Wednesday, May 15, 2013

National BBQ Month - Quick Marinades

Happy National BBQ Month! Use that grill or BBQ to make amazing food. 

As I have been looking up how to grill different meats, I keep seeing Marinades come up.  I always assumed a marinade took hours, but I have found several marinades that can take as little as 30 minutes. That is great news! I always want to try out Marinades, but never seem to remember to look them up until I already should have been marinating the meat for several hours. So even if you forget, like I do, or decide last minute to grill up some yummy meat, you can add loads of flavor with a marinade while you are preparing the rest of the meal.

Quick Marinades

Quick Chicken Marinade
Chicken – Chicken takes on flavor well and quickly. Add the smokiness of the grill and you have a delicious meal.

You can also use any of the seasoning saltbalsamic vinegar and olive oil on our website to create delicious marinades.

Quick Steak Marinade

Steak – This is one meat I usually only salt, pepper and grill. Then I use steak sauce after it is cooked. While that is tasty, I am excited to try marinating it to get some different flavors going. This recipe is exactly what I was looking for in terms of marinating meat and preparing the other food at the same time. Plus it is a completely different flavor than the one I usually eat with steak. 

Salmon Marinade
Fish – A marinade can really help you eat more fish if you don’t like that “fishy” flavor. It is quick to add flavor to fish, typically not taking more then 15-20 minutes. Some firmer fish like Salmon can take up to an hour. Pro-Tip: Don’t marinate your fish in an Aluminum pan as the acid in most marinades will react with the Aluminum. 

Vegetable Marinade
Vegetables – This recipe makes a great side or main dish. This one will take longer to marinate then other recipes on here, but it looks so good I couldn't help but share it here. 

If you need a grill pan for vegetables or fish, you can get one here.

What are some of your favorite marinade recipes?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day - Easy Breakfast with Kids

A lot of you Dads out there are trying to figure out what to make with the kids for Mom. This post is for you. I have linked to some delicious easy breakfast/brunch recipes that kids can help make.

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins
This recipe is great because it is easy and makes enough for the whole family to share. Be sure to serve them warm! Only takes 40 minutes. Need a muffin tin? Get one here.

Baked Egg … a Biscuit

These are cute and very easy to make with the kids. Let the kids choose the shape they want to cut out for Mom's biscuit. Serve with some bacon, sausage or fruit. Need some cutters for the shapes? See our selection here.

Avocado and Goat Cheese with Lime on Toast
This is the perfect light and savory breakfast for Mom. It requires hardly any cooking, but a lot of careful mixing and loving smearing. Perfectly easy for kids to do! Don't use all the avocado, use this handy avocado saver.

Light Fruit Salad
A light fruit salad that is really easy to put together with Mom's favorite seasonal fruit. Easy for kids to mix together and prepare with some cutting help from Dad. Place in a sweet heart shaped dish like this one.

What are you making for Mother's Day? 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring Vegetables - Recipes to Inspire

Spring has arrived and with it so have Farmer’s Markets! This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love fresh farm vegetables and fruits. Here in the Seattle area we have a large market right in Downtown Seattle at Pike Place Market. I always make a point of visiting Pike Place throughout the spring to get fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables. If you are interested in local markets near you, check out Local Harvest to locate one.

Spring Vegetables and Recipes 

  1. Asparagus is a delicious and hearty spring vegetable. It is delicious in this Grilled Asparagus & Feta Salad. or as part of this Mozzarella, Chicken & Asparagus Pasta. Pro-tip: Keep your asparagus like you would flowers in water. Eat them close to the time you bought them for the best flavor.
  2. Spring Lettuce such as mache or lambs are sweet and flavorful. This Spring Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette makes a nice side or lunch. A great spring salad is well balanced. It doesn't need a heavy dressing. Casina Rossa Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pressed with Lemon is excellent on a salad. Pro-tip: Keep your lettuce fresh for longer by washing it all in cold water and drying it the day you buy it either in a salad spinner or towels, and roll the leaves up in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Sweet Peas make delicious and fresh snacks raw, and are wonderful in this Pearl Couscous and Peas side dish.
Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas 

Cinco de Mayo is coming up, use this Roasted Vegetable Enchilada recipe to celebrate the day with fresh vegetables.

