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The Happy Egg Co. Happy Hens Lay Happy Eggs. Free Range Eggs Flocking to Southern California Soon.

Have you ever thought about where your eggs come from?  Are your eggs caged-eggs, cage-free, free-range, or organic? Huh, What?? Luckily I was invited out this past week for a presentation by the Happy Egg Co.’s eggs-pert and third generation chicken farmer Cyd Syzmanski to learn about the differences and about their hens (affectionately refered to as “the girls”) to clear up any confusion on these very vague terms.

Caged- Eggs

Come from hens who live their entire lives in a wire cage that is so small that they cannot even stretch and flap their wings. These hens are definitely NOT happy girls! Who wants to live like that? I certainly do not! I LOVE my sunshine! Oh, and I like to be able to stretch and move my arms and legs too.

Cage-Free Eggs

Cage-free eggs come from birds that are not raised in cages, but usually are in an open barn. The hens have bedding material such as pine shavings on the floor and are allowed perches and nest boxes to lay their eggs.  However, they may still be at close quarters with many other hens — just not in cages. These girls are also locked inside for their entire lives. They NEVER get to see the light of day, poor things. I don’t know about you, but I would not like to have to be forced to live this way either!

Free-Range Eggs

Free-range eggs are laid from hens that have the opportunity to go outside. Some farms may keep birds outside in a small fenced in area. They may travel in and out of a barn at free will or spend some portion of their day roaming outdoors. Finally some sunlight!! This is by far the best choice for the girls at the happy egg co, but they go even farther and give them a whole 4 acres of land to roam free on!! The Happy Egg Co. set the golden standard to what all “free-range” hens and their eggs should be held to.

“At the happy egg, the definition of Free Range is the best standard as it addresses the total welfare of the hen from balanced nutritious feed to acres of land to roam in the sunshine and fresh air as well as access to an enriched, safe barn with nests.”

Organic Eggs

BEWARE of this label!! Organic eggs are laid from hens that EAT an organic feed and don’t receive vaccines or antibiotics which is a GOOD thing of course, BUT  these girls may be kept in a caging system unless specified otherwise on the carton. There are currently no standards requiring organically fed hens to be kept in a free-range system. For a company to be certified by the USDA  as organic, the grains used for the hens’ diets must be grown on land that has been free from the use of pesticides and fertilizers for at least three years.  Genetically engineered crops are not allowed, and the hens must be raised without hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.

Allowing hens to be hens and to engage in their natural behaviors is the happy egg co.’s definition of Free Range and is truly the gold standard. Lovingly referred to as the Girls, they are never locked up in a cage, barn, or forced to go anywhere else that they don’t want to go. In an eggshell, farmers provide them with the freedom to flap their wings and fly as they roam across four acres of pasture.

The Happy Egg Hens are so happy because they have daily access to:

* 4 acres of pasture to roam free among the trees, shade, sand pits, and just to enjoy the fresh air and warm sunshine on their feathers with their favorite girlfriends.

*Large protective barn to keep them safe overnight from the elements, they have the freedom to choose where to roost for the night and can even choose their favorite nesting box, as well as some fun toys to peck at so they don’t get bored (since they don’t have access to any TV’s, computers with internet, or other technology to keep themselves entertained with like we do).  😉

*Clean water and feed consisting of an all-natural formulated diet of corn and soy.

Happy eggs come from happy family run farms, which is the best way to raise happy, Free Range hens. No huge chicken factories here. Small family farmers are chosen based on several criteria, most importantly that they are good animal stewards who are very passionate about improving the life of the hens they care for everyday.  With their network of small farmers, they will be scaling up to distribute across California and the nation.

Eggs are a staple in any home, and are packed with protein and nutrients galore which makes them perfect any time of the day. From fluffy omelets, to decadent French Toast, moist cakes, chocolate brownies, to quiches and more; the recipes for eggs are endless. To make the tastiest dishes, you want the highest quality ingredients, that you and your family deserve. The happy egg co. believes that the best eggs can only come from the happiest hens that are treated like gold and are well cared for, which just makes sense. I would be happy too if I were able to frolic and play outside all day as I pleased!

