If you are space or seasoning-ally challenged, it’s nice to have a little magic on hand, like the kind Spike Gourmet Natural Seasonings provides. I do have a cabinet full of spice jars and seasonings, however most are not blends, but single spices – which means I have to search and put together my own combinations. That’s okay for me, but my son and husband prefer to have the blends ready for them. They don’t want to search through individual jars, give them a couple of jars, not a handful or more. My son likes all the combinations and while my husband has to avoid a few due to being on a low sodium diet, my son is claiming any and all that my husband is not able to enjoy in our recipes. Spike Gourmet Natural Seasonings is giving away all of the same magic seasonings that they sent to me to try out, 1 jar each of : Original Magic, Salt Free Magic, Hot N’ Spicy Magic, Vegit Magic, 5 Herb Magic, Onion Magic, Garlic Magic, Vege-Sal, Lemon Pepper Magic and Tenderizer Magic.
We’ve been trying out the Magic Seasonings by Spike the last few weeks. My son adds the garlic, the onion powder and the Salt Free Magic along with the 5 Herb Magic to tomato sauce for use with pasta. He also made oven baked fries (in which he was very heavy handed in the spices there but we’re experimenting) using the onion, garlic, salt free magic and the Vegit – a low sodium spice (along with a bunch of black pepper). My husband was out of town so I used the Original Magic Seasoning in a Potato, Sausage and Veggie dish. The spices are good, and though the print on the bottle is really small, I can read that most of the ingredients are natural and good, though I’m a little foggy on hydrolyzed soy protein and these are natural, but not organic. There is a little caking, but that’s because there isn’t an anti-caking agent added and that’s more than fine with me.
Disclosure: I received ten jars of Spike Brand Gourmet Natural Seasonings to try out for this review. I have not received compensation for this review or to hold a giveaway. My opinions are my own.
The Spike Natural Gourmet Seasonings can accommodate different dietary restrictions depending on which one you are using.
The gluten free seasonings are: Original Magic, Salt Free Magic, Hot N’ Spicy Magic, Vegit Magic, 5 Herb Magic, Onion Magic and Garlic Magic.
Low sodium (1/4 tsp): Vegit Magic – 15 mg, Spike Salt Free – 2 mg, Onion Magic – 10 mg sodium.
No sodium: Garlic Magic, 5 Herb Magic.
Anyone who wins this collection of seasonings will be thrilled to experiment with the different blends.Diana
Jalapeno poppers – done right are not super hot and just have a little bit of a bite. I wanted to create something low sodium for my husband that has that bite because a lot of low sodium foods are flavorless, but this is not. We’re using goat cheese and swiss cheese in the stuffing because they are lower in sodium and in the list of acceptable cheeses to use. The chicken and goat cheese mixture can be prepared a day or so in advance, placed into a zippered plastic bag, and then refrigerated overnight. To pipe, just cut off the corner of the bag you have already filled. We tried the poppers two ways. Whole, they were filled and stood up to bake melting the cheese inside. The cream cheese mixture stays warm inside and falls to the bottom as you eat because it is so soft. The other way was to slice the pepper in half and have a jalapeno boat. You can toast the top better that way, but you are getting more cream cheese and less pepper. We couldn’t decide which we liked better. The boats had quite a bit of cheese, but it covered up the pepper taste more. I guess it depends on how much heat you like.
Don’t forget to scroll down after looking at the recipe for the giveaway information and a list of other great appetizers.Diana
At one family gathering, I brought a salad with beets. My husband’s Aunt upon hearing there were beets in the salad asked if they tasted like dirt. I responded that they had an earthy flavor, and she said, ” Well, they taste like dirt to me.” Orange pairs well with beets, and helps to give the beets a less earthy flavor, as evidenced by my daughter’s statement when she tasted this year’s beet salad. I handed her a plate and told her the beet salad was my offering. She took a bite and said she liked it because, “it doesn’t have that really rustic flavor that beets sometimes have. ”Diana
There is still time to run into your favorite bookstore and pick up a nice book-related gift (or two) for your foodie friends and family, and this Holiday Guide contains a few book suggestions for your favorite foodie. Some of these books are also in ebook form, if you want an extra for yourself. In fact a great gift for reading recipes is an Ipad Mini or a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. My husband has the tablet – and uses apps to read kindle, nook and other eReader type books. It’s also perfect for taking photos of your food and for looking at photos, much better than a cellphone. Enjoy! I hope you get to experience a new recipe or foodie inspiring book to help you throughout the new year. By the way – Amazon says the last time for overnight is Midnight Monday December 23rd, EST.
The following books were sent to me this year and these are the ones that I feel would make nice gifts:
- Superfood Kitchen: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods (Superfood Series) by Julie Morris- This is a recipe book using superfoods. So this is a vegan book – but it’s really a specialty vegan book using superfoods. I’ve done some of the recipes in the book, and though some are very involved, they are great recipes. The positives – Use of great superfoods, unusal ingredients, and healthy recipes. The downside – unusual can mean inaccesible, or not easy to find. I wish the recipes had nutrition values listed. This book would be a great gift for someone adventurous who would like to try something new, but this person also needs to be able to afford the ingredients, which can be cost prohibitive for the regular college student. (more…)
This is the official Cookerati Holiday Gift Guide for 2013. These are things I’ve tried out that I like and most I’ve paid for or used extensively, some are repeats. I’ll have a book guide in a few days, but these are things to look for now since we only have a couple of weeks left.
