The Ultimate Dining Experience @Rosenhotels

Every once in a while, we need to take a look at ourselves and our priorities.  I have come to the realization that I have become so consumed with my family and professional life that I left little time for friends.  It is easy to justify, I have four children who are the core of my world.  Between work and Family there is just no extra time.

One thing I have learned is that balance is the key to a life well lived.  I  started making it a priority to take more time for myself and sharing that time with good friends.  My friend Lou Anne and I have been friends since my oldest was in first grade. Like most Moms, finding time to ourselves can be a challenge.   We decided, a much needed girls night away was in order.

I had always wanted to go to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Being the Foodie that I am this seemed the perfect destination. Especially when I heard Portugal was taking part in the Festival for the first time. You know you have a good friend, when they are as excited about your passion, as you are.   Truly we were like 2 kids in a Candy Store.  I think Lou Anne took as many foodie pictures as I did.

We had the pleasure of  being invited to dine at  Rosen Shingle Creek in their  AAA Four Diamond A Land Remembered Classic Steakhouse.   This restaurant and it’s staff understands that the Dining Experience is about so much more than just food.

We loved our waiter from the minute he greeted us.  Bob knew everything there was to know about the food, wine and the entire hospitality indsutry.   He was so entertaining and told us  how he had gone to Culinary School but  just couldn’t stay in the kitchen, away from people.  I think he found his calling in life… it is obvious he is a people person and loves what he does!  We asked him to choose our menu and he did not disappoint.

 

He had me at the first course…  Alligator Stew. I love to try new foods and I had never tried Alligator Meat. It was so tender and juicy. The chowder with white beans was perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we were treated to delicious lightly breaded asparagus….delish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohhhh and the flatbreads…. absolutely amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Ben Hogan Sliced Marinated Skirt Steak was perfectly marinated and oh so tender…

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then….

The most amazing cake I have ever tasted…. a delicious light and flully Chocolate Mousse Cake… oh my! I love attention to detail and their logo had been stenciled on the plate with chocolate powder. Spectacular!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…

This amazing assorment of desserts appeared in a horse shoe: Creme Brulee,  Key Lime Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Stawberry Cheesecake and Fresh Berries….  All I can say is …… one was better than the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the Food was out of this world, the highlight of my day was meeting Mr. Rosen. I love meeting people who have made a difference in the world.

 

 

 

I was intrigued when I heard about  Mr. Rosen’s Philanthropic Pizza for Schools.  Mr. Rosen combined two of his longtime passions, healthy living and philantropy.  He wants to be known for healthy pizza within the Orange County Schools.  Profits from sales of the pizzas go toward the Harris Rosen Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for disadvantaged youth.

Mr. Rosen is grounded in his belief,  “The more success you achieve, the more good stuff you can do.”  It takes a special person to do just that!  We chatted about our families and realized we both have large families with 1 girl and 3 boys. We  agreed, it can be challenging at times, but so rewarding.  Time Around the Family Table was as important in his home as it is in mine.

We couldn’t eat another bite!  We were sent home with a Whole Wheat Low-fat Cheese, Turkey Pepperoni Pizza.  My kids were thrilled and absolutely love it!  There is no doubt this healthy pizza will be as successful as A Land Remembered!

Throughout this memorable experience, I thought about my friend, Jim Joseph.  In Jim’s book, The Experience Effect, he details the experiences he had at his favorite restaurant and how it changed over time. Jim is a big believer that restaurants are really another kind of brand and that it’s our experiences with them that make us loyal. Those experiences need to be enjoyable and consistent each time.  No doubt, he would have enjoyed A Land Remembered as much as we did.

Our afternoon at  A Land Remembered will not be forgotten!  I am thankful to have shared such a memorable experience with my good friend Lou Anne.

Kids Ratings on Philanthropic Pizza: Ronnie 10, Reis 9.5, Riley 9 (Alexandra was at College and can’t wait  try iton our next visit to Orlando)

Reinventing Thanksgiving Leftovers into a Casserole #SundaySupper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was truly a Special Thanksgiving.

I am thankful that Alexandra came home from College, we spent the day with amazing friends, my parents are both still here to share Holidays with us…. and my kids begged me to go shopping with them on Black Friday.

We got up at 3:30 am, hit the first store by 4:00 and were sitting down at our favorite Diner having breakfast by 7:30 am.  We had an absolute blast and I felt so blessed to have such an awesome morning with my kids.

Our Thanksgiving Table was filled with amazing food!  There was no way we could eat it all.  Although we have picked at our leftovers all weekend, we still have a ton.  We have a tradition that we reinvent our Thanksgiving leftovers into a casserole every year.  I don’t know what my kids like more, the Thanksgiving Meal or the Reinvented Leftovers! It is delish, lots of fun, and so easy! You must try it!

Leftovers needed:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Turkey, shredded
  • Gravy
  • Corn or Broccoli (I usually make one of each)
  • Stuffing

In a 9 x 11 casserole dish, layer each ingredient.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins. or until Stuffing is crispy (the best part.)

