Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Enhance the Tastes of the Season with Natural Rubs and Seasonings

It's easy to put a modern twist on traditional foods with today's natural rubs and seasonings. Gather your friends and family around the table to enjoy the special foods that the season affords.

1.) A New Twist for Squashes
Fresh white squash, zucchini or acorn squash are sensational when grilled or baked, and taste even more fabulous when rubbed with Nantucket Off-Shore Garden Rub 1.0 oz Tin —a minty Mediterranean mélange flecked with fennel and red pepper.

2.) Carmel Apple in a Cup: the New Apple Cider
Caramel is the perfect flavor partner for autumn's apple cider. With Minglir's Flavored Drink Sticks Caramel 30 per container, you simply stir in the caramel flavor-coated stick allowing the seasoning to melt into your cup of cider. No mess, no fat, and no added sugar. Just a perfect apple cider. Be sure to taste your beverage once or twice as you stir to control the level of flavoring. Once the taste is just right, discard the Minglir caramel flavoring stick.

3.) The Unexpected Turkey
A succulent roast turkey is always a favorite for the hoidays. But why not spice up Grandma's recipe with Big Acres® Perfect Poultry Spice & Rub? This aromatic blend is a perfect compliment to your turkey, duck, Cornish game hens, chicken or quail… and veggies too!

4.) Wild Game and Poultry
A successful hunting season means fun sauces, stews and rustic country roasts. The Mediterranean Coast Gift Pack contains the Tuscan Villa rub which blends herbs of the region and adds tremendous flavor to your wild game, or use as a dry rub on pork roasts or poultry.

5.) Football Fest Favorite: Buffalo Wings made Easy
With Flavor Magic Zesty Buffalo Wing Seasoning Sheets -- not only can you bring this legendary dish home -- but now you can trim the fat while enhancing the entire flavor. Try it with chicken tenders, pork or shrimp, for a low-fat, no fuss alternative to common wings. Or, turn an ordinary hamburger into a Buffalo Burger with no effort.

All-natural, aged red pepper is the secret ingredient and the favor is authentic and vibrant… with just the right amount of heat. Simply lay the seasoning sheet on a plate, place your wings on the sheet, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then grill, broil or bake! 12 sheets per package.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Uncommon Wine Tours Make Great Holiday Gifts

We all think of Napa and Sonoma as the consummate in the wine cellar experience. However, you needn't travel far to find a unique tasting experience. Excellent grapes may be growing in your own backyard. Here are a few of the unusual winery experiences available to you.

The good life: Cruise Tour of California Wine Country
Enjoy evening views of San Francisco's city lights as you float past the city of love aboard your small cruise ship. But don't leave your heart there because you'll cruise far up the Napa River where the next day you'll be escorted to frequent tastings. You'll savor premier Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs, Pinot Noirs as well as reserve bruts from the best known wineries in California. With wine experts on board, CruiseWest offers wine country tours that make your getaway memorable for years to come

Before you sail, check out My Secret Pantry's Deluxe Wine Cellar/Cooler 7 Bottle Capacity. The Bon Jour™ Seven Bottle Wine Cooler is designed to keep wines at the perfect serving temperature. Featuring stainless steel door panels and thermoelectric convection cooling system, temperature is controlled by dual fans that circulate air for even cooling of the irresistible wine from your wine country cruise.

Wine tasting in the Great White North?
On any given Sunday you can get away from the bustling city of Toronto with a SUNDAY BRUNCH ESCAPE. Your personal tour guide whisks you off to hidden wineries that you are sure to enjoy. Next choose from a delicious brunch at Queenston Heights Restaurant located on top of the Niagara Escarpment or a romantic brunch at the famous Betty Restaurant in Niagara Falls. After brunch you travel to two more award-winning wineries in Niagara Wine Country for private wine tasting before departing. Sip, swirl and savor!

Romantic Train Ride through Canadian Vineyards
The SUNDAY BRUNCH ESCAPE package is also available by train from Toronto. Opt to return to Toronto via romantic rail. When you get back home with your favorite bottles, make sure you have the Wine Saver HOME® Wine Preservation System set up and waiting. The Wine Saver HOME® is the first multi-bottle preserve-and-serve wine system that will dispense wine at its peak freshness—ensuring the integrity of your wine for weeks at a time using Argon gas.

