Tag Archives: bbq

Which Food Box to Keep?

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Subscription Box Saturday – Food Box Edition

I know I subscribe to a lot of monthly boxes. But I really try to follow this rule: Only subscribe to one box of any kind. However, I’ve broken this rule with food/snack boxes. I belong to two. It’s tough deciding which one to keep! Generally speaking, I think I like my Love with Food box a little bit better. Why? They introduce me to new products that not only taste good, but are often healthy or just better in terms of the quality of ingredients and processes used. I also love the themes. However, I do get some tasty items in my Goodies box as well. And that one’s only $7! It’s hard to quit that! Here’s a comparison of the May contents.

Subscription Box: Love with Food

Premise: Sample the best gourmet food products delivered to your door!”

Cost: $10/month + $2 shipping. (Special deals if you purchase more than one month at a time)

Extra Benefits: Review products, share recipes and refer friends for points toward free products.

What’s Special: For each box shipped and each order placed, a meal is donated to a hungry child.

To Join: Click here.

May’s Theme: Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

From Left, Clockwise:

Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves: I’ve received Bonne Maman in a few different boxes now. I’ve always loved this product since I first had it in France nearly 20 years ago. So it’s a welcome treat! I also love the mini sample jars they come in, which I reuse like in this post.

Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning Blend: We haven’t used this yet, but I’ve read that a little can go a long way! I intend to add it to pasta sauce or to season veggies this summer! Maybe I’ll even switch up my usual popcorn routine with a sprinkle, too. Did you know that of everywhere I’ve been, I think New Orleans has some of the best food in the world?!

Mrs. May’s Naturals Strawberry Pineapple Crunch: While these little nuggets tasted good because the ingredients went well together, I thought that the clusters were a little big. It seemed like a lot of calories for just a few little bites! This was the box’s “mystery item” which must be something they recently started. Instead of the insert stating what the product is, you have to go online to find our more info.

LWF insert

Caffe Borsa Hand Drip Single Origin Coffee: I’m stashing this away for a trip when coffee might not be available.

Snapz Crisps – Tomato Crunch: I love tomatoes. They are one of my favorite things on this planet. I was so excited to try these at only 40 calories a bag. The flavor, though, was very concentrated and a lot sweeter than I expected. I could only eat half the bag until it got to be a little too much. I was surprised how satisfied I was on just 20 calories. I think these would be great in a salad to have that added crunch without the carbs or fat of croutons or nuts. Have you tried these before?

Bali’s Best Latte Candy: These were the first to come out of the box! I enjoyed one while Rob had the other. Love these! There is not much  more to say. Coffee-flavored candies? I’m in!

Biscotti Bari Authentic Almond Biscotti: I love biscotti and the almond, almost amaretto flavor of this hit the spot. Yesiree – tastes authentic to me!

“Great Full” Vegan Sweet Potato Cookie by the Cookie Department: The phrase “Vegan Sweet Potato Wellness Cookie” just made the cookie sound disgusting to me. I am not a sweet potato fan. In addition, it sounded like a lame attempt to come up with a cookie for a vegan.

NOT SO! This cookie was delightful! I was completely surprised. I loved, particularly, the molasses flavor. This was the big surprise of the box for me. My only gripe: It uses the words Vegan and Wellness to make it sound like a healthy cookie. But when I look at the fiber and protein content, it’s not all that impressive, especially since one cookie is 2 servings!

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Subscription Box: Goodies

Premise: “Receive a monthly Taster’s Box filled with exciting snacks for you to enjoy. The monthly Taster’s Box includes 5-8 trial-sized snacks and treats enabling you to discover your favorite new goodies.”

Cost: $7/month, includes shipping

Extra Benefits: Review and rate products, upload photos and complete a profile to earn points and unlock rewards.

What’s Special: I guess I’d have to say the price. Although Goodies is a company owned by Wal-mart.

To Join: Click here.

May’s Theme: I think Goodies stopped doing themes about two months ago. You now receive a note in the box instructing to go online to learn more about the products, rather than receiving an insert describing them. When I logged in online, this month’s header read:

May 2013 – Taster’s Box

Sweet and sour. Smoky and spicy. Fresh and refreshing. We’ve got all the bases covered when it comes to flavor this month.