Now, look below at the packaging. How awesome is that? Not only are the hens, and the eggs happy, but even the packaging of these eggs are happy!! Adding a ray of sunshine to the otherwise dreary and boring gray, white and sometimes light blue egg cases, happy eggs are packaged in a happy sunshine-yellow carton with big pillars that cradle and protect the eggs. Cute pictures give you easy to understand information on the carton as well.

*Random Fact* Did you know that the color of the egg is determined by the color of the hens earlobe? The happy eggs girls are a Bovan Brown hybrid known for its egg-laying ability and easy-going temperament.  Their girls always lay brown eggs, because their ear lobes are BROWN!!

So where can you buy the happiest eggs on earth? No, unfortunately not at Disneyland (although that would make sense to me too if you could since that’s the happiest place on earth) Schucks!! Starting Oct. 15, you will be able to find these happy eggs in their happy sunshiny day packaging at select Ralph’s and Fresh & Easy locations in Southern California, between Santa Barbara and San Diego for approximately $4.99 a dozen making it a breeze to add the best eggs possible to the family table.

At the Happy Egg Co, the goal is to make Free Range eggs available to everyone. Happy Hens lay Happy Eggs.  Happy hens that are treated well will lay the highest quality eggs.   Always putting the hen first, the girls roam free across acres of pasture on small family farms tended by experts who are passionate about what they do. The result? Only the highest quality eggs that will make your dishes the freshest, finest and tastiest as humanly (or is it henly?) possible.

For More Information on The Happy Egg Co:

*U.S. headquarters is in San Francisco. The happy egg co. brings its years of experience with Free Range eggs as part of Noble Foods Ltd. and the happy egg co. brand in the United Kingdom.

*Website: www.thehappyeggco.com

*Facebook: www.Facebook.com/HappyEggCoUSA

*Twitter @HappyEggCoUSA

Disclosure: I was invited to an egg-cellent presentation and brunch by the Happy Egg Co.  All opinions stated above are my own and  I will be looking for the Happy Eggs in my local super market in just a few short weeks!

LA County Fair Food Preview and Four Pack of Fair Tickets–Giveaway Ends 09/08!

The LA County Fair officially started today at 3pm with rides, games, shows, concerts,  new animal exhibits and of course, a huge variety of food.  Every year, the food is a huge draw at the fair, and this year will not disappoint as they are more than prepared to appeal to every palette and appetite .  You will see the usual fried fare from longtime fair favorites such as Chicken Charlie, but the fair does have some Gluten-Free options, one of my personal favorites; Terri’s Berries and then there is the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Marketplace. The Fair will run through September 30th.  Fun events and concerts are planned throughout the entire month and are sure to thrill and wow us.  This past Tuesday I was invited out to a food preview, and oh boy, make sure to wear comfortable clothing to the fair so that you can fully enjoy all the food the fair has to offer.  I grew up going to this fair, and by the tastes of food and drink I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in, I am so excited to attend the fair again this year.

There was just a handful of vendors on hand, but nevertheless it was a FANTASTIC sampling of all things fair food, so without further ado, here are the much anticipated  photos of the fair food we got to sample (Which is why you’re here I’m sure is for the fair food photos, not to hear me ramble on and on endlessly… 😉 You can find these food vendors while out and about at the fair this year.

1) Ten Pound Buns

Ten Pound Buns makes wonderful  freshly made sourdough bread topped with all sorts of delicious toppings.  They have a variety of options including BBQ chicken, the ultimate with everything on it,  pepperoni, bacon Nutella, meat lovers, jalapeno and cheese, to just their original with cheese. They have 7 different varieties to choose from. I decided on the BBQ Chicken, it was absolute perfection. The sauce was not too sweet, not too smoky.

