Category Archives: Recommendations

Last-Minute Gift for Bakers… Plus, A Cookie Decorating Party!

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Christmas is approaching fast. Really fast.

That may not be news to any of you, but the fact that Christmas is only about a week away is hitting me pretty hard at the moment. Let’s just say that I have a friend (just a friend, definitely not me) who has barely started getting ready for Christmas yet. This crazy lady hasn’t finished buying gifts, hasn’t wrapped a thing, and hasn’t even thought about baking yet. Yup, what is she thinking?

Anyway, enough about my friend.

Today, I wanted to share a fun idea for any bakers on your list. It’s perfect if you are still looking for something at the last minute like me… Errr…. Like my friend! It will all arrive from Amazon.com via Prime shipping. Is free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime not the best thing ever? That friend I was telling you about? Sometimes she orders shampoo from Amazon so she doesn’t have to run to the store. True story.

(Legal stuff… No, they aren’t paying me to say that… I pay for my own Prime membership. But, my links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Back to the gift idea… Continue Reading

Baking For Good

Mother’s Day is just two short weeks away, so I thought I’d share a quick gift idea with you!

I am always a big fan of giving gifts that give back.  I understand that it is customary to give gifts for many holidays, and I have to admit that I enjoy putting together and giving gifts to my loved ones.  The thing is, most of us really don’t NEED much, and we end up buying and receiving more STUFF.  So, I often try to find gifts that help to support an organization or charity.  If I’m going to buy a gift anyway, I love to know that a portion of the money I’m spending is supporting a good cause.

The lovely ladies over at Big Girls, Small Kitchen have created a yummy Mother’s Day treat to support the Valerie Fund – a nonprofit organization that helps to assist families with children who have cancer and blood disorders. I recommend checking out their site… The stories will break your heart, and you will instantly understand the impact that your support can have for a family going through the unimaginable struggle of having a child suffering from cancer or a blood disorder.

The great news is that you can help! By purchasing some Peanut M&M Blondies from Baking for Good, you can help Cara and Phoebe support the Valerie Fund and also get some goodies for Mother’s Day. Blondies are one of my favorite desserts, and I think these blondies would make an excellent gift for the people you love who may live a long distance away. You can have some delicious (and high quality – you can see the list of ingredients when you order!) baked goods delivered directly to their door! Or, order some for yourself and save yourself the trouble of baking dessert on Mother’s Day!

Plus, if you order some of the blondies, you can attempt the perfect dunk just like I did a few months back… Just do yourself a favor and don’t do it in your mom’s kitchen.  She won’t appreciate having to clean up your mess – especially on Mother’s Day!

Better yet? Let your MOM dunk her cookies in milk and make a big mess, and YOU offer to do the clean up!

Country Bob’s for Labor Day Grilling

The end of the summer is upon us, and Labor Day is right around the corner. When I think of Labor Day, I think of picnics, and more importantly, grilling. So, I thought I would share a new product with you that may take some of the labor out of your Labor Day picnic! In fact, you can even win some of your own, if you keep reading!

Introducing Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce

I was recently contacted by a representative for Country Bob’s – a small company from Illinois that makes sauces and seasonings.  They were kind enough to provide me with two bottles of their All Purpose Sauce to taste and review here on my site. I must admit that I am often hesitant to accept and review products here on my blog…  I don’t consider myself to be a food expert by any means, and I also don’t want my blog to become a giant advertisement. However, when I checked out their site, I decided that Country Bob’s was worth trying.

To provide you with some background info on Country Bob’s, I thought I’d include a bit of Q & A with Al Malekovic about the company and the product…

Q: Is there a story behind Country Bobs All Purpose Sauce?

A: Country Bob was a carnival barker and Don Rickles roll up in to one. I did many a food show with Him and He was always the talk of the show with all of his antics. He owned a gas station and always BBQ for the locals. In 1968 he invented Country Bobs. My daughter married his son and with my son the four of us went on a venture. It has been great and with the Lord’s help it has been successful.

Q: What is your favorite recipe using Country Bobs All Purpose Sauce?

A: My favorite recipe is WOOOOOE! I have dozens, hamburgers, corn pone pie, bbq, dipping sauce, appetizers, fudge and on and on!

Q: I know the name says “All Purpose” but what is the strangest use for the sauce that you have seen?

A: We had a woman come up with a recipe for fruit cocktail cake! It really was good!

Q: Other than the All Purpose Sauce, what other products can you recommend from Country Bobs?

A: Country Bobs Seasoning salt is also a fantastic product. We will cut with Lawry’s anytime. Whether you use it on tomatoes, bbq, burgers, chex mix just to name a few.

