04/17/15

Lava Red Reaper Sauce Review

Heyya Peeps!

If you like hot sauce (and I mean HOT sauce) be sure to check out this review of “Lava Red Reaper Sauce” by my buddy Aaron, over at Aaron’s Food Adventures.

He gives this sauce a 5 out of 5, and if Aaron says it, you can believe it’s not just hot, it’s delicious too!

If you’re into the burn, make sure you LIKE his FaceBook Page, and sign up for notifications!

As Aaron says…Embrace that pain! LOL

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, please subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week.

Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk and foster kids!



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11/20/14

Perfect Wine Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

This post, the final in our “Thanksgiving Thursday” Series, comes from my friend and fellow food (and wine) blogger, Alina Ferguson, of the smashing wine blog, One Girl, One Glass, One World!

Here are some great tips on the perfect pairings for your Thanksgiving Feast!

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Thankgiving Wine Pairing

A Thanksgiving Wine Primer
Alina Ferguson, Guest Blogger

Thanksgiving is, by a foodie standard, the uber holiday. Everyone stresses the perfect turkey, the perfect sides, the perfect desserts and the holy grail…the perfect wine pairings.

The typical Thanksgiving dinner has a myriad of flavors. Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Green bean casserole. Macaroni & cheese (that may just be my family…). Stuffing/dressing. Cranberry sauce. An assortment of sweets for dessert.

What is a perfectionist to do when it comes to wine pairings and Thanksgiving dinner?

Here’s what will be on my table:

Sparkling: Yes. That stuff that’s meant for celebrations. Sparkling wine isn’t just for celebrating a promotion or the new year any more. Sparkling wine adds a nice versatility to the table, as it can easily pair with everything from appetizers to dessert. My recommendations: Michelle Brut, Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blanc Brut or Rosé and Mumm Napa Brut Rosé, Brut Prestige or Cuvée M.

Rosé: A nice dry rosé is always welcome throughout the year, but there’s something special about the pairing of turkey and rosé.

My recommendations: speak with your local wine shop specialist to see what they have in stock. My personal preference lies within the Provençal and Rhône style rosé’s. A nice Rosé of Pinot Noir is also divine.

White: Riesling. Without a doubt, the balance of acidity and sweetness in Riesling makes it super friendly with the myriad of flavors on the table.

My recommendations: Personally, I’m on a big Washington Riesling kick, so anything from Washington of course tops the list, but an Alsatian or German Rieslings are divine as well.

Red: Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir (Beaujoulais) are the classic answer to this question. But why play it safe? Experiment with a Syrah or Merlot-based blend. You’d be surprised how a nice Merlot or Syrah can pair with roasted turkey.

My recommendations: Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah, Helix Syrah by Reininger Winery and Basel Cellars Merriment or Claret.

Now, if you have a special bottle that you’ve been dying to open…the best advice comes from my dear friend, Jeff Weissler of Pairings Portland Wine Shop‘s latest newsletter: Drink that yummy, special wine (the one you’ve picked out and have been waiting to open), before your guests arrive!

Why? Chances are it’ll get lost in the orchestra of so many flavors and a crowded full plate! Having said that, sometimes it’s all about the sharing. :)

About Alina

All it took was one head-clearing, stress relieving drive to show me what the wine world has to offer. That drive ignited a passion…that passion fueled a desire to learn more…that desire to learn more led to a feeling to share what I was learning, thus this blog was born.

Join me through my trials & tribulations in learning about the world of wine…and my attempt to bring something that has can be pretentious and overwhelming down to earth and break the air of pretentiousness. Oh, and every so often, there’s food, beer and cocktails involved…

You can check out Alina’s One Girl, One Glass, One World blog here, and be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter as well!

10/24/14

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad

One of the best things about being a food blogger, besides getting to write and test our weekly meal plans, is getting to meet others whose food obsessions equal or surpass my own (and, believe it or not, there are lots of them out there!)

