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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Brunch.. The Best "Combo" Meal of the Day

   To all of the 'Biters' I've created this blog with great eats in mind!! Whenever I have a late start or want to sleep in that Saturday morning, I love having brunch. Brunch is the meal that's usually served as a late breakfast or an early lunch. I love brunch because you can get a great combination of breakfast items, along with some savory lunch selections,  plus unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Mary's, & Screwdrivers. (In Atlanta you can also find Mint Julep)

   Buffet style brunch allows you and your guests to enjoy an assortment of food rather than sticking to a traditional menu. Whenever I serve brunch, I like to have a few stations such as cocktails, cold/salad, carving, hot foods, and most importantly desserts. In each station you can have maybe 2-3 items to serve an array of dishes. Quiches and breakfast casseroles are a quick and easy way to prepare a brunch alongside some fresh fruit and maybe some brunch potatoes.

   I've noticed that more and more restaurants are jumping on the "brunch bandwagon" & providing everyone with an abundance of brunch options.  From the cocktails to the freshly baked breads and pastries, and even the smoked salmon and chilled shrimp cocktail or lump crab cakes with those scrambled eggs are creating amazing brunch experiences. So, next Sunday or Mother's Day or whenever you can't make the alarm, stop by & have a bit of brunch!!

-Chef Tara L. Browning

P.S. - While visiting #LasVegas earlier this year,  I was blessed to find some great places to eat. Enjoy & savor each & every 'Tasty Bite'!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Countdown To The Holidays!!!!! :)

                    The holiday season is quickly approaching and with the changing weather, the end of the year is wrapping up with parties, gatherings, and lots and lots of food! To prepare for the season, I like to plan out my menus ahead of time, shop days before, prep all necessary items, then, execute the day of. I like to mix and mingle with my guests, so I keep in mind that I will do very little cooking when my guests arrive for the fun & festivities. Most host(ess) don't mind having their gatherings around the kitchen, only because either some items aren't finished, or because people like to gravitate towards the smells of the holiday! I like mingling either on the deck or in the family room with everyone else as a movie or some music going for everyone to enjoy each other. Besides the gatherings with family and friends, enjoy celebrations with co-workers and even your boss. Just remember that it is a "work-related" event, so, keep the alcoholic beverages to a 2 or 3 drink minimum. Even if you can handle your alcohol, being employed is better than being the 'talk of the job' because you didn't know how to control yourself at the holiday party and now you no longer have a job because of your behavior. 

                    Between shopping for gifts for the family, friends, co-workers, pets, & bottles of wine for your 'arrival' gifts, you could break the bank this season in your purchases alone. I like to look for the bargains, clip the extra coupons, and look online for the extra coupons or even the sales that you can benefit from your online only purchases. A lot of people I know are gravitating towards the online shopping to avoid the crowds at the shopping plazas, but I love getting inspiration from the malls and stores.  It's the season decorations, the smells, and even the mall Santa that puts me in the mood! This time of year can put you in the giving spirit, but be careful for the frauds and crooks out there. There have been some organizations that are out for bad, but trust and give to the same reputable organizations that you've given to in previous years. If you choose to donate to a new charitable organization, check out the background and make sure they're associated with the BBB or another reputable company that ensures their authenticity. Sharing the holiday season online and at the workplace is a great idea, but be cautious as to how much information you choose to share. Something simple as a post informing everyone that you're going out of town can let others know that you won't be home and your home and everything in it is up for grabs, so, BE CAREFUL! I will plan this season like my last, but hoping for new and different memories to create with new people and old friends this holiday. And as with every 'Tasty Bite' we continue to wish you all a safe and blessed holiday season! 

