Johnsonville’s Spark the Season #FirstBrats #ad

Warmer weather is on the way, get your grill ready! If you are like us, and on the older side of millennials- one of the over 80% of “mature millennials” – you might also rank grilling as one of your favorite summer activities.People who love to grill can’t wait to grill – and these extreme grillers may even do it when it’s not quite time yet.

Johnsonville’s Spark the Season is ready to come out of the “dark period” of winter and get grilling. Spring, and new chances to cook and eat outdoors, signifies Spring beginning just like flowers and warmer weather.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)

To kick off this new beginning, Johnsonville has partnered with former pro linebacker Brian Urlacher and is sponsoring the 2017 Chicago Polar Plunge, so shivering participants can warm up with our piping hot Johnsonville #FirstBrats of the season, fresh off the burners of the Big Taste Grill.  What could be better? Other then a warm beach somewhere, LOL.

The Big Taste Grill is a 20-foot tall, 65-foot long grill, which cooks 2,500 brats an hour or 750 bratwurst at a time on its 40 square feet of grilling surface.

The Plunge is hosted and benefits Special Olympics Chicago, which aligns directly with the charitable mission of the Big Taste Grill. If these extreme plungers are willing to jump in freezing water for a good cause, Johnsonville should be a part of it, as we don’t let weather get in the way of what we love – grilling brats.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)


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Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse

Disclosure- We received the items below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.  Because we prepare meals as a family, we hoped that the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs would be an flavorful addition to recipes.  We discovered that the herbs are easy to add and delicious.

Since watching cooking shows is wildly popular in our home, we were eager to try the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs.  We learn about ingredients and combinations of flavors while cheering on our favorite home cooks as they challenge chefs with years of training.  We watch as the chefs mince and chop herbs wondering if we could learn to chop with such finesse. As a result, we research recipes to prepare as a family.  Recipes often call for a pinch of fresh herbs but keeping fresh parsley, ginger, mint, or cilantro on hand to add to our favorite dishes is a challenge.  Because fresh herbs can be expensive, spoil quickly, and require a bit of knife skills, we often leave out these ingredients.  Also, dried herbs lack flavor and aroma.  Therefore, having Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs on hand makes it easy to prepare delicious family meals at home.

About Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs

Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are freeze-dried without preservatives. The herbs are gluten-free and made from non-GMO crops.  Since moisture in the fridge can rehydrate the herbs, it is best to keep opened jars in the cabinet with other spices.  Herbs are available as single ingredients
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The Radio City Christmas Spectacular #GreenGiantXRockettes @GreenGiant

radio city

This past week, we went into New York City to see the The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It’s one of those things that you need to do at least once in your life, if not more often (if you are close enough that you are able).

radio city mucic hall

Running through Jan.2, 2017, you and your family and friends can go see one of NYC’s iconic show’s (and some of the world’s most iconic dancers) to really get the holiday season started. The Rockettes have been performing at Radio City since 1932, and during the Christmas season they preform 7 days a week. The Rockettes also perform every year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. They also lit the Empire State Building red and green for Christmas. Gotta love those hard-working ladies!

pic8The kids were enthralled- my son’s favorite scenes were the Rockette- reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh, the many dancing Santa’s, and the Radio City version of “The Nutcracker”, with teddy bears.

He loved the surprise streamers and snow that fell on the audience as well. We all enjoyed the ending, the true meaning of Christmas. It was a beautifully done “walk” by the 3 Wise Men and their entourage, as well as live animals, as they went to pay tribute to the new born King. At the end, traditional hymns and Christmas songs were sung and the whole group was in front of the Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
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George and Martha’s Morristown, NJ

morristown nj

If you are looking for a modern home cooked meal with a sophisticated yet delicious flavor profile, George and Martha’s is for you.

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the smell. Not food- it was a holiday smell, like Christmas trees and spice. It carried through the entire restaurant- not in an overpowering way, but subtle, a nice note.  The menu was cool (and the prices were reasonable, nothing crazy) with fun options, as well as interesting twists on traditional favorites.  Choices were varied, but everything we tried was better then average, with a few that were real standouts.

maple bacon

The first thing (and possibly the best) that we tried was the cornbread. Not just any cornbread, though this one has “Bourbon Maple Glaze, Served with Sweet Butter and Roasted Corn Jam”.  Right? It was as good as it sounds, and served warm. At 7$, worth every penny. My son wanted appetizers as his meal, and that was fine with me. He had calamari rings and a side of macaroni and cheese. He orders both of these often, and enjoyed both. Dad very much liked the calamari- because, of course, he had to try them out, and the mac and cheese was home made, smelled wonderful, and was ultra gooey.
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Tucson Tamales – Unwrap Happiness @tucsontamale

