Let’s Get Started – S14 E1 Food Network Star

It is that time of year when The Next Food Network Star takes over my life!

I have no idea why I am so obsessed with this show, but I am and I have no shame. This year it took place in Miami, Florida and in the first episode we got to meet the very entertaining contestants.

My favorite part of this competition is learning about each person individually and beginning to see how their theme develops and changes throughout the competition.

Let us begin! First episode went straight to creating a 90 second presentation on your signature dish but “Theme Park Style” meaning it had to be portable.

Poor Manny he had to go first on the Challenge, he was sweating so much but he a damn good job!

Rebecca was next and she did alright, didn’t really leave a lasting impression. I felt bad for Samone because she chocked up a little, which I honestly think I would do if it was the first day.

Chris unfortunately finished too early which is unfortunate because it looks like he had a lot of personality. Oh Katy Dixon, way too rehearsed and a little fake, she needs more energy.

Jason seemed really nervous but again, can’t really blame him. Harrison is alright but he through me off saying I am more than just a pretty face.

Jess seemed again very rehearsed and a little too proper. Christian, wow , I really like him I would watch his show any time. Last but not least we met Palak who.. beat Bobby Flay? I like her, she tells good stories which is important in being a Food Network Star.

We also find out that Adam and Amy come back. I kind of never really care for the people that come back, have they ever won when they come back? Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think they ever have.

Ok so time for the cooking!

Simone stood out, she has attitude and has great personality. I always enjoy the cuts of them cooking because you can see when people actually really enjoy the cooking process, continuously tasting and adjusting, as you should.

Final thoughts on the cooking portion, I really hope Palak is not a one trick pony with her curry fried chicken and also I don’t like Rebecca finishing so early.

OK so far, based on the first episode my top 5

  1. Manny
  2. Palak
  3. Christian
  4. Samone
  5. Harrison

We say goodbye at the end to Chris and Jason after and they give Rebecca another chance (really?… ok) From the two that left I wish Chris would have stayed, he seemed like he was excited and he actually followed the challenge unlike Rebecca.

Who are your top 5 and as of now,  and also who do you think will be The Next Food Network Star?

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5 Places to Eat in Oahu, Hawai’i

For our honeymoon, Ryan and I went to Oahu and decided to try out as many places as we could. I narrowed this list to five places that I really enjoyed. Check them out and let me know if you’ve tried any of the places mentioned. 

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First Time Making Crepes

I’ve been in the mood to try new recipes. One Saturday morning I woke up and decided that I wanted to make some Dulce De Leche Crepes, I looked up a basic Crepe recipe made with almond milk and I got to cooking.

Ingredients
I like to lay out my ingredients before I start in order to speed up the cooking process.

Ingredients:

Batter

1 Egg

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Granulated Sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbs Butter (melted)

1 tbs butter (for pan)

1 cup Almond Milk

Topping

Preffered Whipped Cream

2 tbs of Dulce De Leche

Fruit in season
Honestly I had no idea how easy it was to make crepes, all you have to do is place all the batter ingredients in a blender until it is smooth and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

 

I believe the hardest part of the whole process is actually getting the Crepes made. You need a buttered non-stick pan, spatula and patience to know when to turn. When the ends start to come off the pan that is when you will start to loosen the bottom to flip the crepe.

Fill the crepe with La Lechera and add your favorite fruit, in this case blackberries.

In the end the reward is very much worth it, the crispiness of the corners, and the fluffiness of the middle makes this the best Breakfast Dessert.

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Best Burgers in Upland? – Review of Wicked Cow Burgers & Brews

It’s Sunday morning, Ryan and I are hungry for some kind of breakfast or lunch and it’s my turn to choose where to go.

I scroll through yelp and I see that in the Hot and New section there is a place only 5 minutes away called Wicked Cow. Done!

Ryan is a big fan of burgers, and me, I am a big fan of tater tots. This place has both!

