Review: Cantina Steak Burrito

I’m not going to lie. I’m a huge Taco Bell fan.


Maybe it dates back to my college days, when a big Friday evening out for my best friend and I entailed dinner of two crunchy Taco Bells tacos (for under $2), and then a movie at the dollar theater.

I’ve pretty much always been boring, ya’ll.

Also?  I’m a creature of habit.  All these years later, I still order two crunchy tacos (albeit Fresco-style now) every.single.time. we hit the Taco Bell drive-through.  The Tall Boy is a little more adventurous, usually rotating between the potato burrito, a gordita, or a 7-layer burrito.

So when Taco Bell offered me the opportunity to review their new Cantina Steak Burrito, I decided it was a great chance for me to step a little bit out of my comfort zone.  I was initially surprised by its higher price point ($4.99), but when I saw the heftiness of the burrito, I decided the price tag was worth it.  I could only eat half of this for lunch before I was completely stuffed!

I admit, I was a little nervous about trying fast-food “steak.”  It’s been my experience in the past that steak served in fast-food fashion is typically tough and rubbery.


Not in this case: the marinated steak was actually very tender, and the Tall Boy said he was impressed by the flavor and tenderness of the meat.  He is very picky when it comes to steak, and after eating his burrito he commented, “That steak was actually good.”

I loved the inclusion of the pico de gallo, roasted corn and pepper salsa and the black beans – they complemented the cilantro dressing and the guacamole quite nicely.  Rounding out the burrito was a generous amount of Latin rice, and it was all stuffed inside a grilled tortilla.

Overall, the Tall Boy and I were both very impressed with the Cantina Steak Burrito.  It was fresh and packed with flavor, and the portion size was huge. I would definitely order this burrito again, and I look forward to trying the other Cantina Menu items.  If you’re looking for a quick meal on the go that doesn’t taste like fast-food, I really do recommended giving this Cantina Steak Burrito a try.

XO, Ashley

This post is sponsored by Taco Bell. See how great our steak is when you try the new Cantina Steak Burrito. Because when it comes to a great steak burrito, it’s all about the steak.

Disclosure: I received a monetary stipend in exchange for sharing my thoughts on the new Cantina Steak Burrito. However, all opinions expressed are my own.


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Outside My Kitchen {with Panera Soup}

If you’re like me, you’re still reeling in shock, disbelief, and devastating grief over the tragedy in Newtown last week.  As a mom of a 5-year old, my heart has been especially heavy.  The idea of losing a child in such a way is completely incomprehensible to me; and those families and the community in Newtown remain in my thoughts and prayers.

I’m not posting a recipe today, mainly because I spent the weekend outside of my kitchen enjoying my loved ones.  So I thought I’d share my weekend with you, Instagram-style.  Are we following each other on Instagram yet?  ‘Cause we totally should.

Doodle spent the night with my parents on Saturday, so the Tall Boy and I had a very rare kid-free day.  First, we hit my very favorite shopping center to finish Christmas shopping:

Then we hopped over to Panera, because it’s my very favorite place to lunch ever.  Especially during soup season, when I’m cold down to my bones.  I almost always get the low-fat chicken noodle, but I went wild this time and chose the broccoli cheddar.  The soup was full of chopped broccoli, shredded carrot and seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce. Fabulous.

I also ordered the Sierra Turkey sandwich as part of Panera’s “You Pick Two” menu…and as you can see on my plate in the picture below, I chose an apple as  my side selection.  I love that Panera offers healthy options.  I also love that they show the calorie count right on their menu, so I’m not trying to look up nutritional information on my phone while I’m trying to order.

Then we got cleaned up and went to the Tall Boy’s Christmas party:

And spent the night at a historic mansion turned bed and breakfast in our downtown area, near the river:

The Castle was originally built in 1888 and earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places as a building of architectural significance.  For us, it is a little more personal…this is where we spent our wedding night 8 years ago.  Unfortunately, the Castle is closing its doors as a bed and breakfast at the end of the year.  We were thrilled to have one last evening to spend there.

With Christmas just over a week away(!), I’m officially in panic mode.  You’re all with me, right?

Have a great Monday, everyone!

XOXO, Ashley

**This compensated post is part of a DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program with Panera. However, any thoughts and opinions I’ve shared here are my own.

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Pumpkin Pie Biscotti and Peet’s Coffee

 I am a huge coffee drinker.  Moreover, I’m a coffee drinker who actually likes the taste of coffee–and black, at that.

