The Rodeo Is Over, But You Can Still Get Deep-Fried Oreos

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Photo by Brooke Viggiano
You don't need to go to the rodeo for these deep-fried treats.
I miss the rodeo. I miss cowboys in bolo ties, mutton bustin' and bull riding, live music and two stepping...the list goes on. But perhaps most of all, I miss the unspoken understanding that everything at the rodeo -- and I mean everything -- is to be deep-fried and or/covered in bacon.

I was traveling for most of the season this year, so I didn't even get a chance to indulge in my favorite rodeo "dessert", deep-fried Oreos. So you can imagine my delight when I found them on the menu at Saint Dane's Bar & Grille.


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Top 5 Discontinued Chips We Want Back!

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Photo by theimpulsivebuy
Apparently, chips can be wild AND mild.

Nothing lasts forever, and we both know snacks can change. Well, that is not exactly what Axl Rose sang, but his sentiments about ephemerality, I think, apply to junk food as well as love. In the world of chips, flavors come and go; here are five that made their mark and deserve a comeback.

5. Mozzarella Cheese Stick Pringles. Back in the day, Pringles issued a line of chips called "Restaurant Cravers," which, as you might guess, were supposed to replicate the flavors of popular mainstream restaurant appetizers such as Mexican layer dip, cheese fries, a fried (a.k.a. "bloomin'") onion, etc. Miraculously, the cheese sticks chips actually did taste of marinara sauce and fried mozzarella.

4. Wild and Mild Ranch Fritos. I'm convinced these chips were dusted with cocaine, so addictive were they from the very first crunchy, peppery bite. Many thought the flavor sacrilege because it was antithetical to the taste tenets of traditional corn-forward Fritos, which is perhaps why they never gained traction among die-hard Fritos fans.


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Lay's Flavor Contest Is Back, So We've Created Some Houston-Inspired Flavors Of Our Own

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Images created by Brooke Viggiano on dousaflavor.com
We think Houston's doing the world a "flavor" with these inspired combinations.
Last month, potato chip brand Lay's brought back its "Do Us A Flavor" contest, which invites fans all over the nation to submit their ideas for the next great potato chip flavor. What's in it for the fans, you ask? Well, a $1 million grand prize, for starters. Plus eternal glory and ultimate bragging rights in front of all your annoying friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Now through April 5, 2014, entries can be submitted for three potato chip forms -- Lay's Original, Lay's Kettle Cooked and/or Lay's Wavy -- with up to three flavorings of your choosing for each entry. And this year, the company has upped the finalists from three to four, meaning four flavors will be created and brought to store shelves for fan voting.

Well, since this is all too exciting and we want to revel in the fact that Houston has one of the most badass food scenes around, we've come up with a few chip ideas of our own, based on some of our favorite dishes in Houston.

Here are Five Houston Dishes that Should Be Lay's Next Flavor:

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Popcorn Is the New Cupcake: The 10 Best Flavors at Houston's Popcorn Bar

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Did I mention there were popcorn balls?
Cupcakes have had their heyday, and now it's time to move on.

The desserts first grew in popularity--according to Business Insider--in 2000, when Carrie and Miranda ate cupcakes at Magnolia Bakeryin an episode of "Sex and the City." Sprinkles Cupcakes was one of the first (if not the first) cupcake bakeries in the country when it debuted in 2003, but its expansion has since slowed as people chase after newer, more exciting trends.

And that's where gourmet popcorn comes in. Sure, caramel corn and white cheddar-dusted puffs have been available in giant novelty tins for years, but popcorn-only storefronts are a fairly new beast. Here in Houston, we have nearly ten stores devoted primarily to popcorn of all flavors and colors.

Recently, we stopped by The Popcorn Bar on the Southwest Freeway between Edloe and Weslayan to find out what the hype is all about. What we found was enough popcorn to feed a small army in more than 100 flavors ranging from the classic (caramel) to the savory (Parmesan garlic) to the downright bizarre (cherry limeade).

So move aside cupcakes, 'cause popcorn can do everything you can do, plus it lasts longer, it's easier to transport, and it's (probably) healthier.

Here are our new favorites:

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Eat Healthy While Traveling: Five Homemade Snacks for the Plane

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Photo by joyosity
Baked kale is a salty, crunchy and healthy alternative to potato chips.
Despite what your stomach tells you at the airport, that last-minute chicken and biscuit basket is not the perfect snack for your flight. Fight the holiday travel bulge with healthy snacks that are easy to make, easy to transport and even easier to eat.

