Friday, September 20, 2013

Meet Austin: Smashburger Opening

I was lucky enough a few weeks ago to be invited to a media tasting at Smashburger! They just opened a new restaurant located in Cedar Park near Lakeline Mall.

Smashburger was just opening in Utah as we moved away and I was so curious to try it! I'm so glad we finally got to go here in Austin and eat so much delicious food.

We were presented with a tasting menu which let us try every burger on the menu! Thankfully they came out cut in fourths so that we didn't have to eat 7 full burgers!

A few fun facts about Smashburger I picked up:
  • Smashburger started in Denver but has since spread across the US and now even to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia! Apparently the Middle East loves their burgers!
  • All the burgers on the menu can be made with the "smashed" chicken or the traditional "smashed" beef.
  • All the buns are artisan: classic egg, spicy chipotle, multi-grain, or it can be made with lettuce-gluten free!
  • Each region gets it's own special burger: Texas has the Texas burger with mustard instead of mayo and Colorado has a burger with green chiles on top, etc. 
Now on to the delicious food photos.....


My first little tasting plate. I'm drooling even thinking about this again. 

The mushroom swiss-my husband's favorite.
Haystack onions-my favorite side anywhere anytime!
The sweet potato fries were also winners-crisp and sweet. For a little twist, ask for the "smash fries" on the sweet potato or regular fries-they will toss them with rosemary, olive oil and garlic. They also have flash fried green beans and carrots which were a fun change along with fried pickles (LOVE!) and fried jalapenos. 
You can also get any of these on top of your burger (a little secret!).

Although it's rare that I ever order chicken at a burger restaurant (I'm a purist-what can I say?) this definitely made me think twice about that. The avocado club: Fresh avocado, applewood-smok ed bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing and mayo on a multi-grain bun. Yum. 

The story behind the name!

Some of our tasting burgers to see! Seriously drooling. Check out the full menu here.

I was loving each bite and they even had mini milkshakes for us!

Left to right: BBQ Bacon Cheddar burger, classic chicken, and the spicy veggie black bean burger (my first veggie burger and I was impressed!)

After our tasting, they let us "smash" our own burgers in the kitchen! I let my husband do the "smashing" while I had fun. I think he enjoyed it if you can't tell! 

Such a cute place!

Not only did they have great burgers and sides but milkshakes. Haagen Daaz milkshakes. Although I'm usually too full after a good burger and fry. 
We tried the Oreo milkshake and again, yum.


Smashburger now has 2 Austin locations:
  •  Lakeline- Highway 183 and Lakeline Blvd- 14028 N Hwy 183
  • Southpark Meadows-located at Slaughter Ln & I-35. 9900 S IH 35, Austin TX
And of course, locations all over Texas, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, California and then a bunch of other states too! Find one near you!

Okay, it's 9 in the morning and I can't talk about burgers any more! Is it lunch time yet?

Disclosure: Smashburger invited me for lunch but that's it. All photos and opinions are my own! 
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Baby Boy Shower

My good friend Jaymie and I wanted to shower our friend Jen since she is pregnant with her first baby-a little boy! Since this was awhile ago and she is due so soon I figured I had better blog about it soon!

We didn't have a specific theme per se, just cute baby stuff, good food and great friends.





Onesies are always a cute and practical decoration-
of course, these were part of our gift to Jen.
This is one of my favorite shower games called "Wishes for Baby." Everyone answers the same questions about their wishes for your baby and they are so sweet to read from your close friends and family. You can download them online for free here

The nail polish was for the game winners. 


I always try to have fresh fruits and vegetables at showers or any gathering, to balance out all the other calories and sugar they usually consist of. Almost always, the vegetable and fruit bowls are empty at the end of the party. People will snack on carrots before, during and after dinner.
 (Even more if there is a yummy dip involved!)
I made a delicious dill yogurt dip that I loved but kind of threw together. I plan to make it again and write the recipe for y'all soon!
My friend Jaymie made an awesome artichoke spinach dip IN THE CROCK POT. It was seriously so flavorful and so easy. I'll twist her arm to get y'all the recipe. 


We served my signature pulled pork sandwiches on mini Hawaiian rolls and 
they were the perfect shower food: filling but dainty. 
Definitely check out my pulled pork crock pot recipe if you haven't already.

Frog eye salad- A traditional Utah salad that I hadn't tried until recently.
 And I am a huge fan. Recipe coming soon!
Salad with avocado and tomato that my friend Allison brought. Yum!
Giant mint chocolate chip cookie!
 I purchased 3 different patterns of fabric and laid them on the table as a fake table runner. It was great doing that because then I could use the fabric again for whatever I wanted!

We also had a "Make your own Banana pudding bar." It was a big hit! We didn't cut the bananas until we were ready to eat them so they didn't brown and we kept the pudding chilled until right before, but you could set it on a bowl of ice if you wanted to have it all out when your guests arrived.

