Monday, July 21, 2014

Top 5 Food Fest Tips

Whether you are going to a Taste of something, a Food Truck Festival or any other kind of public Food Tasting or Food Fest, there are a few simple tips that are guaranteed to make your experience easier and more enjoyable. 

After attending my fair share of food events, I have learned some crucial tips that I hope can be as beneficial to others as they have been to me. 

Here's my Top 5 Food Fest Tips:

1. Bring bottles of water. Preferably cold and at least one per person in your group. If it's hot you will really appreciate having them handy in lines. Plus, you get to save a little extra money or food tickets so you can try even more food instead of spending it on water!

2. Show up hungry...but not Starving. Ok, I know that sounds like it goes against the idea of going to an event just to eat. But trust me, if you show up famished and anxious to eat, you might be very dissapointed or even worse HANGRY (Hungry/Angry) when you find you have to wait in a line for your first taste. If you decide to chance it, at least bring a small snack with you...just in case :)

3. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. There is usually a lot of walking, standing and possibly sitting on the ground involved. Especially if you've never been to an event before, just be prepared for anything. 

4. Have a plan. If the event provides a vendor list/map, I usually print that out and highlight all of my top picks for the day. That way, I can be sure to try everything I really want. If there are really long lines, I usually go for a shorter line first (see avoiding Hangry above). As soon as I get that food, I jump in another line so I can eat and wait. Multi-tasking at it's best! If you are feeling really productive that day, divvy up the lines between your group so you can try even more!

5. Patience is a virtue. Food never just magically appears. It takes a lot of someone's hard work to make, and then serve, a delicious bite to eat. Everyone is just there to eat and have a nice time, so take your time and enjoy!

Take these 5 tips along to any food event you go to and you will surely be on your way to Food Fest Bliss :)

After attending the first annual CT Food Truck Festival and reading all of the negative feedback from other attendees, I realized that some people could have had a better experience (despite any shortcomings of the event) just by doing a few simple things. Mainly, bringing water. Water is key. Hope these help. Please feel free to share and comment with any tips you have for surviving food events below!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Connecticut Food Truck Festival

People love food trucks. I love food trucks. There is just something about them. The aroma, the fun atmosphere that surrounds them, the gourmet delicacies being made to order right out of a vehicle in front of you. I'm sure the allure is different for everyone, but the fact remains the same, the food truck obsession is real.

The 13.6K that replied as going on the event's Facebook page, plus the 1.2K that responded with a maybe and the actual turnout on the first day is a true testament to that. And still no one, not even the event's organizers, could have anticipated just how popular this event was going to be. The CT Food Truck Festival event page is reporting DOUBLE those numbers with an estimated 15,000 people on Saturday alone! WHOA!

CT Food Truck Festival

Cars backed up on all highways leading into the North Haven Fairgrounds where the first annual Connecticut Food Truck Festival had begun. Parking lots quickly filled up and closed, long lines formed in front of each and every participating food truck in the field and the much anticipated eating of all of the delicious food the day had to offer began! 

And so did the public opinions. All over social media are leftovers of both frustrated festival goers and fed and happy food truck lovers.

Chris Collibee of WFSB Ch. 3 pretty much summed it up with this tweet:

The day was not a failure despite a few kinks and I would definitely tell people who might be questioning going on Sunday not to be swayed by some of the negative feedback. Yes, there were lines and traffic, but any public event (especially one that revolves around food) has it's fair share of lines and a crowd. It's just to be expected. And there were plenty of tweets about people enjoying their food!

Here are some of my top food picks from the day:
(I was also tweeting throughout the day so don't forget to follow @SearchforYUM for live updates before my posts!)


My very first stop AND it was delicious AND they gave me a free Stroopwafel cookie for liking Vanchetta on Twitter, so it holds a special place in my heart! 

Ordered: Chicken Caprese sandwich and Patatas Bravas

 Big Country's BBQ
Easily one of the best mac 'n cheese recipes I've ever tasted...ever! 
Ordered: Pulled Borked Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon (topped with extra BBQ sauce!)

 Ordered: Absolutely amazing chicken and waffles with syrup.
Tip: Make sure you get the syrup on it!
(also, sorry for the half-eaten pic...I obviously couldn't wait!)

Fruit Whirled
Bicycle blended organic smoothies - peddled to perfection :)

There were SO many other amazing food trucks I just couldn't get to - or fit in my full belly! But I will definitely make sure to start taking more advantage of Connecticut's rich food truck scene!

