Category - Food & Beverage

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Salad – Guest Recipe

July 4th – a day of fireworks, BBQs, more fireworks, hopefully no trips to the ER because of said fire works, and possibly more BBQs. There will be sides of baked beans, cole slaw, pasta salads, and potato salad. You name it and it will probably be at the BBQ.

For me, though, I always enjoy when someone brings a new dish. Maybe I’m more of the adventurous type, but I get bored with the standbys. That food boredom is what caused me to create this yummy concoction!

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Salad {doesn’t it look delish?!}:

Red White Blueberry Salad 4th of July Recipe MommyB

Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients:

1pt fresh strawberries, chopped
1pt fresh blueberries
2 cups jicama, diced
1/4 cup honey
2 limes, juiced

Directions:

Combine the strawberries, blueberries, and jicama.
Mix the lime juice and honey well, then pour over the mixed salad.
Allow to chill before serving.

**Do not make this several hours in advance. Otherwise, the jicama will be tinted with the juices of the strawberries. You will then have a red, pink, and blue salad!

Now, don’t get too scared when you see jicama (HIK-uh-muh). Yes, I am throwing a root vegetable into a fruit salad. Yes, I do know that is weird. Yes, I questioned whether it would work, as well. But don’t let that scare you off! Jicama is actually used with other fruits and in salads all the time – just not commonly in the States. It is a very crunchy, juicy vegetable (similar to a turnip), but tastes like a combination of apple and pear. So, with the taste and texture combination, it really is a versatile root and works perfectly in this salad.

**If you can not find jicama, or just aren’t feeling super adventurous, you can easily substitute peeled, diced apple. The flavors will be similar, though jicama is more mild.

When added to the blueberries and strawberries, the crunchy jicama gives this dish a fun twist on the typical fruit salad. Toss with a refreshing lime and honey dressing, throw in some delicious cinnamon crisps for scooping, and you have a delicious salad to take to any 4th of July celebration – or you can just grab a spoon and eat it all by yourself. {I won’t tell!}

Cinnamon-Sugar Crisps Recipe:

Ingredients:

6 flour tortillas
1/2 stick melted butter
2 Tbs cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

1) Combine cinnamon and sugar.
2) Place tortillas on cookie sheet, then brush with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon-sugar.
3) Flip tortillas over and repeat step 2.
4) Bake for 10-12 minutes.
5) Let crisps cool, then break into smaller chip-sized portions.

You might even want to save some of those berries and whip up a batch of strawberry swirl cupcakes to take along with the salad. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Give it a try if you’re feeling adventurous, but make sure you watch this video on how to slice jicama. Trust me. My slicing was far more sketchy. I wish I had googled how to slice it first!

 

What are your favorite dishes to make for 4th of July? Are you adventurous or predictable when it comes to making a “dish-to-pass”?

 

Mary BioMary Renee currently lives in Missouri with her husband and 2 year old “little diva”. Southern by birth and gluten-intolerant by a twist of fate, she is determined to work her way through all the comfort foods her momma made and then some, giving each dish a gluten-free twist that’s good enough for a Southern palate.

You can find her creating new dishes at Gluten Free with Southern Charm and dishing on her family at Joy in These Moments.

5 Fun and Unique Family Eats in Charlotte North Carolina

With the BIG MOVE coming up soon we’ve been dining out a good bit and I’m completely okay with that. It definitely makes for an empty sink and less stressful night.

Luckily we’ve been able to try out a few new family-friendly spots in Charlotte and also enjoy some of our “usual” spots as well. Here’s a quick list of 5 fun and unique family-friendly restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina:

Top 5 Fun and Unique Family Friendly Restaurants in Charlotte MommyB

 

For the homegrown family:

TRY Earth Fare – If you don’t mind eating in a grocery cafe {which I don’t mind at all!} the Family Dinner Nights at any Charlotte location is ah-mazing! If you head to Earth Fare any Thursday from 4pm-8pm up to 6 kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal, valued at $5.00 or more. This restaurant offers organic, healthy choices for kids meals and just recently added nuggets, and Lil’ C’s favorite pasta salad to their kid’s offerings. Definitely a great place to head for a healthy family meal on a budget. 