We seem to be attending a lot of baby showers recently so we decided to throw caution to the wind and do minute it to win it style games instead of the traditional baby shower games. Not to mention our mother to be is a true athlete and competitor and
 we thought she might enjoy that more!

We played one game where people had to run across the room with a straw and a tiny marshmallow and not drop it. It provided lots of laughter and I'm so glad we did it. Note the intensity of the contestants below.


The beautiful mom to be! (p.s. I hope I'm this cute when I'm pregnant)

The next game is where people put an Oreo on their forehead and then have to get it in their mouths with no hands. I got to photograph this and it was seriously hilarious. Everyone was so focused and they couldn't see each other. Highlight of the party! :)

And of course she got cute baby boy clothes!

Some of the party ladies!

Me, Jen and Jaymie (the best co-hostess)
Jaymie made this super cute backdrop for photos which I loved!


Love you Jen! Hope you had as much fun as we did! 

Do you love regular shower games or do you think the 
minute to win it style is a good idea?


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

S'mores Puddings

My husband and I recently bought our first home and it has been a ton of work but SO much fun too! We are finally feeling settled and we are loving our beautiful new home. It is a great house for entertaining and we  have enjoyed creating the our own perfect home.

To celebrate settling in to our new digs we had a really informal gathering with our close friends. I didn't want to dirty the kitchen with a super elaborate dessert but I still wanted to do something cute!

Since I had just organized my pantry I knew I had graham crackers, chocolate pudding and marshmallows on hand and voila! S'mores puddings were born! (You know I love any excuse to make anything with a S'mores theme!) I loved serving them in cute little serving dishes just for fun and we especially loved torching the marshmallows with my Creme Brulee torch-if you have one, this is a great time to use it! 

p.s. If you haven't had a chance to pin my 5 recipes in the H-E-B Meal Maker challenge please go here and do so! If you pin any 5 recipes from the website you will be entered to win over $1,500 in prizes! Plus you give me a chance to win too! :) Thanks guys!




S'mores Puddings
The Apron Gal

Makes 4 small pudding desserts

Ingredients
*1 package (3.9 ounces) Chocolate Fudge Instant Jell-O pudding with 2 cups milk
2-4 squares graham crackers, roughly crushed
Mini marshmallows (around 1 cup but depends how many you like!)
Chocolate syrup (optional)

Directions

Make the pudding according to the package instructions (whisk with 2 cups cold milk). Let the pudding set for 5 minutes. 

Layer the pudding, crushed graham crackers and mini marshmallows in each serving bowl. (The more layers the cuter it looks!)

Optional: Top with mini marshmallows and torch to get that true s'mores experience! Top with chocolate syrup if desired. 

*Cook's note: You can use regular chocolate pudding but the chocolate fudge pudding is richer and adds more flavor so definitely try to use it! 

Enjoy!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thai Peanut Butter Noodles

It has been so much fun participating in the H-E-B Meal Maker Challenge! I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed all of my recipes as much as I have enjoyed making and eating them!

This is the fifth and final recipe in the contest and I would love for you to enter to win great prizes as well as casting your vote for ME by going to heb.com/meals and pinning my 5 recipes!

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My featured ingredient this week was Peter Pan's Creamy Peanut Butter. Who doesn't love experimenting with peanut butter? I think most foods can be made better with a little peanut butter :) And this week if you purchase Peter Pan Peanut Butter you get some grape jelly for FREE when you shop at H-E-B!




I hope the title alone was enough to make your mouth start watering and to make you want to whip this up ASAP! This is a very family friendly meal since every kid I know loves peanut butter and you can sneak as many vegetables as you want into this one dish meal!







Thai Peanut Butter Noodles
The Apron Gal

Serves 4

Ingredients
8 ounces rice noodles
1/3 cup Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
*1/2 teaspoon chili oil or red pepper flakes 
1/3 cup water
PAM cooking spray
1 bell pepper (any color), sliced thinly
1 cup carrots, shredded 


Green onions and cilantro for garnish

Directions

Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, remove from heat, and add rice noodles. Let sit in water in pot for 6 minutes before draining and rinsing in cold water. (Noodles will still be somewhat firm but will continue softening while stir frying). 

While the noodles cook, prepare the sauce. Vigorously whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, and water until smooth (add more water if necessary). Spray a skillet with PAM and heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add noodles, sauce, and bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until warmed and incorporated, tossing gently. 

Toss peanut butter noodles with raw carrots and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions. 

Enjoy!

Cook's note: It isn't very much heat but use less chili oil or red pepper flakes if you are worried about sensitive little ones.

Disclosure: I have received compensation, H-E-B promotional items and ConAgra products from H-E-B and ConAgra Foods for participating in this contest. 




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