What spring vegetables inspire your cooking this spring?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Perfect for Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is coming up, and with it is a chance to show your Mom some appreciation.  With that in mind, I thought I would make a few suggestions on items that would make a very special Mom who loves to cook feel more special.  

Kai Pure Komachi 2 Knife Block Set, 9-Piece  
Made of high carbon stainless steel, Komachi 2 knives are color-coded to prevent cross-contamination and make it easy for Mom to choose the right knife for the job.
Meri Meri M is for Mother Cotton Apron 
Remind your Mom how special she is with this sweet apron by Meri Meri.
Meri Meri M is for Mother Spatulas, Set of 2 
Another sweet way to remind your Mom how special she is with this spatula set from Meri Meri.
Chef's Planet Prep Taxi Food Scoop  
The Chef's Planet Prep Taxi Food Scoop in Stainless Steel fills an important role in food preparation: getting your diced meats, chopped veggies, and grated cheese from the chopping block to a pan or bowl. A great kitchen tool for your Mom.

Chef Pro Tortilla & Flat Bread Maker 
Let the Chef Pro Tortilla and Flat Bread Maker help your Mom make delicious, fresh tortillas and breads right on her counter top. 

Le Creuset Stoneware Pie Bird 
This is a beautiful way to help your Mom’s pies release steam and come out delicious.

Le Creuset Stoneware Small Teapot with Infuser 
This is a beautiful way to share tea with your Mom.
Duralex Lys Square Bowls with Lids, Set of 5 
Great for reheating leftovers in a microwave. Get a set for Mom.

Check out for other gifts for your cooking Mom.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

10 Tips for Tear-Free Onion Cutting

Onions make me cry. I love the taste of onions in food, but I hate cutting them or preparing them for cooking. They make my eyes sting with sulfur tears. So you can imagine, I have tried several methods to stop crying while cutting up onions.  Here are some of the tricks that helped me.

  1. Leave the roots on while cutting it helps to keep the onion from stinging your eyes as much. I have found that to be true unless an onion is particularly powerful, like they tend to be in the fall.
  2. Place the onion you need to cut in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes before you cut it. This works okay, but the cold onion gets my fingers cold.
  3. Burning a candle near where you are cutting the onion. This is the method I use most, and it works well.
  4. Have the cut part of the onion away from your face, and have a fan on to blow the fumes away.
  5. Try wiping your knife with fresh lemon juice before you cut into the onion and use fresh lemon juice after on the surface you cut the onion on to dissipate the smell. I don’t always keep lemons on hand, so haven’t used this method as much.
  6. Use a food processor to cut them and contain the fumes. Just be sure to move your face away once you open the lid, and have a fan blowing. I do this when I have multiple onions to cut up.
  7. You can also cut an onion under running water, which dissipates the gases, but use caution to make sure you don’t cut yourself in the process. I am not quite good enough at knife cuts to feel I can do this one safely. I actually just try to run the onion under a bit of water after the initial peel and cut-in half before the slicing or dicing.
  8. Bite down on a toothpick or unlit match. I was surprised by how much this one helped.
  9. Eat bread while chopping onions. I like bread, but would rather not spoil dinner by chowing down on bread while I cook.
  10. Wear goggles either swimming goggles or a pair of Onion Goggles from RSVP. I wear glasses normally to see, but these really helped reduce the tears. 

RSVP Pro Onion Goggles SKU: 06-2542-02

What ways do you use to keep from crying while cutting an onion?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tramontina Grilled Cheese Recipe Contest - Results

National Grilled Cheese Day is Friday, April 12th. In the office here, we thought of another great Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe that I thought I would share with you.

Grilled Cheese Recipe

Ingredients: 2 Slices of Buttermilk bread, buttered. 2 Slices of Havarti Cheese, A couple slices of Smoked Turkey Breast, a couple of slices of bacon, and a couple slices of tomato.

