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Robinsbite: May 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

The fastest way to a man's heart...

truly is through his stomach.

Today I made-for the first time in 20 years-Duncan Hines yellow cake mix cupcakes and frosted them with milk chocolate icing from the can. I'm not known for my baking abilities, either.

I've never seen a happier look on my husband's face.....honestly, he looked happier today than on the day we got married 11 months ago. He even took pictures of the product before it was finished....and after...and sent it to his mother and his brother.

Food memories are created at an earlier age and those memories follow us for a lifetime. I thank his mother for instilling in him this love for cupcakes!

*note that the rotting bananas in the photo are the key ingredient in my banana bread for tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Got Cake?

The Les Dames D'escoffier Dallas Ft. Worth is a select group of women in food and food service. They always throw a GREAT party for a GREAT for students. These ladies are talented, creative and they get the job done!

This year, they are trying something new--check out their event. Sweet Victories, at Northpark Mall which kicks off Friday, June 6th and goes through Sunday, June 8th. Celebrating wedding cake design and table top decor, it's a great reason to spend 75.00. See you there!
For more information: or (214)219-9191 x2

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Iced Coffee Fanatics....From Pegasus News and the guru Teresa Gubbins....

New Product Wednesday: Iced coffee — McDonald’s vs. Dunkin Donuts vs. Jack in the Box


Dunkin Donuts iced coffee

Dunkin Donuts iced coffee

Iced coffee has suddenly slammed Dallas. Jack in the Box announced its version on Monday. McDonald's and Burger King brought it to the south this year after introducing it up north last year. Dunkin' Donuts just did a big free-sample offer on May 15.

The natural impulse is to credit Starbucks, the driver of all coffee trends; and these milk-and-sugar-infused iced coffees do resemble SB's bottled Frappuccino and canned iced-coffee.

But iced coffee has been popular in the Northeast for decades. "Nobody seems to know for sure why Northeasterners go overboard for iced coffee while Southerners remain steeped in traditional tea," says this CNN story. Here, I know: Northeasters are known for being "thrifty"; iced coffee was always a way to use leftover coffee after it got cold.

McDonald's iced coffee

McDonald's iced coffee

The backdrop on this mighty iced-coffee wave is that 1. McDonald's has been trying to suck up Starbucks' business, and 2. Dunkin' Donuts is expanding into the south.

But overall, iced coffee consumption is climbing -- up 16% from 2005 to 2006, according to NPD, a data research firm. People who take their coffee black aren't likely to recognize these drinks as coffee, since most come pre-loaded with cream and sugar. If that isn't enough, everyone also offers flavors.

The big contenders are as follows. All drinks sampled were the "regular" or plain flavor:

McDonald's. Plain, vanilla, and hazelnut. $1.79.

Of the three sampled, McDonald's tasted the best. It had the highest amount of milk/cream, sugar, and other Things That Made It Taste Not Like Coffee. It was more like coffee-flavored milk. But the coffee itself had a toasty flavor.

But this is odd. More than one site implied that drinking McDonald's iced coffee produced gastro-intestinal distress. A sample: "I got sick the first two times, but I think I got used to it and I don't notice it any more. The stuff is pretty much an intense laxative though... so make sure there is a restroom nearby. Seriously."

Some people attributed their discomfort to the diet version that has artificial sweeteners. Here's an unofficial list of what's in the regular: Premium roast coffee, light cream (milk, cream, sodium phosphate, sodium polyphosphate, datem, sodium stearoyl lactylate, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium citrate, carrageenan).

Jack in the Box. Regular, vanilla, caramel. $1.79. Of the three sampled, JITB's was the least appealing. Its darker brown color indicated that it had less added milk, so that would be good for coffee purists, that it wasn't as gunked up with odd stuff. Unfortunately, the coffee tasted stale, as if it'd been made far in advance.

Dunkin Donuts. Almond, vanilla spice, coconut. $2.29. The prevailing flavor here: cheese. Literally. It had a weird, fermented flavor that was hard to pin down. Was it DD's creamer-type additive, or was it actually sour milk? One thing's for sure: The Dunkin Donuts in the Dallas area are nowhere near as admirable as the stores in New England. Donuts purchased at the same time as this drink tasted greasy and awful and, while the staff was friendly, the store itself was dirty.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ladies, are you more concerned about getting breast cancer or your weight?

From the Dallas Morning News Fitness Blog: (

What are women more concerned about, breast cancer or weight?

What would you guess women's No. 1 health & wellness concern would be: Breast cancer? Heart disease?

Nope. Diet & Weight Control, followed by Eating Well/Nutrition; Allergies; Aging Process; and Mental Health.

Such are the just-released findings of a nationwide survey of 3,000 women conducted Meredith Corporation and NBC Universal.

Rounding out the top 10 concerns are these: Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular/Heart Health/Diabetes; Menopause.

Other tidbits from the Meredith/NBC Universal "What do women want?" survey include:
*While 68 percent say they are satisfied with their "identity and development as an individual," only 40 percent say they are satisfied with their physical appearance.

*Almost two-thirds of women give themselves a breast self-exam regularly, only 14 percent get an annual skin-cancer screening.

*M ost women (84 percent) feel they are overweight.

What are you most concerned about?

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Dirty Dozen and The Cleanest Twelve

"Which fruits and veggies should I really be buying organically?"

I hear this question often-mostly from Mom's who are trying to feed their children "right". It's amazing to me how many people will feed their children organically, but not themselves.

The Environmental Working Group has a downloadable guide that highlights the Dirty Dozen (those that are most toxic) and the Cleanest Twelve (those that are, well, the cleanest when it comes to pesticides).

Click here for a downloadable "Pesticides in Produce".

The "Full List" ranks produce items 1-45
Here's a sneak peak. #1 worst-peaches. #1 best-onions

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ready to Pack up Your Knives and Go?

Top Chef announces Casting Calls for Upcoming Season

"Top Chef" Casting Calls are as follows:

Saturday, May 10, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Dr., Hyde Park, NY

Sunday, May 11, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
The Culinary Institute of America
399 Lafayette St. (at East 4th street)

Monday, May 26, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Cicada Restaurant

Bravo's "Top Chef" offers a fascinating window into the competitive,
pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant
business at
the highest level. The series - hosted by Padma Lakshmi and presided by
judge Chef Tom Colicchio - features sixteen aspiring chefs who compete
their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious
title of
"Top Chef." Each episode holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is
quick-fire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more
elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness
of the
chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual
exotic foods or catering for a range of demanding clients. The challenges
only test their skills in the kitchen, but also uncover if they have the
customer service, management and teamwork abilities required of a Top
Chef. The
competing chefs live and breathe the high-pressure lifestyle that comes
being a master chef, and each week someone is asked to "pack up their
knives"and go home.