Yonanas – this was a review product and one of my fun gadgets that I tried out this year. You freeze bananas or other fruit and put it through the Yonanas machine. It smashes the bananas into a creamy consistency almost like banana ice cream. No sugar or milk involved. This is a great dorm gift, or fun gathering because you can grab a banana from the store or cafeteria, freeze it and have a quick late night snack – or even invite friends over and tell them to bring their own frozen fruit. Also, pre-teens can make their own yonanas, as long as you have frozen fruit on hand. My mom, my kids, my husband and I all loved yonanas and we had fun trying different fruit in the yonanas machine.Diana
by Deborah Ng
Probably now you’re shopping and chopping in anticipation of Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day feast. 20 minutes after you set the food out to the table all your guest will be sipping wine or falling asleep on the couch while your table is left a shambles of turkey carcasses and large half-filled food bowls. You know you made too much food. In fact you probably did it on purpose because we all know the leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. So what are you going to do with all that leftover turkey? Here are a 30 leftover turkey recipes to help you use it all up.
30 Leftover Turkey Recipes
- Turkey Rice Bake
- Turkey a la King
- Turkey Strata
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Leftover Turkey Sammich
- Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole
- Hot Turkey Salad
- Turkey Wing and Red Lentil Soup
- Turkey Cranberry Wreath
- Turkey & Stuffin’ Soup
- Turkey Cottage Pie
- Hot Turkey Casserole
- 12 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes
- Turkey Pumpkin Panini or Turkey Pumpkin Wrap
- Tex-Mex Turkey Chili
- Turkey Tetrazzini
- Turkey Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- Turkey Stuffing Hash For Breakfast
- Barbecue Turkey Sandwiches
- Biscuit Topped Turkey Pot Pie
- Thanksgiving Chili Rellenos With Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
- Hot Turkey and Cheddar Casserole
- Lespinasse Turkey Croquettes
- Smoked Turkey Jerky
- Turkey Ham Vegetable Hash
- Turkey Salad in Mango Chutney Mayo
- Thanksgiving Leftover Wontons with Cranberry Salsa
- Barbecue Turkey Loaf
- Hearty Turkey Vegetable Soup
- Turkey Tortilla Roll Ups
- Turkey Soup
Deb’s post about the leftover celebration that I like, so I’m linking here.
Updated Post – Originally posted by Deborah Ng in Nov 2008. Updated by Diana Hayes November 2013Diana
Turkey is one of the easiest things to cook, the main problem is taking it out on time so that it stays moist and tender. To that end, pay attention to roasting times and pop up thermometers. Get a meat thermometer and make sure you check the temp with that after the pop up – pops to be sure. Follow these suggestions for a wonderful tasting roasted turkey for your Thanksgiving (or even not Thanksgiving) bird.
- Defrost your turkey. You’ll need to keep it in the fridge for a few days in order for it to defrost. It takes longer with the giblet packet inside, so as soon as you can, take it out. If you didn’t leave enough time to defrost it totally, you will need to submerge your sealed Turkey in a big pot or sink full of cold water. Change the water every 1/2 hour. Whatever you do, put your arm all the way through from one end of the turkey to the other and make sure you get every single one of those giblet parts out.
- Turkey Brining – I talked about it here . Martha Stewart has a brining recipe if you want to make it yourself. Rinse turkey well and pat dry.
- Stuff the turkey – I like to cook my stuffing in a baking dish in the oven. If you like it in your turkey, then by all means stuff it. Add some cooking time in for the stuffing.
- Season the turkey – If you don’t have stuffing inside, throw in some garlic and herbs. Rub butter or olive oil over the skin of the turkey and throw some of your favorite herbs on top. Salt, pepper, sage, thyme. I throw onions and a little garlic in the side of the pan too.
- Cooking - My mom roasted the turkey in a Roasting Pan with an aluminum foil tent. My husband’s mom used a roasting bag and then in a pan. I use an electric Roasting Pan. My husband under the familiar protest that you don’t get your wife cooking gear for Christmas bought me one because I asked. I love it because I can keep the oven free for other things. I have tried with success cooking the turkey upside down for some of the time to let the juices travel better to the breast. Put the turkey in and leave it. Every time you open the oven it makes the oven heat up all over again.
- Timetable – From the Good Housekeeping Cookbook that I got as a wedding gift over 21 years ago.
Suggested temp 325 degrees.
8 – 12 lbs 3 1/2 – 4 hours
12 – 16lbs 4 – 4 1/2 hours
16 – 20 lbs 4 1/2 – 5 hours
20 – 24 lbs 5 – 6 hours
Subtract a half hour if it is unstuffed.
- Remove foil or bag for the last half hour of cooking to let the turkey brown.
- Let the turkey rest for a half hour before serving so that the juices settle.