The BBQ Chicken

I also had a sample of Jamie’s Bacon Nutella (be sure to check out her blog post about the food preview for more mouth-watering pics. 🙂  I was hesitant to try this, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the sweet and salty mixed together.

2) Skinny Girl Bar and Food
Next stop was, “Skinny Bar,” as I needed something to wash down that amazing BBQ Chicken creation.  New to the fair this year, these fabulous and delicious cocktails are low-calorie, but still pleasantly flavorful.  These drinks are especially designed for women and come in margaritas, lemonades, and cosmos. My favorite was the margarita. Very refreshing on such a WARM summer’s night!!!

3) Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips with Bacon Cheddar Cheese

For all of you Gluten-Free fans out there, make sure to make a stop at Tasti Chips!! These crispy “Tasti Chips” are made in peanut oil and are completely gluten-free!  My advice to everyone out there is to ADD the Bacon Cheddar cheese to your order (NOTE TO SELF: the cheese isn’t gluten-free!) You can also get them topped with  numerous other toppings if you so desire.

4) Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Hawaiian Shaved Ice has always been a favorite, and this night was no different. The Shaved Ice was a big hit and  everyone loved their personal creations.  What makes it “Hawaiian” you may be asking yourself? Well, they take Sweet and Condensed Milk  and pour a very generous amount of it over your masterpiece of flavors for you.

One of the personal favorites of the evening ammong our group was their “Root Beer” Flavor. Here I tried their Bahama Mama and Pina Colada flavors. Very tropical and just want I wanted on such a WARM warm night!

5) Ice Cream and Funnel Cakes

Always a fair favorite, goodies abound of ice cream creations and funnel cakes that will be here for you to enjoy throughout the fair. You can never go wrong with a dipped cone or funnel cake with powdered sugar or a fruit topping!!

6) Monster Grill

Burgers, corn dogs, and fries, Oh my!! You can get your corn dog on a stick fix here as well as lots and lots of fries. Oh and did I mention you can get fries here?  😉

7) Harold & Belle’s to Geaux

Want to try something a little bit different from your typical fair food?  Love some good old Louisiana Creole food straight from New Orleans? Then you  need to stop by this booth.  They had samples of fried catfish, Crawfish Etouffe and for a  delicious dessert they were also dishing up some wonderful bread pudding. This booth was one of my favorites of the night. The Crawfish Etouffe and the bread pudding were both amazing and I will definitely be back for more of this exquisite yumminess!

Crawfish Etouffe

Bread Pudding

8) Chicken Charlie

A long time fair favorite for many who love deep-fried foods.  With deep-fried cookie dough, deep-fried cereal,  deep-fried kool aid ( I STILL want to try this), deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried avocados and for the more adventurous– deep-fried frog legs can you really go wrong?  They even had deep-fried Dodger Dogs! I truly enjoyed the deep-fried cereal! I WILL be back to try the deep-fried Kool Aide as this was not available to sample that night.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough

Deep Fried Cinnamon Toast Crunch

This year they will also be having a “Pineapple Express” location where they will only be serving their  “Naked Pineapple Bowl.” As I have been trying to eat healthier lately, this was one of my  genuine favorites of the entire night. This delectable bowl comes with rice, pineapple, and eight pieces of shrimp. I love anything with pineapple in it and shrimp, so you can’t go wrong with this one.

Naked Pineapple Bowl

9) Fresh Frys

Fresh Frys is a two-time winner of the O.C. Fair’s Outstanding Fair Food award and serves freshly baked French Fries for your enjoyment. They are also well known for their famous Blooming Onions.  However, one thing I was told upon entering the food preview was that I just HAD to try these marshmallow yammies! Sweet potato fries with fluffy, gooey, marshmallow cream goodness drizzled all over them.  The sweet was just what I needed after having the saltier Tasti Chips. Here is a pic of their marshmallow yammies. YUM or should I say YAM?? 😉

10) Pink’s Hot Dogs

The oh so famous Pink’s Hot Dogs are back at the fair for another year. Home of the world’s best chili dog, among other favorites doused in ketchup, mustard, onions and relish. That evening they were sampling their Matt Kenseth hot dog with jalapenos, onions, guacamole, spicy mustard and ketchup.