Chef Tara L. Browning 

P.S.- Listed below is a link that helps enhance your decorating abilities and a few recipe ideas!! :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall Feast, Autumn Harvest

        Autumn's Here!! My favorite time of year! This time of year produces a lot of wonderful ingredients that compliments this beautiful fall weather. Pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and beets are some of the vegetables that are picked during this season, as well as cranberries, apples, pears, and grapes are some of the fruits that are harvested this time of year. Pairing a roasted duck or rack of lamb with some pick of the season roasted root vegetables of squash, pumpkin, asparagus, and apples topped with some honey, rosemary, and garlic and adding some homemade red mashed potatoes with the skin on and a glass of a bold, smoky Cabernet Sauvignon to "round-out" this fall-inspired meal, ending it with a cranberry, pear, and apple tart topped with a dark rum caramel sauce. Making recipes from this selection of produce can be a great way to incorporate some family time and create lasting memories associated with this brisk, crisp, lively season. 

During this time, I've noticed my fondness for game meats. Venison bison, quail, duck, Cornish hens, rabbit, and other types of game can be roasted or broiled  along with other veggies to compliment the weather and the feel of the season. When I choose my meats (preferably organic or a really good quality from the Farmers' Market), I like to know that it's the freshest and at the prime of the season, just like m produce selection. Proteins can be chosen at any time of the year, seeing that their shelf life can exceed two weeks, but by purchasing frozen vegetables or frozen meats, you can keep "peak season" freshness well past their season. 

 This autumn season when you plan your "Autumn Feast" check out the produce that is rarely on display or is not in the front of your produce section. This tells you what's in season at that time and chances are, you can also get them at a bargain price. As far as the produce, be sure to speak with your butcher or the "man behind the meat counter" for any help or tips to picking out the produce that would pair well with the pre-selected produce. Jump in a pile of leaves, wrap up in a warm blanket by the fireplace, or just sit & share a cup of hot cinnamon apple cider (with just a dash of dark rum!!), and enjoy all of your "Tasty Bites"!! I've provided a link below to inspire you for your next dinner party or fall family gathering

Best Dishes & Autumn Wishes

Chef Tara L. Browning

P.S. -Autumn Recipes For You And Your Family To Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

May I Bring You A Napkin?

The art of napkin folding has only been held true to either fancy restaurants or royalty. Today napkin folding can be seen at banquets, weddings, and any other occasion that enhances the table settings and easily impress any guest. Napkin folding dates back as early as Louis XIV of France.

Typically, you would use a clean, starched,
linen and proceed to fold. Certain patterns I
found to be a bit challenging with the starch,
so, I choose to omit the starch on those folds.
I like to fold my napkins for my dinner parties
and certain holidays if my napkins accommodate
the table settings.

Sometimes a well-folded napkin can uniquely and elegantly enhance a table's appearance, just by a few folds. There are plenty of easy designs that help you become a more experienced 'napkin folder'. A few creative folds are the fleur-de-lis, rose, bird of paradise, the crown, the standing fold, so many more to choose from. 
 Instead of just placing napkins in a pile off to the side, or simply placed on the plate, you could also incorporate a napkin ring or a cute tie to the napkin for the same decorative effect as folding. Try using twine, sparkly ribbon, or any other inventive tie that you can find. I like to have the kids make me things to help get them involved in setting the table, not only to teach them how to properly set a table, but to also help gear up their creative juices to get them to think of different ways to help you create the best table. Doesn't matter if it's an arrangement of flowers or a simple tie fold, folding your napkins for your table produces amazing results and appreciative comments from your guests. I've placed a website below to give you a few ideas for your next gathering... Enjoy each & every Tasty Bite!!!! :) 

-Chef Tara L. Browning

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sleeping IS Beauty!!!

          We've all heard it before: Early to bed, early to rise! I didn't understand that sleep was a "vitamin" that our bodies desperately needed, but sleep is the best cure for your tired body. Everyone at some point has to have sleep or your body can and will shut down on you. There are a lot of health deficiencies that can occur if you do not obtain your recommended eight hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation has risen 8.3% in the last ten years and it may continue to rise due to such high demands that our careers bring. On an average, adult Americans are told to get between 6-8 hours per night, children between the ages of 4-12 need approximately 10 hours of sleep per night, newborn babies require 16 hours of sleep, and elderly only need 6 hours. I don't believe my grandmother knows this because she sleeps like a newborn... 