- Make giblet gravy or any other gravy that you prefer.
- Carve and eat.
Another method of cooking a turkey is deep frying. However, any type cooking directions that includes keeping a fire extinguisher nearby makes me shake my head. I’ve heard it’s really good that way though and very moist.
For Big Green Egg lovers, here are directions to cooking a turkey on the BGE.
Of course, if you wait too long and you’re too tired, or you have to work, or you just don’t want to spend all day cooking or working on a turkey.. there’s always the supermarket pre-ordered, pre-cooked ready for pick up.
This is an updated repost from 2008.
Fruit fly season is the worst time of the year. If you have a piece of fruit or vegetable sitting out, those darned flies will find it and you know you don’t want to refrigerate your tomatoes, because they will taste nasty. So, how do you trap the fruit flies and keep them away from your produce? With a fruit fly trap – or a fruit fly vinegar jar.
My daughter saw an idea for a fruit fly trap that used a jar, a paper cone, apple cider vinegar and dish soap. So, I’ve been trying different variations to see what made a difference and worked, and what didn’t.
- Vinegar alone works just fine. Don’t waste your precious dishsoap, plain vinegar – in fact any kind of vinegar works. We used apple cider the most but plain white worked too.
- A wide mouth with a cone works well. The cone gives a wide opening for the fruit fly to find it’s way in, but the narrow opening prevents them from leaving. When I used a small mouthed bottle, the flies never found their way into the bottle. Large bowls are very inviting, but you need to find a way to keep them from escaping.
- Fruit is the enemy when it comes to trapping the fruit flies. If there are any other attractants in the vicinity, the competition will keep the flies away. So, clean up any fruit making sure to remove any that have a slight crack or peel. That will actually solve most of your problem, but you may still have some flies, without fruit around they will find your vinegar jar.
Quite a few contests this week, a free recipe book and some fun stuff to read and watch.
- Wholly Guacamole wants you to OMGuac Lunch. This promotion is to encourage healthy eating using Wholly Guacamole Minis. Take a photo and enter it into a contest on the Wholly Guacamole website. Best looking lunches win a lunchbox full of Wholly Guacamole products and 100.00 gift card. Coupons for Wholly Guacamole Minis can be found on their website, plus you can take a look at previous winners, or watch videos with great suggestions for a great lunch.
- HobbyFarms.com is holding a Pickle That contest – They want you to publish your pickled “stuff” to instagram -
Upload photos of your pickled produce to your account and tag it #hfhpicklethat, and on September 30, 2013, one lucky participant will be chosen to receive a selection of books from the Hobby Farm Home grab bag to support their gardening and preserving endeavors.
- The Sunshine Coast Real Food Festival in the Maleny Showgrounds (Australia) will happen Sept 7-9. Admission cost is 15.00, kids free. Looks like they have a lot of great stuff going on.
- Free right now – Gooseberry Patch Circle of Friends Barbecue Recipe eBook. Choose from the different recipe book types – Nook, Kindle, etc.
- A nice video about the Columbus Coffee Scene by Experience Columbus.
- Prevention put together a slide show with the 25 Worst Diet Tips Ever. I think they’re pretty good.
- Pay attention Buckeyes – the Buckeye Regional and Ohio State Chili Championship is Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1 at CaJohns Fiery Foods in Westerville. 1.000.00 grand prize each day, plus a pass to compete at the 2013 World Chili Championship.
- Folger’s is holding a Spot the Red Bag Sweepstakes – Snap a photo of a red bag Folger’s or otherwise and upload to instagram with hashtag #SpotTheRedBag for a chance to win.
PS. Let us know if you see something you enjoyed so that we can find more of that type for you. Looking for feedback on the Food News.
The topic of the origin of the graham cracker came about as my daughter and I were noshing on S’mores. My daughter brought the requisite graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows to a friend’s pre-4th party. As she was devouring she wondered about how the graham cracker came to be.
We researched online to find some fascinating information – all about the lowly graham.
Reverend Graham was a strict vegetarian who promoted his diet to his followers, but also believed that eating healthy would curb carnal urges. He was against white flour and believed that mustard and ketchup caused insanity (maybe it was the hfcs?), thought you should sleep on a really hard mattress and the window open every night. While some of these thoughts were a little on the odd side, he did believe in a really high fiber diet and promoted the use of homemade unsifted white flour instead of bleached, sifted white flour.
The official designer of the graham cracker is unknown though it is named after Rev. Graham. Originally they were made with the germ, the bran and the endosperm each individually ground and then recombined into flour. Ironically, Today’s graham cracker doesn’t resemble the high fiber crackers created over 100 years ago. Now it’s a snack and dessert cracker most famously known for S’mores or the crumbs used as the base in a cheesecake, not the healthy powerhouse it was originally intended to be.
Enjoy your summer – cookout – use awful marshmallows, chocolate and fake grahams – or go gourmet all the way and use the good chocolate, home made marshmallows and healthy grahams. Either way, it’s not summer without at least one cookout with S’mores, YUM!
Here are some links to read more about Reverend Graham and the cracker:
To help you with your homemade S’mores:
and one of my previous posts: