted by Lyndi


You may remember me talking about the Gluten Freedom Day conference recently held in Rogers.  It was a one-day conference sponsored by the Celiac Sprue Association and geared to those who live a gluten-free life.

I was eager to see what an event like this would be like and wondering what I would learn, who would I see, and (no surprise here) what would I eat!  Plus, I read the agenda and I saw there was going to be a cooking demonstration by Robert Landolphi, the Gluten-Free Chef.

The thing that struck me about the event is that there were so many learning’s that can apply to anyone… whether or not you live gluten-free.

So I am hoping you will indulge me as I share my top 5 tips I learned from this event!

1.     If you come across someone who is gluten-free and their health is rosy, vibrant, and healthy, get to know them.  Why?  Because they are doing something right with managing their health!  You can learn from them and then be an advocate to help someone else. 

Not gluten-free?  It’s still a good principle!  Healthy, vibrant, rosy people most likely are doing something with their physical or mental health that you can learn from. 

2.     Dr. Craig Brown with The Eye Center in Fayetteville gave a great speech titled “Help Me, I Was Glutened!”  This was an eye-opener because people with celiac are super-super-super sensitive to even just one crumb of gluten-filled product.  The gist of his talk was about ways to get the gluten to leave a celiac’s body as fast as possible. 

Not gluten-free or celiac?  It made me realize how extremely important it is to be as close to 100% sure of everything you serve to your celiac friend or family member.  If you think something may be contaminated, let them know as soon as possible.  They would rather know than be sick for the next week.  Yes, it takes that long and more for them to get it out of their system.

3.     Fiber is a gluten-free person’s best friend.

Not gluten-free?  C’mon, we all know that fiber should be everyone’s best friend!  This is my friendly reminder.

4.     Gluten-free products are becoming more and more mainstream.  Fantastic? Yes, but… it is important to remember that just because a product is labeled gluten-free does not mean it is healthy for you.  During the conference there was an exhibit hall with multiple vendors such as ScharUSA, Udi’s, Isabelle’s Best, and The Hain-Celestial Group.  Products that are gluten-free, tasty, and healthy.

Not gluten-free?  
has a portfolio of natural products that you may or may not be aware of.  I know that when I walked up to the booth with Chris and James (see photo, below), I was surprised and thrilled to see so many of my favorite items:  Gluten-Free Café, Spectrum oils, Rice Dream, Soy Dream, and Terra Chips.  I had no idea that such great brands were all under the same roof!  And there are many more brands they sell that I cannot wait to try them all out and share my thoughts about them with you (click here to see the list for yourself).  Chris and James were so wonderful to provide me with sample products that day so I can try them out and share them with you! Keep coming back as I blog about these items and I figure out ways to incorporate them into our every day lives.  Thanks Hain-Celestial!



5.     Robert Landolphi, chef and author of Gluten-Free Every Day Cookbook, did a fantastic cooking demonstration that included a tasting of gluten-free onion rings, chicken pad thai, and peach pie.  I bought his book and it’s really good.  Oh, and the chicken pad thai was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

Not gluten-free?  Here’s a tip that the chef shared with us that can be applied everywhere:  “When cooking gluten-free, it is important to really think about the layers of flavors.  You have to be more creative when cooking gluten-free because so many commercial seasonings include gluten.  For example, when cooking pad thai, each ingredient needs to be treated separately to think about what is the best way to bring out its individual flavor(s).” 



I hope you found these tips useful and a healthy reminder to share vibrant living tips with each other, be more aware of how gluten can really impact the lives of our friends and loved ones, realize that natural and healthy products can be delicious, remember to read the label on gluten-free products, and when we cook, try to think about each and every ingredient separately to bring out its best!

Happy insightful eating!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And the $15 Copeland’s winner is…. (drumroll, please)






Sara

You’re the Lucky Winner!!  Now you can take your husband and kiddos to try brunch at Copelands!  Please contact me (and I will contact you) so I can get you the penguin bill to you right away!   Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone who entered!   

Get ready for another giveaway courtesy of NWArestaurants.com for Johnny Brusco’s and Petit Bistro giveaways are also just around the corner! 

Who else gives you a chance to try out these fantastic restaurants in Northwest Arkansas?!  Stay tuned for more penguin bill giveaways from Dave at NWArestaurants.com!  NWArestaurants.com is the premier search engine for restaurants in Northwest Arkansas!  Check out his website and facebook and follow him on twitter.  Thanks Dave, you rock!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A fancy (yet inexpensive) way to dress up olives.





