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Chick-fil-A introduces new gluten-free bun

In response to customer requests, Chick-fil-A announced the addition of a new gluten-free bun option to its menu, making it one of the first fast food restaurants to offer the item.

>> Read more trending news 

The 150-calorie bun, made with premium ingredients like quinoa and amaranth and lightly sweetened with molasses and raisins, is now available in restaurants nationwide, according to a company news release.

>> Related: Chick-fil-A adds new sandwich, lemonade to summer menu

It comes individually packaged and can be ordered with any Chick-fil-A sandwich for an additional $1.15.

The company tested the option in three U.S. cities in 2016 and found the bun to be the most commonly ordered item with the grilled chicken sandwich and grilled chicken deluxe sandwich.

“Our hope is that the gluten-free bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu, Leslie Neslage, senior consultant of menu development at Chick-fil-A, said.

Gluten-free items are most commonly consumed by people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, as if it were a poison.

Click here to read more information on the gluten-free bun and other gluten-free options at Chick-fil-A.

From heroin to heroine: Reese Witherspoon's portrayal of "Wild" author Cheryl Strayed

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Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir "Wild" has become a swift, solidly built movie capturing most of its author's most interesting baggage stuff — the weedy tangle of regrets, the reckless bumper-car behavior borne of grief — while offering a rather different experience of what Strayed called "radical aloneness."

I can't unread the book, which I love. Therefore I can only offer my feelings about director Jean-Marc Vallee's film, a showcase for a pared-down and very fine performance from Reese Witherspoon, in relation to its source.

In 1995, Strayed left behind her life in Minneapolis, along with her soon-to-be-ex-husband, to embark on a 1,100-mile trek up the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert to the Columbia River at the Oregon-Washington border. Earlier that year, Strayed adopted her poetically apt last name over the one she came in with, Nyland. In the summer of '95 — alone, with a massive backpack and too-small hiking boots — she started walking, toward a truer sense of herself. The O.J. Simpson trial consumed America that year, at least the America on either side of the trail.

She was alone but never isolated; her demons joined her on the path. Memories of Strayed's recently deceased mother (dead of cancer at 45) dogged her. So did her wasted hours and days and months as a heroin user. Raised with a series of mostly terrible father figures in and out of her family's life, by her 20s Strayed had gotten used to obliterating that life as she was living it.

The Pacific Crest Trail required of her a kind of spiritual cleansing, if only because its extreme variances in climate (deep snow; hot, hot desert) daunted more experienced hikers than Strayed.

She encountered snakes, wild bulls, plenty of detours and surprises.

Like the book, the film, photographed with lightweight digital cameras by cinematographer Yves Belanger, captures what it's like to have lingering memories flooding your perception of the present.

As a writer, Strayed did not let herself off the hook. Her account, cleareyed but with a luminous pull, never fell into drippy "Eat, Pray, Love" territory of privileged self-actualization. Strayed did what she did, and she learned from it.

The film begins the same way the book does.

Six weeks into her solo hike, Strayed accidentally knocks one of her boots down a mountainside, and then — enraged — she throws the other one after it. From there, screenwriter Nick Hornby ("About a Boy," "An Education") creates a dense interweave of flashbacks to Strayed's childhood in rural Minnesota, her dropout heroin phase in Portland, Ore., her limited circumstances in gray, snowy Minneapolis.

Her loving mother is played truly and yearningly by Laura Dern, who captures the forlorn essence of someone who was, as she says, "never in the driver's seat of (her) own life."

Losing her mother in her early 20s, Strayed embarks on a series of relational car crashes. Husband Paul (Thomas Sadoski) still loves her, and she loves him, but presented with forks in the road representing the familiar and the unknown, Strayed chooses the latter, always.

After the marital split, on her perilous hike up the trail, she meets stray hikers and occasional rides to the next town, some gregarious, many others vaguely or blatantly threatening.

The signposts of her travels are clearly marked on screen: Day 58 and so on. When a new, larger pair of boots arrives in the mail, picked up at a ranger station, it's like Christmas times 20.

Throughout "Wild," Witherspoon appears to be wrestling with her own instincts as an actress — and winning. She's such an innate sparkler, used to turning on the chirpy energy when the roles call for it, you wonder initially if she's able to disappear into a character underneath so many protective emotional layers. And then she does. It's a thoughtful, honest portrayal, and the acting is covert, not overt.

Although there are times when you wish director Vallee ("Dallas Buyers Club") would linger over an extended moment of reflection, well, it's a movie, and movies are supposed to move. Aren't they?

On the other hand, this is the chief limitation of a generally strong and impressive picture.