11) C’est La Vie/Flavors of France

Last, but certainly not least, for the first time at the LA County Fair is “Flavors of France” from C’est La Vie.  These amazing artisans have some great restaurants right here in our own backyard in SoCal; as they are located in Laguna Beach and are here at the fair to bring Paris to us.  Their booth is all about delectable combinations like strawberries and Nutella swirled together into a freshly made crepe and other tasty french pastries, they have some spectacular talent with the endless creations they came up with. Admittedly, being the sweet tooth that I am, this was the first vendor I stopped at and I just had to have a piece of their cheesecake before having anything else. It did not disappoint, and I am pretty picky about my cheesecake! 😉 Chocolate Mousse, Fruit Tarts, Napoleons, Cheesecakes, and many more dazzling options await you from these fine folks.  You must make it one of your stops at the fair, I know I will.  You will not be disappointed. Shown below is the Chocolate Bomb, Fruit Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Above are their fruit tarts and Napoleons.

A beautiful sunset at the LA County Fair.

The Fair is here just in time for the long Labor Day weekend, at the Fairplex in Pomona, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, and runs through Sept. 30. This is the earliest opening date ever for the fair, now going on its 90th year.

NOW, what you have ALL been waiting for!!! ONE lucky reader has a chance to win a 4 Pack of Tickets to the LA County Fair!

Retail Value: Max retail value $68 Dollars

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment letting me know what fair food item has your mouth watering and eager to try!

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No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  Must be a California Resident and be 18 years of age or older.  Winner will be chosen through the use of random.org and will be notified via email.  Giveaway ends at 9pm PST on 09/08/2012.  All other rules can be found here.

Disclosure: I was invited out to the Media Food Preview Night at the LA County Fair.  All food and drinks were provided to me for free, and I was provided with a 4 pack of tickets and a parking pass to the LA County Fair. All opinions stated above are my own.

Stay tuned for more Fair Fun!! 😉

The Wonderful World of Disney World Dining!

I’m a BIG Disney fan as you may all I know. I had asked my friend Kate (who I met on a Contiki tour to Europe back in 2008) and who is also a Disney fanatic as well and is actually lucky enough to work for the Mouse at Walt Disney World if she would like to write a guest post here while I am in South Dakota for the rest of the week for my cousin Erin’s Wedding (Yes, I know we have the same name! She was actually named after me and has a middle name after another cousin or so we say anyways 😉 Who better to ask than her about tips on places to eat while at Disney World? I would LOVE to take a trip to Florida and visit Disney World again (as well as go on a Disney Cruise again!!!) I hope you enjoy her ideas and tips on how to plan out your dining adventures while in the parks at Disney World! Thanks Kate for the great ideas!

Disney World Dining Tips
By Kate

Planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort can at times be a daunting task. This is with good reason, with 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping district, over 20 resort hotels and countless (and I mean countless) numbers of dining options, it’s no wonder people sometimes get overwhelmed. After countless family vacations and years of working at the parks, I can offer one small piece of advice. If you are anything like my family you will treasure this little nugget like it is real gold. Base your day on food. I’m serious. I know, Florida’s hot and the thought of eating a big, heavy meal before going on Space Mountain might not sit well with some, but trust me. The dining options the Walt Disney World Resort offers are some of the best meals and experiences your family and you will have while visiting. The only sad part is, as one of my friends said on her first visit, you can’t hit them all.

