Quick & Easy Weekday Dinners with O Organics® from Safeway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was browsing the aisle at Safeway that had soups & broths and came across different flavored broths from O Organics®. The Beef flavored Pho broth & the Thai Style Curry Chicken broth caught my eye. They were rather inexpensive so I decided to make dinner with it!

It’s been a wild few months and I was cooking up a storm in the beginning of our stay-at-home order but then resorted to take-out for a bit to support our local restaurants. I realized that I needed a balance of home-cooking and eating out because eating out was starting to get pricey. But cooking sometimes just took too much time! So I started to think about creating easy and quick meals at home which were also budget-friendly and then ended up on making these noodle soups.

I love noodle soup dishes so I decided to make a simple Beef Pho & Thai curry noodles. I purchased some O Organics Top Sirloin Steak, rice noodles, limes, micro cilantro, cilantro, onions, jalapenos and O Organics Grade A Large Brown Eggs along with the O Organics Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth and Beef Flavored Pho Broth. I got all the products at my local Safeway which was super convenient! I didn’t realize that Safeway had such a good variety of Asian products to choose from.

I decided to make two different noodle soups because I like having options while I’m eating. I would normally order multiple items at a restaurant to share so why should it be any different at home?

For the Beef pho, I cooked the noodles and heated up the pho broth separately. I sliced the top sirloin beef into thin slices & placed it on top of the noodles. I made sure to pour the hot broth onto the meat slices so it cooked the beef. The beef cooks to a perfect medium rare or rare, which is how I liked to eat my beef. I garnished the soup with some lime slices, micro cilantro, onions, and jalapenos. The broth was tasty! It was so convenient that I might make it again next week adding different kinds of beef.

For the Thai Style Curry noodles, I used the same ingredients for the pho but only changed up the broth flavor. This made it very convenient! I cooked the noodles and poured the hot broth over the noodles just as I did for the pho. For an extra special touch, I garnished this noodle soup with a 6-minute egg. I liked the addition of a soft-boiled egg because, who doesn’t love some extra protein in their noodle soups?

These noodle soups were really easy to make and they actually turned out great. The broths were very flavorful and provided a good base for the noodle soups. I was surprised at the high quality of the broths and at the fact that they were also USDA-certified organic. The prices were budget-friendly as well without compromising quality & taste.

O Organics offers high-quality, USDA-certified organic products in every aisle of the store at a value; there are more than 1,500 products down every aisle of the store. I shopped at Safeway in my local area, but you can also Shop O Organics® products exclusively at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, & Tom Thumb.

Safeway also offers Grocery Delivery and Drive Up & Go™ for convenient ways to shop! I have yet to try their service but it sounds very convenient & safe for anyone who is worried about shopping during these times.

Hope you like these quick and easy weekday dinner ideas. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts on them if you happen to make them!

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Celebrate Summer with Open Nature® Scandal-less Light Ice Cream from Safeway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer is here which means ice cream weather is here! To celebrate and to bring a little joy to our unprecedented summer, I’ve decided to make a SCANDAL-LESS ice cream sundae bar using Open Nature® Scandal-less light ice cream. We all could use a little light ice cream after sheltering-in-place, right? I know I could, with all the snacking and eating that was happening in my home during shelter-in-place. I was a little skeptical about the light ice cream at first, but these flavors really won me over! I recommend the Peanut Butter Cup Light Ice Cream.

I went to my local Safeway to gather all the ingredients for my little ice cream bar. I got some topping options such as chocolate chips, hot chocolate sauce, gummies, berries, cereal, maraschino cherries, sugar cones, waffle bowls and of course, some sprinkles! I picked up the following Scandal-less ice creams. I chose a few different flavors such as Peanut Butter Cup, Cookies & Cream, and Sea Salt Caramel. I usually gravitate towards these kinds of flavors normally, so I was excited that Open Nature had a light version of these flavors.

The Peanut Butter Cup flavor was my favorite out of the three because it was not overly sweet and it had a balanced peanut butter & chocolate flavor. Cookies & cream is a classic flavor and I thought Open Nature made a good light version of it. The ice cream wasn’t too hard and it was creamier than other light ice creams I have tried in the past. I enjoyed the sea salt caramel flavor because it had a nice balance of sweet and salty.

