4 Fun & Creative Ways to Eat Beef Jerky

To most people, jerky is just a grab and go snack, something you eat quickly without much thought of presentation, plating or any of the fancy stuff. But what if I told you that you could elevate humble beef jerky. What if I told you that you can turn it into an ingredient worthy of gourmet meal, or at least something a lot more thought that you could whip up on date night perhaps?

 

It’s time to forget everything you know about jerky and start seeing it in a different light, start seeing it as an ingredient with a lot of potential. It can bring some much needed flavor to a meal, add a little crunch or just take an otherwise normal meal to a higher level. So if you want to take your meals up a notch with an ingredient that you might have been underestimating, this blog will give you some ideas you can add to your recipe list.

 

In Salads

 

Let’s face it, when you’re trying to eat more greens, salad can get really boring, really quickly. This is why we add things like feta cheese and croutons to it. Jerky is also another addition you can make to your salad. You can grate it into the leafy greens to add some salty flavour. It will elevate a boring old salad into a five-star dish.

 

In Pasta

 

We put bacon in pasta and all sort of meat, so why not beef jerky too? You can cut it up into chunks and add it to your creamy pasta dish. It will give you a break from the standard pasta dishes you’re used to making every single day.

 

On Pizza

 

Now you don’t have to make the pizza to enjoy this little hack. Next time you order a pizza, whatever flavor you get, you can add a little more pizazz to it with some beef jerky. Sprinkle some chunks of jerky on your slices and even add a little extra cheese. Pizza night will be a whole lot more interesting, and next time you’re entertaining, you can just throw your secret ingredient on your regular pepperoni pizza.

 

As a Starter

A very popular starter is asparagus spears wrapped in bacon and grilled. Trade the asparagus for a stick of jerky, and instead of grilling the bacon with it, cook the bacon separately and then wrap it around the jerky. It’s a meaty starter that will definitely get people talking.

Before you look down on jerky as a snack for road trips, consider all the possibilities of this humble food. There are so many new combinations, dishes and treats you can come up with. From salads to pasta, there are so many ways to infuse jerky into your cooking and food prep, and introduce something new and fresh to your diet. Remember, jerky isn’t just tasty, if you buy the right kinds, it’s actually healthy. It’s also packed with protein, and many variations are low in fat. You can get it without any additives, in fact nitrate free jerky is a very popular snack you can easily find. The moral of the story is, don’t knock the jerky, it just might be the hero of your next meal!

Butternut Squash and Kale Soup

butternut soup

This soup makes the perfect vegetable side dish—it’s packed with nutritious vegetables and healthy carbohydrates from the butternut squash and other veggies!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 large sweet onion, cut into wedges
4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 3/4-inch cubes)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 (14.5-oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
3 cups chopped kale

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil and spread onion and squash over foil in a single layer. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and toss lightly to coat; then season with pepper and thyme. Place in oven and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and starting to brown. Note: Take vegetables out at least once in the middle of cooking to stir.

3. Combine roasted vegetables, chicken broth, and water in a large saucepan and use an immersion blender to blend ingredients together until smooth.

4. Heat blended soup over medium heat until heated through. Once heated through, stir in kale and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Choices/Exchanges:
1 Starch, 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 1/2 Fat

Basic Nutritional Values:
Calories 130
Calories from Fat 30
Total Fat 3.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Potassium 740 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 4 g
Phosphorus 110 mg

About the Book: 
Diabetes Superfoods Cookbook and Meal Planner: Power-Packed Recipes and Meal Plans Designed to Help You Lose Weight and Manage Your Blood Glucose (American Diabetes Association, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-580-40679-6, $19.95) is available from major online booksellers.

