Cookie Oatmeal for Breakfast? Yes, please!

I love this messy oatmeal photo.  It makes me want to get a tall cup of coffee and sit on the porch outside on a cool spring morning.  All the little nooks and crannies filled with gooey peanut butter and chewy raisins.  I’m officially addicted to this breakfast.  My puppies love when I make this because I let them lick the peanut butter spoon.  Oatmeal+peanut butter=Awesome!

My photos for this breakfast were all kinds of terrible so forgive me this one time.  It is super hard to make messy bland colored oatmeal look all scrumptious.  All you food photographers out there who can – I’m so jealous and when can you please come over and teach me?  

I have mentioned several times on this wonderful site about how much I hate eating dessert for breakfast (donuts, toaster strudels etc…)  So it may come as a surprise or even hypocritical of me to post this recipe.  Well for this oatmeal I’m willing to risk being called names.  My hubby and I have been eating homemade oatmeal for years but we never really got creative with it.  Well we were missing out big time.  Now my obsession for all things oatmeal might start getting out of control.  Oats are simply amazing.  They absorb whatever you put in them, making them these amazing little pockets of flavor holders.  Crazy…..

So now I pre-pack my breakfast for the whole week – and let’s just say I’m not exactly a pre-packer of meals.  AKA I’m lazy and not a morning person.  Do any of you live with a morning person?  The type of person who sings in the morning or dances?  Maybe even jumps on the bed like a crazy person? Well welcome to my mornings with my crazy morning person husband. 

But enough about me.  Let’s talk breakfast. 

What is your favorite breakfast??

1 Serving size, About 250 calories 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Oatmeal

1 tbs organic peanut butter (it just tastes better)

1 little packet of Truvia or any Stevia based sweetener

About 10 Raisins

hot water – the amount will vary depending on how watery you like your oatmeal – I do not like mine watery.

Place the oatmeal, peanut butter, raisins and Truvia in a small container or bowl.  Heat your water separately in a microwave safe bowl for about 2 minutes.  Pour the water slowly over everything in the bowl.  Stir everything together until the peanut butter melts and the oatmeal is wet enough for your liking.  This seriously tastes like a peanut butter oatmeal cookie.  So yummy.

Stuffed Cookie Awesomeness!

I realize I’m not reinventing the wheel here with everyone stuffing cookies and brownies and candy inside cookies and brownies and candy, but who can resist really.  It is a cookie stuffed with a cookie!!!  How can you go wrong?  I also love everyone’s expressions when they pick up a seemingly innocent chocolate chip cookie and bite into it to find ANOTHER cookie!  Every adult turns into a little kid and starts using sayings like, “dude, this rocks”.

My husband is a cookie connoisseur/monster.  He can tell you where it is worth buying a cookie and where it is not anywhere in town.  Everywhere we go he buys a chocolate chip cookie.  It is insane.  He is constantly in trouble for eating a dozen cookies straight without taking into consideration that someone else might want ONE cookie.  I can’t tell you how many times he has accidentally eaten my cookie as well as his because he didn’t remember eating the first one.  It is a problem and I’m looking for a good counselor to discuss the matter with….

Over the weekend Natalie brought me a cake to surprise me with while I was not home.  She brought Michael a cookie to eat to keep him from cutting into the cake before I got a chance to see it.  He has absolutely no will power!!

Needless to say these suckers were a total hit at my house.

My hubby wasn’t home while I was baking all of these crazy cookies so I actually got to take photos of them all without fighting him off.  He lays claim to all of the “ugly” cookies that I don’t deem pretty enough to photograph.  Once the photo session is over he lays claim to all the other cookies.

Recipe:

This is the easiest recipe ever.  Go buy a box cookie mix and your favorite cookie or candy to stuff it with.

Preheat your oven and make the cookie dough according to the package directions.

Take about 2 tbs of dough and flatten it out on your pan.  Place the Oreo (or whatever stuffer you choose) on the dough and top with another 1 tbs of cookie dough.  Mush the cookie dough all around the “Oreo” until you can’t see the Oreo anymore.  If you have too much dough take some off.  Don’t have enough?  Add some more!  It is up to you how big you want your cookie.  Just make sure the stuffer is fully covered.

