Holiday Wine Advent Calendar Gift Idea with Safeway

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

Can you believe that September is already nearing its end and the holidays are just around the corner? This year just flew by! Who is excited for the holidays? The holiday season is the season of giving, which reminds me that I have to think about gifts. And I just found the perfect gift for my friends that drink. Safeway is offering a limited-edition wine advent calendar for the holidays and it would make the perfect gift for any wine lover. Tbh, who hasn’t been enjoying a little more wine at home these days?

Since we are all mostly staying home this year, this wine advent calendar is perfect to keep us occupied. The calendar comes with 24 mini bottles of wine. Each bottle is 187ml & there are 13 reds, 9 whites and 2 roses. Ideally, the mini wine bottles can be enjoyed everyday starting at the beginning of December, right up until Christmas.

I had first tried a wine advent calendar last year and immediately became a fan. I love having options so I was excited to try another one this year. ABSCO’s wine advent calendar has wines from California, Washington and Oregon. Each wine is unique and has its own label + story.

Some of the wines are from prestigious sub-regions of the three states. There are 17 distinct varietals included in the box to suit every palate. There are popular varietals from Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir and less known varietals such as Gewürztraminer. My favorite type is Cabernet Sauvignon (& mostly reds) so I am thrilled that 13 of the 24 bottles are red wine varietals. I cannot wait for my friends to try them as well!

To elevate the gift, I bought a bunch of charcuterie items from Safeway and made a gift basket to pair with the wine advent calendar. I purchased grapes, strawberries, prosciutto, spicy salami, mixed nuts, hummus, snap peas, olives and some cheese to make the perfect charcuterie board. Who knew that Safeway had such quality ingredients that are budget-friendly to make an amazing charcuterie board? The items were all Safeway signature brands, btw.

Visit www.24daysofwine.com for product details & to learn more about the wine and region of the day. Tasting and pairing suggestions will also be available for the particular wine of the day when you click on the day of each wine.

Safeway also offers Grocery Delivery + Drive Up & Go™ for convenient ways to shop! I have yet to use this service but it is a good option if you are uneasy about going inside to shop during these times.

I shopped at my local Safeway, but you can also find this wine advent calendar at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Tom Thumb & Vons. This wine advent calendar is available at your local Safeway for a limited time so shop ahead for yourself or for your wine-loving friend. I’ll probably get one for myself too.

Must be legal drinking age to enjoy & enjoy responsibly! Let me know your thoughts on this wine advent calendar in the comments section if you decide to get one.

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Meatless Mondays with Open Nature® Cauliflower Crust Pizzas from Safeway

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

Trying to make Meatless Mondays a thing, when I’m eating at home. Takeout is great but sometimes, I have those lazy days when I want to just stay home & eat something convenient yet tasty. I am a meat-lover but I do like a lot of foods that are meatless. Like for instance, I prefer my pizzas with little to no meat. I love a classic Margherita!

The craving for pizza was real when I went to my local Safeway the other day so I decided to pick up a few pizzas from the frozen pizza aisle. I like having options so I picked up Three Cheese & Margherita Pizza from Open Nature® with cauliflower crusts. I also purchased some toppings such as mushrooms, fresh basil, truffle Burrata, mozzarella and O Organics® Plant-Based Crumbles as my meat substitute.

I’ve never tried a cauliflower crust pizza before, so I was excited to try these! I added the plant-based crumbles, extra mozzarella, and mushrooms to the three cheese pizza to dress it up a bit and fresh basil and Burrata to the Margherita.

The cooking instructions were very straightforward and the pizzas were ready in less than 10 minutes.

I added the Burrata halfway through baking the pizza so that it would not melt completely and I garnished the Margherita with fresh basil leaves after it was out of the oven to add a little freshness.

The pizza crust texture was different from a regular pizza as expected but you really can’t go wrong with Margherita pizza especially when you add the fresh basil and truffle Burrata to it. The crust was fluffy and soft with crispy edges. I could not believe it was made of cauliflower. I loved the thin crusts & the flavors were great. The plant crumbles were also a good alternative to a meat topping. It added good flavors and texture to the three cheese pizza. The quality of the pizzas were not bad for the price. I would definitely purchase again!

These cauliflower pizza crusts are definitely the perfect alternative to regular pizza crusts when you want to eat something that is better for you. I like that Open Nature® brand has an extensive line of better-for-you plant-based products which are minimally processed and free from 110 food additives. I like the sound of that! I love that these are gluten-free and high in protein.

Open Nature® and O Organics® offers high quality, minimally processed or USDA-certified organic plant-based products exclusively at Northern California stores at Safeway! They are inexpensive, and definitely budget-friendly without sacrificing quality or taste.

If you are still unsure about going into the grocery store during these times, Safeway also offers Grocery Delivery and Drive Up & Go™ for convenient ways to shop! I have yet to try it but will let you know if I do.

I shopped at Safeway in my local area (this is the Foster City location pictured above), but you can also find O Organics® and Open Nature® plant-based products at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, and Tom Thumb.

Would you try these? Let me know in the comments if you have tried them and what your thoughts are!

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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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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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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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recipe | summer strawberry watermelon smoothie bowl that Outshines all others

this post is sponsored by Outshine

When I think summertime, I think of watermelon and strawberry ice pops. Both sound so refreshing! Ice cream month just came to an end but you can still enjoy watermelon & strawberries all summer long with this quick & easy strawberry watermelon smoothie bowl recipe. This is a great way to keep cool while enjoying a healthy snack.

 

Outshine Strawberry Fruit Bars are made with real fruit.

 

Here are some of the toppings I will be adding to my smoothie bowl. I like berries & chia seeds so I will add them as my toppings.

 

I chilled some of the fruit toppings because I need this to be extra cold & refreshing on a hot summer day. I also added mint to add an extra bit of freshness.

 

I think using the watermelon as a bowl is a creative & fun way to present smoothie bowls for guests. And not to mention, it saves you from doing a dish or two. Enjoy this easy recipe on a hot summer day because #TheresAnIceCreamForThat!

 

serving: 2 bowls

ingredients

1 mini watermelon

2 Outshine Strawberry Fruit Bars

juice from 1/2 of a lime

garnish

watermelon balls

handful strawberries, whole or sliced

handful blueberries, whole or sliced

handful raspberries, whole or sliced

tablespoon chia seeds

sprig of mint

slices of lime

* drizzle of honey [optional] for added sweetness

*any toppings that you would like

materials

melon baller

blender

directions

1. Cut watermelon in half & scoop out the inside. Use the melon baller to scoop out round balls for some pieces and set those aside for garnish. Save the empty halves, for they will serve as bowls for your smoothie.

2. Freeze the watermelon scoops for one hour or until frozen.

3. Place the frozen cut-up watermelon pieces, lime juice, and Outshine Strawberry Fruit Bars into the blender & blend until it becomes thick & smooth in consistency.

3.  Put the contents into the hollowed-out watermelon halves.

4. Garnish with toppings of choice & enjoy!

 

Let me know what toppings you would add & how you liked my recipe!

*Outshine comes in a variety of flavors and right now you can stock up and save.

Save $2 when you buy 3 or more Outshine or other Nestlé ice cream products. Find the offer here:
http://lynk.to/HEEJINLEE

 

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