Goodies May Contents

Blurry May Goodies Box Contents

From Left, Clockwise:

Bronco Bob’s Mango Chipotle Sauce: I haven’t tried this yet, but I intend to make the recipe on the back on a night when Rob is out golfing. {You know, that whole fins and feathers thing… oh and mango.}

Zico Coconut Water: I have just started to learn about coconut water by following Paleo bloggers. I’ve found some that I like and some that I don’t. My list of Goodies online wants me to rate a chocolate-flavored coconut water. WHAT?! I certainly did not receive a chocolate one! This big bottle was 4 servings. I poured two into a water bottle to sip on two separate days. It was good, but not the best I’ve had. Still loving the ones with pulp thanks to Kristen at Change of Pace!

Super Seedz Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds: Tasty change from the normal popcorn or almonds I eat as a savory snack!

Seedz

Wholly Guacomole: I love when subscription boxes know that they can’t send you something, but really want you to try it. So they send you a coupon for a free package! While it’s just as easy to buy an avocado and mash to make your own guacamole, sometimes it’s just nice to have a quick little package to take to work. I like the 100 calorie packs that are just the right serving size without worrying about when you are going to use up the rest of the avocado before it browns too much.That is what I’m going to buy with this coupon!

Chipotle BBQ Beanitos: You know how I feel about BBQ flavors. So I saved these for Rob. I did steal a chip or two and we were both really surprised how the bean element gave these chips so much flavor! Oh boy, I’d love to try another variety.

Beanitos

Blue Raspberry and Pink Lemonade Gummy Straws: These do not interest me. They are going straight home with grandma to my nephew. He’ll love ’em! It’s my job as the aunt to sugar him up, right?!

California Olive Ranch Olive Oil: I so want to do a post about olive oil… the labeling, the flavors etc. I used one of the two sample packages when sauteing some veggies this past week. However, I tasted a little on its own and realized that this was too good for sauteing; it should have been a finishing oil! Also, it’s cold pressed – a bonus. More to come on that in a future post.

EVOO

Numi Moroccan Mint Tea: I am on a tea kick and this one was refreshing and did not disappoint! Plus a coupon to order more.

Numi Mint Tea

These two boxes were excellent this month, so I’m still having a hard time choosing just one. Enjoy the rest of your memorial day weekend!

When it comes to flavor, which spices or sauces knock your socks off?

Cheers~
Carrie

BBQ – A Confession

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I have a confession to make….

I don’t like barbecue sauce.

I know. Gasp. I live in America. For many Americans, it’s the essence of summer. {Although I’m not feeling very summerish around these parts with snow in May.} And since I write a blog titled Season It Already!, you’d think I’d have the best sauce to recommend!

I could blame it on the fact that I didn’t grow up with it. Our cookouts included hamburgers, hotdogs, potato chips and potato or noodle salad. If we were really lucky, we’d have a yummy steak on the grill.

But that probably isn’t why I don’t like barbecue sauce. I mean, my brother, who grew up in the same household as I did, loves it. And there are plenty of things that I didn’t really grow up eating that I adore now: asparagus, spinach, shrimp, scallops and black beans, just to name a few.

I’d  rather have a burger or fried chicken any day over barbecued chicken, barbecue pulled pork or baby back ribs slathered in the sauce. I don’t detest the stuff completely. I just choose not to order or eat it. I guess it’s kind of like me and ketchup. And that I loved as a kid, but I rarely use it now.

So when pondering why I don’t like the stuff I came up with the following:

  • It’s often too sweet.
  • If not, it’s too tangy. {Likewise, I prefer my cucumbers plain rather than marinated in that vinegary concoction people seem to love.}
  • I don’t like the smokiness. {I don’t like smoky flavors in general. Okay, now I’m really wondering if the title of my blog is appropriate.}

All of that being said…

I found one that I really enjoyed last weekend!

We were lucky to be visiting some friends in Charlotte, North Carolina. Immediately after picking us up from the airport Thursday evening, they took us to one their favorite barbecue joints: Mac’s Speed Shop – Beer, Bikes and BBQ.

First, Rob fell in love with the beer list.

Mac's

Mac’s Speed Shop Draft Beer List – April 2013

While he sipped some beers that he’s never/rarely been able to enjoy on tap {i.e Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout!}, I stuck to trying the local ones. {Little did I know that we’d be checking out some of these breweries throughout the weekend! More on that to come.}

While the rest of the crew ordered Pulled Pork BBQ, I chose the Beer Can Chicken:

bEER cAN

Beer Can Chicken (1/4) with collard greens, mac & cheese and Texas toast

This chicken was moist and juicy. I loved it! The sauce on the side was the VTX Chipotle. I chose it because it was said to be spicy, but it was still too smoky for me. The collard greens and mac and cheese here were just an afterthought compared to that perfect chicken.

