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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Product Review: Cookie Chips

Since the age of 12, Chef Joanne Adirim has been passionate about baking. She set out on a mission 20 years ago to create the most scrumptious desserts. Using her artisan flare, she took her gourmet desserts to restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. Her journey has led her brand, HannahMax Baking, to nationwide coverage. They use only the best ingredients such as milled cane sugar, pure creamery butter, real eggs, fine chocolates, and pure bourbon vanilla. HannahMax Baking products are free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, trans fat, or GMOs.

HannahMax Baking makes a product line called Cookie Chips. The tagline, ”Tastes like a Cookie, Eats like a Chip”, is definitely what you will experience. With a 5 cookie serving and only packing 120 calories per serving, you can definitely eat what you like and not feel guilty. Let’s take a look at the flavors:

Original Cookie Chips are pure brown sugar goodness. Butter, sweetness, and homemade flavors round out this cookie. These were reminiscent of butter cookies or cookie dough ice cream. These would pair well with tea and coffee. Thumbs up!

 To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/product-review-cookie-chips

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Recipe review from Learning at Home by Rhonda Cratty

Learning at Home is a parent resource that is chocked full of ideas to help children become the best they can be; ideas for helping your child enhance their skills in reading, math, writing, science and more. Daily fun activities make rudimentary subjects seem more than just pencil and paper and provide them with skills for everyday life. There are 48 (four per month) educational learning ideas that can be enjoyed anytime, everyday within the comfort of your own family whether around the Thanksgiving table, in the backyard, or on vacation. The book also includes lists of family friendly books for all subjects, recipes, and games to extend learning.


I tried the Santa Cocoa recipe which is very simple and contains cocoa, sugar, hot water, milk, marshmallows, green sprinkles, and peppermint candy. The only two things I did differently were using small marshmallows and smashed peppermint candy rounds to set off the green sprinkles. The cocoa had strong chocolate, marshmallow, and mint aromatics. The flavor was chocolaty with mint on the back of the palate. From a child’s perspective, I would add a little more cocoa powder and top with whipped cream. I would also pair it with shortbread cookies, cake, or brownies. I had two children try this recipe and they loved it!

Rhonda Cratty has 30 years of experience as a public school teacher, raising children of her own, and writing articles for on-line and hard copy publications within the pages of Learning at Home.

For more information:
Learning at Home by Rhonda Cratty
Purchase your Kindle Edition today! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cookbook Review: Great Food! From Great News! Cooking School

It all started when Ron and Carol Eisenberg left the harsh winter life in Cleveland, OH to sunny San Diego, CA with their three kids and two dogs in tow. Ron, a pharmacist by trade, and Carol, greeting card department buyer, decided to open their own retail store called Great News! selling functional housewares and alternative greeting cards. In the 1990s, based on the trends and interest from his customers, Ron decided to focus on cookware and kitchen items. Around the same time, Carol was diagnosed with stage-4 terminal breast cancer. Ron began to research and learned to cook macrobiotic diets to help his wife fight the cancer. In May 1996, Carol passed away. Ron threw himself into the business to build his first cooking school, which is part of what Great News! is all about. During construction, he met Davora Safran. Devora is an artist, designer, and great home cook who loves to entertain. In 2002, Ron and Devon tied the knot. Together, along with a healthy list of contributors, they put together, Great Food! From Great News! Cooking School cookbook. One well known contributor is executive chef for SOL (Newport Beach, CA and Scottsdale, AZ) and Solita (Huntington Beach, CA), Chef Deborah Schneider.

The introduction is chocked full of information for the novice to the seasoned cooked – A Well-Stocked Pantry, Basic Cooking Methods, Useful Terms & Tips, and Measurement Equivalents. The book is broken up by season and then by menus.

In the Summer – Cooking with Beer section, Guinness Chocolate Brownies sounded scrumptious! From seeing sweet recipes and decadent concoctions made with Guinness, I definitely had to give this recipe a try. This recipe was created by Chef Phillis Carey. The recipe was fairly easy. If you don’t have a standing mixer, you’ll definitely need a helper in the kitchen with you when incorporating the wet and dry ingredients together. Helpful hint for the chopped chocolate, put your chocolate bars in a Ziploc bag and use a meat tenderizer or mallet to break into smaller pieces for the melting process. The brownies were a little crumbly, but had the texture of a chocolate truffle. The beer flavor was very subtle, but actually enhanced the dark chocolate flavor. The semisweet chocolate chips were a great touch, not too sweet. Vanilla bean ice cream was the perfect pairing adding cold creaminess to the mix. Whipped cream would also be a good choice too. Thumbs up!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review: The Farm Winery, Paso Robles, CA

The dream started years ago when friends, Santiago & Mercedes Achaval from Argentina and Jim and Azmina Madsen from San Diego, met at a B&B in Paso Robles, CA in the 1980s. Santiago was smitten by the wine bug and decided, “Someday I am going to make wine!” With no formal training Santiago decided to start making wine and is now a renowned winemaker. After the last of their children flew the coup, Jim and Az had an empty nest. Restless, they returned to the B&B for a visit. It sparked the wine bug for Madsens. They made a call to their dear friend, Santiago, and in 2009, The Farm Winery became a reality. The Farm Winery is now on its fifth season of winemaking. The vineyards are located in the Adelaida District in Westside Paso Robles, with windy roads, massive oak trees with busy woodpeckers, free roaming cows, deer and turkey grazing, and more wildlife and landscape to mystify your inner being.

The Big Game celebrates the rivalry between the Rhone and Bordeaux regions. The grapes used are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. It’s layered, complex, and mouth-filling. There is truly a flavor in it for everyone. Tasting notes: sweet cherry and very light oak aromatics; Black currant, blackberry, oak, mint, and dark cherry flavors experienced along whole palate. Food pairings: Veal a la Madsen (recipe to follow), grilled lamb, and T-bone steak. Thumbs up!

To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/review/review-the-farm-winery-paso-robles-ca

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

JP23 BBQ Smokehouse celebrates its 1st anniversary in Fullerton, CA

On the busy corner of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue, sits JP23 BBQ Smokehouse. Jacob Poozhikala is the brain-child behind this venture. JP is Jacob’s initials plus his 23 friends from college are behind the enigmatic name. Since college, BBQ and sports have been in Jacob’s life, from his roots in Canada to moving to SoCal. Like every die-hard BBQer, you need to name your smoker for luck. At JP23, Elmer is its name. Luck has been on his side as they celebrated their 1st anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day 2014 and hired General Manager Adrienne Bennett to handle the front of the house with her proven drive of making happy patrons and successful restaurants.

Let’s sample some of Elmer’s creations:

JP23Wings are slow cooked and smoked with pecan, cherry, and hickory wood. The Honey Chili Wings were sweet and slightly spicy. It was reminiscent of a sweet Asian chili sauce commonly served with lumpia. The smoked flavor from the wings came through and paired well with the sauce. They were tender and juicy. Thumbs up, way up!

JP23 BBQ Smokehouse on Urbanspoon