 

For the spicy family:

TRY Chuy’s Restaurant – Not all the dishes are spicy, but the decor is guaranteed to brighten up your day. The kids will love the playful design of the restaurant, watching the process of hand-made tortillas, and searching for the “hidden keys” around the restaurant. {We spotted a couple last time we visited}. If your kiddos don’t love Mexican food there are tons of other options on the kids menu that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Don’t forget the drink and food specials for mom and dad!

 

Chuy's Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurant MommyB

 

For the NEW traditional family:

TRY Nan & Byrons – If you want to try something you’ve ordered a million times and have it taste like never before, this is your spot. The cool twist on traditional menu items like their peppadew poppers, beet burger {that’s had rave reviews}, meatloaf, salmon, {I could go on and on} really makes this restaurant stand out. Often places with this vibe don’t offer a kids menu and aren’t super accommodating, but hallelujah, they have a GREAT kids menu with big portions, decent prices AND kids eat free Sunday through Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm. If you’re looking for a new restaurant to try and wanna bring the kiddos {or have to for lack of a babysitter} check it out!

 

Nan & Byron's Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurant MommyB

 

For the culinary family:

TRY Papa Murphy’s – The family that builds a pizza stays together. This cool “take-n-bake” concept features fresh ingredients including in-store made dough and makes your pizza your way right in front of you. The kids will love watching the pizza artists add their favorite toppings and watching it cook at home. The best part is you can order a couple to take home and freeze. They have really cool Mini Murphy kits where the kids can make their own pizzas at home, dessert pizzas, AND a great reading program where they can earn some yummy prizes.

 

Papa Murphy's Family Friendly Restaurant Charlotte MommyB

For the healthy family:

TRY Jason’s Deli – If you’re looking for organic, healthy options, this is the family-friendly restaurant for you. They have so many organic choices for adults and children from soups and sandwiches to their well-known salad bar, kids can choose from over 10 food options as well. Dine in and help yourself to their complimentary extras like mini muffins and soft-serve, low calorie frozen yogurt.

 

What’s your favorite fun or unique restaurant in Charlotte??  

 

The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, I was not compensated for this post but have received complimentary sample food items from the above restaurant.  

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Peanut-Free Candy {Guest Review}

My 2 year old daughter has a giant sweet tooth and as much as I try to curb it, sugar still sneaks into her diet. We also have to deal with gluten intolerance and an egg allergy, which can make finding a safe treat difficult.

So, when I had the chance to sample some of the candies from Gimbal’s Fine Candies, I was so excited. Not only are they allergen free (think no gluten, peanuts, egg, etc), but they are also free of high fructose corn syrup! Plus, knowing that they are made with real fruit juice, this momma couldn’t say “no”.

Gimbal’s was nice enough to send us the gourmet jellybeans and the Cherry Lovers to sample. With the gourmet jellybeans, we had fun picking through the jellybeans and guessing each of the 41 flavors. With fun unique flavors like pomegranate, boysenberry, or even baja margarita, Gimbal’s quickly worked their way into being a favorite brand of jellybean. Their website also has 20 recipes for fun new jellybean flavors like Key Lime Pie and Blueberry Muffin.

Gimbal's Fine Candy Jellybeans Review MommyB

The biggest hit in our house, though, was the Cherry Lovers selection we received. With flavors like cherry vanilla, cherry cheesecake (which really tastes like cheesecake!), wild cherry, and cherry kiwi , the cherry lover in your family will definitely be satisfied with the selection. My husband thought he was in candy heaven. So much so, that within four days, my husband had eaten both bags of the Cherry Lovers jellybeans! I’ve already had to order a large container to satisfy his cherry craving.

Gimbal's Fine Candies Jelly Bean Cherry Lovers Review MommyB

 

There are several size choices with Gimbal’s candies, but I received the 13-14oz packages. For $4.29 a bag, we will definitely get some more for an occasional treat.

What is your family’s favorite treat?

If you’re interested in finding out more about Gimbal’s treats whether or not your family has food allergies check their website out: Gimbal’s Fine Candies.

Mary BioMary Renee currently lives in Missouri with her husband and 2 year old “little diva”. Southern by birth and gluten-intolerant by a twist of fate, she is determined to work her way through all the comfort foods her momma made and then some, giving each dish a gluten-free twist that’s good enough for a Southern palate.

You can find her creating new dishes at Gluten Free with Southern Charm and dishing on her family at Joy in These Moments.

 

 

I received review samples that I used for this post. I was not obligated to write about this product nor was I paid to write about this product. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, honest words. 