Open Nature Scandal-less light ice cream products have no artificial colors or flavors. They are low in calories & fat while having a high protein content. And if you are counting calories, each pint has about 240-370 calories. Can you believe that each ice cream has between 60-80% less calories & 40-50% less fat than regular ice cream? It is definitely treating yourself with less guilt.

For my ice cream sundae bar, I put the toppings in cute bowls and made a little arrangement around the ice creams. Just doing something as simple as that makes such a big difference. I think creating a fun theme is something that everyone can appreciate. It is all about the little details and presentation and of course, the ice cream!

Can you even tell that this is light ice cream? I think everyone was surprised that the ice creams were light. Everyone enjoyed the variety of flavors and the time spent together making our unique ice cream sundaes.

I got these ice creams at Safeway, but you can also find these SCANDAL-LESS ice creams at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons. Or for convenience, you can also get them through Safeway Grocery Delivery & DriveUp & Go™.

So far, I have been really impressed with Safeway’s private label brands and will continue to try their different items & showcase my favorites throughout the year. Hope you will try them as well & let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Creating a Beautiful Charcuterie Board with Primo Taglio® from Safeway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Due to the shelter-in-place & current events, I have been cooking & eating at home more often than before. So I’ve decided to make a charcuterie board using Primo Taglio®, Safeway’s exclusive line of premium quality meats & cheeses available at Safeways in the Bay Area. Primo Taglio translates to “first cut” in Italian, meaning every cut tastes as delicious as the first. And I must agree, their meats & cheeses are pretty tasty!

Charcuterie boards are easy to put-together and they look like you’ve spent a lot of effort on them! The board is great for snacking because I can put a lot of different varieties of meats & cheeses, as well as crackers and fruits. For this board, I’ve used their Manchego, Mozzarella Cheese Roll, Prosciutto, Italian Dry Salame, & Soft-Ripened Brie Cheese. Primo Taglio products are made with the finest ingredients, using traditional, time-honored preparation methods. They do not use artificial flavors or colors, or MSG*. (* With the exception of some of their items such as American cheese & certain value meats which do contain MSG.) I’ve used some fruits such as berries, grapes, cucumbers and dragonfruit to balance out the flavors.

The key to making a photogenic charcuterie board is to add a variety of colors and textures on the board. I usually start with a main item that I want to be the focal point in the middle and build around it. And if there are empty spaces, I add small garnishes like berries or nuts to fill the gaps. To create texture, I folded the prosciutto so it isn’t just flat on the board. There is no wrong way to make it, so get creative with it!

Brie & prosciutto are my favorite meat & cheese for a charcuterie board. Primo Taglio’s brie is delicious and pairs well with the prosciutto. You can tell that Primo Taglio uses the highest quality milk for their cheeses; the brie is perfectly creamy! I can probably eat the whole wheel. In contrast, the Manchego has a rich and intense flavor and has a hard yet crumbly texture. It was quite good! Some of their cheeses use old world recipes, which can be naturally aged up to 2 years.

The board is perfect for unwinding at home with loved ones. I love the way food brings us together. We could all use a little break during the day for some snacking. Wouldn’t you agree?

I love how my snack board came out. I love all the different textures and flavor combinations that can be made for each cheesy, meaty bite! The cucumbers were refreshing with the Italian Dry Salame and Manchego. What is your favorite combination?

I went to my local Safeway to purchase the items for my charcuterie snack board, but you can find Primo Taglio products at Albertson Companies family of stores, such as ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons. Try their cured meats & cheeses and let me know what your favorite items were!

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SF | illy caffè university of coffee

This post is sponsored by illy caffè

the flagship location in San Francisco

illy caffè’s flagship store in San Francisco is located in the Financial District. They have multiple locations in the city!

The cafe is very spacious. There is a bar area, as well as booths for more privacy.

Inside their flagship is the University of Coffee which can be rented out for different educational and hands-on coffee experiences. I was invited to their DIY latte art experience. To learn more about the classes they offer, or to book a team building experience or private class for you and your friends, click here!

We were able to view some new products on display: the illy Art Collection by Olimpia Zagnoli espresso cups & the Y3.2 machine in new colors: white + Cape Town Blue. The white one is so cute and would go perfectly with my white kitchen appliances.

