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Whether you are familiar with Greek culture and Mediterranean cuisine or not, this is something you can appreciate. Allow us to give you a little taste of something new with an experience provided by Chef Diane Kochilas.

Nestled in the intimate tasting room Sopra above Amali, a Mediterranean restaurant, celebrity chef and cookbook author Diane Kochilas hosted a cooking demonstration of RiceUp risotto.

The room buzzed with a mixture of Greek and English greetings and chattering, and liveliness filled the room as wine flowed and tasty appetizers were passed to whet guests’ palettes.

In between greeting guests, Chef Diane patiently stirred the pot, which sent the aroma floating through the room and built the anticipation for the main event. Before serving Chef Diane and other distinguished guests share the importance of this product.

Diane-Kochilas-Rice-up

Having been such a staple in the home as well as for special occasions for many families, rice is an important part of a meal and a culture. What RiceUp has created is important because it shares piece of that on a commercial level. They have created a high quality product that honors the authenticity of Greek tradition and brings it together harmoniously with the convenience of the American lifestyle, without a compromise in flavor.. This product makes this special experience accessible to more people, specifically those who identify as Greek American.

Chef Diane served the lemon risotto which was simple and rich in flavor – creamy with an ever so slight citrus zest. There was also a sweet and spicy risotto, which was embellished with cinnamon, pistachios and raisins. She shared about how she likes to experiment with garnishes and watch how the dishes can evolve. She shared her love for food and her culture with each plate.

Though Chef Diane’s risotto had her special touch, RiceUp boasts to be easy to create at home. With recipes and samples given in the gift bags, guests were equipped with the perfect meal: simple, quick and delicious.

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7up Ingredients

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine.  

*Must be 21 years of age or older to drink alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

The great thing about food and drinks, is that they can always bring you back to a time you want to remember. In particular, I wanted to be brought back to a summer luau. I knew partnering with 7UP would bring me only one sip away from the summer vibes I wanted to channel in my glass. I was also determined to create a cocktail that would be amazing all year round. Given its versatility, 7UP was what I needed to spruce up the drink I was getting ready to create.

It was a great opportunity to test out my idea before I hosted a few friends over the weekend. Lucky for me, I thought up something that can be served with or without the liqueur of your choice. It could also be created for parties of any size. Something that was for everyone, a Blueberry Smash. First order of business was to visit my local Stop & Shop for a 2 Liter of 7UP. You can, however, purchase it at Giant Landover and Giant Carlisle as well. In fact, there’s even a coupon in Savory Magazine. So make sure to check out Savory Magazine in the “New Flavors” edition until 3/30 to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP 2-Liter bottles.

Brown Sugar

If the recipe is as perfect as I hoped it would be, I planned to make a punch for the group. So a 2 liter of 7UP was exactly what I needed, along with fresh blueberries, a lemon, and some dark brown sugar. The great thing about a Blueberry Smash is that you probably have most of the ingredients in your home already. It’s simple to make and even better to enjoy. There are no pre-made ingredients and it will easily wow your guest and their taste buds. I’m in the business of impressing guests.

Blueberries

The first thing you want to do is cover the bottom of your container with blueberries. The blueberries can be either frozen or fresh. I tried not to eat too many after washing them but it was hard not to, so don’t make the same mistake. You can decide to put one layer or two and you can base this on how much you want the flavors to come through.

Lemon 7up IngredientsNext, you’ll want to toss your brown sugar in and squeeze the juice of half a lemon in. It’s time to muddle the mixture. You can always use the back of a spoon if you don’t seem to have the right tools. You really just want to get the skins broken off the blueberries so don’t smash them up too much. You can muddle until the sugar melts, which won’t take too long.

Crushed Ice

Crush some ice and dump it into your container and then add the liqueur of your choice. I went with rum to pair my sweet with some smoke.

7up Ingredients

Lastly, pour the 7UP in and stir. The crisp 7UP flavors will bring the ingredients to life and make the drink something fun, and refreshing to taste.

Blueberry Smash

After all, there’s always #7Waysto7UP

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Chef Ingraham
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Do you love pork and are always looking for new pork recipes to do? You’re in luck because Celebrity Chef Richard Ingraham recently launched the Taste of Now through a partnership with the National Pork Board. Chef Ingraham has been Dwayne Wade’s personal chef for five years and is revolutionizing the food world. We gave him a ring to see what he was up to and what pork recipes he could share with us.

He not only gave us a recipe, but told us where we’d be able to find a few more and keep up with him. It was great to hear his perspective on the on-going lack of representation of hospitality professionals of color in media. Watch the video below to listen in on our conversation and how the Taste of Now will changing how you view pork.

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin

This post was sponsored by the National Pork Board, however, and opinions expressed are my own.

