Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Food Deals, New Food, and Entertainment April 2, 2013

I’ve pretty much decided that the first blog post of the month will be a roundup of finds from the previous month.  On blogs that I read, I really enjoy whenever they do a post about things they’re excited about or new products (beauty, home, food, fashion and more) that they’ve tried.  I plan to do the same sort of post, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Let’s start with a couple of food deals that I wanted you to be aware of.  Firstly, it’s that time of year – time for Ben & Jerry’s free cone day.  I’ve never lived close enough to a B&J that I could go, but I’ve always heard great things (if you’re willing to wait in a line).   This year, Free Cone Day is on April 9 from 12PM-8PM.  You can go to their website to get more info and make sure that your local scoop shop is participating.  If you make it through the line, I’d love to know what flavor you chose.  If I could go, I’d want to try their new candy bar pie flavor. (Peanut butter, fudge, nougat, and pretzels = party in your mouth!)

I also recently got an e-mail from Taco Bell (Yes, I live in TX, and, yes, I still like the occasional taco bell run – although it’s really hard to find a good one around here.) saying that they are instituting a happier hour (think Sonic).  Theirs is supposed to be from 2PM-5PM and offers $1 loaded grillers, freezes, sparklers, and medium drinks.  They haven’t said if this is something they’re just trying out or if it’s going to be a permanent feature.  You can go here for some info, or you can just go enjoy it while it lasts.  The next time I make a Taco Bell run I want to try the pina colada freeze.  (Don’t worry, there is NO alcohol, just great pineapple and coconut flavor.)  What peaks your interest?

Do you remember when new TV shows only started twice a year, and summer was always just re-runs of what you’d already seen?  Now it seems like new shows are starting all the time.  A couple of weeks ago, I started watching a new show, and I’m enjoying it so much, I had to share.  (I even got the hubby hooked on it.)  It’s called Treasure Detectives and airs Tuesdays on CNBC at 9PM ET.  The show is about a group of investigators who use technology and experience to determine whether or not someone’s “treasure” is real or a forgery.  They work with a lot of different techniques, and I think it’s pretty cool to watch.  You can get check here to see when it airs in your area.

The hubby and I also recently watched a movie that was much funnier than I originally thought it would be: Rise of the Guardians.  I really hadn’t seen anything in the previews that made me want to watch it.  When the hubby suggested it, I didn’t mind the idea of seeing it; I just wasn’t really interested, that is, until it started.  The idea is that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman protect children from the Boogey Man who’s been banished for years.  When the Boogey Man returns stronger than ever, they need assistance from a reluctant new guardian, Jack Frost.  Though the story seems average enough, what I really enjoyed were the characters with their funny personalities and one-liners.  While it’s not a blockbuster epic, it’s certainly a fun movie to watch and get some laughs from.  (The sandman and the yeti are my favorites!)  Check out the trailer here, and then enjoy it when you want a fun family evening.

Of course I couldn’t give you a newsy post without talking about new food that I’ve tried.  Here’s what happened last month.  After using just the zest for my cookies, I decided to try eating one of my blood oranges.  I’d tried a sample in a store that was very tart, so I was a little trepidatious.  To my delight, I found that blood oranges are just like regular oranges: some are tart, and others are sweet.  The only real difference that I could detect is their beautiful red color.  What this means for me is that I probably won’t buy blood oranges unless they’re equivalent in price to regular oranges.   Unless I specifically need a gorgeous red or pink fruit dish, I’ll just go with whatever’s cheapest (though I do still think they’re strikingly beautiful).

I also tried some amaranth for the first time this month.  It’s a teeny little grain that strongly reminded me of quinoa.  It looks a lot like quinoa, and seemed (to me) to taste and feel the same.  It is a little different in that you don’t have to rinse it and it needs a little more water and time to cook (2 1/2:1 water to grain ratio and closer to 25 minutes).  I, as usual, had mine for breakfast and thought it tasted fine.  I swirled some chocolate and peanut butter into mine, so it was a little darker than when they it was first cooked.

AmaranthAmaranth 2  It kind of looks like little bubbles!

I also got to try Haagen-Dazs’s amazing new peanut butter pie flavor.  Haagen-Dazs really seems to have a knack for doing peanut butter flavors amazingly; their chocolate peanut butter is to die for and one of my favorite of their flavors.  This one is peanut butter ice cream with a peanut butter swirl, and some chocolate cookie pieces.  It is just incredible, and I suggest you go find it while you can. (It’s a limited edition flavor.  I wish they would re-issue some of their limited editions.  I had the the sticky toffee pudding when it came out years ago, and I still crave it.)

The last thing I wanted to tell you about was a most amazing dinner that the girls and I had in Austin a couple of weeks ago.  We’d gone to Ikea to celebrate a birthday (because who doesn’t want an excuse to go to Ikea?), and were looking for a place to go to dinner.  It was a bit late and we didn’t want to travel far.  We also wanted to try something new and different.  They looked on their phones and found two exotic restaurants nearby: a dim sum restaurant and an Indian restaurant named Tarka.  They know I’m a gigantic fan of Indian food, so we decided to try out the Indian restaurant. (I may love Indian food, but I’d never actually been to an Indian restaurant.)  Oh my goodness that was a great and horrible decision.  It was a great decision because we all stuffed ourselves silly with an incredible meal, but it was a horrible decision because we’re now craving a restaurant that’s at least 45 minutes away.  (Tarka, please open a San Antonio branch!!)  We all decided to get a different starter and entree so that we could taste each other’s food.  (By the way, we were too busy eating to take pictures.  Hopefully next time!)  Before I tell you about the food, let me tell you how the restaurant works.  It’s similar to Panera in that you order from a counter and seat yourself at one of their tables.  With most of the entrees, you can pick which protein you want and the heat level you’re comfortable with – we were all pretty happy with a medium heat level.  They will bring the food out to you and bus your table afterwards, but you are responsible for getting your own drink, napkins, extra flavorings, etc.  Some other bonuses were that the restaurant was very clean, and all the food came out piping hot.  One of my friends got vegetable samosas (crisp and very flavorful with a great dipping sauce) and lamb biryani (came out already mixed with the basmati rice and was -again- very flavorful).  My other friend got the regular naan (delicious, though hers came out a little black on the bottom) and the chicken coconut curry (delicious but not something I would order because of the number of potatoes in it).  Each of us was really pleased with our own meals, and I definitely preferred mine.  I ordered the garlic naan (amazing!) and an entree that I’d never heard of before that just sounded amazing. (I was really trying to step outside my comfort zone.)  It was called dhingri mattar paneer and is described as button mushrooms, paneer cheese, and green peas simmered in an onion curry with a touch of tomato sauce and cream.   It was just perfect.  The paneer cheese has a funny texture if you eat it by itself, but in this dish it lends a creamy little burst to each bites.  Both this and my friend’s curry were served in a bowl with a little mound of basmati rice on a plate on the side.  We were all very full at the end of our meal and decided on a game plan for our next visit.  Next to the soda fountain, they stock takeout containers (They’re like chinese takeout boxes with only half the depth.) with the napkins and sweeteners. We finished all of our entree, but only a little of our rice.  Next time we’ll get a takeout box at the beginning and put in half of our rice and entree right away.  Then we’ll have 2 meals for the price of one.  By the way, the prices were very reasonable for the quality and amount of food that we were served (less than $15 for drink, starter, and entree).

So that’s the news for March!  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you’ve got a great find that you’d love to share, I would love to hear about it and maybe try it (and blog about it) myself.  Just come back and leave a comment.

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