10 Things I Heart in Spring

10-Things-I-Heart-Spring

I decided that I would not write about Spring on my blog until it finally felt like Spring here in Charlotte, NC, however today, it’s going to be up in the 80s so I’m not sure if I’m allowed to write this considering the summer-like weather we are having. Then again, how can I not share with you things I’m hearting this Spring?!?!

Disneyland in the Spring MommyB
1. Traveling – Although we’re in the midst of packing for our move in June, we have been traveling a lot this Spring. We had the opportunity to visit Disneyland in California, where the weather was amazing and we had a BLAST! And we just returned from an amazing trip to Georgia where we visited the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola (I’ll have trip reports on both soon!) Where have you traveled this Spring or where are you traveling to?

Build-a-Bear Spring2. New friends – We have been making lots of new friends this Spring! We recently started going to story hour at the church we’ve been attending and making new friends there AND in stuffed friend news, we got a new Spring Build-A-Bear friend who is an ADORABLE Soft & Sweet Lamb ($18) She has fluffy white fur that’s perfect for cuddling. Our little lamb is all dressed up for Spring and tea parties AND at Build-A-Bear you can also add scents so your furry friends smell oh-so-sweet, how cool is that?!?

3. Outside Fun – We are blessed to have a nice, flat, and decent size backyard so lately we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. If it’s nice out I’ll let Miss A do her homework outside and of course lots of chalk, bubbles, running, scooters/bikes, and water table play. How about you??

4. Spring Cleaning – I know this sounds soooo strange, but I really do love organizing and cleaning, even though these days I don’t have quite as much time as I’d like to do either. Luckily, the move gives me a great excuse to do a little bit of both. I’ve been trying out a few new cleaning products including some Method products and Nature’s Kloth.

We try to be a little more eco-friendly here and there and both of these products help. We’ve been using Nature’s Kloth instead of a sponge and replacing the way we clean with paper towels to create less waste. I love that it’s eco-friendly (biodegradable, washable over 300 times, made from cotton and plant fiber, and more) and is great for many uses inside and outside the house. I definitely feel better about cleaning when there isn’t a huge pile of used papertowels in my trash.

5. Healthy Kiddos – I am super thankful for healthy kiddos. Lately we’ve been pretty healthy especially considering that we’ve been flying and traveling a lot. We have a lot of friends who have not been so fortunate this Spring. For those uncomfortable fevers and painful colds and aches we give our girls Children’s Advil. For Lil’ C who does not do well with any sort of pain, this does the trick for us. I love that they have so many flavors (and dye-free versions) too since she doesn’t care for most medicine flavors. Plus, they have some fun activities and tips for parents on how to stay healthy.

Garden Lites Collage

We also love that our girls like healthy foods like Garden Lites. Miss A surprisingly enjoyed these gluten-Free, veggie muffins. They’re high in fiber, and low in fat. Miss A’s favorite flavor was: Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip. They have loads more flavors and come in a box of 4 with an SRP of $3.99.

Lee Fashion Spring Capris

6. Spring Clothes!! – I love a good infinity scarf, especially the beautiful chevron one that one of my friends gave me for my birthday, but I really enjoy wearing comfy Spring clothes. I love wearing adorable maxi and sun dresses because they are so flowy and comfortable.

I am also loving the new Lee Spring collection that features bermuda shorts and capris that are comfortable while being dressy at the same time. If I need to dress up an outfit some of their capris and shorts come with adorable, fashionable belts as well. Here are a few of my other favorites from their collection:

Lee Spring Collection

 

7. Parties – I always love a good get-together and with the girls’ birthdays, holidays and end of school coming for us, Spring is always filled with fun parties and celebrations. We’ll have a small birthday get together for Miss A {since we went to Disneyland the girls aren’t getting their usual HUGE parties}, a class party for the end of the year {here’s an end of the year gift idea}, and loads of friends birthday parties.

Iesodo Video8. Good Message Movies – We were sent a couple of videos from Iesodo (pronounced Ya-Sa-Doe) that retells Bible stories with animated animals, mainly birds. My girls LOVED the videos and have been singing the catchy songs every day since we’ve watched them. We love sharing these videos with our friends because we know the language and content are appropriate for all viewers. Even if you have no religious affiliation, but want your children to learn good values, these videos promote wholesome character traits and morals and is good for children of any age.