Bake according to the packaged directions.  (350 for about 13 minutes was perfect for me.)

Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and enjoy!

Of course you can use homemade cookie dough but I made all of these on a Wednesday night after running errands so 3 different cookies from scratch was so not going to happen!

Bringing the one piece back

I think the one thing I hate the most about Texas summers is the fact that I cannot avoid putting on a bathing suit.  I try trust me.  I have a myriad of excuses up my sleeve and more swim suit cover ups than anyone needs.  I also hate my knees.  I know it is weird but my knees are ugly.  Ok EVERYONE’s knees are ugly but I especially hate mine.  I feel like when I put on a bathing suit my knees are screaming for everyone to look at them.  All my friends know that when I say “geez that girl has really great knees”  that this is the nicest compliment I can give someone.  My knees are white and chubby and I can never quite shave every hair off of every odd angle which is super attractive (sarcasm placed here).  This summer I have decided I’m going to deal with this whole knees/bathing suit issue by just giving in.  I’m going to go shopping in 3.5 weeks for a new swim suit because I have a lake party to attend and I’m pretty sure no one will let me on the boat in jeans…

I plan to face this swim suit issue head on and start working out my knees, amoung other obvious areas that lack in perfection that we really don’t need to talk about today.  I mean for heavens sake this is a food blog right?  I don’t want you all leaving grossed out!!

Bringing the one piece back
Bringing the one piece back

So for the next 3.5 weeks it will be all healthy skinny knee recipes for you!  Are you ready knees??  Let’s do this.

Serves 4 people with chubby knees.

Hot Mama Tilapia:

4 Tilapia filet’s

1 tbs. olive oil

2 Jalapenos

1 tsp Cumin

1 Lime

1/2 Red onion

1 tsp Garlic

1 tsp Black Pepper

Avocado Sauce:

1 ripe Avocado

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 TBS diced red onion

Veggie broth

Cauliflower Mashers:

1 head of white Cauliflower

sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

1 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 jalapeno de-seeded

Hot Mama Tilapia:

Pat each Tilapia fillet with a paper towel to make sure the fish is as dry as possible.    Dice up the jalapeno and onion and set aside.    Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  When the oil is hot add the garlic, red onion, and jalapenos.  Cook for about 1 minute just enough to really let the garlic open up but not burn.  Add in the Tilapia and spritz each fillet with the limes juice. Dust each fillet with the cumin, pepper and garlic.  Flip the tilapia over and spritz with the lime and dust with more of the spices.  It is ok if the red onion mixture is in the way of the fish touching the pan this will actually help with the flavor of the fish.  Cook the fish all the way through and plate.  This should only take about 5-8 minutes.  Sprinkle each fillet with the left over ingredients in the pan.

Avocado Sauce:

In a small food processor puree the ripe avocado, garlic, onion, and about 1 tbls of veggie broth until creamy.  Add more veggie broth as needed to reach desired consistency.  Drizzle over plated tilapia.

Cauliflower Mashers:

Boil enough water to submerge cauliflower in a large pot.  Cut off stems of cauliflower and discard.  Add the tops of the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook until the cauliflower is soft.  (You want to be able to stab the cauliflower with a fork easily)  Don’t over cook or it will just disintegrate.

Pat dry the cauliflower and place it in a large food processor.  Add all the additional ingredients and puree until you reach a similar consistency to mashed potatoes.   This is normally when I would tell you to add Asiago cheese but I will have skinny knees so I’m not going to.  If you have skinny knees than I suggest adding about 1 cup of Asaigo cheese and mixing it all together.