Little did I know, the Pulled Pork BBQ didn’t actually come with any barbecue sauce on it. Apparently, in Carolina, they like to cook their meats low and slow to infuse a smokiness into the meat and the sauce is added later. If only this photo would have turned out a little clearer. I was more focused on visiting and catching up with our friends than taking stellar photos.

Pulled pork

Pulled Pork BBQ with onion rings, mac & cheese and Texas toast

The pulled pork was excellent. It reminded me of a great one that we get at Costco, but better, of course, because it was just cooked. This is a bit of smokiness that I don’t mind! {Are you confused yet?}

And that photo doesn’t depict the batter/breading on those onion rings well enough. My husband knows that I’m not a fan of onion rings. He always wants me to try his and I decline. They just aren’t worth it to me. I love onions, but I want to taste onion, not just batter with something slimy in the middle.

But I grabbed one of these onion rings off of his plate.

Why? Because you could see the spices in the batter! It looked really good – like the coating on good fried chicken {which he has never had, so he doesn’t know what he is missing!} And that is exactly what these tasted like! These are onion rings I would not only eat, but I would order.

Then there was an accompaniment of sauces on the table that you could pour onto your meat. I tried a couple, and found one that I liked so much that I dumped more and more on my plate for which to dip my chicken!

Mac's

This Carolina BBQ Sauce has won me over!

I texted that photo to my friend Jen, and knowing full well my disdain for the sauce, her response was, “There’s hope for you yet!”

What makes it Carolina BBQ sauce and why I liked it, I have no idea. Okay, so I have some idea. When I google “Carolina BBQ sauce”, it appears that the Carolina stuff is mustard and vinegar based as opposed to many ketchup and molasses based sauces.

However, one of the other sauces we tried at Mac’s was the SC Mustard Sauce, which was very different and much more mustardy. So now I’m a little confuzzled. I think what I liked about this sauce was not only that it was balanced {not too sweet, not too tangy}, but also that it had a little kick at the end! {Or maybe it was just all ambiance and the fact that I was in Carolina!}

I was so turned around by that sauce that while we were out shopping one day around Charlotte, our friend Brendan pointed out this sauce and said that if we are going to take one back with us, we needed to get this one:

I bought a bottle of bbq sauce!

And so I did. Jaw dropping yet? This one looks like it will be different than the one I loved because it is sorghum-based, so I think it’ll be sweeter. Still, this Carolina trip opened my mind. I’m willing to try. When we cook with it, I’ll post the results! Aren’t you proud of me?!

Thanks, Tay and Brendan for a wonderful introduction to Charlotte!

What is your favorite BBQ Sauce?

The sharing of brands, styles and recipes is encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie

Wines for the BBQ!

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Yesterday, The Traveling Vineyard announced a two-day sale on great wines for the 4th of July. I had fully-intended on making today’s Wine Wednesday post about wines that complement our favorite foods on the grill anyway. So why not share these deals with you? You do know that I like a deal, don’t you?

I mean, really? 20% off? That’s MY DISCOUNT!

This sale started yesterday, so these prices are only good through today – 6/20/12!

So here is my take on what to pair with these wines for your summertime barbecues:

Bright Eyed Bird Pinot Grigio

Get out that bag of kettle-cooked potato chips! This is one to sip on why sitting on the deck. Don’t forget your wine chiller! It’s been popular for both red and white wine drinkers and can also pair nicely with salads or pasta salads with a little bit of grated parmesan or asiago. Or, just about anything pesto will do.

Zeffer Hills & Tria Chardonnays

You won’t get any harsh oak bombs here! In the summer, we want the fruit to shine through, but love that slightly buttery finish. Perfect with buttered corn or buttered popcorn on those rainy movie nights. Note: The Tria is a steal for a Magnum sized bottle – perfect for a party!

Tanglerose Backyard Red

One of my all-time favorites, this wine will not disappoint the red wine lover. Although this wine is made from Italian grapes grown in Sonoma, think of a big bold spicy shiraz or zinfandel. This is the one to pair with barbecue sauce!

zin-FAN-del

Thinking burgers and brats? How ’bout a nice grilled pork tenderloin? Then, this is the wine for you! A lightly peppery finish.

Tanglerose Sweet American Rosé

This is a sweet one. Got friends who only drink sweet wines? This is handy to have in your fridge when they stop by this summer. Or, it’ll make a lovely dessert. Dessert wines should always be sweeter than dessert itself. The perfect pairing for this one? A tangy key lime pie!

Remember: Sale on these wines only available through 6/20/12.

Click here to order. No coupon code necessary.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like some other pairing ideas for summer.

Or host your own Wine Tasting to give any of these wines a try.

Cheers~
Carrie