Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant Rolls

Chocolate that you’re supposed to spread as freely and as frequently as you would peanut butter and jam! Does it get any better? Uh, yes, when you make it a spreadable chocolate-hazelnut spread called Nocciolata!

nocciolata-toastMy daughter and I sampled Nocciolata from Rigoni di Asiago, a family-owned and operated business based in the Altopiano di Asiago, a mountain plateau in Northern Italy. Using certified organic ingredients free of GMO’s, preservatives, colors, additives, or artificial sweeteners, Nocciolata combines hazelnuts, cocoa and cocoa butter, natural vanilla extract and raw cane sugar. They also have a certified vegan, dairy free version, Nocciolata Dairy Free.

To give the spread an earnest try, we started and ended the day with Nocciolata because, well, any day is better that starts and ends with chocolate. In the morning, we spread it over whole grain toast. It went so well with a cup of coffee! Then, for dessert that night, my daughter asked if she could make her own creation, a take on a chocolate croissant. This is what she came up with:
Nocciolata Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant Rolls
Serves 8-10

1 can croissant/crescent rolls
Approximately ¼ cup Nocciolata chocolate hazelnut spread (Don’t use too much or it will be a gooey, yet delicious, mess.)

  1. Preheat the oven per the directions on the can. Spread the dough out on a cutting board. You won’t be cutting the dough along the pre-cut lines so press along those lines to smoosh them together a bit.
  2. Spread the Nocciolata evenly over the dough leaving about ½ an inch uncovered around all edges.
  3. Roll up the dough, tucking in the sides as you go and sealing the ends.
  4. Pick up the roll and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
  5. Bake according to croissant directions.
  6. Cut the rolls into slices and serve on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Birch Benders Pancakes & Waffles

I have wonderful memories of my dad making pancakes on Sunday mornings. I wouldBirch Benders Pancakes .jpg wake up to the smell of butter melting in the pan. He made perfect pancakes. True, they weren’t from scratch but he did add butter, eggs and milk. I loved the flavor of those pancakes and, even though I’ve bought that particular mix as an adult, the taste is not the same. But recently, ironically on my dad’s birthday, I made a batch of pancakes from a mix by Denver’s own Birch Benders. Guess what? I was taken right back to those Sunday mornings with pancakes full of great flavor, a hint of vanilla, crispy edges and a fluffy center. It made me happy.

Using all-natural ingredients, Birch Benders’ mixes take only water. That means that even birch-benders-pancake-packageson a school day, I can make them for my family and still have everyone get out of the house on time. You can make waffles with the mix too. Besides the ease and the flavor, what really drew me to want to try Birch Benders was that they account for modern dietary needs and culinary wishes. Varieties include Paleo, Gluten Free, and Protein, and the brand offers an all-natural twist on traditional favorites such as Classic, Chocolate Chip, Six Grain Cinnamon, and more. For the holiday season, Birch Benders created Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread Spice, and Double Chocolate Peppermint flavors that make every morning feel festive.

What’s behind the name, Birch Benders? It’s an American tradition of climbing slender, supple birch trees that bend down and return you to the ground when you climb them. The founder, Matt, grew up in Maine and recalls happy times birch bending.

You can buy Birch Benders at Sprout’s, Natural Grocers, and People’s Market. Check out their recipes on their charming website too – they even have savory things to make like Paleo Pizza! 



Going Gluten-Free with Cappello’s

I don’t have dietary reasons for eating gluten-free which is why I was particularly interested in trying some gluten-free products. If my family and I liked the flavors and textures, then that would say a lot. After all, when you have dietary restrictions, you’re going to really, really want a product to be a good solution for you. But to not need it and still like it? That seemed like a good test.

Cappello’s is a Colorado company, started by two friends who wanted to create a unique, healthy food company selling
high-end gluten-free, grain free products. They sell pizza, pasta and cookie dough. I tried the latter two which was quite a test in my family with kids who consider themselves connoisseurs of both pasta and cookie dough. So, we tried several Cappello’s products one night!


Cappello’s Fettucine with meatballs (no, not gluten free) and marinara sauce.

