Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mandarin Buffet and Grill

Time to hit the buffet!  This time it was a visit to the Mandarin Buffet and Grill in Redmond, WA for a birthday party.  It was my husbands' grandma's birthday and we wanted to do something special and we wanted to be able to accommodate our large group.  They have a party room we were able to reserve for a couple of hours.  The space was just the right size and it seemed a little far from the other tables to give us that separation we needed.  As for the food, the price seemed ok at twenty per person for dinner, in comparison to some other Asian buffets in the Seattle area.  There was a nice selection of sushi, which I probably enjoyed the most out of everything.  Some of the food was a miss though and luckily, the chocolate fountain saved the day and was the highlight for me and my sons.  A chocolate fountain says celebration and how can you not be happy when you're dipping marshmallows and strawberries in chocolate?  The service was just ok, as they didn't offer drink refills and they let our empty plates pile up.  But in the end, everyone was happy and grandma had a really special birthday!
Mandarin Buffet & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What To Bake For Your Valentine

Today is Valentine's Day and if you're still looking for some inspiration on what to bake, look no further.  Your Valentine will enjoy any of the below treats, I promise!  Here's a roundup of six Valentine desserts I've posted about in the past with the links to the recipes from that particular post I did.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Peanut Butter Cookies with Heart Shaped Chocolates



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Heart Shaped Peanut Butter Cookies

Valentine's Day is in a couple of days so of course, so its time to create and heart shaped food! Whether you have a valentine or not, these Heart Shaped Peanut Butter Cookies are just the thing to make. 

You don't even need a heart shaped cookie cutter.  You just form the heart using the end of a knife or fork and then form the bottom with your thumb and index finger.  Then use a fork for the classic crisscross design.  I'm sure everyone remembers eating these peanut butter cookies from their childhood, so I liked this cute, updated heart cookie.  The best part is they have that homemade taste, a rustic look, and they taste delicious. 

I just couldn't resist taking it a step further and making an ice cream sandwich with Butterfinger Ice Cream and pink heart sprinkles!  This satisfying treat would be just the thing to share with someone special or even just to eat yourself. 

The cookies would be adorable wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pink or red ribbon.  DIY Valentine gifts can add a more personal touch than buying a box of chocolates. 

The other day at Target with my kids, we purchased these XOXO pink signs for just a buck.  You can use them to decorate or use them as valentines.  We also bought some heart shaped gummies.  So I set up a shot with the signs and the candy.  My son caught a glimpse of what I was up to and snuck one of the pieces of candy.  Sometimes the unexpected things make the best photos, too!  Happy Valentines Day!

I found the recipe for the cookies here.

Heart Shaped Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted (microwave for 25-30 seconds)
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl add sugar, brown sugar, & melted butter, stir until creamy. Add peanut butter, egg, & vanilla, stir until smooth & creamy.
  3. Add flour & baking soda & stir until well combined.
  4. Scoop or roll dough into 1½ inch balls & place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each ball using the bottom of a glass (coated in sugar).
  5. To make the top of the heart use a butter knife or the handle of fork to cut into the top center of dough. Press it outwards to the right & left to make the "V" shape.
  6. Use your thumb & index finger to pinch the bottom of the dough to make the bottom "V" shape of the heart. You can use your hands to perfect the heart shape if needed.
  7. Take a fork & press the dough down on each side making a crisscross on the heart.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to over bake them or your cookies will turn out hard.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Visit to A la Mode Pies in West Seattle

When the weather outside is getting to you and you're tired of politics, there's always pie.  You can find some great pie at A la Mode Pies in West Seattle.  They have another location in Phinney Ridge but the one in West Seattle is pretty new, so it's worth checking out.  I have a love of pie because I grew up with a mother that made me pie and it was the best.  It will always be the best no matter how  many new pie shops I try, because that's just the way it is.  But you can't beat the unique flavors these pie shops offer.  At A la Mode Pies, the Bourbon Butterscotch and the Blue Hawaiian jumped out to me and I knew those would be my picks.  I ordered a slice of each for our family to share.  They aren't cheap, each slice was over six bucks.  I'm not sure why they are so pricey, maybe because the pieces are large and the ingredients are high in quality?  But no matter the dollar amount, the pie hit the spot.  The Bourbon Butterscotch made me weak in the knees in fact.  With a nilla wafer crust with pecans, a pudding filling with the bourbon and butterscotch, then topped with whipped cream and more pecans, the pie really was something else.   And the slice was so big it took to the next day to polish off.  The Blue Hawaiian had blueberries, crushed pineapples, and toasted coconut.  The pie was fruity and light and made me think of summer and the Hawaiian Islands.  And I loved the thick coconut topping and the blueberry filling.  The crust was also just right-flaky and buttery like a pie crust should be.   The night was cold and it was raining cats and dogs but the pie made everything all right. 
A la Mode Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, January 30, 2017

National Croissant Day

Today is National Croissant Day!  So go get your hands on a flakey and buttery, or chocolaty croissant!  To celebrate, I'm not eating croissants but writing about them and showcasing them here.  Saves me some calories and I get to share my photos with you!  A croissant done right has lots and lots of butter and many layers of crisp, bready perfection.  I found some great ones in France and also in Seattle and Portland.  I've noticed in recent years that the quality of pastries has gotten way better here as pastry chefs have opened shops and brought over techniques they learned in Europe.  Which is good news for us but maybe not for our waistlines!

A Chocolate Croissant, or Pain au Chocolate, from Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle. 

Fresh Flours in the Seattle's Beacon Hill offers many kinds of croissants.  You may have a tough time deciding!
But you could go with the Chocolate Almond Croissant and you won't be disappointed!
If you're searching for the perfect croissant in the International District in Seattle then head to Fuji Bakery.  They make a perfectly crafted croissant that you'll crave again the next day!
So try the Chocolate Matcha Croissant at Fuji Bakery for something unique and flavorful. 
Another favorite from Bakery Nouveau is the Chocolate Almond Croissant.  I've heard of people lining up for these outside the bakery.  Yes, they are that good! 
The birthplace of the croissant is France, of course!  Paul is just one place you get find them.  You don't have to look far for croissants in Paris, though! 
The hotel I stayed at in Paris had complementary croissants in the lobby.  These were divine and tasted oh so perfect!
Portland, now a foodie destination, has many places for croissants.  This Chocolate Croissant is from St. Honore Boulangerie. 
 There you have it!  So many croissants and types, so little time.  Better grab one before the day ends!