I know it’s an acquired taste for a lot of people, but for me it seemed sort of  innate.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family that drinks a lot of coffee and I never thought to do anything else.

Growing up in the summers, my cousin and I would always spend a few days with our grandmother, who would basically let us do eat whatever we wanted, because she was cool like that.  On one particularly fabulous summer morning, we begged her into letting us try some coffee until she finally conceeded and poured us each a cup.

Which was basically milk and sugar with a splash of coffee.

Best cup I ever had.

And now, one of the best parts of my weekend is starting off with a quiet cup of coffee, wasting time on Pinterest and reading a book while my two guys are still sleeping.  And during the work-week?  Um, it’s best to let me have at least one cup before trying to engage in any sort of conversation with me.

So when Peet’s Coffee sent me two bags of their new medium roast coffee blends as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, my heart did a little flippy-flop.

Their two new flavors are Cafe Domingo and Cafe Solano, both medium-roast blends now available in your local grocery store (except for Kansas, apparently–Peet’s, get here ASAP!).  I decided to experiment with the Cafe Domingo blend, since I fell just a little bit in love with its sweet hint of toffee.  You know me, I’m a dessert gal, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe that’s been calling my name for quite awhile.

This biscotti didn’t disappoint, and it was the perfect pairing with Peet’s flavorful and smooth medium-roast coffee.  One thing I especially loved is that this coffee had no bitter aftertaste–just a crisp finish.  If you’re not a coffee drinker, this biscotti would be great with pumpkin pie hot chocolate!

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti

makes 8 dozen, adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Christmas Book


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 35o°F.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.  Combine pumpkin, eggs and vanilla, stirring well with a wire whisk.  Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until moistened.  The mixture will start out crumbly–keep stirring!

Knead or gently stir in your white chocolate chips.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide into 4 portions.  Shape each into a 15 x 1 inch log.  Place logs on baking sheet, 3 inches apart.

Bake for 23 minutes and let cool for 15 minutes.  Reduce your oven temperature to 300°F.

Cut each log crosswise into 1/2-inch slices using a serrated knife.  Place slices on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 15 minutes and cool completely on wire racks.


Peet’s was kind enough to send me a huge stack of coupons, but their product isn’t yet available in my stores here (boo!).  If you have a Peet’s near you, please e-mail me at kitchenmeetsgirl(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address, and I’ll be happy to send some your way!

Previous Post: Jack O’Lantern Pie

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received samples from Peet’s Coffee Cafe Domingo and Cafe Solano medium roast coffees. However, any opinion expressed in this post is solely my own, ’cause that’s how I roll.

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Apple Peanut Butter Bars

I love peanut butter.  I tend not to get the jar out often, though, because that leads to getting a spoon out…which leads to getting my elastic waist pants out.  Willpower, I have none.

The Tall Boy on the other hand, who could also be called The Skinny Boy, eats approximately a jar of peanut butter a week.  Somehow this does not seem fair to me.

Anyway, I wanted to find an easy, healthy snack for the Doodlebug to munch on after we get home while I am in the pantry sneaking tortilla chips making dinner.

First, peel, core and chop two apples (I used Gala, ’cause they are my favorite), and pop them in the microwave with some red hots.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until apples are soft.  Then, mash ‘em up, leaving some larger pieces.

Next, mix up your dry ingredients, and add in the apples.  Melt your peanut butter, stir in the vanilla and combine it all.  Add your honey, a tablespoon at a time, until everything is gooey.  Press into a pie plate and bake.

Drizzle some more peanut butter on top if you like.

I definitely liked.


Apple Peanut Butter Bars

recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is


2 cups oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon sprinkles (mine were from Pampered Chef; if you don’t have this, just leave it out, or add in a bit more cinnamon with a sprinkle of sugar)

2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
15-20 red hots

3/4 cup peanut butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup honey


In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients and mix. To soften apples, mix them with your red hots and microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Next, mash ‘em with a fork or a pastry blender, leaving some large chunks. Add apples into oat mix.

Melt peanut butter and stir vanilla into peanut butter. Add peanut butter to apples and oats.

Mix with wooden spoon until all ingredients are moistened. Add honey one tablespoon at a time, mixing until everything is combined.

Spray a pie plate with non-stick spray and pour in oat dough.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Slice into wedges and drizzle with melted peanut butter.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received samples of Planters Peanut Butter from the National Peanut Board.  However, any opinion expressed in this post is solely my own, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Previous post: Creamy White Chicken Chili

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