Florida Girls take Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival 2017

This past weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the Epcot Food and Wine Festival with my mommy and sister. Talk about amazing! I am a Florida girl and visit Disney quite a bit but had never experienced it quite like that. So much good food and so many good drinks! Overall a cultural and sensory party and a great way to spend time to with loved ones. I will definitely be returning! The only recommendation I would make is to get there as early as possible so that you can enjoy all that all of the continents has to offer.

After paying for admission you can either buy the gift card and load on the desired amount you want to spend, buy a sampler set of 8 tickets and in your party do a sampling of everything that sounds appetizing or you can buy everything a la carte or a mix of the three.

Now here comes the highlights of my trip!

 

Epcot and Food Wine 2017
Top of the Morning at Disney entrance
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Parking at Epcot heading in
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
What’s a morning without Starbucks?And it’s even better at Disney!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
The Mouse himself giving us a warm welcome amongst this beautiful garden!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
First Continent Stop: Mexico!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Down Under! First food stop that made it on camera! Australia! Grilled Lamb T-Bone with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies. So flavorful!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
On to New Zealand! Seared Vension Loin with Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Kumara Puree
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Next Stop! Canada! “Le Calier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
O Canada! Cheddar Cheese Soup with Pretzel Roll
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Le Slush! Le Passion Martini Slush! My fave! Hello Paris! Bonjour France!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Pit Stop in Japan!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Hops and Barley New England Lobster Roll!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Kalua Pork Slider and Mai Tai! Yummy!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
A beautiful fountain and set of potted plants in the Caribbean Islands!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Mojitos from the Caribbean!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Some of the most TENDER chicken nuggets I’ve had in a while, Pineapple Rum Ice Cream, and the BEST croissant doughnut ever!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Artisan Cheese Trio!
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Loaded Mac N Cheese
Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2017
Till next time Epcot Food and Wine!

It was so much fun literally eating and drinking around the world, I literally rolled myself out to my car. If you get the chance definitely check it out! It is quite the dedicated foodie dream!

Foodie Files Jax Edition: Sunday Brunch at Casa Marina

Hi ya”ll! Can you believe that it’s already November? I feel like the year flew by super fast but I am very grateful to have encountered so many wonderful souls in this period of time.

As always because I have a bit of wanderlust and¬† I discovered yet another amazing brunch spot here in Jacksonville. It is Casa Marina one of the oldest and most historical hotels in Florida and America. How cool is that? Not only does this place boast some amazing architecture but also some amazing food and views. It’s an all you can eat brunch with a prime rib carving station, omelette station, eggs benedict over fried green tomatoes, an assortment of cold salads, seafood paella, herb roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, shrimp cocktail, a tropical fruit display, a yummy dessert area, and endless champagne, mimosas, and poinsettias as well as house wines. Truly a Sunday Funday spot. And all under $35! Can we say awesome?!?!?!?!

The food is fresh, yummy, and flavorful and the service is impeccable. My servers always made sure I was well attended to and the vibe is so relaxed with a very beachy vibe and a view of the Atlantic Ocean via their balcony.

I will definitely be back very soon! Definitely worth every penny! I will caution those who are true foodies to pace yourself because you will want to try everything and you just want to make sure you don’t fill yourself to the brim like I did. ūüôā

Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
The banquet style of the brunch layout as the crowd trickled out
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Mimosas and chocolate mousse!
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Garden salad with house dressing which was absolutely yummy, rice pilaf with salad shrimp, shrimp cocktail and broccoli
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Veggie omelette from the omelette station, bacon, breakfast potatoes, eggs benedict over fried green tomatoes, fruit salad, and a poinsettia!
Casa Marina Sunday Brunch
Front entrance! See you soon Casa Marina!

New Recipe Alert: Carrot and Eggplant Fettuccine

I love fall for the fall flavors, colors, and opportunity to experiment with new recipes paired with favorite foods. Carrot fettuccine is one of my favorite recipes to prepare in that it’s so easy, fun, and healthy and it gives you a great way out to get you to have your kids eat their veggies out there to all the mamas who have a struggle getting their kiddos to eat their veggies. You can even include your kids in on the activities by having them help you with the fettuccine pieces whether you choose to use a spiralizer to cut them up or with a knife.