9. Pasta Salad – Of course you can eat pasta salad anytime of year, but this is the season pasta salads shine! I really love cold, crisp salads with lots of veggies. What’s your favorite pasta salad recipe?

B girls with Genevive Goings Choo Choo Soul at Disneyland

10. Meeting Amazing People – Not that this is necessarily a Spring thing, but since we went to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, we were able to meet some pretty amazing people. One of our favorites though was Genevieve Goings from Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve.

Miss A says her favorite person/character she met the entire stay was Genevieve and we met a lot of people/characters so that says a lot. Of course we fell in love with Genevieve on Disney/Disney Junior with her Choo Choo Soul songs and realized she did more music for Disney as well as a round up of songs from Disney classic movies.

We’re excited to hear that her first Independent Children’s Album for pre-schoolers is called “Do You Know?” and releases June 3, with the first single “My Telephone Number Is” available NOW on iTunes.The album focuses on learning key fundamentals with Genevieve’s unique brand of “Kids Music with Soul.” I got an exclusive preview of the songs on her new album and wow!

My girls love to dance and sing and they get that from their mommy, this is one album you will not be able to contain the dancing. Our favorite songs are: “My Telephone Number Is” {great for helping your child learn your phone number, a MUST}, “Inside Voice” {which is rockin’ and rowdy in the best possible way and teaches kids when and where to use their inside/outside voice} and surprisingly, “Gotta Do My Business” {a potty song with swagger}.

I love when kids music is both appropriate and enjoyable and Genevieve definitely accomplishes that with the album. I can’t wait to buy a copy for our family and give one away on the site along with a few other goodies! In honor of Spring, I’m giving away a $25 Build-A-Bear gift card, 2 copies of Iesodo DVDs (Faith and Love) and once it’s available on June 3rd, a copy of Genevive Goings’ new album.

Enter here to win!!

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This is not a compensated post, however I did receive samples of some of the above products/brands and chose to tell you about them. All opinions expressed in the post are my own honest thoughts.

Tweetsie Visit Spring #Giveaway

Happy amusement park season!! If you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter you know that my family just got back from an exciting trip to Disneyland with Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and had a blast.

The B family is no stranger to visiting theme parks and amusement parks, we’ve been all over the country between myself and the girls and of course DaddyB aka CoasterCritic and have our clear favorite and other parks that don’t necessarily live up to the hype.

All four of us were able to visit Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina last year and really enjoyed our visit. I love how family-oriented and wholesome this park is and even that it’s nestled in the mountains. If you want to read about our previous visit head here: Family Getaway: Tweetsie Railroad Review.

Tweetsie Collage

We are excited about another visit this Spring/Summer and know the girls will enjoy it even more this year since Lil C is bigger. While we don’t live close enough to get our own Season Pass, I typically recommend if people think they’ll visit more than once that they consider getting one because of the perks and value.

A 2014 Golden Rail Season Pass to Tweetsie includes:

  • A full season of adventure from Wild West train rides, amusement rides, live entertainment and the Deer Park Habitat
  • Free admission to all special events including: Day Out With Thomas, the Ghost Train® Halloween Festival, SpongeBob Squarepants, Cool Summer Nights evenings (July 5, 12, 19 and 26), Railroad Heritage weekends and more!
  • Free parking for the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, the High Country¹s most popular Independence Day celebration

Season Pass holders also receive discounts at other North Carolina family attractions including:

  • Biltmore Estate
  • Chimney Rock Park
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Mast General Store
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
  • Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock

Tweetsie Railroad is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, including Memorial Day. Starting May 30th through August 17th the park will run seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., returning to the weekend schedule from August 18 through November 2, including Labor Day. *With the exception of a few holidays (see website for full schedule and details before visiting.)

Season passes are now available at a special rate of $80 for adults and $55 for children ages 3 through 12. After April 27, rates increase to $90 for adults and $65 for children. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Daily admission to Tweetsie Railroad is $39 for adults and $26 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Tickets and Golden Rail Season Passes are available at Tweetsie.com.

For more information about the 2014 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit Tweetsie.com or call 877.TWEETSIE (877.893.3874). Find Tweetsie on Facebook or follow Tweetsie on Twitter @TweetsieRR.

If you are closeby or planning a visit to North Carolina, I highly recommend that you and your family visit Tweetsie Railroad, there’s something for the whole family whether it’s rides, performances, seeing the steam engine, mining, or visiting the petting zoo. It’s easy to spend an entire fun-filled day here.