Ride the Iowa Wine Trail
The Iowa Wine Trail In the upper Mississippi valley wine region, celebrates November Holiday Wine & Food with tickets for $20 dollars per day. Good for either Saturday or Sunday and provide access to as many as five wineries on one of the weekend days. Sip wines such as the White Schoolhouse, a crisp refreshing white stirring up memories of lemon custard and finishing on subtle sweet peach and tangerine notes. Or stop at Two Saints Winery where they believe that wine is good for the soul.

And although Iowa is no where near the balmy islands, don't forget to pack your Picnic at Ascot Bahamas Sunset Wine Carrier, a state-of-the-art Thermal Shield™ insulation cooler that keeps your wine at the perfect temperature. The wine glass compartment is perfect to hold a second bottle of your favorite Iowan wine.

Virginia: The "I Love Lucy Wine Experience"
A happy weekend escape from Washington DC, this may be our favorite Uncommon Wine Tour. You may add it on to any Virginia Wine Country Tour group package. Remember that classic scene when Lucy crawls into a wine barrel to crush grapes? Now you can too! Take off your shoes, climb into the wine barrel and learn the art of crushing grapes between your toes. Stock up now on the "Wine Away Red Stain Remover."

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Five Benefits to Infrared Cooking

Start enjoying these five benefits of healthy, fat-free infrared cooking now:

1. Cook the inside of your food without burning the outside

Infrared ovens and infrared grills use safe infrared technology to cook food faster and thoroughly without generating the high heat that triggers unhealthy results. (Recently, the American Institute for Cancer Research reported that high-heat grilling and broiling causes red meat, poultry and fish to produce higher levels of cancer-causing compounds.)

2. Infrared cooking requires no additional fats or oils

When preparing poultry, meats, pork, and more, infrared cooking requires no additional fats or oils making it the ultimate heating source for preparing healthy and delicious meals.

3. Seal in natural juices and enhance your food’s organic flavor

Infrared heat is the secret cooking heat used by five-star restaurants around the world. Infrared heat molecularly warms food from the outside-in thus browning or even-baking foods.

Infrared energy does not dry out your food. Infrared cooking actually drives moisture deep into the food being roasted or grilled. This flavor-enhancing process creates a succulence that is difficult to replicate with conventional grilling, baking or roasting methods.

4. Save time for less-stress meal preparation with infrared cooking

Infrared ovens can cook up to 50% faster, saving up to 75% energy, with no defrosting and no preheating. Save additional time because you no longer preheat your oven or grill. Infrared ovens save you time for defrosting: simply place the frozen meat inside the oven and the unique system starts cooking frozen food immediately. Many infrared ovens are designed to be dishwasher safe for easy clean up saving you more time. Less stress IS more healthy!

5. Scientific findings report infrared heating more healthful

Science News recently reported that a Korean team of food scientists completed a comparative study between conventional oven and infrared heating. The group compared green tea leaves that were roasted and dried using conventional oven heating with leaves heated by infrared irradiation.

"The Korean team has shown for the first time that a tea's concentrations of antioxidants and a host of other desirable chemicals are higher when roasting is done with FIR. Drying leaves with FIR, however, tended to diminish those chemicals." writes Janet Raloff in her Science News report.

The Korean team concludes that infrared roasting "could be a useful method for increasing the health-promoting properties of green tea."

If infrared heating increases the health-promoting properties of green tea, just think what healthful benefits infrared heating can lend to your family's food.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best-Kept Secrets for starting new Family Traditions

Have a holly, jolly Christmas or Hanukkah with friends and family gathered around classic Hot Chocolate Makers. Here's My Secret Pantry's tip for starting a new family tradition this holiday season. Featured in O Magazine, these cheerful hot chocolate makers comes in over seven styles including the 32-ounce Peppermint Swirl Hot Chocolate Pot with a candy-cane striped handle, the Penguin-shaped ceramic pot or the Snowman-shaped ceramic pot.Fight breast cancer by choosing the pink pot and hot chocolate mugs. Order now and get a FREE sample of McStevens Cocoa.