Dessert Tacos – Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

So I had quite the fiasco or what I like to call “Emily’s Epic Failures” on Monday night when I was attempting to make some red velvet cakesters.  They were coming out super flat and no matter how many eggs I added they were little pancakes.  My husband walked in the kitchen as I’m starting to panic and says “huh, they kind of look like tacos”.  Have I mentioned my husband is a genius?  I looked at him and said “dude, thats awesome” – yes unfortunately we talk like this.  So I finished up making the red velvet cakesters/tacos for my coworkers to eat and starting planning these little suckers.  My poor coworkers get all of my epic failures as long as they are still edible.  I’m sure they look in the kitchen after I send out my dorky e-mail letting them know of  said failed recipe that is in the kitchen and think “this girl has a food blog?  Sccaaarrry!!”

Dessert Tacos – Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
Dessert Tacos – Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
Dessert Tacos
Dessert Tacos

These are super easy and perfect for a Cinco de Mayo treat.  You can get super creative and stuff them full of great stuff.  I went with the normal taco ingredients of lettuce and tomatos because I was a little afraid they were not going to look like tacos and I wanted it to be super obvious.  They turned out so freaking cute!!

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Makes about 50 tacos

1 box cake mix (I used a spice cake so that the “tortilla” looked a little more brown.)

Follow the box directions but use less water.  For instance – my box called for 3 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and 1 1/3 cup water.  I only used 1 cup of water.  You want the batter to be runny and not too thick or you won’t get that flat tortilla look.

Pour the batter in 4″ rounds on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 7 min.  I kept them in for about 7.5 minutes.  Yes I’m serious….  If they cook too long the “tortilla” will crack in half, too short and the “tortilla” is too sticky.  You might have to play with the time on the first batch to get it just right.

Icing:

1 block of cream cheese or 8oz

1 pound of powdered sugar (half a standard bag)

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

using a mixer combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and the powdered sugar.  Whip like crazy until it is combined and creamy.

Toppings:

I used coconut as the lettuce and chopped up hot tamales for the tomatoes.

This whole diet thing really sucks: Day Three

So I’m on day three of my diet and I think I might be starving to death.  This morning when I walked into work there were about 4 dozen chick fil a chicken mini’s in the kitchen and the amazing smell of butter and fried chicken almost knocked me to the floor.  I held strong though.  With my smoothie in hand I walked right out of that evil kitchen. 

Not two hours later another 4 dozen chicken mini’s were dropped off at my office.  I headed to the kitchen to get some water thinking “I’m so glad those little suckers are gone” only to be accosted by the warm aroma of a new batch.  I seriously stopped dead in my tracks and started to contemplate how bad one little mini could possibly be??  I mean, what if I picked all the breading off of the chicken and ate only that?  I’m allowed to have butter on this diet so I could technically lick the butter off of the roll and then throw the roll away right??

This whole diet thing really sucks
This whole diet thing really sucks

But deep down inside I knew that if I even so much as opened the lid that all chicken mini chaos would break loose.  My coworkers would find me hiding in an empty cube on the abandoned side of the office gorging myself on all 4 dozen mini’s.                                                  

It is only day three out of 21 days and I’m not sure I’m gonna make it.  Who knew I was such a weakling??

To make matters worse I have dinner plans tonight with some friends at the best pizza place ever.  I just looked up the menu and I’m going to have to order a salad with all the good stuff taken off and dressing on the side, while they eat a cheesy yummy pizza with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil….  I mean, I normally make fun of girls who order dressing on the side.  

Maybe skinny knees are over rated?

Here is my answer to greasy Italian food.  An easy Spinach and Shrimp saute that is uber healthy and just as tasty.  I ate mine without the pasta and I was actually very satisfied.  I served Michael’s spinach over whole wheat pasta.  He thought it was amazing too!

Spinach and Shrimp Saute:

1 lb of shrimp cleaned and peeled (1/4 lb per person)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbls  + 1 tsp of Garlic

2 tbls of olive oil total

about 1 tsp of chili powder

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

10 oz baby Spinach

Marinate the shrimp in the lemon juice for about 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet to medium with the olive oil until the oil is hot in the pan.  Add in the garlic.  (the garlic should crackle but not burn and pop out of the pan)  If you burn the garlic throw it out and start over.  Burnt garlic is bitter – yuck!

Stir everything around and then add in the tomatoes, vinegar, sea salt and pepper.  Allow the tomatoes to cook until they pop open and you have a nice thin sauce.  This should only take about 5-8 minutes.