In honor of their season opening Tweetsie Railroad is giving one lucky MommyB Knows Best reader the chance to win a 4-pack of daily admission tickets. *Does not include special holiday/events

Enter here to win:

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This is not a compensated post, however we received complimentary visit tickets to allow to give our honest opinions on the park. All opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own words. Your opinion may vary.

Gluten Free – Cosmos Creations Snacks {Guest Review}

One of the things I’ve learned as a mom of a toddler is to always carry a snack with you wherever you go. I try to look for portable snacks for my daughter that are also healthy too, so I was excited to test out these “premium puffed corn” snacks made by Cosmo Creations. I tested out 3 flavors: Sea Salt & Butter, Aged Cheddar & Cracked Pepper, and Coconut Crunch

Cosmos Creation Snacks MommyB

The Good

[checklist]

  • Non-GMO Corn– Genetically modified foods has become a huge health peril in today’s society, so its refreshing to see a product with non-GMO ingredients
  • Gluten Free– I have several friends with gluten intolerance, so being madewithout gluten allows more people to consume the product.
  • Less than 100 calories– You’ve all seen those 100 calorie snack packs on the shelf. These even have less calories than that, ranging from 60-90 calories per package.
  • Flavor– The flavors of the Sea Salt & Butter, as well as the Coconut Crunch were very pleasant. The texture of the Butter flavor reminded me of a light rice cake, whereas the coconut crunch was like a hybrid between crunchy cereal and a macaroon. Both were quite addicting and my daughter enjoyed the snack as much as I did!
  • Availability– According to the company website (cosmoscreations.com),  they are currently sold in Sam’s Clubs around the US and other retailers and expanding. You can do a search on their website for the closest retailer to you.
  • Portability– The individual serving size bags are perfect to throw in a purse orlunch box!

[/checklist]

The Bad

[badlist]

  • Salt– The Aged Cheddar & Black Pepper flavor has 160mg of sodium, and honestly all I could taste was the salt. As a person who likes cheddar popcorn products, I was disappointed with how the salt overwhelmed the flavor.
  • No Artificial Ingredients?– The label promotes “no artificial ingredients”, but the Aged Cheddar flavor has over 20 ingredients and includes things like “cheese powders” and disodium phosphate. By definition, no artificial ingredients means nothing was synthetically processed, but I’ve learned that this doesn’t make it automatically healthy or natural.
  • Sugar– While the coconut crunch tasted great, it was very sweet. As a mom, I like to watch how much sugar I give my child, and 2 out of the first 4 ingredients in the coconut crunch flavor is sugary substances- cane sugar and corn syrup.

[/badlist]

Overall

Generally speaking, I liked this product. While it raises some red flags if we are nit-picking ingredients and nutrition labels, they are doing a lot of things right to make this a solid product. It is a really good option for kids as an alternative to chips or even beloved fish crackers. Its equally a good, low calorie snack option for adults, one that tastes good and is actually quite addicting.

What are your favorite gluten free snacks?

I received review samples in order to provide you with my honest opinion on the products and fully test them out. All opinions written in this post are my own, honest thoughts. Your opinions may vary. 

imageMelissa is a Communication Studies graduate of Clemson University. She recently traded in her human resources job for the best and most challenging career of all, being a stay-at-home mom. She loves coffee, cooking, crafting, and watching football. Melissa is also a former National Champion baton twirler and currently teaches baton lessons and judges baton twirling competitions across the nation. She recently launched the Honeybee Homemaker blog about her faith, family, and fun kitchen endeavors.

twitter.com/clemsonfeature

honeybeehomemaker.blogspot.com

A New Way to Get Your Kids to Drink their Milk

This is a sponsored post on behalf MilkSplash.

Ever feel like this???

 

Hilarious right? Unless it’s completely true. Miss A is an avid milk drinker, but Lil’ C on the other hand not so much, but regardless we like to make our meals fun and often eat purple pancakes, turn our veggies into landscapes, and add flavor and color to our milk with MilkSplash.

MilkSplash+Logo-02-medium

MilkSplash is an innovative new milk flavoring that is perfect for busy parents who want their kids to drink more milk. MilkSplash has zero calories and it allows kids to enjoy milk on their own terms. MilkSplash is also working on an all natural version!