Posted by Lyndi

Ever read an airline magazine and come across those ads that list steakhouses in the U.S. that are highly rated? 

I always wonder how they are chosen.  Were they rated nationally?  Or, did they simply pay for the spot?  Nevertheless, I get tickled anytime I see a restaurant where I have actually dined.  Makes me feel so in-the-know.

Or... in one case, I saw a restaurant listed that is within driving distance of Northwest Arkansas: Polo Grill in Tulsa which was located in my favorite Tulsa shopping spot for all things cool: Utica Square.

So, off to Tulsa we went.

It had all the markings of what I like:  hidden, intimate lighting, cozy nooks and crannies, character galore, rack of lamb, and something a little different that made it stand out... 

Instead of the usual pre-salad plate of bread, they brought a bowl of olives to the table.  

Olives.  

Not just any old olives in a bowl.  These were olives artistically perched in a bath of olive oil.

So fancy yet so incredible simple. 

And something we, too, can easily incorporate into our repertoire! 

Next time you have a dinner party or setting up an intimate moment with a glass of cognac or cabernet, add a small bowl of olives (they don’t have to be expensive, either) and pour extra virgin olive oil over them.



I guarantee you it will add an element of specialness.  

Experiment with different types of olives.  I tried this once with a French olive that was quite tart by itself (example in photo, above).  When I bathed it in the olive oil and let it linger, wow, the flavors were incredibly enhanced and savoring each olive was a joy. Oui!

I hope you try this out and let me know what you think.  Or, what you discovered was your favorite olive to use with this method.  Oooo, what about adding fresh herbs?  Oh my, that could be wonderful!

Happy savoring!


Olive Marinade

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back by popular demand… $15 penguin bill giveaway to Copeland’s of New Orleans in Rogers!



Posted by Lyndi

We had such great response to that last giveaway that we are having another one!  And for a twist, it ends this Thursday!

I have a $15 penguin bill gift certificate to giveaway to Copeland’s, courtesy of my friend Dave with NWArestaurants.com!  NWArestaurants has crazy deals on featured restaurants that sell out fast.  Usually deals of 50% of gift certificates (aka “penguin bills”)!  Check out his website, twitter, or facebook page!   His site is great if you want to search for area restaurants and it has the ability to “filter” on key items, such as private rooms, gluten free, low carb, etc.  Check it out!

Prize:

1 lucky winner will receive a $15 penguin bill gift certificate to Copeland’s located in Rogers.  Contest ends this Thursday, August 12th, at midnight (CDT).  I will pick a winner via randomizer.

Eligibility:

Leave me a comment using the comment form, below, preferably with your twitter or blog name to make it easy to contact you if you win.  

The comment is up to you:  Do you prefer sitting in the bar/lounge area or the main dining room?  Or, have you ever gone to Copeland’s just for dessert (c’mon you know that cute little cheesecake kiosk calls your name)?  Or, have you ever been to Copeland’s and one of the servers gave you a beaded necklace?  Basically, I am just curious to hear of your fun dining adventure the last time you were at Copeland’s.  And, if you’ve never been there before, click here for their website and let us know what piques your interest!

Tip:  If you enter using the Name/URL option, you can leave the URL blank.  The Blogger format can be a little confusing!   See the “How to leave a comment (please do!)” link at the top of this page for step-by-step instructions!

No purchase necessary to enter. Contest void where prohibited. Contest open to members who are 18 years or older. Contest open only to Continental US residents only, although this one really makes sense if you are in Northwest Arkansas.

Copeland’s is located in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Florida.  In Rogers it is located at  463 N. 46th Street in the Scottsdale Center, close to Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

Good luck!  

Monday, August 9, 2010

Here’s a handy crock-pot tip!



Posted by Lyndi

I was in a hurry the other day and whirl-winded myself out the door.  Argh!  I had forgotten to prepare the chicken in the crock-pot.  Bummer.  Yet another night to come up with Plan B for dinner.

But wait… Plan A was still an option.

My husband did it.

Not only did he “put the chicken in the crock-pot.”

He took it to the next level.

My guy prepared the chicken and placed it in the crock-pot AND THEN he prepared two Yukon gold potatoes and onions and placed them into greased ramekins… and they went in the crock-pot, too. 

Brilliant!

The potatoes kept their own flavors while the chicken kept theirs.

Easy, simple, and delicious!

Hopefully this tip will be handy for you, too!

Happy slow-cooking!


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