Before we head out, we find the menu is loaded on their website and we decide what we are getting before we even get there. Did I mention that we were hungry?

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It was so easy to find this place and parking was no issue.

Here is a rundown of what we ordered.

Wicked Tots: Tater tots with cheese, caramelized onions and topped with thousand island. (Rating 4/5 so good, but needed more cheese)

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Widow Maker: Burger with jalapeno, bacon, pepper jack, chipotle sauce and an egg. (Rating 4/5 not spicy at all, but the bacon was delicious.)

Garlic Fries: (self explanatory) (Rating 5/5 perfect amount of garlic)

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Big Belly Grilled Cheese: Swiss, pepper jack, cheddar and pork belly. All wrapped on crispy cheddar wrapped bread. Rating (5/5 cheeesy goodness)

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This place was so delicious, portions were large, and it had a very good bar vibe. It does get a little crowded, but it is worth the wait.

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If you want to see more check out their menu here.

 

How to find the perfect wedding venue

I never wanted a big wedding.

To be quite honest, I always imagined myself having a Vegas wedding. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on one day of my life for it all to be over in one blink of an eye.

When Ryan proposed my heart was set on a small wedding with close family and friends. We started looking into Vegas, saw packaged options and realized that a Vegas wedding was in no way a cheap option. Factoring in rooms and lodging for our family and friends the cost was almost reaching what I initially did not want to spend.

Vegas would also eliminate a lot of people and after a few months of comparing prices and packages we decided this was not the best option.

What now?

Small wedding. That was still my goal. These are the factors that I had to deal with.

  • Guest List– How many people do I HAVE to invite and how many of those people will be super mad if I don’t invite them?
    • Guest list is one of the most important aspects of choosing a venue. Many places have a cap at how many people are allowed in their facility. Start with an A list which are people that absolutely have to be there. Then move to a B and C list. The people on the A list plus a few (maybe 10) is the number that you want to use when looking for venues.
  • Date– When will this all happen, and will the place I want have this date available.
    • You found your venue! Wait… is the date available? My best advice is to have a few dates open. When we decided to put the deposit down on our venue all of our preferred dates were gone, we loved the place so much we decided on a later date in 2017 making it a 2 year engagement. I believe it will be well worth it.
  • Amount of time – How long should my event be?
    • What was surprising to me was that there were so many venues with limited time. Many of the ones that we saw has a cap of 5 or 6 hours. I didn’t like the idea of being rushed on my own wedding day. Which is why this was a high priority item.
  • Budget– How much do I really want to spend on this thing?
    • Budget in most cases can determine your venue as a whole. There are many different prices in venues. Some all-inclusive venues charge per person which makes it easy to determine how much you will be spending.
  • DIY vs. Package -Do I want my own vendors?
    • This was one of the hardest decisions when selecting a place. I knew that packaged deals would have been the best option for less hassle and stress, but at the same time I wouldn’t be able to be as involved in every decision. If I was going to spend all this money on our wedding, then why not make it exactly how I want it.
  • Alcohol– Do I want an open bar?
    • A lot of times we would fall in love with the venue, with the package, the scenery, the hours and then…. they would go over the bar options. Ryan and I decided very early on that we wanted to have an open bar. We loved the idea of taking care of our guests and allowing them to have fun on our special day. Which is why we decided to go with our venue where we are allowed to bring in our own alcohol.
  • Groom– What does the groom want?
    • Lastly, but probably the most important would be to incorporate what the groom wants too. I am so happy that Ryan and I have worked as a team to plan this wedding. We have both put in countless hours so far to make sure that everything is taken care of. Yes, we have a lot of little disagreements and that is completely normal. I want this day to be a representation of both of us and make sure that when we look back, we see this as one of the most beautiful days in our life.

After almost 7 location viewings and dozens of online requests for information we finally chose a place that made both of us happy.

I hope you enjoyed this list of what to consider when looking for a venue. I have 344 days left until this day and I cannot wait.

Love you all