MilkSplash comes in a variety of great-tasting flavors, colors and collectible characters such as Cocoa Loco, Sir Strawberry Swirl™, Orange Cream Dream, Cookies ‘N Cream and Jammin’ Banana – with many more to come.

MilkSplash_lineup_5

 We were able to sample Cocoa Loco and Sir Strawberry Swirl™. The products were easy to use {although being the Type-A mom that I am I’d recommend parents helping smaller kids squeeze MilkSplash into the milk for little ones}, and Miss A loved the taste of both flavors. I personally like that there are zero calories, and as with anything would love to try the all natural version once that comes out too.

MilkSplash New Product MommyB Review

As a mom, I would recommend MilkSplash whether you’re trying to get a non-milk drinking kiddo to finish up their cup or if you want to have a little food fun like us. Check out MilkSplash.com to see the flavors and where you can find them on shelves in a store near you.

MilkSplash is giving 2 lucky readers a chance to win MilkSplash samples and a $25 Target Gift Card.

Enter here to win:

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I received samples and a gift card to write this post, however any opinions expressed in this post are my own. Your opinions may vary.

La Tagliatella Restaurant – Charlotte Food Review {Giveaway}

It isn’t often that we visit the Epicenter in Charlotte, NC as a family even though we only live about 15 minutes away. I’ll admit sometimes I’m intimidated by parking or the thought of huge crowds, but as we ventured out on Sunday evening to visit La Tagliatella Charlotte, my fears were quickly whisked away. We found paid parking pretty quickly and realized there weren’t masses of people at the Epicenter. (We also chose a little earlier dinner in case it did get busier later.)

The last time I had been at the Epicenter was for the review screening of Oz, and it was neat to see so many new restaurants in the area including La Tagliatella.

La Tagliatella is a restaurant that specializes in….you guessed it, Italian cuisine. They have 6 locations in the US and over 100 restaurants globally. My family and I had the opportunity to visit their new Charlotte location for this review. Here are our thoughts:

The decor was outstanding. If you’re looking for an authentic-looking Italian restaurant La Tagliatella is that. Here are a few pictures I took of the map of Italy, the open kitchen, and restaurant:

La Tagliatella Charlotte Decor MommyB

We had the awesome opportunity to try a sampling of the menu which for us included:

La Tagliatella Review by MommyB

Appetizers

Focaccia bread This dish was layered to resemble the Italian flag, green olives, white onions, and red sun-dried tomatoes. This appetizer was crispy, but not dry. I don’t know if I’d normally order it off of the menu, but would love this included in the table service, maybe even one of each cut into smaller bites for guests to try out while they wait.

Carpaccio Pepe Nero – Beef tenderloin seasoned with black pepper, finished with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The carpaccio was fresh and nicely seasoned. DaddyB had another first since his sushi experience when he tried this dish and he enjoyed it. I loved the dish, it melted in my mouth, and I would totally order this with friends next time I visit.

Entrees

Napoletano Brochette – Skewered pork tenderloin, solé di Puglia tomatoes, balsamic onions layered with fresh whole leaf basil and served with a special Tagliatella sauce and fried gnocchi.

This dish is a favorite on the La Tagliatella menu and we completely agree.

I am not a huge fan of pork but DaddyB loves it and we both found this dish to be impressive the way it was displayed but more importantly the pork tenderloin was beyond flavorful and so tender. Well done and we both agreed we loved the pork. The pork is skewered with tomatoes, onions, and basil, I personally would have prefered mushrooms and smaller onions that were easier to eat, but again the pork was outstanding. Dining tip: We let this dish sit a little while we ate our other dishes and wished we would have eaten it as soon as it came out so it was a little warmer.

We had never tried gnocchi, but it reminded me of a mini breadstick. I don’t think any of us loved the gnocchi, but it wasn’t bad either.

Tagliatella Pizza – Tomato, mozzarella, fried eggplant, Parmigiano-Reggiano drizzled with honey and aceto balsamico.

I’m not going to lie, when this first came to our table I was a little nervous about trying it. I did notice and love how thin the crust was on this pizza and do enjoy balsamic, and much to my surprise, (really) this pizza was DELICIOUS. Even DaddyB tried and liked it. The flavors of the honey, Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggplant and balsamic really play off each other and combined taste amazing. I would definitely get this as my first choice for pizza when we go again. Definitely one to try on the menu if you visit.

Kids Food

The kids menu offers a good selection of kid-sized portions and child-friendly foods like pasta and pizza among other dishes.