Regardless of the vast options, there are simple ways to go about eating your way through the parks. First, know that several dining options are available, from fast food to fine dining. With something that will please everyone’s palette, from traditional Italian, to world class steak houses, authentic Japanese sushi and even standard mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids, everyone can walk away happy and satisfied. Second, when planning, don’t automatically assume that Day 1 will be at Magic Kingdom, Day 2 at Epcot, etc., check out what dining options are available and plan your day in that park. For example, if you choose to eat in Italy at Epcot’s World Showcase on Day 3, plan on visiting that park as well so that you aren’t running from park to park just to make a dining reservation. Speaking of Italy, the dining options in Epcot’s World Showcase offer some of the best and most authentic cuisine. Here’s another tip, I always ask my waiter or waitress what their favorite dish is, or what on the menu seems most like “home” to them. In Norway I once tried a dish that resembled a personal meatloaf all because the waiter said it reminded him of home and his mom. It was delicious! Remember the waiters and waitresses are from that country. They will not steer you wrong, I promise!

While some of the sit down restaurants offer pricey dishes, even the thriftiness of vacationers can find something to revive their energy after a long day of park hopping. One way to get the most “bang for your buck”, is combining dinner and a show such as the Fantasmic Dining Package. The set price includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert, beverage and priority seating to the nighttime show Fantasmic for each person in the dining party. What better way to introduce a first timer to the park than a filling, gourmet meal followed by an exciting show? The savings comes in the combination of paying a set price versus a la carte pricing¸ and you also get the benefit of preferred seating.

Big sit down meals are not the only option. If that’s not on the agenda, no worries, there are still plenty of tasty options throughout property that you can enjoy. At the Magic Kingdom don’t miss getting a Dole Whip in Adventureland. This tasty pineapple treat is refreshing and one of the most popular items in the park. Casey’s on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom offers delicious hot dogs and fries (cracker jacks too!) at a reasonable price and right across the street in the ice cream parlor is the most delicious sundae served with a mountain of hot fudge in a waffle bowl. That’s a great meal! If you had to ask me what my favorite find in the Magic Kingdom was though, I’d have to say a hot baked potato at the fruit stand in Liberty Square. At just around $3, this potato comes with all your favorite toppings and is definitely satisfying. Even the resorts have great options. The Polynesian has a fantastic sushi bar on the upper level of the main building and the new quick service restaurant at the Art of Animation Resort puts a new twist on a sandwich with the Surf and Surf burger. It’s a crab cake topped with fried popcorn shrimp. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I could really talk for days about all the wonderful dining options the Walt Disney World Resort offers. While I might have glossed over the options, there is some advice that will work much better than any restaurant recommendation I can give. Sift through the menus on the Walt Disney World website, most restaurants offer them. Choose something new and exciting for at least one meal. If you’ve always wondered about escargot, then book that reservation at Chefs de France! The Cast will do everything in their power to make sure you have an enjoyable dining experience and I can bet you won’t be sorry for exploring something new on vacation. Bon appetit!

Got Strawberries?

Oh Strawberries! You are luscious, sweet, soft and juicy. There’s NOTHING that can keep us away from you! Not even an over heated car beeping for us to pull over…

This past Friday evening, Mary & I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by the California Strawberry Commission that was held in Newport Beach at TrueFood Kitchen, a restaurant I have long wanted to check out since I heard rave reviews about this place when it first opened from a friend. Mary and I both agreed, that we cannot WAIT to return to one of their locations (in Santa Monica, Newport, San Diego or in Arizona). There is something for everyone on the menu; whether you’re Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan or carnivore they are sure to have something that will tickle your fancy. BUT before we could enjoy all this strawberry and fresh amazing food fun, we had to get there first!!

Of all the times for a radiator hose to decide to pop off & cause Mary’s car to overheat & throw poor Mary into a huge scare, it HAD to be on our way to the strawberry fun?! Apparently, it did! But, we kept our cool and tried to make light of the situation and hope for the best that we would make it (since we had a scare that the radiator had either blown or the hose was leaking, which meant we would have had to been towed somewhere!) Luckily all it took was some coolant, water and a hose to be put back on and then we were on our way again an hour later! Thank goodness for social media, I was able to notify through my iPhone on Facebook, e-mail and twitter to a few who were attending and in charge of the event our whereabouts and dilemma. Everyone was so welcoming & gracious to us despite our major delay.

As we arrived we were greeted with food & drinks galore, opting for the Strawberry Mojito as it WAS a strawberry event!! It was delicious. I love any fruity drink, so this one was right up my alley. The appetizers were all amazing as well, with many strawberry goodies. Besides strawberries galore, there were several items from the TrueFood starter menu we got to enjoy including the; Shitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups (very light, crisp and refreshing with a zangy sauce that I loved), Thai Spicy Shrimp Dumplings (which we could have eaten all day given the chance), a Kale Salad that was marinated in lemon juice and wasn’t overcooked and soggy nor was it too hard and chewy. It was just right! There was also pizza that was fresh right out of the oven that really hit the spot. My favorite though has to be the steak tacos! Freshly baked tortillas with tender steak and topped with a generous amount of avocado (another favorite of mine!), tomato, cabbage, with spices and sauce. They were breath-taking. I loved every morsel of those things!

While we were munching & mingling, we had the pleasure to listen to a great lecture on the health benefits of strawberries from Illinois-based Nutrition Expert & Author, Mr. David Grotto. He explained the many benefits of a healthy diet in a fun and humorous way as he mentioned the 2 most important staples: Alcohol & Dessert! (In moderation of course). He then went on to explain the true meaning of “WTF?” for us: Where’s The Fiber? With year-round availability, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy every day that are PACKED with fiber.

Being a total book nerd I was excited that in our “swag bags” we were all given copies of his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, which covers many of the ailments we deal with day in & day out; many of which can be reversed by simple changes in your diet and/or lifestyle. Diets that can help us treat each of these troubles as well as recipes to go with them are discussed in great detail. Here is a picture of me with David Grotto, the author of this life-changing book.

Here are some fun facts I learned about Strawberries!!

*A serving of strawberries is equal to about eight whole strawberries.

* A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber.

*Are naturally low in sugar- one serving has only eight grams

*Strwaberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight some types of cancer and lower blood pressure!

That’s one powerful super fruit if you ask me!! 😉

;

What about DESSERT?? You may be thinking? Of COURSE! What kind of strawberry event would that be without some strawberry desserts? 😉 They had strawberry cupcakes, strawberry rhubarb a la mode (my favorite!), and a choclate pudding with strawberries.

So to put it lightly, Strawberries have it going on! Along with David’s book, we were also treated to a yummy recipe book with beautiful photos of each dish. I never knew that there were so many amazing things you could make with the strawberry, but this book will give you countless ideas that will make your mouth water just looking at the pictures. What are some of your favorite recipes that call for strawberries as one of the main ingredients? I’d love for you to share them here! 🙂

Even my cat MOE approves of strawberries!! He gives them 2 paws up!!! 😉

*Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at this event hosted by CA Strawberries. All food & drink I had the pleasure of sampling was complimentary, as well as the gift bag provided to me. All opinions are my own & I had a wonderful time!

“Home Sweet Home” at the Orange County Fair

The rides, the food, the exhibits, the animals, the shows! There is something for everyone at the fair and it is one of my favorite summertime hang-out spots to enjoy some good food, good company of friends and family, and some top-notch entertainment or a lazy summer afternoon of wandering around the exhibits, rides, games, or just sitting back and taking it all in.  This is the last week of the fair, so if you have not already had the chance to go, then make sure you head down there by Sunday August 12th!!

Here are some of my favorite things about the OC County Fair:

1. The FOOD!! You cannot go to the fair and NOT have any of the spectacular food options they have. Ranging from the healthy to the not-so healthy, whatever you fancy, I can guarantee you will find something delicious! Fresh Berries. Roasted Corn on the Cob. Deep-fried. Wrapped in Bacon. On-a-stick. Battered. Breaded. Dipped in chocolate. Eating at the Fair is a unique experience. 😉

Two of my favorite things!! Chocolate and STRAWBERRIES!!