This year I had the chance to reacquaint with some of my favorite food bloggers at the 2014 International Food Blogger’s Conference in Seattle, as well as make some new friends…like today’s guest blogger, Cher, who writes the blog Paleo + Life.

Says Cher, “I believe the best thing we can do for ourselves is to nourish our bodies with food that offers both incredible flavors and abundant nutrition. I started my blog as a way to keep track of my efforts to do just that.”

In sharing her journey toward health and a whole foods lifestyle, Cher offers fabulous recipes, honest book reviews  and indulges her affection for kitchen gadgets great and small.

Here’s one of Cher’s favorite paleo recipes, which she was kind enough to share with me, and it looks amazing! Also, I am a hopeless junkie for capers, and I think adding them to this salad is simply brilliant. This Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad would make a very classy little appetizer at your next dinner party, a great lunch or snack option, or a fabulous dinner salad over a bed of mixed wild greens!

Be sure to follow Cher on Facebook and Pinterest as well, for lots more delicious paleo recipes!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 small can of salmon (drained if water-packed)
1 teaspoon lemon garlic seasoning blend
1 cucumber
1 medium tomato
1 teaspoon capers
Dried parsley

Combine avocado, salmon and lemon garlic powder in a medium bowl. Mash vigorously until well-combined.

Slice the cucumber into thin rounds and the tomato into wedges.

Arrange in an alternating pattern around your serving bowl.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a generous serving of salad into the center of the serving bowl. Sprinkle with capers and parsley; serve immediately.

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After six years, Cher Underwood Forsberg is still delighted that she gets to wake up in Portland, Oregon every day.

Though she loves her hometown of Chicago, she feels strongly that there’s just an unreasonable amount of winter there. She cooks paleo food, chases after her unruly brood of children and their feral dog, and blogs about it at Paleo + Life.

Paleo Plus Life

11/11/13

Kitchen skills: How to hold a knife

How to Chop with a Kitchen Knife While Keeping Your Fingers Intact from Kaley Perkins on Vimeo.

This video was taken during an interview with journalist Kaley Perkins, and published on her blog, KaleyPerkins.com, as part of her post, “Local Chefs Fight Monsanto With Knives” November 9, 2013.

Click here to read the full interview and listen to the additional podcast.

04/11/13

Thanksgiving dinner from that new-fangled device…the microwave

Today we have a great story by hautemealz.com Facebook friend, Colleen Anderson.

Any funny microwave stories in your family?

Thanks for the chuckle, Colleen!

-Chef Perry

Thanksgiving dinner from that new-fangled device…the microwave
By Colleen Anderson

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I was born in the 60’s and grew up with a 1950’s style Mom. Except that she HATED to cook. To say that she was a bad cook is a disservice to bad cooks all over the planet. If it did not come in a box, package or a can, she did not cook it.

I was 10 years old before I realized that the fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle could actually be purchased and eaten. I thought they were just there to show you what was in the cans. The first time I was even in that aisle was with a friend’s Mom.

So I learned to cook at a very young age for self-preservation. I joined 4-H just to learn how to cook.

bADcOOK

In 1981, my Mother got a new way to cook…the microwave. The early models were big. This one resembled a mini fridge and took up the entire counter space above the dishwasher.

She decided that this was the wave of the future and she planned to make the entire Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave. She had some cookbook and used them as a guide. By guide I mean, not as much something to follow, but as suggestions on what to do. 


Ingredients were purchased, special microwave dishes and utensils were acquired, and the big day approached.

turkeyThe cookbook indicated that the turkey should be put in the regular oven to brown for an hour or so. My Mom decided that using the regular oven at all was too old fashioned and she instead microwaved the bird for longer.

Vegetables could be heard making popping sounds from the depths of the microwave and straining against the plastic wrap to escape the cooking vessel. Rolls seemed to not brown but almost wrinkle as they cooked.