Our instructor, Heidi, demonstrated how to make latte art and then we were able to try and make our own.

I was the first volunteer to try it and it was harder than I thought!

After the latte art experience, we also had a coffee mixology demo. We were also able to taste them and I loved the cold brew with salted caramel cream, which was made with illy’s Cold Brew Aria, the first-ever system that infuses ambient air into coffee to create a “nitro” effect.

Thank you, illy caffè, for the wonderful experience! Now I have to practice & perfect my latte art at home.

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illy caffè

220 Montgomery St Ste. 148

San Francisco, CA 94104

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Recipe | California Walnuts Pesto Gemelli Salad with Shrimp

This post is sponsored by California Walnuts

Did you know that walnuts are a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids (2.5g/oz)? Those are the good kind of fats, making walnuts the perfect lunch ingredient. 

Americans are skipping lunch, and this can impact energy levels as well as productivity. I have partnered with California Walnuts to #ChooseLunch to help me feel satiated and more energized throughout the day.

Walnuts are very versatile, so I decided to put a twist on a classic pesto pasta salad by using walnuts as the nut ingredient in this recipe. Hope you enjoy!


INGREDIENTS

Pesto

2 bunches of basil 

6 garlic cloves

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup California walnuts

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt + pepper to taste

Pasta Salad

8 oz bag of pasta {I used Gemelli}

½ lb shrimp, 16/20 count

¼ lb cherry tomatoes, halved

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Put all the ingredients for the pesto (except for the oil) into a food processor and pulse until they are evenly chopped.
  • Pour the oil in a steady stream while running the food processor to emulsify. Stop when the mixture is homogeneous.  
  • Set the pesto aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions on the packaging. I chose Gemelli because of all the crevices in the pasta; it will catch all the pesto goodness!
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the shrimp.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp.
  • Cook the shrimp until they are opaque. Do not overcook.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the shrimp.
  • Stir in the pesto.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Mix until everything is evenly coated. Can be refrigerated for lunch or eaten immediately. 
  • Enjoy!

All the ingredients to make our pasta salad!
Place all the ingredients for the pesto [minus the oil] into the food processor and pulse.
Walnuts are a great substitute ingredient for pesto.
Perfect lunch!
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pebble beach | pebble beach food & wine 2019

I had the pleasure of staying at The Inn at Spanish Bay for one night in one of their newly-remodeled rooms. This resort is the central location for Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival which took place April 11-14 of this year. I was lucky enough to attend the first two days of this event.

The king-sized bed was pretty comfortable.
It was really windy and cold that day so the windows had condensation on them so there really was no view of the ocean unless we opened the windows.
The fireplace was so cozy! It has a timer on it so you can leave it on before you go to bed.

VIP Opening Night Reception @ The Inn at Spanish Bay [+$495]

The opening night was very exciting. Barilla held their Pasta World Championship qualifying round & I was able to witness 8 chefs cooking their dishes for the judges. I was able to photograph & sample them as well! The winner was chosen to be the US representative for the World Pasta Championships which will be taking place in Paris this October.

The Barilla competition in the Grand Ballroom @ The Inn at Spanish Bay

For more info about the competition + contestants please click here.

The Grand Ballroom also had various wine + food vendors for tasting as well.
Right outside the Grand Ballroom was this Driscoll’s display.
Kettle One’s fairly new botanical line was also at the opening event.

Friday, 4/12 Lexus US Chef’s Table Lunch @ Pebble Beach Equestrian Center [+$250]

There were cooking demos, wine seminars, lunches, dinners, after parties that were taking place in the Pebble Beach area all weekend. Each event was located in different areas of Pebble Beach, at different times. There were many different options to choose from but I knew I wanted a lunch & dinner for sure!

I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the Chef’s Table’s Lunch with the Lexus Master Chefs: Ludo Lefebvre, & Dean Fearing.

This event was about a 15 minute drive from The Inn at Spanish Bay. Parking was readily available & free so that was a plus!

The event started at 12 with wine & passed small bites. The actual seated lunch started 30 minutes afterwards.
The prettiest setting + decor!