Q: If readers are interested in the sauce but cannot find it in their local stores, what’s the easiest way to order?

A: You can order from our web site or call us at 800-373-2140.

My Take on Grilling with Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce

I’ve been thinking about how to describe the All Purpose Sauce, and the best description that I can come up with is that it reminds me of a cross between a barbecue sauce and a steak sauce. It is sweeter than most steak sauces I have tried, and it is not quite a barbecue sauce.  It is delicious, though!

Because the weather has been warm, I have primarily used the sauce for grilling.  I imagine that once the weather turns cooler, I will be using it in other recipes, as well.  For now, though, it is wonderful for basting on the grill. One evening I didn’t have much energy to cook, so I decided to make chicken wraps. I simply seasoned some chicken breast with salt and pepper, threw it on the grill, and basted with the All Purpose Sauce in the last few minutes of grilling (don’t add it right away – the sugar in the sauce will burn on the grill). I added some grilled veggies, and the wraps were delicious!

My husband is a self-proclaimed barbecue sauce connoisseur.  He puts it on almost anything.  So, he has really enjoyed trying out the All Purpose Sauce.  When I made the chicken wraps, he added some extra sauce to his “for the sake of testing,” of course.  He was pleasantly surprised, too!

We sampled the sauce on a variety of meats, sandwiches, and wraps… but my favorite use for the sauce was making burgers on the grill.  I used the sauce in the meat mixture and then basted the burgers with additional sauce while cooking. The resulting burgers were juicy and flavorful.  I would recommend giving these ones a try at your next family picnic or cookout!

Labor-less BBQ Burgers

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90/10)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce plus additional for basting
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato

Combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, All Purpose Sauce, and garlic in a mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to mix the ingredients, not overworking.  Divide the mixture into four portions and form burger patties out of each.  Cook on the grill to your likeness, basting with additional sauce in the last few minutes of grilling.  Serve on hamburger rolls with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and any of your favorite burger toppings.

Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce Giveaway

Now that I have your attention (burgers will do that sometimes)…  I would like to announce that Country Bob’s has agreed to provide two readers with a two bottle package of their All Purpose Sauce!  To be eligible for the giveaway, please leave a comment about what you would like to make with the All Purpose Sauce by Tuesday, September 1st at 8:00pm EST.  I will randomly choose a winner at that time… Good Luck!

Amazing Grilled Pork Chops

My husband and I rarely eat pork…  I’m not exactly sure why.  I guess I have never been able to find a recipe that I was really thrilled with.  It’s just not one of those foods that I’m real comfortable cooking with.  Don’t we all have certain “go-to” foods that we can cook a thousand different ways and they usually turn out well? Pork is definitely not one of mine.

When I took inventory of my freezer for the Penny Pinching Pantry Raid, though, I found three small boneless pork chops.  I remember buying a pack of pork chops about a month or two ago with great intentions of making them the one week my husband was out of town. As you have probably figured out, I never did make the pork chops. In the spirit of the challenge, though, I knew I had to make something with the pork chops to keep them from dying a slow, cold death in my freezer.

Enter a package of seasoning I received from Amazing Taste last week! The friendly people at Amazing Taste sent me an assortment of their seasoning packets to try and review on my blog along with some recipes.  Whenever I am trying new products, I like to make fairly straightforward dishes the first time around – letting the product speak for itself.  If it’s a good product, it should be delicious on its own and not require too much of my doctoring, right?

Fortunately for me, there was a pork seasoning packet.  Divine intervention?  I think it may be.  Since I’m not so creative with pork, I figured that I would simply combine the seasoning packet with some olive oil to marinate the pork chops and then cook them on the grill.  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much… but I am happy to say that I was wrong! The grilled pork chops were juicy and had a delicious flavor from the marinade.

Many of you may be thinking that you aren’t a big fan of seasoning packets.  In fact, I am usually not one to buy packets of seasoning.  After all, I have a whole cabinet of spices, and I am fully capable of mixing my own.  I think the seasoning packets have their place, though.  Like I said before, I had no idea what to do with pork.  I have tried countless recipes, but had difficulty coming up with something on my own. The seasoning packet was a great way for me to try new flavors.  Additionally, the packets are only $0.99 (and I used less than half of the packet), which is cheaper than buying all of the jars of spices needed to achieve the same taste. It’s an inexpensive way to try new flavors without investing in jars of spices that you may never use again.  Plus, they are quick and easy… and that can be a very good thing.

Try serving these pork chops with your favorite BBQ sauce!

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a plastic dish, combine the olive oil and the seasoning to create a marinade.  Coat the pork chops evenly in the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium heat.  Cook the pork chops for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature is 160°F.   Serve with BBQ sauce on the side.