McSteven's offers Hanukkah Double Chocolate Cocoa in a colorful 8-ounce tin. This double chocolate formula contains no tropical oils and is 99% caffeine free. Ideal for making coffee mochas or delicious mocha smoothies. This half-pound tin or the oval 2.5 ounce tin makes handsome Hanukkah gifts.

Another Best-kept Secret: Flavored Hot Chocolates

Try Cinnamon Twist flavored hot chocolate and leave the Chocolate Cream flavored hot chocolate for your favorite Santa Claus. Buy the Victorian Four Taste Cocoa Gift Set to taste or gift away. The set includes four flavors of cocoas including Vanilla Caramel and Butter Pecan packaged in colorful snowy Victorian Christmas scenes.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer loves flavored hot chocolate! Your kids or grandkids will have fun making their own cup of delicious hot chocolate from some of their favorite holiday characters' tins. Each Rudolf Collection Cocoa Gift Set includes 2.5-ounces each of Chocolate Creamy, Vanilla Sipper, Peanut Butter and Caramel Cocoa's. YUM!

Downhill Tip: Stock up for the Ski Trip

This convenient 6.25-ounce tin of Chocolate Mint Creamy Cocoa instant drink mix will fit into you ski bag with no fear of spillage. Put three tablespoons of the dry mix into a mug, add hot water, stir and enjoy! Who needs schnapps with this delicious chocolate that comes with its own smooth hint of mint? Clever gift idea for the skiers and snow bunnies on your list. Made by McSteven's.

What's so nutty?

The delicious taste of chocolate and hazelnut are combined together to make this creamy cocoa truly nutty. That's what. Get 6.25 ounces of McSteven's Chocolate Hazelnut Creamy Cocoa instant drink mix. It comes in its own tin. No tropical oils and 99% caffeine free.

How can I choose?

Creamy Cocoa Mocha or Creamy Cocoa Vanilla or Creamy Cocoa Chocolate?

Is there such a thing as 'too many choices' when it comes to chocolate? All are favorite flavors available in the 6.25-ounce oval tin and each is perfect for those chilly nights. Starting new family traditions is easy with McSteven's flavored cocoas. All contain no tropical oils and are 99% caffeine free. Don't forget the marshmallows!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

5 Quick Tips for Making Traditional Spritz Cookies

Traditional spritz cookies are a European family favorite when it comes to the Christmas holidays. Thought to come from the German word, spritzen -- to inject, spritz cookies are made by pressing -- or injecting -- buttery dough through a hand press. Scandinavian households have spritz cookie presses that were handed down through the generations.

But here are some modern tips for making traditional spritz cookies easier and faster than Grandma did.

Tip #1: Use the Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II Cookie Press. It comes with 16 different cookie shapes that include merry snowflakes and Christmas trees, and four fun mini cookie designs. The comfortable, lever-action press is easier on your hand than was Grandma's syringe-like plunger.

Tip #2: For even better dough-control, splurge and buy the Wilton Cookie Master Plus Cordless Cookie Press. You can use it for cookies or crackers. Simply touch the "forward" button to press dough through barrel. Holding the "forward" button longer will give you larger cookies and crackers; holding the "forward" button for less time will yield smaller.

Tip # 3: Use room temperature dough. One of the problems Grandma had was getting stiff, buttery dough out of the press. With room temperature dough, you won't have that challenge.

Tip # 4: Don't grease your cookie sheet. The dough needs to adhere to the cookie sheet before it will detach from the press. The grease will prevent the dough from adhering. Likewise, don't use non-stick cookie sheets. Shiny aluminum cookie sheets at room temperature work best. If the metal sheet is warm, the dough won't stick to its surface.

Tip #5: Try putting your cookie sheets in the freezer for several hours before making the cookies - the dough will stick to your frozen cookie sheet just like your tongue would. (Don't try this at home -- or on the frozen flagpole in front of your elementary school building.)

Tip #6: Remove the cookies from the oven once the peaks and bottoms of the cookies turn golden brown. Allow to stand on the cookie sheet for a few seconds after baking.

Tip#7: If your design gets lost after baking, you are pressing out too much dough.

Tip# 8: Although baked spritz cookies freeze well when placed in freezer bags, the raw dough does not.

Use the eight quick tips for making traditional spritz cookies and your holiday cookie baskets and plates will be more festive than ever.