The event was an open kitchen concept with rows of communal tables. I was able to get up close & take photos of these talented chefs plating their dishes. My favorite dish was the Cast Iron Seared Lockhart Quail by Chef Fearing + the Fourless Chocolate Cake by Chef Ludo. AMAZING!!

The Master Chef himself, Ludo Lefebvre plating his flourless chocolate cake course.

Scroll through my Instagram post below to see the menu & the four course lunch. Of course, there was a wine paired with each course.

Cooking Demonstration: Aviary Live From Pebble Beach @ The Inn at Spanish Bay [+$150]

The Aviary, which is known for their innovative cocktails in Chicago was having a “cooking” demo of their cocktails. I haven’t been back to Chicago in so long but I really did want to check out The Alinea Group restaurants & cocktail lounges so I thought it was the perfect demo to check out before dinner.

The Aviary team demo-ed the cocktails + we were able to taste them. They also gave us the coasters to take home.

Dinner: Big Bottle Party – Bubbles, Burgundy & Bordeaux @ Casa Palmero Board Room [+$1250]

The Big Bottle Party took place at Casa Palmero Board Room. The space was decorated beautifully & I was excited to try all the food + wine.

They passed hors d’oeuvres & bubbly for the first 30 minutes. I really enjoyed the potato croquette by Chef Antonia.
The menu. Truly a BIG BOTTLE PARTY!

My favorites of the night were the seafood tostada by Chef Antonia, & the fideos a la tumbada by Chef Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito in SF. The tostada had well-balanced flavors & the seafood tasted really fresh. The angel hair pasta had a nice kick!

I had a lovely time at PBFW this year & hope that I can make it back next year. I wasn’t able to stay for the Lexus Grand Tastings on Saturday + Sunday. I think those events are what most people stay for so they can have a taste of food created by 30+ celebrity chefs + over 300 different wines from all over the world. Maybe next year!

Thank you Barilla Pasta & Dawn McCoy for providing this amazing opportunity!

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Sponsored | Simply Chocolate is Simply Delicious

This post is sponsored by simply chocolate.

Simply Chocolate is the perfect resource for chocolate lovers. They offer quality gifts from iconic chocolatiers, as well as innovative artisans.

Simply Chocolate has recently launched the Simply Chocolate Premier Collection & Colossal Truffles, featuring delicious flavor pairings by an artisan chocolatier. These were gifted for me to try.

It’s been raining a lot lately, so I thought it would be perfect to cozy up with some hot milk tea & these chocolates.

Simply Chocolate Premier Collection [28 piece] & Simply Chocolate Colossal Truffles [12 piece]

I was gifted the 28 piece from the Premier Collection & the 12 piece Colossal Truffles. They also come in 14 pieces & 6 pieces, respectively.

6 Flavors: Milk Chocolate, Black & White, Milk Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Raspberry, Peanut Butter Sea Salt
These truffles are definitely COLOSSAL.
I cut them in half so you could see the cross sections.
8 Flavors: Ultra Dark Chocolate, Caramel Coconut, Strawberry Rhubarb, Sea Salt Peanut Butter, Caramel Rose, Mocha Cream, Hazelnut Heart, Orange Cream
Look at the detail on the Strawberry Rhubarb!

Aside from these new additions, Simply Chocolate continually provides new & exclusive products. They have introduced chocolates from four new brands: Ethel M, Jacques Torres, Knipschildt & Kohler. There are more than 30 brands on their site as well as hundreds of products to choose from!

As for pricing, the overall product price points range anywhere from $20- $300, so there are chocolates available for any budget; they make perfect gifts for the chocolate connoisseur. The Simply Chocolate branded collection price points range from $20- $100.

The Colossal Truffles [$29.99 – $49.99] & Premier Collection [$34.99 – $59.99]

Visit SimplyChocolate.com to find the latest in chocolate offerings, & also find information about top chocolate shops + featured chocolatiers.

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Sponsored | Foster Farms Bold Bites

This post is sponsored by Foster Farms.

Foster Farms has released Bold Bites in five unique flavors. These are the ideal snack for people on-the-go! As for me, they are the perfect snacks for my low-carb days.

