Friday, October 30, 2015

Remixing our Friday Family Pizza Night with Rustic Crust

Disclosure: I received samples to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own. 

It's Friday - we made it! Growing up this day marked an important weekly tradition: Family Pizza Night. I've written about this tradition before on the blog and shared how we've now perfected our own homemade pizza recipe and while I always have lofty plans of spending a Saturday morning making batches of pizza dough to freeze that hasn't happened yet since having two kids. When Rustic Crust reached out to me to celebrate National Pizza Month (yes, October is the official month!), I was very curious. 

With anything that I review, especially food, I took a look at the company and its ingredients. I was impressed by the fact that Rustic Crust is a local New England company and the ingredients were all things I could pronounce. Mr. Lovebird agreed it sounded good so I gave them the go ahead to send over samples. 

Mr. Lovebird and I went through a pizza dough experimentation period a few years ago and we were intrigued by all the crust flavors, but wondered how Rustic Crust would compare to homemade. Rustic Pizza's put together some inspiring ideas here, but we decided to let Nia have full reign of toppings selection. She decided on spinach, cheese, garlic and her favorite: pepperoni. 

Grayson wasn't too keen on the spinach
Rustic Pizza prides itself on being hand-formed, free of GMOs and artificial ingredients, made of unbleached whole grain flours and made in the USA. I especially liked the oversized rounds so we could fill it with so many toppings. Additionally, the pre-measured pizza sauce packets were a definite time saver. It was even easy enough for Nia to squeeze onto the pizza by herself!

Baking our pizza was very easy: we set our oven to 450 degrees then reduced to 425 before putting our pizza in. It was done in under 12 minutes! 

Mr. Lovebird was en route to an errand as we were finishing up our pies but they smelled so good he decided to delay his errand run to try it. We were all thoroughly impressed by all the crusts, but the Crispy Italian Thing Crust was our favorite because we're used to baking our pizza on the stone and liked how it came out perfectly crispy after being baked right on the oven rack! Mr. Lovebird further delayed his errand so he could have some of our second pie. We gave the Sea Salt Basil Ciabatta a try and liked the extra flavor - I'd even like it as a snack cut up in strips and dipped in marinara sauce!

Little Grayson wanted to be a big kid and fussed after we gave him a few cut up pieces; it wasn't until he got his own big piece that he calmed down - he totally handled it:

A few nights later our 3rd Cheesy Herb Rustic Crust was handy when our  babysitter was with the kids during dinner time. It was easy for them to do together and they ate it right up! 

Would you like to give Rustic Crust a try? Visit their website for a store locator, coupon as well as follow on Facebook and Twitter for pizza inspiration. 

Does your family have a pizza night? What toppings do you like to include? 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Giada De Laurentiis' Italian Feast at NYCWFF #SamsungCooks

Disclosure: Samsung Home Appliances provided my sister with complimentary admission to Giada De Laurentiis' Italian Feast presented by Ronzoni at NYCWFF; all opinions expressed are my own.

When you can't make it to NYC to meet Giada De Laurentiis what do you do? You send your sister instead! Five years ago I posted a round-up of a few of my favorite celebrity chefs and of course included Giada De Laurentiis on my list. I've been a fan of hers for years (someday I'll make it to her Vegas restaurant!), and when Samsung Home Appliances invited me to her Italian Feast at the New York Wine and Food Festival initially my heart sank as I had a conflict the day of the event, but an idea sprung into my head: if I couldn't meet Giada perhaps I could share the opportunity with my sister. Lo and behold it worked out and she was able to attend on my behalf - as she shared pictures of the evening with me seeing how much fun she was having made me happy! 

First, she was picked up by car service and given an official press badge (it's not like she rubbed it in my face or anything):

Upon arriving at Pier 94 Ariane ventured up to the rooftop where it had been transformed to a food bazaar. She checked out the view and started heading around to the food stations and demonstrations. As the pictures of all the amazing food started lighting up my phone there was one thought on my mind: "I hope she wore stretchy pants!"