RUMI’S JHAL GOSHT (BEEF OR LAMB CURRY)

home made indian food
Ingredients
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
Curry spices (see below)
1 1/2 pounds lamb or beef stew meat
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
CURRY INGREDIENTS
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (depending on heat tolerance)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (seed and devein pepper to moderate heat)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and sugar
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 green or black cardamom pods, cracked open
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
METHOD
1. Heat oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium heat; add onion and sauté until translucent to light brown. Add curry spices and stir well. Let spices cook, then add water sparingly to avoid sticking or burning—no more than 1 tablespoon at a time–throughout the cooking process, 6 to 8 minutes to develop flavor.
2. Add meat, stirring well to distribute; cook over medium to high heat until well seared.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add yogurt, tomato paste, and cilantro.
4. Cover and continue to braise for 40 to 50 minutes, until meat is tender.
5. Remove cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods.
TRY THIS: Substitute 1 whole chicken cut into generous pieces; braise until golden brown, then cook for 30 minutes.
Recipe and photo with permission from The Urban Forager: Culinary Exploring & Cooking on L.A.’s Eastside
By Elisa Callow Photographs by Ann Elliott Cutting
Prospect Park Books/March 2019

Fall Flavors

New fall flavors from some of our favorite brands are here. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a sucker for “seasonal flavors”- I’m not sure if it’s because I know I can only have them once a year, or that it’s because it enhances the season for me in some way, but I really look forward to and enjoy the flavor changes that come seasonally.

If you are in the mood for chocoloate, Godiva has some fun options, including the NEW GODIVA Limited-Edition Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice G CUBE.  These square boxes are full of individually wrapped GODIVA truffles, in the festive “pumpkin spice” flavor that so many people look forward to- or look forward to making fun of, while they consume it in secret. Haters. Want to get a few boxes? Besides pumpkin spice (which is delightful) you can also get  Dark Chocolate Vanilla, White Chocolate Coffee, Dark Chocolate Mint, and other options. $11.95 for a 22 piece box.  You can also get a Signature GODIVA Pumpkin Spice Truffle Flight which is super cute- truffles wrapped to look like little pumpkins. $15.00 for a 5 piece set.

pumpkin spice

For an indulgent yogurt, good enough to be a dessert, try NEW noosa Pumpkin Spice MatesThese new (made in limited batch) pumpkin spice noosa mates are made with noosa’s signature rich and creamy yoghurt, with real pumpkin and spices, then topped with Purely Elizabeth brand granola, white chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds. It’s noosa’s take on a fall classic, and it’s fantastic. The kids love it, and so do mom and dad. The textures are a delight, and the flavors are perfect. You will find yourself scraping the cup for the last bits. $2.49 retail price, product finder on noosayoghurt.com.

pumpkin spice

Still feeling dessertish? Kraft Heinz just came out with two flavored whipped creams that pair perfectly with all sorts of your favorite foods. Reese’s & Hershey’s Whipped Cream Toppings now come in peanut butter and chocolate flavors.  These are fun on your all your desserts like cookies or brownies, but are fun toppings on healthier desserts like fruit bowls, as well. Fun facts for parents- these whipped creams are made with 100% real cream from cows not treated with rBST growth hormone, and without high-fructose corn syrup, oil ingredients, and artificial sweeteners or flavors. Retails between $2.99 and $3.99, check for prices before you shop. Who likes to pay more?

 chocolate whipped creme

For a more “grown up” treat, check out Harvest Pumpkin Ale from Samuel AdamsThese fall inspired beers brewed by Samuel Adams are brewed with “real pumpkin and a blend of caramel and roasted malts to create a rich depth of malt flavor perfect for the crisp days of fall” (according to Samuel Adams). If you are into all things pumpkin spice, and want to “spice it up” a little more, this might be right up your alley. Not all of us are drinkers, but for those who like to indulge now and again, this would be a flavorful fall imbibement. Prices vary by market and by what count you’d like to purchase.

fall flavors

Things to Consider When Purchasing Spices

You might be looking for a way to make your food taste better. Perhaps you just want to try something different where your food is concerned. After all, it can be boring to eat food that tastes the same every single day. Whatever the case may be, you should strongly consider the use of spices to make your meals explode with flavor. You have probably seen all of the spices for sale when you have gone to the grocery store. However, you are not exactly sure which one you should buy. This is a common problem that many food fanatics have. Here are some of the ways that you can find the ideal spices for the meals you are preparing.