Tamales are one of those comfort foods that, when done right, are exactly what you are craving. Good, simple, yet so flavorful.  If you do not know what a tamale is, it is a corn husk filled with masa, or a corn meal dough (often with another filling in the middle as well) which is then steamed or boiled in the husk and unwrapped and eaten when they are done.  These little pockets of Mexican tradition have the taste of home made, and the warm feeling you get from home made dishes as well.  Tucson Tamale offers these corn based envelopes of awesome to you wherever you are, no matter your prowess in the kitchen.

order tamales

They have options for everyone- meat lovers, vegetarian, omnivore- even dessert.  One of our favorites was the Blue Corn, made from organic blue corn masa and filled with summer squash, tomato, onion, peppers and cheese. We also loved the Black Bean and Cheese made of black beans, roasted corn, red peppers and cheddar cheese. There are also meat filled varieties, like Green Chile Pork with Cheese, Green Chile Chicken and Red Chile Beef.  There is sure to be a favorite for everyone in your house.
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Hoboken Farms for Almost-Home Made Pasta Sauce @hbknfarms

Winter is on its way – and you know what that means – comfort food season is upon us. It’s the time of year to indulge in hot meals that warm us up and fill us up. Nothing brings families together quite like a big pasta dinner, and maybe you don’t always have the time to make your sauce from scratch. It can’t hurt to have some on hand for “those nights” when it all just gets away from you and you need to throw together dinner, and fast.
pasta sauce
What makes each pasta dinner unique? The sauce, of course. Perhaps you have a family recipe or even a go-to store brand sauce that you swear by. Have you ever tried Hoboken Farms? Right outta NJ,  Hoboken Farms has a trio of sauces that will make you re-think what it means to eat sauce from a jar. With the simplest ingredients, this locally crafted sauce may fool you ­or your guests ­as being homemade. The purveyors of the coolest line of BIG PASTA SAUCES offers three staples to choose from; BIG RED marinara, BIG BOSS vodka and the latest, BIG BASIL.

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5 Party Dessert Ideas for Kids

Kids simply love parties. For once, they get to be among their little colleagues and friends, eat some delicious desserts, bust some very creative dance moves and play games all day long. Secondly, there is no homework involved and adults seem to be more indulgent on these occasions. What’s more, parents don’t need to do much to entertain the kids. Their imagination will go crazy, and lots of good memories will come up. But there’s one thing they should take care of, and that is the dessert. If the sweet tooth isn’t satisfied, the mood will suddenly change into a stormy cloud (with big cue eye, though!). So, stay tuned for 5 party dessert ideas that will turn your kids’ birthday party into an unforgettable experience.

Toffee Apples

  1. No cookie can dethrone the mighty cake, especially now that the Walmart average cake prices are so low. However, the expectations of the big moment when the cake makes its entrance can be spiced up with smaller desserts. Food on a stick has always been a source of excitement for kids of all ages. It’s like an apple is trying to run away incognito dressed in a delicious lollypop.Ingredients:
    • 12 popsicle sticks;
    • 3 cups caster sugar;
    • 12 small apples.

    Heat the sugar to a boil in a heavy-based saucepan with one and a half cups of water. Stir the composition until the sugar dissolves. This can take up to 7 minutes. If you want your toffee to be red, this is the moment to add 5 drops of food coloring.

    You shouldn’t allow water to come to a boil until the second step when you can increase the heat from low to a medium-high. Let it cook for 35 to 45 minutes to let the composition reach the hard crack stage. You can check if the toffee is in the ideal state by adding one hot tablespoon in a glass of ice-cold water. If the toffee immediately becomes hard, it means that it is ready. To avoid crystallization, you can brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.

    Insert the popsicle sticks into the apples and then lay them on a baking tray. Let the composition cool off for 30 seconds, and then dip the apples into toffee. You should allow them at least 20 minutes to mix up and become delicious Toffee Apples.

    Decoration Contest

parties

There are many ways to bring party dessert ideas to life. However, nothing compares to the joy of the little ones when they find out they have green light to create their own candy. You can simply improvise a cute little bakery table where everyone receives several plain muffins or simple cake pops.

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Pirate’s Booty for On The Go Snacking

healthy snacks

Looking for a healthier alternative to candy this Halloween season? Give Pirate Booty a try.  With snack size packages that are perfect as special treats, or even for Trick or Treaters, everyone likes to grab some Pirate Booty.

If there are left over treats left after Halloween night, you can snack with less guilt, since they are better for you then most chips and candies.  They are baked puffed rice and corn snacks, made with aged white cheddar cheese.  The little guy loves Pirate’s Booty, especially when packed into his lunch for school.  He likes pretty healthy lunches, lucky for me, so this snack is fine with mom. He likes apples, cheese sticks, Pirate Booty, and a yogurt for his ideal lunch meal.
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