Friday, May 31, 2019

Springtime for Food & Wine

Spring has sprung and it’s time to make things simpler so you can enjoy the weather. I’ve got some great options for you this month, and plenty to wash it down with.

Spring Chicken…
Moore’s Marinade sent me two of their popular sauces to try out: Asian Teriyaki Wing Sauce and Honey BBQ Wing Sauce. I invited some friends over and got cooking – without a sweat.

For the Asian Teriyaki Wing Sauce, I marinated wings in a Ziploc bag for the day. In the meantime, I put a family-sized package of drumsticks in my crockpot with the Honey BBQ. I cooked that on low for 6 hours. A friend through the wings on the grill (with a little extra sauce on top) just before the drumsticks were done.

Both recipes were delicious – and so easy! I recommend picking up some from Amazon.

Mangia Italiano…
My Italian grandfather always pushed me to get better and better at my Italian cooking game. I’ve got my sauce down to a science, so I was a little hesitant to try Tuscanini Tomato Sauce.

I was making a pasta dish that required a cup of sauce. I didn’t have any homemade out of the freezer, so I thought I’d give it a try. I opened up the convenient box (much nicer than cans), added some spices and a little parmesan cheese. I only simmered it for 20 minutes and it was really good.

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken
My cousin created and owns Scott’s Food Products. I’ve tried and enjoyed their products over the years. There’s one, the Mediterranean Garlic Marinade, I was never quite sure what to do with.

I had some chicken thighs defrosted and thought it would be a good time to experiment in the crockpot. The result was this simple Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken, with only a few ingredients.

Grab a Bottle of this…
If you are looking for the perfect wine to bring to your next barbecue, the 2018 Rosé from Marshall Davis covers all the bases. It’s light and refreshing, fruity enough to enjoy alone without being overbearing if you serve it with food, and priced right at $25.

The wine comes from the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and it’s made from pinot noir grapes.

Wine in the can…
Canned wine is very portable, and the selection has come a long way over the last few years.
Archer Roose Wines has seven different flavors and they sent me samples of each to try. I gathered a group of friends and we poured them all out.

The favorite of all was the Sparkling Rose. In fact, we were all ready to head by the pool with this one. It’s quite fruity and not overly bubbly so it’s very refreshing. The Bubbly and still Rose were also very good. 

The Malbec was sweeter than you’d expect the grape to be. I was a bit disappointed in the Sauvignon Blanc, but I don’t drink a lot of the Chilean variety, which has a much stronger taste and bolder citrus than I prefer.

Also in a can…
Alcohol of all kinds in a can appears to be popular this year. Another one I had a chance to try was Hard Frescos. Aside from the fact that it tastes much more like fruit and natural flavor than a soda, it’s hard (pardon the pun) to taste any alcohol in this one.

It was a hit, especially with one friend who kept a can to herself. She loved all the citrus for a summer thirst quencher.

Put the Rum in the Coconut…
RumHaven is a different kind of rum, that easily turns itself into a cocktail with little effort. It’s a mixture of Caribbean rum, pure cane sugar, and coconut water. It’s a little bit sweet, but not as much as a coconut rum you might pick up. It still has enough flavor to hold its own with a little club soda, pineapple juice, or coca cola.

If you’d like to get a bit more creative with RumHaven, they have recipes on their website.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Back with Lots of Goodies!

It’s been awhile, I know. I’ve been battling health problems the last few years so a major spine surgery has put me (literally) on my back for months. I’m able to sneak in a little tasting now and then. I thought it was about time I took a little time to tell my readers all about some of the great stuff I’ve found.

All you need is cheese…
That’s all you will find in Just the Cheese Crackers. Not only are these snacks tasty, but they are perfect for many who had given up on crackers. They are gluten-free and low in carbs since it’s all cheese and no wheat. They are available in bars and mini bites, in a range of flavors.

Just the Cheese sent me an assortment of flavors so I was able to try them with some friends. They were unanimously loved, with the Wisconsin Cheddar and Grilled Cheese as favorites. You can pick some up on Amazon for a nutritious snack for the whole family.

A box of shots…
Here’s a unique idea for a monthly gathering or to give as a gift. The Shots Box combines two great ideas: a chance to try a selection of shots, and the chance to discover craft spirits you might not haven known about.

I loved the idea when I first heard about it and I’m glad it’s been doing well. It was a lot of fun for a few friends and I to open up the box at a recent gathering and be surprised about what we would be sampling. We discovered some new spirits, in this case Adelaide’s Dreamscicle Orange Wine Cream and Sipsong Spirits Gin and found a new go-to gift.

The Shots Box is $39.99 a month. Each one contains 10 different mini bottles, as well as recipe cards if you’d like to make them into cocktails. You can also share reviews and purchase full-size bottles of anything you’d like on their website.

Your favs turned vegan…
I’ve done a strictly vegetarian diet and currently consider myself a flexitarian. Vegan is one thing I couldn’t see myself ever sticking too. Dairy and eggs are too much a part of my diet. I especially love (as you may have noticed above) cheese.

The Dirty Vegan by Catherine Gill is an interesting compilation of the food we all love to eat and think we can’t if we turn vegan, as well as some delicious vegan recipes that we won’t believe are void of all animal by products.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of vegan cheese and would just as well skip the “Slow Cooker Two-Cheese Broccoli Cheddar Soup” and “Artisan Sicilian Pizza,” but I’m happily serving tasty dishes such as “Vegan Pancakes,” “Olive Oil Biscuits,” “Harvest Apple and Acorn Squash Soup,” and “Easy Ratatouille Stew” if I have vegan friends over or I’m looking for a meatless meal.

I do wish the author would have done the obvious and simply made the “Classic Chili” without ‘beef crumbles,” but that’s easy enough to alter.  The Dirty Vegan is available here.

Shoutout to Lisa’s Pie Shop…
When I was in Hamilton County, Indiana, I was welcomed with a goodie basket that included Peach Pie-in-a-Jar from Lisa’s Pie Shop. I finally had a chance to put it in a pie shell and it was absolutely delicious!

Keep it clean…
Cheese and liqueurs can definitely leave their mark on your mouth. I even have something for that. I received a sample of Dr. Plotka’s Mouth Watcher’sToothbrush to try out. The brush, which comes in adult and child sizes, is made from naturally antimicrobial bristles that are thin enough to floss as you brush.

Dr. Ronald Plotka, who has been a dentist in Boston for more than 40 years, created this toothbrush.

My mouth did feel a bit cleaner after brushing. I can’t promise this toothbrush will solve all your dental problems, but at less than $5 each, you really can’t go wrong buying one to try as your next replacement.