We recently sat down with Celebrity Chef Richard Inagraham to discuss his new Taste of Now Initiative with the National Pork Board. In this interview, he shared pork recipes with us which got me thinking about Valentine’s day. I mean, what better day to try a pork recipe than a day focused around love. After all, cooking is an act of love. So I put together this Roasted Spicy Pomegranate Pork Loin meal for two.

Roasted Pork with Salad

What I love about the Roast Pork Loin that I purchased, was that it’s something you can enjoy any day of the week. The meat is so versatile and there are so many lean and healthy ways to make it. I was able to make this Roasted Spicy Pomegranate Pork Loin in under a hour and it was easy to serve a small group of people.

Molasses Substitute

I started with very simple ingredients but knew the flavors would pop. I couldn’t get my hands on molasses so I made a substitute. Using honey, brown sugar and granulated sugar, with water, I made my own ingredient that would pull together my marinade. You can do the same if you don’t particularly like the bitterness of molasses or you can just grab a bottle of your own and set it aside. It’s time to slice and dice.

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I gathered Chipotle peppers, Garlic, Brown Sugar, Dry Mustard, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tomato Sauce, a Lemon and pomegranate juice. This was going to make the marinade for the pork and I couldn’t wait to see how everything was about to come together.

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Lemon-garlic-olive oil

Heat was going to be necessary and I really want to pull the flavors out of the pork. So I chopped up 4 chipotle peppers which turned out to give it just the right amount of heat I was anticipating but didn’t burn my taste buds off.

Chipotle Peppers

Then you’ll want to mince the garlic before adding it to a hot pan.

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The tomato sauce should be reduced over medium heat for a few minutes, then set aside to cool. You really just want to be more of a paste than a liquid. It’s time to get the party started.

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Add two tablespoons of the oil to your pan and immediately tossed the garlic in. You want them to tenderize before you added the remaining ingredients.

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Next up, add in the peppers but Don’t forget to add in your molasses or it’s substitute.

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I heated this up over medium heat until it started to thicken. Give it some time.

Marinade

Once that starts to sizzle, you can toss in your tomato sauce reduction, dry mustard, brown sugar and a cup of pomegranate juice.

Dry Mustard Brown Sugar Pomegranate

After about 7-10 minutes, I was at the consistency I needed but before I set it aside, I squeezed in half a lemon to cut the heat down some. You can reduce it as much as you want and if you enjoy the high heat, skip the lemon. After that, you can put it to the side and work on the pork.

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The roasted pork loin I picked up was pretty thick in size so I knew I wanted to cook it through before smothering it in the marinade. To start, I cut the fat off the meat and ended up cutting it in half so that I could truly manage the chunk. This way, I knew it would cook all the way through. You can choose to slice your meat, or leave it as is. However, taking off the fat is a must.

Roasted Pork Loin with fat

Some people would just cook the pork as is especially since there’s already a marinade. But for me, there can never be enough seasoning. I had to add a touch of adobo and a few other spices around my kitchen.

Seasoned Pork

Once you’re ready, add some oil to a pan and start to cook the pork through. I covered the pan so all the juices would stay inside and come out evenly. Once it was pretty done, I placed the two pieces on a foil covered pan and poured my marinade over it. So Slather your pork pieces with your very own marinade and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. You can choose to re-pour and place it back in the oven for another 5 but I realized that would dry out the pork. So be sure to keep an eye on it. Once it’s ready, slice and serve!

Strawberry Goat Cheese Arugula Salad with a Balsamic Strawberry dressing

Because I made this for Valentine’s day, I wanted to pair the Roasted Spicy Pomegranate Pork Loin with something sexy but also light. I made a Fresh Berries, Goat Cheese, Arugula Salad with a homemade Strawberry Balsamic dressing. They were the perfect pair!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Visit Pork Be Inspired for more recipe ideas and visit your nearest retailer for pork cuts at a great value.

Recipe Ingredients Recipe Directions

Win Great Prizes Everyday with #PorkNowSweeps

To celebrate America’s love of pork, the NPB is inviting people to share a simple photo of pork on their fork — as it’s happening now — for the chance to win great prizes. Every single day through April 15, someone will win a coupon good for $10 off fresh pork, in addition to more than $10,000 worth of prizes. Consumers can enter for a chance to win by sharing a photo of the pork dish they’re cooking or enjoying on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #PorkNowSweeps, or by entering on the Pork Be inspired Facebook page. More than $10,000 worth of prizes celebrate a love of pork now– from the hottest cookbooks and kitchen gear to an all-expenses-paid trip to Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, a catered Houston-inspired game day spread, and more. To join the ‘Taste of Now’ conversation, like their Facebook, and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @PorkBeInspired. For recipes, visit their website or YouTube channel.