Now available at: Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Save Mart, Lucky’s, Albertsons, Vons

What I like about Foster Farms is that their chicken is responsibly raised by local farmers. They are committed to raising their poultry at a higher standard; they want to live up to their philosophy of good food feeds good times.

There are five bold flavors to choose from! And they all have completely different flavor profiles which makes it hard to choose just one bag. Which flavor would you try??

Cajun Style, Chile Verde, Caribbean Jerk Style, Korean BBQ Style, Parmesan Garlic
Made a quick snack with crackers, cheese, & Bold Bites Parmesan Garlic flavor.

For my low-carb days, I substitute the cracker for fresh cucumber slices. I used the Bold Bites with Chile Verde Seasoning because I thought it would pair nicely with some guacamole.

Bold Bites are made with whole chicken breasts which makes them a healthy snack option.
They do not include artificial colors, flavors, nitrates, or nitrites.
Bold Bites makes taking a snack break so easy.

If you are on-the-go, these Bold Bites make a great high-protein snack. When I feel like munching on something on my low-carb days, these are perfect. The Bold Bites that I tried are moist, juicy & packed with flavor. My favorite flavor is the Garlic Parmesan!

The other day, I introduced my friend to these Bold Bites because she was interested in my low-carb days & I turned her onto these as the perfect snack option; her favorite is the Korean BBQ.

#BeBoldAnywhere & try these Bold Bites now! They are currently sold in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, & Hawaii.

Visit Foster Farms to find a retailer near you.

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SF | Bayonne Ham induction Ceremony + Launch event

This post is sponsored by: Bayonne Ham

Bayonne Ham is now in the US!

What is Bayonne ham?

There is ham & there is Bayonne Ham. It is unique because of these 3 reasons:

  • Bayonne Ham earned the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 1998, a label that guarantees the quality & geographic origin of a product. This dry cured ham is so inherently special & inimitable that it must come from Southwest France to be called Bayonne Ham.
  • Four ingredients are essential to the production of Bayonne Ham: pigs, salt, air & patience. To qualify for production, the pigs must be born + bred in Southwest France & fed natural products.
  • With a moderate saltiness & creamy finish, Jambon de Bayonne is unique + stands out among the rest.

I was lucky enough celebrate their launch with an induction ceremony at Bask, a restaurant in San Francisco.

01/13/19 The event took place @ Bask in SF.
They handed out berets and handkerchiefs for the event.
The French Bayonne Ham team during the induction ceremony.
The inductees! {Roland Barthélémy, Cathy Strange, Kelly Cosgrove, Ray Bair, Ron Schinbeckler, Angela Rihacek, Tyson Danilson, Benat Ibarra, Stephanie Ciano}
Look at this beautiful ham! And the accordionist in the back makes things even more festive.
Cutting that Bayonne Ham for everyone to taste. This ham was amazing!
And of course, we had food paired with Bayonne Ham.
Hamming it up!

Thank you for a lovely time, Bayonne Ham!

Now that you know more about this mouth-watering ham, run to your nearest grocery store & ask for Maison Agour, Delpeyrat, Mayte, Salaisons de l’Adour or Pierre Oteiza, some of the most beloved brands that are available in the United States.

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LV | the factory kitchen opens in las vegas

the factory kitchen is now open in las vegas! i was lucky enough to attend their opening party on 1/16/19.

their first location is in los angeles, & it is named after the street address of that location.

the front of the restaurant has red neon sign of the restaurant name
the factory kitchen in las vegas is located in restaurant row at the venetian

cute little area to sit & chat
they are ready for service!
restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, chef Angelo Auriana during the pasta demo. they mentioned that the idea of the factory kitchen was first discussed in the bay area!
media dinner menu. they use fresh, seasonal & locally-sourced ingredients.

i loved the handkerchief pasta aka mandilli di seta. it was cooked perfectly & the pesto was well-balanced.

the prosciutto wasn’t too salty & went well with the creaminess of the cheese.

the porchetta was crispy, fatty & well seasoned.

i recommend their cannolis! i am usually not a fan of them but these had great texture & it had a savory component to them which balanced out the sweetness from the cream.

The Factory Kitchen

3355 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(In The Venetian)

+++

The Factory Kitchen

1300 Factory Place #101
Los Angeles, Ca 90013

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