1. Read the packaging to see what types of foods that the spices are typically used with.

You can find a great deal of useful info by simply reading the box or the label of the spice. In some cases, the packaging will give you helpful tips on how the spice can best be used. You can also do a lot of reading online. There are many cooking blogs that will be able to give you some insight into what foods are ideal to prepare with the spices you have bought.

2. Talk to the professional chefs to see which spices they enjoy the most.

You would be wise to get the advice of people who have chosen the culinary arts for a profession. A chef will definitely have many suggestions about how to use various spices. You might also mention the foods you are planning on preparing. The chef will be able to suggest the spices that will best be able to compliment that particular meal. He or she also might be able to recommend their favorite burger seasoning to you.

3. Consider buying some spices online.

Spices are things that many people are used to buying at a supermarket. However, you will be able to find some great deals on spices if you look online. There are many different sites that have huge selections of spices for low prices.

5 Important points to note before the trip

When you are looking to entertain you need to make sure that you have an amazing menu as well as a comfortable spot to do so. What you are going to cook and serve will depend on the tastes of your guests and the season of the year. One thing is for sure, you want to make sure that you are serving meat unless they are vegetarians because it is something that you will want to have all year long. Whether you are hiding from the cold of winter or are trying to make sure that you have the best summer fare you need to have a great selection.

  1. Choosing Meat: You want to make sure that you are going to choose the right meat for the season. In the winter you may be looking for a heavier red meat. In the summer you are probably looking for white meat which will be paired perfectly with the best choices of sides. White meats would include fish and chicken as well as pork. In terms of red you would be thinking of beef and other forms of red meat that can be paired with almost any sort of meal in the winter.
  2. Preparing your meat: When you are preparing your meat, you may check out the 10 best pellet smoker 2018 for grilling purpose. That means that you will know that you are getting a taste that is smoky as well as one that is going to bring back your guests for more. In addition to thinking about the meat, you also want to think about the preparation. Are you thinking about making it be very sultry and dark or are you thinking smokey and more natural? Whatever the taste you are looking for you will want to find the right accompaniment to go with your meal. When you are looking at meats you need to ensure that you have looked at the flavor and the texture of the meat. You are going to want to use things like citrus juice on white meat and pepper and darker seasonings on red meat.
  3. Preparing Your Sides: When you are preparing your sides, you want to grill vegetables as well that will go along with your meal. Think about all the options out there for you like zucchini, potatoes, and many other sides. You want to use best pellet smoker for grilling purpose so that you can add the right smoky finish to the sides as well and know that you are going to have the best choices out there for the meal.
  4. Preparing the Best Drinks: If you have a drinking party you want to pair the right red or white with the right meat. You will see that the color of the meat and the color of the wine coincide and you need the right review and smoky palate to make sure that you are serving the best pairing Read up on your wines and then pair the wine with the meat and the vegetables that you are preparing with best pellet smoker for grilling purpose.
  5. Preparing the Mood: You need to make sure that the atmosphere is also perfect and that means that you need to have the right music and cultural experience to add to the meal. What was the style that you were preparing? What kind of music can you play to get your guests to feel as though they are a part of the experience?

Entertaining is an artform and making sure that you have the best choices for your guests such as best pellet smoker for grilling purpose. Is a great way to make your part a success and know that you are going to always bring people back time and time again? When you are looking for and are ready for the right choices in entertainment you will see that there is no way to cut corners. Having the best for your guests in food, entertainment and more is going to ensure that you are going to always have the best results. Treat your guests like gold and make the experience one that they will not forget and you will have people coming back for more and even talking about your meals. The highest form of flattery is to be brought back time and time again with your tips, your advice, and to have people want to dine at your home.