Great job to everyone and anyone involved. I'll definitely be back searching for YUM next year and I already can't wait!

(This has actually inspired me to write a post with my top food event tips so be on the lookout for that soon!)

Did you go or are you planning on going still? Please feel free to comment with your thoughts/favorite food truck below!

Monday, May 26, 2014

4 Ingredient Red White & Blue Dessert: Memorial Day and Fourth of July Recipe

This red, white and blue dessert is fun, festive and delicious! Only 4 ingredients and 4 easy steps. If you are looking for a quick and easy Memorial Day or Fourth of July recipe....this is the recipe for you!

Bonus: It is guaranteed to impress your friends and family!

Ok, so it's not a from scratch recipe. But seriously, who has time for that all of the time?! Sometimes short cuts are OK. Especially if the outcome is this good:

After whipping up this Patriotic recipe, you'll have time to check a few more things off that to-do list or even sneak in a little extra me-time!

4 Ingredient Red White and Blue Dessert

What You'll Need:
  • Pound Cake
  • Cool Whip
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

1. Thinly slice the pound cake and lay out so the bottom of a casserole dish is covered.

2. Spread cool whip evenly over the base of pound cake.

3. Place washed strawberries and blue berries over the cool whip to get desired look.

4. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stuffed Zucchini - Easy Side Dish Recipe

Stuffed Zucchini is an easy and delicious side dish!

I was looking for a new, healthy side dish to go with a main dish of meat (chicken, steak, pork, etc), that was relatively easy to whip up. I have been seeing stuffed zucchini a lot on Pinterest and really wanted to try it, but most of the recipes I found called for a lot of ingredients, including sausage. I just wanted to keep it simple.

So I cut down on the ingredients, added a few of my own flavors and created my very own Stuffed Zucchini Vegetarian Side Dish Recipe that will go with pretty much any main dish!

I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Stuffed Zucchini Easy Side Dish Recipe

What You'll Need:
  • Zucchini - about 4-6
  • Bread Crumbs - 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Yellow Onion - about 1/2 cup chopped
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese -about 2 cups
  • 2 Eggs
  • Parmesan Cheese - 1/2 cup
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Spices - (season to taste) A Dash of: Salt, Garlic Powder, Parsley and Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add zucchini and cook until tender (about 10 minutes). 

3. While  zucchini is boiling, you can mix the bread crumbs, chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, eggs, half of the parmesan cheese and spices. Mix to a creamy consistency that is not too runny (tweak the amounts as necessary). Keep in mind you will be adding in some of the flesh of the zucchini.

3. Cut each zucchini in half, lengthwise (careful, they will be hot!). Scoop out the middle of the zucchini until you are left with hollowed out "boats" and place on tin foil lined baking sheets. Add what you have scooped out to the stuffing mixture.

4. Now it's time to fill in the hollowed out zucchini's with the stuffing mixture! Generously fill each zucchini half and then top with butter and sprinkle the remaining parmesean cheese.

5. Bake for 30 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Search for YUM Comes Out of Hibernation!

Is it finally time to come out of hibernation?!

I actually haven't been hibernating...I've spent every weekend this Winter being a ski bum in Ludlow, VT! My absolute favorite place to be in during the winter. While I took the ski bum role to heart and didn't do ANY writing the past few months, I did do a lot of eating! So be on the lookout for a post all about the delicious finds all around the quaint and fun ski town of Ludlow.

Also coming up...we are spending this weekend on the North Shore of Boston for your friends wedding in Salem, MA! We already enjoyed an amazing lunch at Prides Piccola in Beverly, MA and I can't wait to write more about that. Tim grew up with the owner so I even got the inside scoop!

And we are staying at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem where the wedding will also be. Rumor has it, it's haunted! But so is every other place in Salem. I'm not so sure about the haunted part, but I'm definitely finding some inspiration to write at this desk with a view in our room.

For even more YUMMY updates, be sure to follow on Twitter!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crock Pot Recipe - Beef Burgundy

I have been in serious Crock Pot withdrawal since the sad demise of mine a few months ago. Fall and Winter are not the seasons to be without a Crock Pot! Thankfully, my sister saved me from my misery and got me one for Christmas! (A Big Huge Thank You to the best sister in the world!!!) Just in time, too...the Crock Pot recipes I was saving were really starting to add up. First up: Beef Burgundy.