I ended up getting a basket of  nice ripe, juicy berries and a chocolate covered strawberry!! YUM!

Bacon Wrapped… everything… I just love this sign.

Fresh Roasted Corn

OMG this was amazing!! Pulled-Pork Waffle Sandwich!! Totally curbed my craving for a funnel cake for dessert! So I ended up getting a chocolate dipped vanilla cone instead. I WILL get my funnel cake fix at the LA County Fair next month! 😉

My Dipped Cone… notice I still managed to get my funnel cake in the picture as well…. 😉

2. The ANIMALS! I’m sure you all know by now that I am a HUGE animal lover. I’m a sucker for a cute critter. The Centennial Farm and Petting Zoos are both great places to make some new four-legged friends.

3. The ENTERTAINMENT! As if the super adorable animals were not enough, since I could easily stay all day just visiting and making friends with them, the fair has endless opportunities for some breath-taking, action packed entertainment. One of my favorites since I was a young child, is the Peking Acrobats. I have to watch them whenever I make it out to the OC Fair!

4. The RIDES! What’s the fair without some exhilarating rides with some of the best views around of Orange County?

Some of the amazing views you will find when you catch a ride on the Sky Ride at night! Just DON’T look down below if you are afraid of heights! 😉

The La Grand Farris Wheel

View from atop the Ferris Wheel

5. FACE PAINTING!! If you didn’t notice already, my friends and I all got our faces painted. Being a kid at heart, the fair is the place to be a kid again and you can get away with doing silly, fun stuff like that. So it is NOT just for kids. Best part was, it was only $5 and we kept hearing comments from others on how cute our Hello Kitty’s were. 🙂

Mary, from Along Comes Mary getting her face painted!

Group Pic!

Close-Up of how my Hello Kitty turned out. I loved it.

6. All of the EXHIBITS & SHOPPING!! I didn’t have time to get pictures of all the Exhibits. I will have to cover that this weekend when I go again. 😉 There are TONS of awesome and unique items at the fair that you won’t find anywhere else. The fair truly is a one of a kind experience that everyone can enjoy.

Have YOU gone to the fair yet? If you’re not in SoCal, have you been to the fair this summer near you? What’s your favorite things about the fair? I’d LOVE to hear all about it! 🙂

A Lovely Lunch at Stonefire Grill

Looking for a new place to try out for lunch or dinner? Don’t feel like cooking on these toasty 95 plus degree dog days of summer? Want to try some new healthy options? Want a unique, fast-casual dining experience with a distinct and innovative style? Well then Stonefire Grill  is the place for you!! After hearing some great things about this place,  last month I had the chance to give  Stonefire Grill a try for the first time and it did not disappoint.  I really loved everything about this place.  Everything on the menu we had was delicious! Seriously, you could close your eyes and point to a random place on the menu and order. It will taste amazing.

Stonefire Grill first opened in Valencia in 2000 by sisters, Mary and Maureen Harrigan.  They wanted to move away from lengthy dining and thus created a fast-casual eating establishment. The focus of Stonefire Grill is on fresh ingredients to create dishes that are freshly prepared and simply delicious. Diners can enjoy Stonefire Grill in one of 7 locations, at home, or catered for a party.

When you first walk in you would order your food at the front, find your own seating, and they bring the food to you. Everything, from plates to soda fountain drinks to BBQ sauces, are left in one section of the dining area so you can get up and get whatever you need whenever you needed it.

Stonefire Grill recently added some refreshing Quinoa salads to their menu, which were the first items we tried. Quinoa is the seed that is high in protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a “super food” as it is a complete protein. Furthermore, for all of you health nuts out there, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus, and is high in magnesium and iron. It is also a great source of calcium, and thus useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten-free, easy to digest,  and contains no wheat and,when heated, is fluffy and creamy with an al dente texture that takes on the flavor of other ingredients in the dish. Quinoa has taken center stage on Stonefire Grills’ menu with the introduction of 3 new dishes. My favorite of the three was the Healthy Hybrid; so light and refreshing, just PERFECT for lunch on a summer’s afternoon!