From date- and nut-stuffed bites to crisp and crunchy baked chips, check out these Five Healthy Treats Perfect for Holiday Travel:

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These Limited-Edition Holiday Treats Are Pretty Weird...But We Still Want to Try Them

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Image from J&D's Foods
Use these to test just how naughty or nice your kids have been.
Ahh, the holidays. Time for roasted turkey and jingle bells and homemade pies and sriracha candy canes and...wait, what? We're pretty horrified about some of the limited-edition holiday products that have hit the shelves (remember Jones Soda's 2004 Turkey & Gravy Soda, anyone?).

But do you know what's even more horrifying? The fact that we kind of want to try some of them.

Check out these 5 Oddly Alluring Holiday Treats:


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Rise of the Takis

Categories: Snackshot

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Photos by John Kiely
Fuegos aren't even the hottest ones.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos have long been the favored spicy snack in many elementary schools. At the school where I taught, the cafeteria sold small bags of them, and several students would sneak the Hot Cheetos out and snack on them in the halls between classes.

I didn't mind. Chris G. would rarely write his name on his papers, but I could always identify his work by the red-orange fingerprints smudged on it.

Then one day, in an enterprising bid to increase revenue, the cafeteria began to sell larger, 99ยข bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. A dozen fourth-grade boys bought bags, and each of them consumed considerably more than one serving.


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Food Porn: 12 Houston Instagram Accounts To Follow

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Photo from Instagram
Food Porn Alert! If you've been trying to completely ruin your diet or you just like to spend your time trolling and salivating over pictures of food, have we got the list for you!

We've rounded up some of the most drool-worthy Instagram accounts in Houston for your following pleasure. Commence #foodenvy.

Here they are (and in no particular order):

12. @PONDICHERI

Bask in the glory of Pondicheri's "vibrant and innovative Indian cuisine." Then head over to the restaurant to bask your face in some of it.

11. @EATSIEBOYS

If you're ever confused as to where to get brunch on Sundays, just follow the Eatsie Boys. They post photos of their Trust Us brunch menu each and every Sunday to get your mind dancing with thoughts of Eggman Sammys and Disco Biscuits. Plus, they fill their feed with shots of the food-truck-turned-cafe's fun food and antics.

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Photo from Instagram
10. @FEMME_FOODIE

Our own Mai Pham chronicles her life and travels through food under the handle femme_foodie. And my what a life that is. Pham's photos of food are some of the best in town. She probably says it best -- "I work hard to make people hungry."

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French Fry Heaven Opens in The Woodlands Mall: Not Your Average Fries

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Photos by Molly Dunn
The Baked Tater fries are the most popular fries at French Fry Heaven.
Anything in the food court at a mall is never the most delicious or sought after food. But French Fry Heaven in The Woodlands Mall is trying to bring something different to the usual pizza, cheeseburgers and cookies found at every other food court concession stand.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been going to The Woodlands Mall and have eaten at the same concession stands, so it's a nice change of pace to have a concession stand dedicated to nothing but fries. I decided to venture over to The Woodlands Mall this weekend to see what the hype was all about with French Fry Heaven. The concession stand does not surround the food court like all of the other restaurants; instead it is a walk-around concession stand in the middle of the food court.

French Fry Heaven may offer something we deem as unhealthy and forbidden food for dieters, but Houston's first French fry-only franchise is serving up gluten-free French fries that are basically trans-fat free. In fact, the fries are par-boiled, then refried in peanut oil. The entire menu is 95 percent vegetarian, MSG and GMO free. A large order of plain fries has less than 200 calories, which is quite a surprise when compared to other fries at fast food restaurants.

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School Is Back in Session: Ten Easy (and Healthy) Back-to-School Snacks

Categories: Snackshot, Top 10

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Photo by Molly Dunn
Make your own granola bars for a healthy and delicious after-school snack.
Summer is over and the kids are going back to school, which means parents are going to need some tasty treats to serve their kids after school. I know when I was in elementary, middle and high school I was ALWAYS hungry when 3:00 came around. It is easy for kids to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine, or eat a plain granola bar when they want something to eat after a long day at school, but where's the fun in that?

Parents, here are ten after school snacks you can easily make for your kids when their grumbling tummies are searching for something to eat. Oh and they are quite nutritious as well.

10. Homemade Granola Bars

If you want to give your kids an updated version of a regular snack, make homemade granola bars rather than the store bought kind. You can eliminate a lot of the added hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup found in factory-made granola bars by making delicious and nutritious versions at home. Make the bar out of old-fashion oats, nuts, a couple tablespoons of oil, salt, brown sugar, honey and vanilla extract, then add any combination of dried fruit like cranberries, cherries or raisins and a little extra sweetness from peanut butter chips, chocolate chips or white chocolate chips.

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