My recipe was relatively simple. I just used some of my favorite spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) and sauteed other vegetables and cut up about 2 whole carrots into shreds that resembled fettucine or thinner versions of carrot sticks.  And because I am an eggplant lover I added some diced eggplant to the recipe as well to add another portion of protein and some different flavor profile and taste to the recipe.  I then added a tomato sauce with a mushroom to my veggie sautee and let it simmer to absorb the flavor. This was my 2nd or 3rd time making this particular recipe but it was so yummy, cozy, and filling.

Carrot and Eggplant Fettuccine
Diced eggplant. I used this to use half for this recipe and another recipe that I made later on that night.
Carrot and Eggplant Fettuccine
Cutting up the carrots to fettuccine length or style
Carrot and Eggplant Fettuccine
Before sauteeing. Cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms,eggplant, and onions
Carrot and Eggplant Fettuccine
Finished product! So yummy!

What are some of your favorite fall foods that are healthy but still delicious?  I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment or message below!

Foodie Files: Hidden Gems Jax Edition- Jax Beach Brunch Haus

It’s Sunday Funday and we all know what that means. Brunch and relaxing! Jacksonville has an awesome foodie scene that’s way too splendid to not be a part of. My latest hidden gem was Jax Beach Brunch Haus.

I stumbled upon this hidden jewel by chance as I had an appetite built for destruction today and was ready for some quality wholesome food. And boy did they deliver.

Hands down, excellent customer service, good food and great vibes. Live music. Beautiful ambience and a very relaxed but inviting hipster style vibe.

A perfect brunch spot if you want something filling but not too heavy, with locally sourced foods, a great selection of items, great smoothies and awesome cocktails. For today’s selection I had a Paradise City with Hash, T. W. Mexicali and a Southern biscuit.IMG_6686IMG_6687

I didn’t wait long for my food at all and it was quality like everything had been prepared to order and of the freshest quality. All the staff had a warm and inviting demeanor, and the restaurant itself had a very down to earth homey vibe. I am going to make it a plan to check out their espresso and coffee options next time but it is definitely worth a second and third look. You get great helpings for the price and I even had enough to take home leftovers.

The restaurant was formerly know as The Loving Cup Hash House but may be under new ownership and brand management.

I am always excited to find new restaurants that I love and this one will be another that I make a return visit too as well.

What are some of your favorite Jax Foodie finds? I would love to hear from you!

New Recipe Alert: Thai style pineapple mango rice with homemade mango sauce

I just love Thai inspired food and tonight I got a strong craving for pineapples, mangoes, and shrimp so I decided to get into the kitchen and make my own version of a traditional fave Thai dish: pineapple fried rice.

thai inspired rice
Thai mango and pineapple inspired rice

Although my rice was not fried it still had the same effect and was still just as yummy. I used a basic rice with seasonings and scrambled two eggs, sauteed veggies, pineapples, and mangoes, and had already sauteed and seasoned the shrimp.

I was really inspired and wanted to try my hand at making my own mango sauce from scratch which turned out really yummy and did not require a lot of ingredients to make. A simple set of about 12-15 diced mangoes, lime juice, and a dash of organic cane sugar. ( I usually buy mangoes from the frozen food section as they are already cut and maintain their nutritional value and are easy to use in that form) I pulsed the mango sauce mixture in a food processor until it reached the desired consistency and allowed the shrimp, veggies, and fruit to simmer.

homemade mango sauce
Homemade mango sauce!

I also added some black beans for a little extra protein and because beans are a common staple for me when I cook.

After combining all the ingredients, I drizzled the desired amount of the mango sauce and served. Talk about yummy, filling, and a lot of fun to make! In addition it was only about 30 minutes of less that it actually took to prepare this meal and I have leftovers too! For the win!  What are some of your favorite Thai dishes? What are some of your favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Foodie Files: Hidden Gems Jax Edition

So it’s been a while but here I am again. I am trying to be consistent in posting here at least once a month (if not more) and I wanted to share some of the recent foodie files that I’ve stumbled upon in my area.