Instructions: Heat grill pan to med heat. Add a slice of buttermilk bread with butter side down, place a slice of Havarti cheese, smoked turkey, bacon, the other slice of Havarti cheese and finally the last slice of buttermilk bread with buttered side up. Brown on both sides and cook until cheese is melted. Pull sandwich a part between turkey and bacon to add in tomatoes right before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Contest Results

We received some great recipes from you all. You are all very creative! However, one of you stood out among the rest, and that person has won the Tramontina Grill pan w/press

Tramontina Series 1000 Cast Iron Grill Pan w/ Press, 11" SKU: 07-2225

Congratulations to Maria Manuel! We were going to award the prize to Cate, but it was brought to our attention that the recipe she posted was directly pasted from Cookin Canuck's blog. Although we didn't say it had to be completely original, the recipe needed to not be directly pasted from another person's blog without crediting them. Maria Manuel, your sandwich incorporated unique ingredients and sounds delicious! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us! Let us all know how the Tramontina grill pan and press works out for you in your grill cheese sandwich creations.

Now to the rest of the contestants, we randomly chose eight of you to receive our other prize of the Bialetti Cup and Saucer set. Congratulations to Julie Lloyd-Atkinson, Shannon, Cory Hoover, Mindy Babbitt, Jane, bakewitheaseErik Peterson and Scott Anderson

Those that won prizes, please email me at your mailing address by Friday, April 12th.

Thank you all again for sharing with us your creative and delicious grilled cheese recipes. If you missed them here is a link to the post, check the comments for all of the great recipes that were submitted. I hope that you will be eating some Grilled cheese on Friday, April 12th. I know I will!

Check back for future recipe contests, cooking tips and giveaways. Let me know if there is a cooking topic, you want me to cover or a product you want more information on in the comments below. We want to encourage you to keep cooking! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tramontina Grilled Cheese Recipe Contest

National Grilled Cheese Day is April 12th. To celebrate we are holding a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe Contest! Details are in the post below.

I am really excited about National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day because Grilled cheese is one of my favorite sandwiches. I love how many ways you can make it. I have sampled many fine versions of this lunchtime favorite. My first grilled cheese memory is my mom making me a grilled cheese sandwich with plain white Wonder Bread and Kraft American Cheese with a side of Campbell's Tomato Soup. I have since updated my go-to recipe to a more grown-up version. 

My Go-To-Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Take 2 slices of good sourdough bread, butter both sides, and place 1 slice of PepperJack cheese and 1 slice of Cheddar cheese in-between the bread. Place in a med-low heated skillet or grill pan and grill golden brown on both sides until cheese is melted. Sometimes I will add an extra kick with red pepper flakes. 

Pro-Tip: Make sure your butter is room temperature to make spreading easier, and also make sure your cheese is at room temperature. You don’t want your bread to burn before the cheese has melted. 

Serve with a side of tomato soup, recipe for that is here.

Tools you'll need to make this melting delight: A Tramontina Cast Iron Grill Pan and a Cuisipro Fiberglass Large Slotted Turner.

So what is your go-to Grilled Cheese Recipe?

To enter the contest, post in the comments by April 9th your Grilled Cheese Recipe. I want to know what your most creative and best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe is. This is a contest, so be creative.

The most creative recipe will win our grand prize graciously sponsored by Tramontina!   

Tramontina Series 1000 Cast Iron Grill Pan w/ Press, 11" SKU: 07-2225

We’ll pick 4 other winners at random that will get a Bialetti Cup and Saucer set (includes 2 cups and 2 saucers) – cute and great to serve a cup of tomato soup in to accompany your grilled cheese sandwiches.

Bialetti Cup and Saucer Set

I look forward to reading all of your delicious Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes! The winners will be announced in next week's blog post, so be sure to check back to see if you have won. Good luck and happy cooking!