Product: Fettuccine Noodles
Meal: Meatballs and Fettuccine
Method: With all of Cappello’s products, it’s very important to cook from frozen and to follow the instructions carefully. It was explained to me that the directions are based on each product starting out frozen so that the results turn out well.
Results: I loved the texture of the noodles! They were substantial enough to stand up to the heavy meatballs, weren’t grainy and had good flavor.


Dinner’s ready, fast! Gnocchi in brown butter with Parmesan cheese.

Product: Gnocchi
Served in browned butter
Method: At first, the boiling water will foam up. You’ll know the Gnocchi are cooked when they start to float. While they were cooking, I added some butter to a skillet and melted it until it started to turn brown. Right after draining the Gnocchi, I poured them into the skillet and let them sit for a moment or two, browning up. I then tossed them and again, let them sit and brown a little. I served the pasta immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Like the Fettuccine, the flavor and texture were great. Next time, I might also saute some sage leaves and add toasted pinon nuts. Or, because the Gnocchi are pretty mild, I think they’d also make a nice addition to a salad of spinach, kale and roasted peppers.

Product: Cookie Dough
I followed the instructions, which were easy. The nice thing is, the dough doesn’t spread out so you don’t have to worry about ending up with one big cookie glob. And get this – because there is no egg in the dough, you can eat the raw cookie dough! I had to tell my kids NOT to eat the dough so that I’d have enough to bake to show you. The flavors are Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Chip, Ginger Snap and Lemon Zest.
Results: We tried the latter two and they tasted fresh and full of natural flavor. I did find the Lemon ones a little cloying and slightly grainy but I’m not a lemon dessert fan. The Ginger Snap were great though. My kids loved both flavors.

Cappello’s products are available in a lot of stores but they are also delivered to your door. The instructions in the packaging let you know what’s reusable, recyclable and compostable and all of it is at least one of those things.


Cookies, fresh out of the oven!


I was provided with samples of products from Cappello’s to facilitate this review. However, the opinions are all my own. 

Kitchen products

Handy Kitchen Gadgets for a New School Year

I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets. They can be so handy, so cute, so clever! But if I gave in and bought every great kitchen thingy out there, I wouldn’t have any room to actually cook in my kitchen. Much like all of the baby paraphernalia we’re told we must have, you really only need some essential things in the kitchen that make cooking easier. I found two things that I highly recommend.

Kitchen products

The Fasta Pasta cooker put an end to having to bring pots of water to a boil and waiting, waiting, waiting.

The first is the Fasta Pasta cooker. We make pasta often for dinner and my kids make it more often than I do for lunches. But it isn’t really fast to make. By the time you get the water boiling and then cook the pasta, you’re talking 20-25 minutes. Plus the kids aren’t good about sticking around to make sure the pasta doesn’t boil over and accidents and messes happen.

With the Fasta Pasta cooker, the two circle openings in the lid help you measure just the right amount (it accommodates 1-4 servings at a time). Lay the pasta in the box, fill it with water to the right point and put it in the microwave. For the majority of pastas, and at four servings, it cooks for 11-13 minutes, much faster than cooking on the stove. And cooler too since the stove isn’t on. The first time or two, I recommend taking a fork and lifting out a noodle after the minimum time to see if it’s done to your liking. Keep adding a minute until it’s the way you want it. Put the lid on, remove it from the microwave and strain it through the lid.

The pasta comes out perfectly and doesn’t glob together like it does when I make it in a pot. I haven’t tried it yet but they say you can cook a variety of shapes of pasta plus cook veggies, soups, casseroles and rice in it! As much as I have enjoyed cutting down on the time and heat used to cook pasta this way, I’m going to sacrifice and give the Fasta Pasta to my daughter in college. This will be perfect for her in her small apartment. College students live by their microwaves anyway. I’m glad to know she can make a variety of things with the Fasta Pasta, which retails for $14.99. That’s such a deal, I’ll be buying myself another one.

I love that

I love that this lunch box container makes room for itself in my cupboard!

The other product can be used just for storage or for lunches and snacks on-the-go. The D’Eco Collapsible Lunch Box comes in two sizes, one for kids ($12.99) and one for adults ($19.99). Two silicone compartments can collapse down to 1/3 their original size for storage. But I have also collapsed them down after eating from them to take up less room in my bag on the way home.

The lid is sturdy and clamps on for a secure seal. There’s a cute eating utensil that’s a spoon on one end and fork on the other that snaps into its own compartment – one less thing to have to pack!