         Health benefits to getting a good night's rest besides being well-rested will make you more productive during the work day, more alert, helps you with your digestive system, and enables you to make better decisions with your diet. If you've ever noticed you make bad eating decisions when you're tired. You pick up the high fat, MSG loaded foods rather than smarter choices than you'd normally make. Your body replenishes itself with healthy hormones and skin and hair cells rejuvenate also during your sleep. Sleep deprivation on the other hand have some very serious consequences to you and to others around you, depending on the situation. Some studies have shown that people who were severely parasomnia committed such crimes like sleep driving, writing bad checks, child molesting, rape, even murder. Studies have also shown that you would die of sleep deprivation before you would die of starvation. It takes two weeks to die without food, but it only takes 10 days for sleep deprivation.

       The way you sleep also determines your personality traits. Certain studies have
shown that people who sleep in the fetal position have a hard exterior and appear to be shy, but they warm up quickly. Those that sleep on their side, but have their arms extended out in front known as the "yearner" position are said to be open-minded, yet suspicious. Sleeping on your side with your arms to your side or the log position are easy-trusting and are almost gullible. The solider position with you lying on your back and arms to your side, these people are said to be more quiet-tempered  and easy going. Lying on your stomach with your arms wrapped around your pillow or off to the side is known as the starfish position. These people are outgoing and brash, but they hate criticism. Last but not least, the starfish position on your back with your arms up near your head, these people were good-listeners and helpful, but uncomfortable at being the center of attention. Knowing how to sleep and creating environments around you that ensures you to a good night's rest can give you a better sleep. 

       There are a lot of ways to obtain a great beauty sleep, I mean, sleeping does make you look refreshed, well-rested, and youthful. But taking the time out to make sure that you have the proper temperature, enough time for your body to properly rejuvenate itself, and the right mattress can be great factors in benefiting you for getting the good sleep that is needed. 

Sleep well and enjoy every Tasty Bite that comes your way!!!! :)

-Chef Tara L. Browning 

P.S.- Listed below is a website that gives great tips to get a good night sleep!! Enjoy!!                                                                                                             

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dine In... Or Carry-Out

        Everyone loves to eat and in this multifaceted, diverse society, we have so many options to choose from. Preparing a meal yourself is a great skill to have and to hone as a human being. We all must eat, but when you allow others to do it for you, they are providing a service to you. When you choose to have the experience of going out to eat, you must make sure the restaurant is what you and your party want to eat. I've worked in many restaurants and have witnessed this on several occasions where the guests either doesn't know what the restaurant serves or what they want to eat. Make sure that when you make that reservation, you've done your research on the restaurant before arrival. Getting directions sent to your phone, checking the menu selections, the price of the menu, wine and alcoholic beverage selection, and even choose where you want to sit when you arrive (in most restaurants).

         After you've chosen to make the reservations and decide what you want, enjoy the ambiance, the food, but most  importantly your guest(s). Some people have a reputation only going out to eat to expect the worse. If you are one of those people: Go to jeer, but stay to cheer. The worse thing you can do is make the effort to go out to eat and judge the server on something the bartender forgot to add in your cocktail, or that the chef over-cooked your filet when you wanted it medium, it came out well-done. These things are not the end of the world, nor should you take it out on those that choose to serve you. People of all walks of life do a lot of preparation prior to and upon your arrival in a restaurant and giving a person a difficult time when they are attempting to make your dining experience an amazing one makes you out to be the "bad diner". Rule of thumb: ALWAYS TIP! People work very hard to provide you with excellent service, food, drinks, and atmosphere to create your dining experience to be an amazing one and with the approaching holiday, (Valentine's Day) your guest is the star of the evening, but the great food, amazing atmosphere, wonderfully crafted cocktails, and stellar service only accentuates your evening.