No purchase necessary to enter; must be 18 or older; entering comment must include a Grilled Cheese Recipe; comment must be longer than 2 sentences; you may post as many recipes as you like, but they must be in different posts to count as another entry; 
contest ends April 9th, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easy Easter Brunch - Stress Free Plan

Last week I talked about preparing a stress-free Easter Dinner. This week I have a stress free plan for Easter Brunch, another tradition for Easter. After giving this some thought, I came up with an option that will please everyone, cook included!

Build-Your-Own Crepes

I know that crepes can seem intimating, but they are easier to make then you think. Plus, you can make them ahead. Pro-Tip: Be sure to place wax paper or paper towels in-between each crepe to keep them from sticking together as you store them. Then make up different fillings both savory and sweet. This lets everyone customize their brunch, so you don't have to worry about picky eaters. You can also involve your family by asking them to contribute with their favorite filling.

My personal favorite crepe recipe is from Alton Brown. You can find it here.

Strawberries and Cream Crepes from Liv life
Great recipe for the cream filling shown can be found here.
If you do make these crepes up ahead of time, any filling that would need to be served warm can be put in the crepes then heat them up in either the microwave or oven until the filling is warm.

Some tools to make this meal easier can be found at

A crepe pan is not necessary to make crepes, but it does make it easier to create nicely thin crepes with ease. You can get shop our selection of Crepe pans here.

Scanpan Classic Crepe pan
A batter dispenser will help you measure out exactly how much crepe batter you are using. This will keep your crepes more even and get more out of the batter. You can shop our selection of batter tools here.
Tovolo Easy Write Pancake Pen

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easy Easter Dinner – Stress Free Plan!

Easter is coming up, and typically, that means a family gathering with food. Maybe this is your first year hosting or you have always found family dinners to be a bit of an ordeal. I tend to freak out over planning them and usually try to do too much. Experience has taught me that sometimes less really is more. Especially if you want to enjoy time with your family and not regret you invited them over!

So here is my idea of an Easy Easter Dinner.

  • Lamb Chops – Season with olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic and rosemary on both sides and preheat your broiler on high for 5 minutes. Pro-tip: leave your oven door open while broiling to keep your oven's thermometer from turning itself off. Broil chops 5 minutes then flip them and broil them for another 3-5 minutes or until the center is pink. 
Don’t have a broiler pan? Get one at
  • Brussel sprouts – Season with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Cut off the brown ends of the brussel sprouts and then slice them in half. Place in a baking dish into a preheated 400°F oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring with tongs halfway through for even cooking. 
Don’t have a baking dish? Get one at
  • PotatoesCut potatoes into 1 to 1-1/2 inch chunks and place in salted water that just covers the potatoes and bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes until they are fork tender. Drain potatoes. Place potatoes in a bowl, mash them and add butter and milk until desired creaminess. Salt and pepper to taste. Pro-tip: do not over mash the potatoes or they will become gluey instead of creamy. 
Want lump-free mashed potatoes? Try this RSVP Potato Ricer here:

Enjoy your time with your family and have a wonderful Easter dinner!

Stunning glassware on sale at Add to your serving dishes for Easter & stay on budget!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What are Tidbit Dishes?

Some of you may be wondering what on earth is a Tidbit dish. Honestly, I was wondering the same thing, so I decided to look it up and tell you what I found out. A Tidbit Dish is a cute name for an appetizer plate. You know when you are at the restaurant and they bring an appetizer with a set of small plates to share it. Those tiny plates are Tidbit Dishes.

So now you know what they are, why would you want any? 

Here are some ways to use Tidbit Dishes at home.

  1. Afternoon tea cookies or sandwiches
  2. Kids dinner or snack time plates
  3. Cheese and cracker plates for wine tasting parties
  4. Petite appetizers at a party
  5. Holding oil, vinegar & herbs for dipping bread
  6. Bread or small salad plates at dinner

The list could go on once you start thinking it up. So if you would like a collection of Tidbit Dishes to use at home, now is a great time to buy some from

We have a mix and match promotion on all of our Tidbit Dishes. 

You can buy any 12 at $1.67 ea.