While the tomatoes are cooking heat a smaller skillet with the other tbls of olive oil.  Add in 1 tsp of garlic. 

Drop in the shrimp so that the shrimp is not too crowded.  Dust each shrimp with a little bit of the chili powder.  Sear each shrimp and then flip them all over to sear the other side.  Dust the opposite side of the shrimp with the chili powder.  Don’t over cook the shrimp!  You want them just seared, not tough.

Add the shrimp back into the tomato mixture and then add the spinach on top.  The heat will start to wilt the spinach.  Slowly, stir the spinach to incorporate it.  Let the spinach wilt just slightly so that it darkens in color.

Serve and enjoy! 

Pumpkin Pie Popcorn

I haven’t really been cooking this week.  After the mad cooking marathon I had over Thanksgiving I need a small break.  Not really a break from the cooking but a break from the dishes.  I hate doing dishes.  Hate, hate, hate dishes.  Just ask my husband….

So this week you all get a quick and easy recipe that will be a great replacement for the typical dish of nuts that gets set out at every party.  This popcorn is just sweet enough and the hint of cinnamon is great for the holiday season.  You could totally add some chopped pecans to this recipe if you absolutely need some nuts on the table.

This is enough cinnamon sauce for about 4 cups of popped popcorn. 

3 tbs unsalted butter

3 tsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans (if you want)

Combine all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan on medium heat and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.  Pour the butter mixture into a glass measuring cup or a container with a spout.  Slowly pour a quarter of the cinnamon sauce over the popped popcorn and mix in with your hands or a wide mouth spoon.  Continue until all the sauce has been used. 

I usually pop my own popcorn on the stove but feel free to use a bag.  If you choose to use a bag don’t buy a bag that is movie theatre or anything overly buttery.  Pick one that is low butter or only salted.  Plain would really be best!!

Arugula Whole Wheat Couscous Salad

Michael and I started a new workout video last night that is supposed to be totally awesome and life changing.  So when I got home I put on my new cute workout outfit to get ready for the life changing workout.  You all know what I’m talking about here because you totally do it too.  Before I start a new workout routine I have to go out and buy a new workout outfit or shoes or a sports bottle.  Just something pretty that is going to make me feel skinny and give me a renewed sense of wanting to sweat.  I usually put on this said outfit about an hour before I actually start to work out just to pump myself up about how awesome I look and that I don’t even need to work out because I look so hot in my cute new outfit holding my super cute new sports bottle.  Sometimes this goes on so long that I decide it is too late to work out and I’m totally starving and can’t work out while I’m starving but I also can’t work out when I’m full so I need to just eat dinner and I will just start tomorrow.  You have totally done this – I see through you!

This feeling of “look at how cute I am in my new little “outfit” lasted for a whole 3 minutes because by the 4th minute of my video my heart nearly exploded out of my chest.  I know I haven’t been working out a lot lately, or you know, at all but seriously I thought I was going to throw up about 4 minutes into this video.  The jumping and the running and the jumping and the push ups and the jumping had my head spinning.  When this torture was finally over  (a whole 30 minutes later)  I was on my back huffing and puffing trying not to black out.  The sad thing is that I actually only did 15 minutes of working out because with this video you do one thing for a solid minute and then you rest for a solid minute.  People – I only worked out for 15 minutes….  How is it that I feel like I might die.  Only 3 short months ago I ran a half marathon and didn’t stop running the whole time.  How did this happen?!!  I’m starting to think that chocolate chip/peanut butter cookie I had for an afternoon snack was so not worth it.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t even burn it off….