It doesn’t get any easier than this!

Kid Ratings: Alexandra 9, Ronnie 9.5, Reis 10, Riley 10 (corn only)

 

I Am Thankful For My Old Shoes

I have always said, “Old Friends are like Old Shoes.”

We spent Thanksgiving Day with two families that we have been friends with for over 16 years.  Like old shoes, they are so comfortable.  There is no break in period, they fit just right.

As I looked  Around the Family Table of 20, it wasn’t the incredible display of food that stood out, it was the Love that was so apparent between us.  We had gathered many generations around this table, Great-Grandparents, Grandparents, Parents, Children, Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren were together giving Thanks and nurturing our Love and Respect for one another.

I feel blessed to have such long lasting friendships and hope to instill in my children the importance of a true friendships.

So much has changed in the last 16 years, but we know that we are there for each other, because nothing will change our friendship.

This Thanksgiving gave me the opportunity to reflect on how blessed I am to have genuine friends.

I have a tendency to wear my Mom Hat, Wife Hat, Volunteer Hat and Professional Hat on a daily basis.  My Friend Hat needs to be worn more often because there is nothing quite like old friendships…. like old shoes, they fit just right.

“I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.”
– Thomas Jefferson

I Am a Terrible Mother But I Did Cook #SundaySupper

I am a terrible Mother. I actually encouraged my daughter, a freshman in College, to cut class.  Yes, you heard it right.

It wasn’t just that I couldn’t wait to see her. Her two little Brothers were heading to the Super Bowl with their Football Teams this weekend.  I couldn’t imagine her missing this Special Day in their lives.  How often will her Brothers make it all the way to Super Bowl. This was truly a Special Occasion in our lives and I just couldn’t imagine that Alexandra wouldn’t be here to enjoy it with us.  So I said, “skip the classes,” this is a lesson that can’t be learned in the classroom.

It was the best decision I could have made.  What a weekend!  Truly a weekend we will remember for the rest of our lives!

It’s hard to believe but both teams Won!  I am so glad that our entire family, including my Mom and Dad, were there for this memorable day.  You just can’t put a price on this type of emotion.

Our Sunday Supper was so special this week.  Not because it was the most amazing meal we have ever had, but because of the memories that were made Around the Family Table.   Both boys played so well in their games.  We talked touchdowns, blocks and extra points to be proud of.

The most memorable moment for me was when one of Reis’s team mates who hadn’t started all season made a huge tackle.  Reis jumped up and down and shouted “I knew you could do it! I’m so proud of you.”  This day was about so much more than a Win!

Sunday Supper Around the Family Table was very simple this week but it was absolutely delicious. I love to shop for whatever is fresh and the Tuna Steaks were on sale and were such a deep red, they almost looked purple.   I know, you are thinking, everyone else is featuring Recipes revolving around Thanksgiving this time of year…why is she grilling Tuna Steaks….Because to me it is about  simple, fresh and delicious Meals made with love.

I had made Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (recipe to follow in next post) to take to the team party the night before and they loved it so much that my kids requested it again the next night.  A simple Green Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette completed our easy meal.

I realized this weekend that listening to our heart is more important than doing the “norm.”  Whether letting your child skip school for a special occasion or grilling Tuna in November, listen to your Heart.

EASY TUNA STEAKS

6 Tuna Steaks (the freshest you can get)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 small lemon

Sea Salt & Pepper to Taste

 

 

Brush the Tuna Steak with Olive Oil, Worcestershire Sauce and Salt and Pepper.  Let marinate for approximately 15 minutes.

Heat grill to high and add Tuna Steak.  Grill for approximately 2 minutes on each side. Middle will remain bright pink. 

Kids Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 9.5, Reis 10, Riley 10 

  

One Pot Chicken and Pasta for Football #SundaySupper

It doesn’t get any better! What a great Football Season my boys have had this year.

They worked hard, played their hearts out and the results showed!  Reis and Riley’s teams are both going to the Super Bowl!

Not only is this a dream come true for them but it’s what memories are made of… these are the moments they will remember for the rest of their lives and relive with their children one day.

We were exhausted and  needed an easy Sunday Supper this week.  Reis loves to cook and helped me come up with this easy One Pot Chicken and Pasta Meal.

Quick, Easy, Nutritious and Delicious was the name of the Game Around the Family Table this Sunday Supper.