Whether I’m using it on-the-go or storing it away, I love, love, love that it collapses. It’s a handy gadget that doesn’t take up much space! I’m all for that.

Both products are available on and from specialty retailers.

We were provided with sample products to facilitate our review. However, our opinions are our own and accurately reflect our experience  with the products. 

Mother’s Day Brunch Round-Up

By Edan Goode (a mom who totally gets it)

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Next to doing housework, the last (and I mean LAST) thing any mom should be doing on Mother’s Day is cooking! Am I right? Not even for your OWN moms, ladies! Mother’s Day is the one day a year, pretty much, when it’s your day to be queen, with love, appreciation, relaxation and pleasure bestowed upon you. Lots of area restaurants are on board with that and are cooking up wonderful meals with food and drink specials in your honor. Reservations are either required or at least highly recommended! Hours vary by restaurant.

Argyll Whisky Beer Moms receive a complimentary Lavender Love cocktail at this casual British gastropub. Mom can also enjoy the Pastry Basket of assorted treats and other brunch entrees.

Blackbelly Market Mom gets a complimentary Prosecco cocktail to accompany the fresh and local farm-inspired dishes served at the East Boulder hotspot.

Bombay Clay Oven Special brunch and specialty drink items for moms, who get to dine for free.

Central Bistro and Bar Full brunch menu plus specials for mom.

Cherry Cricket will be offering all moms a Colorado Brew called Mama’s Little Yella Pils $3. 303-322-7666.

Coohills Enjoy a fixed-price brunch with fresh food stations including coffee and tea. $45 adults. $20 kids ages 4-12. Free, age 3 and under.

Cook Street School of Culinary Treat Mom to an interactive cooking class by professional chefs. Mom will learn how to prepare brunch dishes, followed by feating on a complete meal and cocktails. $89 per person. Gift certificates are also available 303-308-9300.

Guard & Grace Adults get a fixed price, 3 course menu for $45. Children get a 2 course meal for $20.

Humboldt Farm, Fish & Wine Feast on homemade breakfast pastries, Humboldt’s variations on the classic Benedicts, fresh seafood options, the signature Humboldt Raw Bar, and fresh oysters for a dollar all day. Top it off with a complimentary Humboldt Mimosa.

MAX’s Wine Dive Enjoy the Famous Southern Fried Chicken, house-made beignets, a Smoked Salmon Frittata and other specials.

Punch Bowl Social Mom can “Bowl for Brunch” for a shot at having her brunch for free. Moms also get a complimentary mimosa upon arrival. Enjoy brunch with everything from a prime rib carving station to omelettes to mac ‘n’ cheese. Adult price is $29.99, kids 6-12 are $10 and kids under 6 are free. Call 303-765-2695 or visit Open Table for reservations.

Session Kitchen Brunch options include the Session Breakfast Burrito, Lox and Tots and Banana Bread French Toast. Drinks include the create-your-own mimosa.  Call 720-763-3387 for reservations.

Stout Street Social Complimentary Mimosa for Mom, special brunch items and drink specials. Call 720-214-9100 for reservations.

Tamayo Have the Bottomless Margarita Brunch and a complimentary Mom’s Day chrysanthemum flower.  Brunch includes unlimited small plates and free flowing brunch cocktails for $35. Reservations required at 720-946-1433.

The Corner Office Restaurant and Martini Bar Denver Mother’s get a free glass of prosecco and kids get a build-your-own Pancake Bar.

ViewHouse (Centennial) Mother’s Day buffet brunch including crab eggs benedict, a roasted sage chicken, New York strip steak and honey glazed ham plus a complimentary ViewHouse Mimosa.

ViewHouse (Denver) Enjoy a variety of brunch selections plus the ViewHouse Mule or ViewHouse mimosa.

Village Inn is giving moms a carnation (while supplies last), enabling her to win prizes on their Facebook page and, if you prefer a gift card, you buy one for $25 and get $5.

Zengo Indulge in a  Bottomless Mother’s Day Brunch with a Build Your Own Bloody Bar (Maria or Mary), unlimited small plates and brunch cocktails. Mom receives a Mother’s Day Chrysanthemum to plant. Reservations are recommended, call 720-904-0965.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

Come! E.A.T. with us! 