I promise I have a point with all of this and the point is food!  I have decided (for like the 20th time in my life) that I’m going to get back to cooking healthy.  I’m making a serious effort to cook with really good ingredients and I’m going to actually pay attention to my portion sizes.  So be prepared for my next few posts to be on the healthier side of things.  Let’s see how long I can keep this up!!  I also plan to invent new food labels that I’m going to force the government to add to products from now on.  These labels are going to have workouts instead of calories on the back.  If that stupid cookie had said run: 3.5 miles per serving instead of calories: 375 per serving I would never eat a cookie again.  Hello!  Genius!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat couscous

3 chicken breasts

the juice of one whole lemon

pepper to taste

1 tbs olive oil

1 cucumber cut into small cubes

1 cup Arugula

2 cups of your favorite lettuce

2 roma tomatoes

1/4 cup feta cheese

Dressing

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp paprika

6 tbs olive oil

juice of 1 large lemon

2 tsp minced garlic

1/3 cup chopped basil

1/3 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup white wine

Clean and marinate the chicken in the juice of one lemon and some pepper.  The chicken only needs to sit for about 30 minutes so make sure you start marinating the chicken first.  By the time your are done prepping everything else the chicken should be ready to go.  Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken thoroughly.  Allow the chicken to cool to the touch and then chop into bite sized pieces and place them in a large bowl.  Chop the tomatoes, and the cucumber, shred the arugula and mixed greens and add them to the same bowl.  Add the feta cheese and then begin to cook the couscous.  Follow the package directions for 1 cup of couscous.  I always use chicken stock instead of water because it helps with the flavor but this is up to you.  When the couscous is finished cooking allow it to cool fully before adding it to the bowl.  If you add it to quickly it will wilt the lettuce.

Dressing:

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine.

Valentine’s Day Couples Dinner (Main Course)

This Dinner Party was honestly one of the best parties I have ever been to.  I’m not really a game person or someone who plans out conversations ahead of time.  If you invite me to your shower and expect me to play games I will do my best to hide or be the score keeper.  I’m a talker.  I like to hang out, be relaxed, and just chit chat.  BUT for this party I decided to ask each couple to tell the story of how they met or how they got engaged. 

Once we had sat down to dinner we went around the table telling these amazing stories.  We laughed so hard and teased each other at all the funny situations and coincidences that brought each couple to where they are now.  It was so much fun to hear these stories and since most of the couples didn’t know everyone it was a great way to learn about each other.

I also asked all of the couples to tell me what their wedding song was and to send me pictures of them together.  I put all the pictures on my Apple TV and had them rotating the entire evening.  I put all the wedding songs on my “love song” play list and as each wedding song played we talked about whose song it was.  Most of the couples had taken dancing lessons before their weddings and jumped up to try and see if they could remember the steps.   It was pretty funny to watch because Chris dipped Lecia and I was afraid for a second we were going to lose her!!

I bought Love fortune cookies and had little boxes of chocolates for everyone to take home.  For dessert I made mini red velvet cakes with pink buttercream icing that each couple had to share.  Overall the couples dinner party was a hit!  I can’t wait to do it again next year!

I also busted out my grandmother’s china for this party and it was beautiful!  I rarely get to use it so I thought this would be a great reason to warrant hand washing every dish!

For the main dish I made Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce.  I made the base tomato sauce the weekend before and froze it because I wanted to make it from scratch and I knew it would take forever!

You can obviously just buy your favorite jar of sauce and add in the cream, vodka and additional spices if you want to save about 4 hours of your life!  I wanted to make it from scratch but I will think twice before doing it again.

This is the only non blurry picture I have of the desserts.  Sorry it is dark and scary looking!  I had the mood lighting going and it is just to hard to change all my camera settings after a few glasses of wine!

This makes enough sauce for 6 people

Vodka Sauce:

50 Roma tomatoes

2 large heads of garlic

4 shallots

1 tbs red pepper flakes

3 tbs of chopped basil

1/2 cup dry red wine

4 tbs tomato paste

2 tbs worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

4 tbs vodka

1.5 cups of heavy cream

Asiago cheese for sprinkling

Slice the tomatoes in half, long ways, and scrape out the centers.  Place the tomatoes face up on a pan lined with aluminum foil.  Place the pan in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour and a half.  Turn up the heat to 375 for an additional 45 minutes. 

For the roasted garlic – slice the tips of the garlic cloves off and wrap the garlic in a foil packet.  Pour olive oil in the packet and place it in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking time on the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes are cooking slice and saute your shallots with a little bit of olive oil. 