Screenwriter Hornby respects Strayed's darting flashback approach, the jumps between past and present, interior and exterior challenges. But Hornby's a quippy sort of fellow, and his brand of wit is a lot snappier, for better or worse, than Strayed's. Like the Danny Boyle film version of "127 Hours," "Wild" is extremely nervous about boring its audience with its protagonist's aloneness.

Still, Witherspoon and Dern are reason enough to see it. The star optioned the material and digs deeply.

Most valuably, I think, Witherspoon does the least acting of her career, and it works. Calmly yet restlessly, she brings to life Strayed's longings, her states of grief and desire and her wary optimism.

"What if heroin taught me something? What if all the things I did were the things that got me here?" she asks at one point in voice-over.

By the end of "Wild," three women — Witherspoon, Strayed and Witherspoon's interpretation of Strayed — are sharing the driver's seat.

"Wild" - 3 stars

MPAA rating: R (for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language)

Running time: 2:00

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels (12-oz. package)

Caramel-Peanut Butter

1/2 cup evaporated milk 60 whole caramels, Unwrapped 1/2 cup peanut butter, melted 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375° F and grease 9 × 13-inch jelly-roll pan. 
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  • Spread half of cookie dough into prepared pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with 1/2 cup evaporated milk.
  • When melted and combined, add 1/2 cup melted peanut butter and pour over cookie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
  • Turn out remaining cookie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and edges are set. Cool in pan on wire rack.

 

ChocoFlan

Chocoflan Ingredients

  • 12-cup capacity Bundt pan
  • Softened butter, to coat pan
  • 1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce

For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the flan:

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For garnish:

  • 1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions Put an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat a Bundt pan with a little butter, then coat the bottom with 1/4 cup cajeta and put it in a large roasting pan. (The roasting pan will serve as a water bath during baking.) For the cake: Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 of the buttermilk into the egg mixture. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Blend until well incorporated. For the flan: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Scoop the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spreading evenly. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Cover with foil and add about 1-inch of hot water to the roasting pan. Carefully slide the pan into the oven, and bake 1 hour, until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. When cake is done, remove from the water bath and cool completely to room temperature, about 1 hour. Invert a large, rimmed serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together, giggle a little and flip over. Remove the pan and scrape any remaining cajeta from the pan onto the cake, garnish with chopped pecans and serve! Cook's Notes: The batters may appear to mix when you pour them into the pan, but they completely separate while baking, with the flan ending up on the bottom when it's inverted. I like eating it warm, but traditionally, it is chilled 24 hours before serving. Flan is a rich, creamy, cooked egg custard. It is often flavored with vanilla and baked in a water bath to retain its delicacy. Cajeta is a thick and creamy spread or paste made with caramelized sugar and milk. It is used as a desert on its own or as a topping. Also known as "dolce de leche," it is sold in many supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online. It can be substituted with a thick caramel sauce. Recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Trisha Yearwoods Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy

Trisha Yearwoods Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy Ingredients

  • 2 pounds salted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 4 ounces German's sweet chocolate (about 4 squares)
  • One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 pounds white almond bark

Directions Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. Layer the chocolate over the peanuts, beginning with the sweet chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips and then the almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook for 3 hours. Do not stir the mixture. After 3 hours, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners.

Tequila Lime Chicken

Tequila Lime Chicken

Ingredients

 

  • 5 limes
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

 

Directions Slice open the limes and squeeze the juice into a food processor or blender. Add the tequila, olive oil, salt, garlic, jalapenos and cilantro. Blend the mixture until totally combined. Add the chicken to a large plastic bag and pour in the lime-tequila mixture. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.    Remove the chicken from the bag and grill it over medium-high heat. Rotate the chicken 45-degrees on both sides to create nice grill marks, and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound ground beef 1 softball-sized onion, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped 2 tablespoons steak sauce, such as A-1 1 cup beef stock Salt and ground black pepper 4 dinner rolls 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon flour 1 cup milk 1 cup provolone, shredded In large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and then brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes. Split open rolls and remove most of the soft insides, leaving a bed to hold the meat mixture. Toast the rolls and set aside. While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the cheese. To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll. 

Eclairs

Ingredients

 Original recipe makes 9 eclairs 

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a No. 10, or larger, tip, spoon or pipe dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake 20 minutes more, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the filling, combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding. Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.
  5. For the icing, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and drizzle over filled eclairs. Refrigerate until serving.

Very Moist Banana Bread

Original recipe makes 4 - 7x3 inch loaves

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 
Directions 1.    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  2.    In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans. 3.    Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center
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