         Whenever you receive take out, remember: ALWAYS TIP! A lot of people in the past have debated me in regards to whether or not if they should tip-out the person that prepared a to-go order for them. My answer is and always will be TO TIP. They made sure that your food was properly made, all the necessary condiments and modifications had been adjusted to fit what you requested and they did it in a timely manner while smiling and providing you with excellent, but quick service. Even if the person comes to your door and hands you something, their tip is not included in whatever purchase you made. I know that service industry and guests hospitality employees do not feel as though a lot of people appreciate what they do to ensure that their requests are met. Sometimes it takes a lot to get your order right and to make sure they don't forget anything in your carry out. It's more daunting because you don't want to drive all the way back to a restaurant because you have no plastic ware to eat with. People want to make sure you have everything you need, even if you are not dining in the building, the employees want you to sit in your car, open your box and have your quiet moment while enjoying what your specific order was with everything you need.

          If you dine in the restaurant, order online, go inside the restaurant and get it as a take out order, or have someone deliver your food to your door, if you do not prepare the food yourself within the confines of your own home, then ALWAYS TIP THE ONES THAT SERVE YOU! When we choose to have their products for our dining needs, we are expecting people to provide us with that service to execute that product. It's simply supply and demand. You as a consumer want a product that as a restaurant provides and hire employees to execute those requests and ensure that the quality of that product is set to your liking and satisfaction. Take out, Delivery, or Dine In, enjoy every last Tasty Bite!! :)

-Chef Tara L. Browning 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Healthy New Year & A Healthy New You!!!!

          Happy 2014 to you all!!! It's the beginning of a new year and lots of resolutions for us to begin (and KEEP)! Of course you don't want to go off course when you want to change something about yourself, whether it's stop smoking or working out more, but the most and best advice that was given to me was to do things in moderation. Don't stop anything cold turkey. It will lead you to back sliding and then you'll fell guilty or even throw whatever resolution out the window. Making resolutions to begin or continue a healthier lifestyle takes time, patience, and most importantly will power.

           Eating a well balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to help improve your health. Preparation and portion control can help you maintain your cravings and eat smarter. Rule of thumb when you are trying to control your portions: Always have your protein the size of your fist. (which can be approximately 6 to 8 oz. depending on the size of your hand). Vegetables and other green leafy greens take up 4 to 6 oz. and you should have very minimal amounts of starch (approximately 2 to 3 oz.).  Everyone I know constantly emphasize to totally eliminate fried foods, but I will deviate from this and say everything in moderation. Just because you crave chocolate during your new regime doesn't mean that you can't have it occasionally and that goes for anything you tend to crave for.


           Incorporating lots of water can keep you hydrated and help you shed unwanted pounds very quickly. Water drinkers tend to have more youthful skin and shinier hair, their nails grow faster than those that do not drink water and other physical rewards . Also, drinking water helps you external, but also internally and helps your body function more fluidly and more efficiently. You can prevent so many ailments when you drink 8 8 oz. cups of water you decrease your chances for constipation and getting kidney stones. Avid water drinkers have clear, non-scent urine and have healthier, lower readings when they have their cholesterol checked.

           Incorporating a healthy work-out routine can also help you drink more water. Although most people would bring an energy drink or a Gatorade with them to quench their thirst, water after a work-out regime is a great way to satisfy you. We keep our bodies active and fit by doing whatever exercises that feel comfortable and gives us the best results, but it's the after effects that we look forward to. Water in this peak time, right when you've had an invigorating work-out session, helps you to replenish all the water that has left your body via your sweat glands. Our bodies are made up of mostly water and when you drink water before, during, and after your session, you  replenish your blood cells, help restrengthen your muscles, and decreases your chance of dehydration. 

           Continue to be a healthier, more productive you in this new year & see what else you can conquer on your "resolution" list!!!! :) 

-Chef Tara L. Browning

P.S.- Here's a link provided below to help you get more water into your diet!!!