Peel the skin off of all of the tomatoes and add the guts to a blender or food processor.  Add in the garlic cloves and puree everything together.  Pour mixture into a large pot and turn your heat to medium.  Add all of the ingredients except the cream and vodka.  Stir to combine and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.  At this point you can either freeze the sauce until you are ready to use it or you can finish the sauce. 

Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add in the vodka.  When the vodka is hot add in the tomato sauce and stir.  Slowly add in the cream and stir to combine.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes and server hot over pasta.  Sprinkle cheese as desired.  I like to put fresh basil on top as well.

Christmas Meal – Salad

I’ve had a few of my friends tell me that they’re hosting a meal this holiday season.  They all have small children and are frantic to find recipes that allow them flexibility.  No one enjoys spending the whole holiday slaving away at a meal that will probably take fifteen minutes to eat.  And if you have kids running around and relatives to please, that all just adds to the pressure.  I think it’s great that some mothers have begun to pass the baton to their daughters, but I completely understand the stress that these daughters are feeling.

So I decided to dedicate the next three weeks to a delicious meal that will please any crowd.  You guys know I’m big on themes, so naturally this meal will have one.  I know what your thinking…”um, isn’t Christmas enough of a theme?”  Well probably, but I always like to be annoying and take it one step further.  My theme or common ingredient will be the cranberry.  Shocker, right?!  Who would have ever guessed I’d make foods with cranberries for Christmas?  Whatever, it’s MY theme and I’m proud of it!

Today I bring you the beginning of your meal.  I make this salad all of the time because it’s my favorite.  Crunchy, sweet, and sticky.  It’s practically dessert for dinner.  I’m not going to give you actual measurements for the salad ingredients because it’s a salad.  You add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.

Stay tuned because next week we will dive into the main course.  I’m going to show you the easiest and best freakin’ cranberry chicken recipe on the planet.  Well okay, maybe not the planet, but at least in Texas.  My mom has been making it as long as I can remember and we all still BEG for it every year!  Check back next Monday for the recipe and details!  Happy Holidays Y’all!!

Cranberry Walnut Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

For the Salad:

baby leaf spinach
spring lettuce mix
walnuts (toast them up for a few minutes in a 200 degree oven if you want a deeper flavor)
dried cranberries
feta cheese
crumbled bacon (optional)

Champagne Vinaigrette
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 small shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, add the shallot, mustard, and vinegar. Blend until the shallot is chopped fine. While the blender is on low, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. The vinaigrette may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Wine and Cheese Weekend

After wandering around the farmer’s market and the wine festival for a bit we decided to head into one of my all time favorite places to go in NB.  There is this beautiful little cheese shop in downtown New Braunfels, Gourmage, that we make sure to stop at every time we are in town.  The owners are extremely knowledgeable and do a wonderful job recommending cheese pairings. Every time we go in we spend at least an hour sampling and talking.  They have a very nice display of chocolates as well as oil’s and wines.  This store is just perfect and should not be missed on your next trip.

As Nat talked about earlier we tend to head to NB during the off season, last time we were in town was over the Christmas holiday.  All 13 of us had gotton up a bit late and by the time everyone had showered, dressed and headed into town for breakfast we had missed it.  Go figure.  So to kill time in between all of the restaurants shutting down breakfast and preparing for lunch we wandered into Gourmage.  My family loves cheese and it is a pre dinner staple to have a cheese spread.  Gourmage is not huge and we we pretty much took over the place.  We are also a pretty loud family and talk over each other constantly but the owners managed us and any other patron that walked in with grace and patience.  We sampled cheese like crazy and walked out of the store loaded down with fabulous finds.  Natalie and I bought some amazing cheese for our New Years party and everybody bought a different type for later that evening.  (we are always planning the next meal, even before the first one…)  I love that my family is obsessed with food.

As wonderful as corn dogs on a stick are I would much rather have this beautiful tasty panini.  During the wine festival Gourmage had hourly tasting of different types of paninis but I convinced the very kind