Worst of all there was no turkey smell throughout the house.

When the dinner was set out on the table it resembled a traditional turkey dinner, kind of. But something was off. The skin was raw looking but cooked at the same time. Then, as the bird was carved, it was pink all the way through.

It was disgusting. It turns out that putting it in the real oven was not just for the skin to brown but to change the color of the whole bird.

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The rolls resembled small cannon balls waiting to be used as weapons. The stuffing would not come out of the casserole dish except in the center. All the vegetables looked like they had exploded from the inside.

My Mom, not one to be dismayed by this unappetizing meal, declared it a success and the new way to cook. Somehow my siblings and I muddled though the meal.

Leftovers abounded.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

A few hours after dinner, I declared that I needed to put gas in my car so I would not have to do it in the morning. I looked at my youngest sister, with whom I did not get along very well,. and with pity, I asked her if she wanted to come with me. She looked at me quizzically as I mouthed the word “pizza”. She jumped up from the couch and the two of us were out the door before anyone could question the trip.

The pizza place was crowed. I wondered if others had been at the mercy of microwaves.

04/1/13

3 Tips for Organizing Your Recipes – from professional organizer Julie Starr Hook

art.recipe.rsThe best organizing decision I made for 2013 was signing up for Hautemealz.com!

Being a professional organizer, I am always looking for new ways to get organized. Hautemealz.com has certainly been my meal ticket for organizing my family’s meals.

As a member of Hautemealz.com, I get the weekly excitement of checking out what amazing new recipes I get to make and shop for the following week.

Once I have printed the recipes, I organize them the following ways:

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01/22/13

A Letter to the Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic

More than 5,000 Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, every day.

Today’s guest post is from award-winning author and diabetes expert, Wil Dubois. Will is the author of Taming the Tiger: Your first year with diabetes, a first year survival guide, a recognized expert on the subject of diabetes, and a frequent contributor to the dLife website.

As the chef in charge of our Haute & Healthy Diabetic-Friendly meal plan, here at hautemealz.com, this post is especially important to me. I wish it had been around 15 years ago!

If you, or someone you know has been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, please read and share this important information!

-Chef Perry

This article was originally posted at dLife.com and is shared with permission of both the author and publisher.

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A Letter to the Newly Diagnosed

What you need to know when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

By Wil Dubois

Welcome to the family! What? I’m the first to say that to you? Well, now that you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’re part of a HUGE family, and more people than you can imagine are facing the exact same challenges you are. In fact, more than 5,000 Americans were diagnosed with diabetes on the very same day you were. And the same thing is happening today. And 5,000 more will join us tomorrow.

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01/5/13

12 Tips to Make 2013 the Year to Get Organized!

We’re very excited to have Julie Starr Hook, from Five Starr Organizing, as a guest blogger this week, as we talk about achieving our goals and resolutions, going into the new year!

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12 Tips to Make Make 2013 the year to get organized! 
Julie Starr Hook, Five Starr Organizing

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04/16/12

Coupons – Easy – Easier – Easiest!

Today, we’re privileged to have as our guest blogger, Marlyn Ferguson, Founder/Creator of the Strategic Shopping Network!

Coupons – Easy – Easier – Easiest!

Using Coupons Is Easy

We are all busy.  And we all want to save money.  But we want to save time too.  Many people commit to using coupons as a New Year’s Resolution and stop soon after as life begins to happen.  The Strategic Shopping Network wants to make your life easier while saving by using coupons.

Here are some ways to make using coupons – easy – easier and easiest for you and your family.

Easy

1. Take Baby Steps.  We don’t have to do it all at once.  Every saving is a small victory.  If we try to do it all at once AND maintain all of our other responsibilities, using coupons can become overwhelming.

2. We recommend beginning to use coupons in one store.  I personally started with CVS.  I found the CVS staff to be very helpful and their promotions were clear and simple to use.  Some people like to start with one grocery store.  That’s a good idea as well.  The decision on how to get started will be based on what works best for you and your family.