Our girls are very different when it comes to food preferences, Miss A (6.5 years old) prefers plain foods (ie no sauce, mild flavor), and Lil’ C, (4 years old) couldn’t be more different, she prefers bold flavors and likes more vegetarian based foods.

We ordered the kids pasta and cheese pizza for our kiddos and both of them respectively loved their food. Even DaddyB enjoyed some of Lil’ C’s pasta and really enjoyed the pasta sauce. If your child does not like mild spice make sure you mention that to your server when they take your order.

Dessert

Of course every meal needs to end with dessert. Funny story – when we were done with our meal our server, Sergio {who was beyond friendly}, asked if we needed anything else, and our outgoing Lil’ C promptly, but with manners, said, “Yes please, can we have dessert.”

I know most parents of kids that aren’t shy have experienced this moment when all they can do is laugh nervously. Of course La Tagliatella was more than happy to accommodate her sweet tooth and of course I wouldn’t turn down a delicious dessert, especially seeing they had my favorite, Tiramisu on their menu.

The girls enjoyed Mascarpone Ice Cream with Cioccolato and DaddyB and I shared the Tiramisú Mousse. Dining Tip: If you order the Tiramisú Mousse, make sure you scoop to the bottom of your dish. The first 10 bites of my dish were “okay” because I didn’t realize I wasn’t experiencing the full dish with espresso and lady fingers, but once I realized that this dessert was right on par to enhance my love for this italian dessert favorite.

Favorite Dishes at La Tagliatella

Overall our visit was great and while we found some dishes we didn’t love, we liked everything we ate and did find some dishes that we absolutely loved. We noticed the restaurant seemed a little slow, but the entire area seemed a little quiet in general. My husband called it “sleepy Charlotte”. But next time you avoid the Epicenter because you think it will be masses of people and you’ll have to wait hours to get a table, think again, unless of course it’s Queen’s Feast or another big event.

I would recommend La Tagliatella for families wanting to dine out, sit down, enjoy a meal and an experience. Portions are large enough to share, and depending on what you order pricing can range but in my opinion well worth the price and similar to our typical dining out bill.

Check out La Tagliatella online: www.latagliatella.us and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaTagliatellaEpicentre

La Tagliatella Charlotte wants you to try out their food and is offering 2 lucky MommyBKnowsBest.com readers a chance to win a free pizza from their restaurant (I suggest the Tagliatella pizza). Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We received a complimentary meal in order to review this restaurant. This is not a paid post and all thoughts expressed in this post are our honest opinions, yours may vary.

 

Tips for Trying Sushi for the First Time and Experiencing New Things at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte

DaddyB and I were invited to check out The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in the SouthPark area of Charlotte, NC last weekend. Yes, you heard right, we had a date night. Though in the past there have been years between our dates out of the house now that we have an amazing babysitter and the girls are older we really enjoy a great night out.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Restaurant Review MommyB

This was a very interesting visit for us as DaddyB has never tried sushi, ever, and I am allergic to shellfish so have to be selective about what I can and cannot eat. We were excited for the challenge and fully embraced it and had confidence that a restaurant loved by so many in the area would not disappoint.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte Review MommyB

When we first walked into The Cowfish we noticed the fun atmosphere immediately as familiar music from our young adulthood played, and conversation filled the room. Once we were sat at our table we were able to soak in the eclectic hints of decor in the room. I personally loved the giant sized bento box:

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte MommyB

Be forewarned, the menu at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is HUGE, both literally and in content of menu items. If you’re someone who takes a long time to order you may want to check out their menu ahead of time online. Our waiter Brandon however, really knew the menu and was able to tell us quickly about items and was amazing at answering all of our many questions about ingredient dishes, and his recommendations.

We shared delicious truffle fries {a must order}, but when it came to our entrees we decided to try a little bit of both worlds that The Cowfish offers. As I mentioned DaddyB has never tried sushi at all so he got the famous Fusion Specialty Bento Box that includes sushi, a mini burger, and awesome sides including my favorite thai cucumbers. I decided to go with a diner favorite The Deliverance Roll – Southern Style Bar-B-Q-shi, which included delicious bbq pulled pork, a really cool potato wrap and was topped with bacon coleslaw.