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Crowing for Mooyah

It’s fun to discover new restaurants that enable the whole family to eat and with healthy choices to boot. The great customer service we experienced was an added (big) bonus! 

We visited the Denver location of Mooyah Burgers Fries & Shakes recently (they also have a location in Thornton and Westminster) and found not only a good variety of menu options but also extremely good customer service from the friendly employees.


The Mooyah Burger, Turkey Burger, Loaded Salad, Shake and Fries at Mooyah!

There is a large menu board up high, nice and visible while you’re in line. But if your neck is starting to strain, don’t worry, there are menus closer to the register where you order too. We ordered the Turkey Burger (there’s also a Jennie-O Jalapeño Jack Turkey burger available until mid-May with mushroomy-goodness that looks delicious), the Mooyah Burger with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion strings and Mooyah sauce (kind of a Thousand Island) and the Loaded House Salad. Oh, and the large order of fresh-cut fries was a ton, spread all over a tray which made my husband very, very happy. This exercise-freak man of mine rubbed his hands together when they brought the tray of hot fries saying “this is like a dream come true to me!”

All of our food was great. I loved my irregularly-shaped burger that was clearly not from a pre-formed patty – it reminded me of the burgers my grandma used to make – yum! I appreciated the number of choices, from the type of (baked in-house) bun you can order (white, wheat or lettuce wrap) to the type of burger (beef, turkey, black bean, or hot dog) to extras like cheese, bacon, avocado, veggies and sauces.

The salad deserves special mention because it’s enormous! Food is served on trays, including the salad. You can add a beef, turkey or veggie patty or chicken tenders on top but my husband was happy with the avocado and bacon that came on it, along with tomatoes, mushrooms and a tasty nest of fried onion strings. The only negative was that the spicy ranch dressing seemed to just be ranch with some tobacco sauce and was really nothing special.

Kids can order a Little Burger, hot dog, grilled cheese and chicken tenders with fries or applesauce and a drink.

A visit to Mooyah would not be complete without mention of their ice cream shakes with mix-ins. My daughter ordered the peanut butter cups with hers and it was mixed just enough to get some chocolate-peanut butter goodness flavoring the ice cream but leaving big chunks of candy for scooping – it was quite a dessert.

The atmosphere at Mooyah is sunny and bright with a huge blackboard and kiddie chairs at one end to let kids create to their hearts’ content. However, the kid-orientation didn’t stop one adult patron when we were there from writing a note about how much he loves Mooyah burgers! Nice.

When you go, share #myMOOYAH photos of your meal and your experience with the restaurant. Also, they are having a #MOOMillians Mooyah Millionaire Sweepstakes in which every burger purchased until May 31 enters you for a chance to win a million dollars!

We were given a gift card toward the purchase of our meal to facilitate a review. However, our opinions are absolutely our own.

Come! E.A.T. with us! 



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Robin Chocolates

Spring Forth with Easter Treats for Colorado’s Robin Chocolates

When I was a child, one year, my parents gave me a nougat-filled, chocolate-covered egg for Easter. It was beautiful. And delicious. I made that thing last a month, slicing off just a little bit each day (such restraint for a kid!). So when I saw some of the beautiful Easter treats made by Robin Chocolates, right here in Colorado, I had flashbacks of the enjoyment of something so pretty at a special time of year.

Robin Autorino is the Robin of Robin Chocolates. As owner and chef, she started the company in 2008, aiming to produce “the very best chocolates, confections and pastries using honest ingredients and time tested techniques.” All of her products are sold in her store in Longmont and in a few specialty shops. Visit the website to find out more. Meanwhile, I certainly had fun doing a little photo shoot with some of Robin Chocolate’s Easter treats with come of my own little Easter decorations.

The chocolate and caramel eggs with jelly beans comes in a charming chocolate nest. And the “Crouching Bunnies” are filled with marshmallow cream and either cookie butter ganache, peanut butter ganache, almond butter ganache or just the cream. How do you know which is which? By the color of their little tails. And that glossy egg? It’s filled with layers of marshmallow cream, chocolate and peanut butter!

Robin Chocolates does far more than Easter goodies. Browse the website (slooooowly!) and see her other works of art.

Robin Chocolates

So pretty. So delicious. Easter chocolate confections from Robin Chocolates.