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Jenny Craig Apron

This post was sponsored by Jenny Craig as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, and all opinions expressed are my own.

jenny craig institute of culinaryeducation

Turns out, I won’t have to because Jenny Craig is including Chicken Street Tacos to their menu this fall, along with Butternut Squash Ravioli, a Garden Vegetable Frittata, Fiesta Chicken & Rice, and Szechuan Shrimp. If you’ve been keeping up with my instastories, then you know I’ve been trying to keep the burgers off lately and make healthier choices. So it really was a sign when I was invited to the Jenny Craig event at the Institute for Culinary Education because I love to eat with my eyes, which means I’m always eating more than I should and sometimes, more than I even want.

Jenny Craig Apron

I was delighted to be greeted at the event with my very own Jenny Craig apron which I used this week to make my Fresh and Free Additions . I love interactive experiences and it seemed like great oppurtunity to meet a few other fellow bloggers. I’ve always heard of Jenny Craig but never really got into it so when I learned their system to keep off weight was to eat 6 times a day (3 entrees & 3 snacks), my eye brows went up. I’m doing that now and not keeping any weight off so Jenny Craig, tell me your secrets!

jenny craig cooking

The secret is portion control. But even more importantly, was to make food fun. At my station, we put together a tri-color cole slaw with Jenny Craig’s salsa ranch dressing. The best part was the spiraling techniques I learned from the ICE chef. Too excited to bring one of these home, I thought to myself, How else could I make this fun? Then I learned that when you’re in the Jenny Craig program, you get assigned your very own consultant who guides you through you weight loss journey. Hello cooking tips!

jenny craig tri-color coleslaw

The best part of it all was that you don’t have to eliminate any food groups to participate. Jenny Craig’s foods actually make you feel fuller for longer with less calories that you’re probably taking in now. I know I’m guilty. Especially when I’m running around being a boss babe, there’s so little time to eat healthy but Jenny Craig’s Fresh and Free additions make it EASY to create delicious, low calorie meals that are quick. Shoot, if you want some quick inspiration, just see what Jenny Craig is cooking.

jenny craig stuffed peppers

jenny craig dessert

After the event, I was able to try some of the fall menu in my own kitchen. Yes, I made those tacos I was talking about but my favorite item is the Fiesta Chicken and Rice. Did someone say stuffed peppers? What I loved most about this dish, was that it was still very flavorful and didn’t leave me hungry. There are so many small additions in your very own kitchen that can be added to it so that it suits your liking and took so little time to make. Jenny Craig has more items on their fall menu and are even doing dessert. That’s right people, you can still indulge in cheesecake.

jenny craig chocolate cheesecake

So tell me, What eating habits are you changing this fall? Would you consider starting your journey with Jenny Craig? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Sangria Recipe

The beauty of sangria is its versatility. You can switch red wine for white, berries for peaches, gin for brandy, and so on and so forth. There’s a sangria for every mood and tastebud, and today, we’re in the mood for Mango Berry Sangria. This recipe is a slight twist on the classic red wine-citrus combination. Mixed berries mingle with the red wine to bring out the flavors of the wine. Fresh mango and nectar sweeten the sangria without adding additional sugar and gives it a bit of a tropical vibe. Additionally, if you like bubbles in your drink, ginger ale (or club soda if you want something lighter) make this sangria crisp, refreshing, and perfect for sipping. Only five minutes to prep and super delicious, I see no good reason why we all can’t enjoy sangria every day for the rest of the summer!

Sangria Ingredients

Sangria Recipe

Ingredients:

1 750mL bottle of red wine*

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup mango nectar

4 oz gin (about 2 and a half shots)

1 cup blueberries

1 cup blackberries

1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered1 cup mango, diced

1 orange, sliced

Ginger ale or club soda
(optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pour the entire bottle of wine into a large pitcher.
  2. Add orange juice, mango nectar, and gin.
  3. Toss in the fruit, leaving aside a few orange slices for garnish.
  4. Stir it all together and place in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight if time permits
  5. Ladle sangria into glasses and garnish with a floating orange slice. Optionally, fill glasses three-quarters full and fill the rest with ginger ale.

Pouring SangriafruitsMaking Sangria

*When it comes to choosing a wine, obviously go with something you wouldn’t mind drinking on its own. A crazy expensive bottle isn’t necessary at all. You’ll mix it with all types of fruit and juices which will change the flavor a bit, but wine is the main ingredient nonetheless. If you choose a drier wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, you may want to add a little more sweetness. If you use a sweeter red like Spanish Grenache, you can add a little less sweetness.
Sangria Recipe

 

Let's take a Foodcation!

We’re going to be traveling abroad soon, for food! Be sure to get on our list and find out where we are going next.

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