5 Tips for Your Next Wine and Cheese Pairing Party

When you invite friends over to try an array of wines and cheeses, you want to make sure you select the right ones that complement one another beautifully. For example, a sauvignon blanc will pair nicely with a fine mozzarella while pinot grigio is better with ricotta. The last thing you want is for the taste of the wine to be compromised with the wrong cheese. To help you with planning the festivities, here are some pointers for getting the right cheeses with the wine you want to provide.

 

1. Match Intensity

As a general rule of thumb, you want to match the intensity of the wine with whatever cheese you choose. If the wine you have has an ABV less than 12 percent, then you will want a more delicate cheese. However, if the wine has an ABV greater than 14.5 percent, then you can opt for a more intense cheese.

 

2. Sweet Wines Go With Funky Cheeses

It is a lot of fun to branch out and try some funky cheeses at a pairing event. You need to go about consuming these cheeses wisely because tasting them with the wrong type of wine can leave a bad taste in your mouth. A good rule to follow is to pair funky cheeses with sweet wines. These wines are generally considered to be “dessert wines,” and the “stink” associated with the cheese makes it almost creamy when paired with a sweeter wine.

 

3. Firm Cheese Is a Safe Bet

When in doubt, you cannot go wrong with firm, nuttier cheeses for your wine and cheese pairing. This is a good route to take when there will be several different wines available, and you do not want people searching for the right cheese to use. The best cheeses to use in this instance include gouda, abbaye de belloc, gruyere and Swiss.

 

4. Red Wines Work Excellently With Aged Cheeses

Aged cheeses are popular because they come with numerous health benefits. Cheese is described as aged when it loses a significant amount of its water content. As a result, it works best with red wines high in tannins. Your best bet will be to go for a cheese that has been aged for at least one year.

 

5. Go for Wines and Cheeses From the Same Region

It is always fun if your party can have a theme, and you can be certain the wines and cheeses will work well together if they come from the same area. For example, you can pair goat cheese from Loire Valley in France with a sauvignon blanc from the same region.

 

You want your wine and cheese pairing event to go off without a hitch. The last thing you want to do is select a cheese that leaves an unpleasant taste in people’s mouths when served with a certain wine. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you pick out the right items to go with each other. With the right pairings, your friends and acquaintances will talk about your party for years to come.

Organic Wines from Spain

Yes There are Organic Wines!

You care about what you put in your body and likely to some extent try to buy organic foods and body care products. It is important for our health since we are fueling our lives with what we eat. That being said there are areas I never even thought about going organic, like my wine. It was my time at ShiftCon, an amazing conference run by mommy blogger and social media influencer Leah Segedie of Momavation, that opened my eyes and introduced me to Natural Merchants for family produced organic wines..

Natural Merchants Organic WinesSo I have now been trying two amazing wines that give you a healthy edge while still letting you enjoy a glass or red or white. All wines are vegan-friendly, and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Tarantas Sparkling White

This sparkling white wine is definitely crisp and dry, which I enjoyed. It is not a sweet wine also something that works well with a nice meal. There are definitely fruit undertones, but I confess to not being refined enough in the palate to differentiate. The official description says “dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a silky, crisp green apple and lemon finish with no oak.” I paired it with lemon chicken and it was a huge hit.

spartico wine from natural merchantsSpartico Tempranillo/Cabernet – Contains no detectable sulfites!

I definitely have friends who can not handle sulfites and I was so excited to share this wine with them. 50% Tempranillo and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon this wine is a delicious mix. All the ladies at cards night raved about it and enjoyed the rich taste.

One of the cool things about these wines is that they come from vineyards which are in the middle of a National Reserve Park so you know that keeping all stages of growing natural and organic is a top priority in an environmentally protected area. The winery, Bodegas Iranzo dates back to 1335 when the land was granted by the Castilla King. Located outside Valencia Spain they have a long history of producing high quality wines.

You can find these wines and more at Natural Merchants. They even have fun things like wine and recipe pairings, including suggestions for these two wines – you can find those HERE. Also a fun map so you can find wines by country. Visit their site at Naturalmerchants.com or check them out on Social Media – TwitterFacebookInstagram