Crock Pot Recipe - Beef Burgundy

Last weekend was our first weekend home since the Holidays so I was anxious to use our new Crock Pot. And Sunday morning I woke up with Beef Burgundy on my mind! I had gotten all of the ingredients the day prior, so all I had to do was roll out of bed and start chopping and searing!

The recipe I found was actually a little more involved than I had expected. But SO worth it. And by involved, I mean just one more step extra besides cutting everything up and throwing it in together. I also didn't make things easier for myself by getting fresh pearl onions. Yes, I peeled 24 tiny pearl onions Sunday morning. I now understand why the recipe called for frozen pearl onions! Thanks to Family Circle Magazine for this and other great Crock Pot Recipes!

What You Need:

  • 2 lbs beef chuck for stew, cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch chunks
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (I used salted and it was great)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pkg (10oz) brown mushrooms, cleaned and cut to desired size
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 bag (14.4 oz) frozen pearl onions, thawed

Mashed Potatoes or buttered noodles (optional)

Step 1:
Coat the beef with 2 tbsp of the flour, 1 tsp of the salt and pepper. (The Family Circle recipe recommends mixing in a large resealable plastic bag, but I simply tossed in a bowl).

Step 2:
Melt butter and oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown for 5 minutes, stirring to sear all sides (cook in 2 batches, if needed). Spoon into slow cooker. Reduce heat in pan to medium and add 1 cup of the broth. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring up anything on the bottom of the pan. Pour into slow cooker along with carrotts, mushrooms, garlic, red wine and remaining beef broth. Scatter onions over top of vegetables.

Step 3:
Cover and slow cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 6 1/2 hours. 

Step 4: (Confession time! I completely stopped reading at Step 3 and thought I was done! But it still turned out amazingly!)
With a slotted spoon, remove beef and vegetables to a large serving bowl. Whisk together remaining 3 tbsp flour with 3 tbsp water in a small bowl. Strain hot liquid from slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 3 minutes, until thickened, then stir into stew with remaining 1/4 tsp salt. 

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Then Enjoy! I ate this one night without mashed potatoes and the next whipped up some buttery mashed potatoes to serve the stew over. Delicious!

Crock Pot Recipe - Beef Burgundy

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Long Trail Brewery - A Must for Food, Fun and Beer

If you have never been to Long Trail Brewery in Vermont, you must put it on your list of things to do, Now! Located in Bridgewaters Corners, VT, it's just a short drive from many surrounding ski areas such as Okemo and Killington! Luckily for me, it's become our tradition to go to Long Trail for my awesome brother-in-law's birthday on New Years Eve ...along with a handful of other visits throughout ski season!

Long Trail Brewery - Menu Recommendations

Honestly, there is very little chance that you will be disappointed with ANYTHING you order here. But one thing you absolutely must try are the Chicken Wings. Especially if you love chicken wings as much as I do. It's not every day you get to have some as amazing as these! You have a choice of three different kinds: Buffalo, Yaki or Jonas. You should just try all three! You can find the complete pub menu here. (I think there's a few different things that haven't been updated online, but for the most part this is the standard food selection).

In terms of beer selection, I always start things off with a sampler! I've tried pretty much all of them, but it's always fun to try them all again and find out what you feel like drinking that day. There's two different types of samplers. If you have never been here definitely start with the Standard Sampler:

You get six samples of Long Trail's standard craft beer selection, including the popular Long Trail Ale, Hibernator and Double Bag Ale.

If you are already familiar with long-time favorites, try the Special Sampler. It includes four of their new Farmhouse Artisanal Ales and Brown Bag series which I am currently obsessed with.

After samplers, it's time for a full beer! Fair warning...if you choose the Triple Bag, they cut you off at 2 or 3!

My choice this visit was the Belgian Brunette - the latest in the Brown Bag series. 

And you can't leave without spending some time at the outdoor fire pit overlooking the Ottauquechee River.

Sorry I didn't get a photo of the Chicken Wings - I was elbow deep in oh-so-messy deliciousness. Literally! Thankfully they keep plenty of napkins and handi-wipes right at each table. They've thought of everything!

Maybe just one recommendation for the Brewery would be adding a few pub games (Cornhole would be amazing on the back deck!) And perhaps a dog friendly area for well-behaved pups of beer lovers?! Ok, that's it! :)