3. Pick and choose the sales you want to focus on.  It’s not a race.  Or in this case, perhaps slow and steady wins the race.  Because it’s easy to ‘burn out’ and not use coupons at all.  We don’t have to  take advantage of EVERY sale in the store.  Just choose one or two and then shop normally for the rest.  We can build our savings over time – it’s all good!

Easier

1.  Invest in an Accordion File.  They sell for about $10.   This is the most important step toward realizing big savings at the grocery and drug stores.  And it can’t get any easier to use.  You will probably save whatever you spend on the accordion file after one shopping trip.

2.  Each week, save the weekly inserts from your local newspaper by date in your accordion file.    And now you’re done for the week if you’d like.  That’s really all you need to do.  You can clip, sort and file coupons in a notebook, but I have found the notebook method for organizing coupons to be too time consuming.  If it works for you – that’s great.  But I have trouble keeping up with it.  So, I just sort the coupons in my accordion file by week, and they are ready for me when I prepare for my shopping trips.

3.  Someday in the not too distant future this process may all be digital.  You’ll be able to go online and load the coupons you want to your phone and/or your store card.  That will simplify things even further.

Easiest

1. Choose a web site with match ups to follow.  Of course we hope your choice will be the Strategic Shopping Network, but let’s face it, we can’t possibly cover every store, so if you find that your favorite store is covered elsewhere, follow the site that works for you.  (If we don’t cover your store, we hope you’ll visit us for entertainment, retail, travel savings and lots of freebies/free events that are featured on the SSNW.)

2. Preparing in advance makes a shopping trip easiest.  Before you shop – check out the web site you follow.  It will tell you what’s on sale and break down the coupons for you. Use the site to make your shopping list and pull the coupons you need for that week.  This process will take about 15 – 30 minutes, but will save time and money in the store.

3. Spend less time in the store.  When you’ve prepared your list and coupons in advance, a shopping trip takes less time.  We have shopped a store sale in 15 minutes.  Once you are familiar with the store and you know what you will be buying, the rest is easy.

Today, Everyone Needs to Shop Strategically – We’re Here to Help!

Everything has changed. Most of us learned how to shop and budget in times of great prosperity but the world as we knew it looks completely different today.

Many people have faced periods of unemployment in the past several years.  Those who kept their jobs found that they were required to work twice as hard for less money AND face the daily fear of losing their jobs as layoffs plague businesses.

So many organizations have changed as they struggle to stay afloat.  In many cases it has become increasingly dehumanizing to work in our corporate culture today, knowing that – as they say on one of my favorite shows, Dance Moms ’everyone is replaceable!’

And we found that we wanted to find a way to help.  So we created the Strategic Shopping Network, a platform to help our readers become more strategic about how they shop.  After all, we work a lot harder for our money, today – we should be more  strategic about how we spend it, don’t you think?

We help sharp shoppers stay on point…here’s how:

  • We help our readers save money at the grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, retail stores, on travel, entertainment and even at the gas station.  And our site is FREE and always will be!
  • We showcase opportunities to have fun – in many cases for free. (With an emphasis on the Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. Markets)
  • We stay on top of current trends and information and keep our readers in the know – especially as related to shopping and saving money.
  • When you become a Strategic Shopping Network Reader (Did we mention that it’s free?), you are not alone anymore! We are creating a community of Strategic Shoppers who share information and help one another.

Visit us often at www.strategicshoppingnetwork.com!

About Me

What to write about Marlyn…hmmm. I’ve been described by many as a little bit larger than life, and I love to learn new things. One of my most recent projects has been to learn to shop strategically, so that we can stretch our dollars. I’m happy to be able to share this with you!

My background is in marketing and entrepreneurship, so I’m combining all of my skills and background to bring you the best of Strategic Shopping! Have no fear – we will take the Baby Steps to Big Savings, together!