As the evening wore on my sister's eating strategy evolved as she started out thinking she'd just try apps and mains first before desserts, but she soon abandoned that and it turned into a free for all. I totally would've done the same thing! A cannoli before pizza, why not?!

The cannoli within cannoli was like the Inception of Italian desserts! #mindblown
When my sister sent me the following picture I was confused:

"Ummmm where's Giada?" I texted her. There was the longest wait ever then this arrived in my inbox:

Yes! My dream fulfilled (albeit vicariously). The best part? Ariane said Giada was as kind, warm and down to earth as she comes across on TV. Of course! 

The evening still wasn't over!

My sister got to experience Samsung Home Appliances stunning Black Stainless Steel Collection. I've attended Samsung events in the past and they really know how to pair style and function! It's no different with their new collection: the 4-Door Flex™ Refrigerator, the Flex Duo™ Range with Dual Door, the Top Control Dishwasher with WaterWall™ Technology, and the Over the Range Microwave are making me think about our future kitchen when the time comes for us to purchase a home. 

As a mom I appreciated the fact that the appliances were designed with families in mind: they are fingerprint resistant and have magnetic surfaces (there's never enough places to hang Nia's artwork!). Additionally, with the holidays approaching Samsung introduced the Chef Collection Slide-in Dual Fuel Range which combines award-winning Flex Duo™ technology with a combination gas cooktop and electric oven - truly the best of both worlds! 

I'm always curious about partnerships and causes at events like this and was thrilled to learn about Samsung and the Culinary Institute of America's relationship to bring technology to the kitchen. I'm a foody nerd and The Making of a Chef, one of my favorite culinary books, chronicles the experience at CIA and years from now when I'm an empty nester I dream of making it there for cooking classes. Additionally, the proceeds from NYCWFF benefitted the hunger-relief organizations Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry®.

My sister makes that spoon look good!
Thank you to Samsung and Ronzoni for a delicious evening and to my sister who gave her waistline for a good cause - I'm marking NYCWFF now in my calendar for 2016! Also, be sure to visit Samsung's website and follow Facebook and Twitter for the latest product news. 

Have you ever been to a food festival? Which celebrity chef would you like to meet (or have you met!)?


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: A Weekend Retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine


Friday, October 23, 2015

Robin Wilson at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Burlington Store Grand Opening

Disclosure: I am a compensated brand ambassador for Robin Wilson Home; all opinions expressed are my own. 

It's not often that we get a bit of glamour in our lives, but last week Uka and I got plenty of it in Burlington, MA where we celebrated the grand opening of the newest Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams store. It was a fabulous opportunity to dress up for a good cause, the and celebrate the last stop of Robin Wilson's book tour for Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle.

From the DJ to the Mac & Cheese Bar as well as the cups of bacon at the bar, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams really does know how to throw a party and the setting amid their gorgeous showroom was perfection. 

Uka and I fell in love with the Harlowe King Bed

This bacon had everyone talking - it had the right amount of sweetness and heat
 Of course I had to take a picture in the Bastille Chair

The mac & cheese bar made it easy to eat our colors!
I was happy to see the support for Mission of Deeds as the honored charity of the evening via a raffle and silent auction - they provide beds and additional furniture for people in need. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' employees who were in attendance were glowing in their experience of working there as well as the benefits and 360 approach they take to community involvement. It really is a stellar company!

The woman of the evening, Robin Wilson, of Robin Wilson Home, was on hand to sign and give away 200 of her new book Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle and I was thrilled to reunite with her as well - we hadn't seen each other in a while! 

With her new book, line of bedding at Bed, Bath & Beyond and comforters at Kohl's it's been an amazing year for Robin, and I look forward to sharing a few more posts featuring Robin Wilson Home. 

Thank you Robin Wilson and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams for a beautiful evening! 

Be sure to follow Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams on Facebook and Twitter as well as Robin Wilson Home on Facebook and Twitter too to keep up on all their latest news.



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