Stonefire Grill offers 3 variations:

Keen Green: A blend of fresh spinach, pesto and quinoa with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado and Parmesan cheese for $8.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Hybrid: Quinoa with garbanzo beans, red onion, green bell peppers, Kalamata olives, cucumber, tomato and artichoke hearts tossed with Dijon mustard vinaigrette and topped with feta cheese for$7.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa (side):  Simply prepared in vegetable broth with a dash of fresh lemon, mint and green onions; single $1.59,small $2.99, medium $4.99 and large $8.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entire lunch was amazing, I kept saying the same thing after the first bite, “This is sooo good!!”  The rest of our table agreed, there wasn’t anything we tried that we didn’t like. Everything was so fresh and tasty. We tasted the new quinoa salads; Keen Green and Healthy Hybrid, Tri Tip (both the Pepper Garlic & BBQ), Fresh Lemon Garlic Salmon, BBQ Chicken, Garlic Bread, followed by their famous homemade Carrot Cake, Fudge Brownie, and Cheese Cake for dessert. The food is primarily served family style as the portions are great for sharing. We had the petite salads, and as you can see, they are definitely big enough to share with others, or enough for you to take an extra meal home with you. The bread sticks were amazingly flavorful and buttery.

As for the meat, I am in love with the Pepper Garlic Tri-Tip with Gorgonzola butter. It was sooo tender, cooked to perfection, melt in your mouth good. The BBQ Tri-Tip was also delicious, but I love pepper garlic and gorgonzola butter!!! The salmon was simply prepared, very flavorful, light and flaky and grilled to perfection. The chicken was also very tender and had a nice Mesquite BBQ flavor to it. Next time, I can’t wait to try their ribs!! I have heard the meat is just fall off the bone delicious. Each item was cooked well, not overdone. All creations were very pleasing to the palate as well as to your wallet as the  food is priced affordably. You get a lot for your money as the portions are very generous. We had plenty of left overs at the end as we all took a box home with us for dinner! The Tri Tip is $13.99, The 1/2 Chicken is $6.99, and the 1/2 pound Salmon is $9.99. My favorites from the afternoon were the Healthy Hybrid, Pepper Garlic Tri-Tip, and the Carrot Cake!

Speaking of Dessert, I hope you left some room for some!!! Here are some pictures of the sugary, sinful delights. As you can see, they are plenty big enough to share with everyone at your table! We had a full size of the Heavenly Cheesecake (ONLY $5.49) and look how HUGE it is!! I only wish we had gotten a full size carrot cake piece too, as we only ordered a 1/2 portion ($3.29) I am usually a cheesecake girl, but the Incredible Carrot Cake is just that, INCREDIBLE!  It won me over. We also had their famous fudge brownie too ($2.79), which I would order again as well. It was very chocolatey, fudgey, and oh so good!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stonefire Grill is truly a restaurant that I will be going to again and again. Perfect to go out to with friends or family or if I’m just tired and had a long day and want take-out. If you live in or are visiting in LA, Orange County, or Valencia, then Stonefire Grill is a must try.

Locations:

Valencia, West Hills, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Chatsworth,
Pasadena, Thousand Oaks

Social Networks:  Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post.
The brand/PR representative invited me to taste the new menu. The opinions
expressed in this post are solely mine and I was under no obligation to provide
a positive review. I received permission to post company trademarked logo and
images on my blog.

Day 30– Food

The last day of that photo challenge. FOOD! Who doesn’t like food? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken tacos from the skinnylicous menu at  Cheesecake Factory. YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon & Carmalized Onion Scramble from one of my favorite diners in Long Beach! Starling Diner. 🙂