The Cowfish Restaurant Charlotte MommyB

If you’ve never eaten sushi, here are a few tips for trying sushi for the first time:

1. Start with a “beginner roll”. Consider starting with a roll that doesn’t include raw fish like the California Roll {Daddy B started his meal with an intermediate roll and liked it, but wasn’t ready for the texture.}

2. Choose a roll that offers a tempura {light batter} or a flavorful drizzle to enhance the flavor of the roll.

3. Consider a fusion restaurant like The Cowfish, that offers familiar ingredients alongside new ingredients. This will give more confidence in experiencing new foods.

Speaking of experiencing new foods, this truly was our night for doing just that! Not only did DaddyB try sushi for the first time, but we were also able to sample some of the unique ingredients that The Cowfish has to offer. Check this out, we had flavor infused Masago {fish eggs}, with wasabi, citrus, soy, and sriracha. {My favorite was the citrus flavor.} We also got a “sneak peek” at the newest wasabi-infused micro greens. I must say this was one of the coolest things I’ve eaten in a while. They taste like micro greens at first but then as you chew a burst of the wasabi flavor comes out. I’d love to see this paired with a dish.

New Foods at The Cowfish Charlotte MommyB

Our experience at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar was filled with fun, new experiences, unique and tasty food. If I had to change anything about our night out I would have loved my food to be a little hotter {I like my food on the warmer side of the spectrum (ask DaddyB, he thinks I’m funny)}. Other than that, seriously the ambiance, outstanding service, and price of our date night were just as sweet as our yummy fortune cookie-crusted dessert.

Thanks The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte MommyB

Have you ever had fusion sushi before??? What are your favorite sushi dishes?

This is not a compensated post, we received a complimentary meal in order to give our honest thoughts on the restaurant, services, and food offerings. These are our opinions based on the above experience, however your experiences may vary.

Green Mac & Cheese the Kids Will Love

Strolling through Costco the other day, my one-year-old daughter and I passed by the bulk pack of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Immediately, she shouts “noodles” at the top of her lungs and attempts to dive out of the shopping cart, lunging toward the macaroni.

I put her and the box of mac & cheese securely in our cart and chuckled a bit to myself as we continued down the aisle. I can definitely relate to her reaction- who doesn’t love some classic macaroni and cheese?

While we often buy the blue box stuff, sometimes it’s fun to mix up the standard mac & cheese and give it a healthy, homemade twist. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, I thought my daughter might enjoy a green mac & cheese.

Healthy Green Mac & Cheese the Kids Will Love MommyB

She was excited to devour these “green noodles” (as she calls them), made with quality ingredients like whole grain noodles and spinach, and full of color and flavor that surely appeals to the younger crowd.

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe Ingredients MommyB

Ingredients

  • 1 box (12oz,) whole grain noodles (I recommend a thicker-style noodle, such as spirals, elbows, shells, or ziti)
  • 1 package Mac and Cheese Blend shredded cheese (I have found this at both Target and Food Lion. If you can’t find it at your store, any cheddar blend will work. I have also made this with 6-Cheese Italian Blend for an Italian twist-delicious!)
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook spinach according to package directions.

2. Cook pasta in boiling water, according to package directions.

3. In a blender or food processor, combine milk, ½ cup of the cooked spinach, garlic powder, nutmeg, and salt/pepper. Puree until completely blended and smooth.

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe Blend MommyB

4. In a sauté pan over medium/medium-low heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour.

5. Slowly pour in milk-spinach mixture, whisking constantly. Allow sauce to thicken slightly.

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe Prep MommyB

6. Add cheese, one small handful at a time, whisking in a figure-8 motion until the cheese has dissolved into the sauce.

7. Adjust seasoning as desired.

8. Combine sauce and noodles and serve. (Tip: I would add sauce one ladle-full at a time to the noodles so your noodles won’t drown in too much sauce)

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe MommyB

Bonus Tip

Extra sauce can be frozen for future use. I usually freeze it in ice cube trays, creating individual 1oz. servings of sauce. Then, I will simply microwave a few cubes to top a quick side serving of pasta or even vegetables!

 

imageMelissa is a Communication Studies graduate of Clemson University. She recently traded in her human resources job for the best and most challenging career of all, being a stay-at-home mom. She loves coffee, cooking, crafting, and watching football. Melissa is also a former National Champion baton twirler and currently teaches baton lessons and judges baton twirling competitions across the nation. She recently launched the Honeybee Homemaker blog about her faith, family, and fun kitchen endeavors.

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