I absolutely love finding new restaurants and especially trying new foods.

One of my most recent finds is Monroe’s Smokehouse BBQ. When I say this place is amazing, that doesn’t even begin to properly explain it. Everything about this place is spectacular. From the great customer service to the food. I haven’t had anything that wasn’t tasty, well seasoned, flavorful, and fully satiating to your palette and appetite. ¬†Best of all EVERYTHING is made from scratch.

My favorite dishes are the macaroni and cheese, sweet potato souffle, and collard greens. I’ve only had the ribs and smoked wings but everything always smells so yummy so I would safely assume that the rest of the meat options are equally as appetizing.

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Featured in this picture are the smoked wings and sweet potato souffle as well as the macaroni and cheese. The sweet little heat sauce is AMAZING!

Monroe’s has several locations throughout the Jacksonville area and they also boast a pretty awesome food truck that makes its rounds around town so it’s definitely worth the effort if you’re in the area.

The next restaurant that I stumbled upon was the Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar. I was really in the mood for some really good seafood and wanted to try something off the beaten path. This had so many positive reviews when I looked it up that I had to give it a try,

Again, another really excellent choice all around and I am sure I will be back before it’s said and done. It’s nestled nicely between the Murray Hill, Avondale, and Riverside Area so it boasts a very quiet but beautiful atmosphere and just as beautiful ambiance on the inside. Great service and almost all options are based upon seasonal availability or the local market which I also love because you can literally pop in and try something new every time so it gives it a new yet authentic feel every time that you go.

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First let me say these fried green tomatoes were not only yummy but surprisingly a great way to start the meal. An unexpected start to a wonderful meal and the roasted red pepper goulis and goat cheese set it off just right.

IMG_5980Next up, it goes without saying that summer is the best time for sampling new dishes and enjoying great drinks. BY FAR, one of the best sangrias in town. Flavorful, good distribution of wine and fruit and not too strong where it sneaks up on you but just enough to be able to enjoy the meal or ambiance and so you can relax. And it subtle enough so that it doesn’t take away from your meal itself.

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The grand finale. Herb crusted snapper with jumbo lump crab, seasonal veggies, orzo and rice, with a side of their famous white cheddar macaroni and cheese.

Both of these restaurants are fast becoming two of my favorite spots to stop in when I am mood for eating out but as always the exploration continues. If you’re ever in the Jacksonville area, make sure to stop into both of these wonderful hidden gems, you’ll be glad you did!

Making turmeric milk and infused water

 

 

turmeric milk
Photo Credit: Hion.com

As a part of living a healthier lifestyle and just a goal of trying out new recipes, I took some of my spare time last night and incorporated a new turmeric milk recipe into my arsenal of recipes and added a new flavor to my infused water.

Here is a picture of the results :

foodie-files

Infused water:

I chopped up about ¬†3-6 lemon wedges, 7-9 cucumber slices, and added ¬†a tsp of ground ginger, and just some good ol’ H20. Store overnight in fridge ¬†for maximum infusion flavor and enjoy!

Turmeric milk:

A cup of vanilla almond milk, a tbsp of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a tsp of ¬†raw organic sugar cane. Shake well for about 2 min to ensure all ingredients are well mixed. You can either warm up the milk or drink it cold. I warmed it up and it tasted absolutely delicious. I am trying to replace my caffeine fix for coffee with herbal teas and other warm drink recipes. This recipe came in handy just in time and I didn’t even have any caffeine crashes without coffee and this had a nice smooth, spicy but sweet taste. You can adjust the recipe as you see fit. It will come out a bright yellow color, even though from ¬†my picture it appears a warm brown. #lightingprobs

Both turmeric and infused water have natural detox and anti-inflammatory properties so it’s even better that these drinks taste great and are great for you!

What are some of your favorite health food drinks or smoothies? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!