FAMILY FOODIE ONE POT CHICKEN AND PASTA 

2 lbs Chicken Breast, I prefer tenderloins

2 Cups Flour

1 Tablespoon Garlic and Pepper Seasoning

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Garlic Goodness by Intensity Academy or 1 Tablespoon minced Garlic

1 Cup White Wine

2 Cups Chicken Broth

1 lb Spaghetti

1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Parsley to sprinkle on top (optional)

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large pan, I prefer using an electric skillet
  • Mix Flour and Garlic Pepper Seasoning on a large plate
  • Cut the Chicken into bite size pieces
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour and cook on high
  • When chicken is done, add Garlic Goodness, Wine and Chicken Broth and Simmer
  • Cook Pasta
  • When the sauce is becomes a creamy consistency, add pasta to the skillet and continue to simmer for 10 minutes
  • Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese and Parsley on top and serve
We enjoyed this easy dish with Broccoli and a Caesar Salad.  It was the perfect meal after a busy weekend.
Kids Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 9, Riley 9.5
You will love Intensity Academy Sauces . Great way to add flavor to your meals.

Chicken Peppers and Onions #SundaySupper was a Victory

Riley is our youngest Son.  He was born in July and went to his first Football Game before he was even a month old.  Needless to say, he has literally grown up on the Football Field.  It’s not hard to believe that his passion is Football.

When he was only in Kindergarten, he told me, “Mommy, I am going to be just like Tim Tebow and play football for the University of Florida.”  While most kids played with cars or legos, Riley would spend hours making up plays for his imaginary team. After writing down all the  X’s and O’s, he would run the plays up and down our hallway.

This is Riley’s 5th year playing Football and year after year, he watched his brother’s teams go to the playoffs and his team  never made it.  Well, his time finally came….Riley’s first playoff game was yesterday and what a game it was!

The celebration started when we scored with just over a minute left in the game. That quickly turned into heartache as the other team ran back the kickoff. Off to OT. It was 4th down and 3 yards to go and they gave the ball to Riley. He was stopped and then out of nowhere, we saw the ball come out of the pile as he stretched the ball across the goal line for the winning TD just like you would see on TV on Sundays.

It was one of those moments that a Mother will never forget.   What is better than watching 9 and 10 year olds work so hard to achieve Victory?

I have always said that my kids have learned the greatest life lessons from playing sports. Riley learned today to never give up, if you work at something hard enough, your day will come.

Playoffs were on Sunday and you all know how Important Sunday Supper is in our home.  I had planned on making Bifes a Portuguesa (Portuguese Beef) when we got home.  We were having such a great day at the Football Field, everyone was hungry.  We did something that we rarely do. We hit the concession stand!

Did I lose my mind? Here it is a Sunday, I can’t stand the processed and fried food that is sold at most Concession Stands…Did I get so caught up in this win that I actually agreed to have Sunday Supper at the Football Field?  Yep, I did!

And guess what?  This ” foodie” was shocked.  This concession stand had a Chicken Sandwich that was to die for.  Not your chicken patty kind of sandwich but a real chicken breast that was grilled in front of my own eyes, then cubed and topped with peppers and onion, served on a fresh bun.

America’s food culture is changing.  As a Mom that has spent the last 13 years at  sports fields, my heart swelled.  Finally there are options for our children that include real chicken and fresh vegetables.  This is a true Victory for our Nation.

The Family Table can be anywhere as long as it full of love and good food.  Although my heart  remains Around the Family Table in our home, every once in a while, there are exceptions for Sunday Supper. Especially when they involve Memories that will last a lifetime.

We were all exhausted when we got home, but being the Football Family that we are, continued to watch the games.  What a day to be just like Tebow….Riley and Tim Rocked this Sunday!

Flan and Candied Raspberries Holiday Dessert

At our home. It’s not a Holiday unless we have Flan Pudding.  This is a very traditional recipe that Vo-Vo loves to makes.  She is so good at it…that honestly no one can make it quite as good as her.

If you have never had Flan, you have no idea what you are missing.  It is so creamy and smooth and delish….oh, and carmel sauce that goes on top…You just have to try it!

Our Holidays wouldn’t be complete without it.  I have a feeling when you try it…it will be a Holiday Favorite in your Home too!

VO-VO’S FLAN PUDDING

  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 14 oz can Condensed Milk
  • 2 Cups of Milk (2% or whole milk) Or if you do like Vo-Vo, just fill 2 cans full
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
Optional: 6 oz Raspberries & 1/2 Cup of granulated sugar

Mix Eggs, both milks and vanilla on low until well blended.

Pour sugar and water in the bottom of a bundt pan.  Place pan on the stove and wait for sugar to bubble and turn a golden brown.

Swirl the liquid sugar around the sides of the pan until all sides are covered.

Let sugar cool for 5 minutes.  Add the Egg mixture to the Bundt Pan.

Place a large shallow pot filled half way with water on the stove and bring water to a boil.

Lower heat to medium-low  and place bundt pan in the pot and cover.

Let Flan cook on stove for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Let cool completely and invert into a serving dish with a lip.

If adding Raspberries, lightly dampen with water and roll in the sugar.  Place on a baking rack and broil for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on top of the Flan.

I love my Eat Smart Precision pro Kitchen Scale it is the only way I can translate Portuguese measurements. Can’t live without it!

Kid Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 8, Riley 9

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