National Eat Outside Day falls on the last day of August. And speaking of fall, autumn is rapidly approaching. If you want to get specific, the fall equinox this year lands on September 23rd at precisely 4:21 a.m.
National Eat Outside Day falls on the last day of August. And speaking of fall, autumn is rapidly approaching. If you want to get specific, the fall equinox this year lands on September 23rd at precisely 4:21 a.m.
July 14 marks La Fête nationale, or more commonly known to us in the United States as Bastille Day!
What is Bastille Day, you might ask? No, it’s not just the day you get to troll Instagram, fuming at all the amazing firework photos posted by your friends abroad. Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution, and the storming of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789. This holiday celebrates the unity and culmination of the French people as a nation.
It’s hard to believe that it’s the last week of August and summer is drawing to a close. We thought that the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer would be to celebrate with some gooey, melty s’mores. Fair warning – we haven’t mastered the art of taking perfect pictures of massively messy concoctions, so brace yourselves – this gets gooey. But MAN, if you’re throwing a Labor Day Barbecue or a beach bonfire, consider setting out the fixings for s’mores. They’re a great picnic food idea – with the right mix of ingredients and options, everyone can customize their own. If you’re only here to find out about our Labor Day Sale, scroll down to the bottom of the entry.
As you can see, we have a bit more than the traditional fixings on the table. But I always do start with traditional s’mores ingredients – milk chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. No matter how many delicious fixings you have, someone in your crowd will be a purist. And that’s totally fine.
For those of you who don’t know, here’s how to make smores (and also, how to make s’mores in the oven, in case you don’t have access to a bonfire.)
So, you’ve got the basics down and want to know how to make a s’more that’s a little more gourmet? The only thing that really needs to stay constant is a marshmallow. Beyond that, listed below are some flavorful twists we’ve created to switch it up. Also, for fun, some ideas from other bloggers we love!
And from some of our favorite bloggers, even more fantastic s’mores ideas.
From Left to Right: (Top) Bourbon Bacon S’mores from Beyond Frosting, Key Lime S’mores from The Kitchn, Roasted Berry S’Mores from Jelly Toast Blog. (Bottom) Peach and White Chocolate S’Mores from Peanut Butter and Julie, Dark Chocolate Passionfruit S’mores from Blogging Over Thyme. See how many amazing options there are? Also, if anyone wants to give us some tips on photographing s’mores, we’d be interested. Clearly, it is possible.
Annnnd, Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about the sale. We’re doing a labor day weekend Placemat and Wood extravaganza! Our placemat line and our Acaciaware wood line are beautiful transitional pieces – they work both outdoors and indoors, so whether you’re out on your patio enjoying the end of summer or dining indoors, they’ll look lovely. Enter “LaborDay” at checkout for 25% off all retail orders of our placemats and our wood products. Good stuff, right?
Happy Labor Day, friends! Enjoy your holiday. You’ve earned it.
We’ve got exciting changes afoot here at Pacific Merchants! If you’re a regular on our website, you may have noticed a few new items, and even a few new categories! Over the next week or so, we’re going to be featuring a ton of new items, so get ready! First up, we’re thrilled to introduce our new line of DecoLeaves – totally food safe parchment cheese leaves to amp up your food presentation. Whether you’re decorating a table or lining a cheese board, these beautiful, detailed leaves and flowers will add color and visual interest to your table! Plus, they’re made and packaged right here in the USA!
We’ve got cheese leaves (and flowers, too!) for all seasons. If you want to deck a spring table in roses and sunflowers, we’d love to help you. If you’re putting together a wine and cheese tasting, we’ve got the perfect grapes and grape leaves to compliment your spread. If you’re already planning that perfect summer luau, we’ve got banana leaves and tropical leaves to help you decorate. Bonus: our cheese leaves and flowers compliment our acacia wood trays SO perfectly. If you’re putting out a cheese board or a tray of appetizers, look into acacia (if you haven’t already!) We’ve even got leaves for holiday decor, though we know that’s a long way off.
No matter what kind of gathering you’re planning this spring/summer, make sure to invite decoLeaves! They’re an easy way to add a splash of color to even the most casual barbecue or picnic, and they’re a beautiful way to bring a touch of whimsy to more formal affairs! We’ve even seen them incorporated into gift wrapping or used for crafts!
We were thrilled to bring in a new line this year, and we couldn’t have asked for something more exciting than Kilner! We’ve had a lot of fun canning, preserving, and pickling this year, but we’ve had just as much fun trying to figure out other fun uses for all the beautiful Kilner jars, bottles and accessories. We’ve crafted with Kilner, baked in the jars, and even used them in place of tupperware for lunches. But we quickly found out that one of our absolute favorite uses for Kilner jars is for storage. The larger clip top jars are perfect for pantry organization. All our jars proved to be awesome for organizing small items, from hardware in sheds to markers and craft supplies to sprinkles and spices!
It wasn’t just a good year for canning and preserving – it was an amazing year for baking. Mason Cash not only brought back the incomparable counter bowl, which tilts as you mix, but a set of four stunning Forest bowls. Whether your style reflects the whimsy of the forest bowls (stunning stoneware embossed with sweet woodland creatures) or you’re more about a bowl that’ll become a workhorse in your kitchen, Mason Cash has you covered.
2013 was also an awesome year for all things terracotta. Not only did we use our clay cooker and tagines constantly, but we introduced some really cool new terracotta pieces that were designed with the baker in mind. Our Bread Baking Set features a mixing bowl with a lid that doubles as a baking stone! This year, I’ve used mine for everything from brioche to pizza and each loaf has come out with a perfectly crisp crust and absolutely tender crumb. We also released some Mason Cash Terracotta Tear-and-Share bread forms that really went a long way to adding some charm to my holiday meals this year. Plus, the unglazed terracotta bread forms really make sure that each roll has a terrific crust and is perfectly, evenly baked.
Acaciaware® really got the chance to shine in 2013. Not only were our beautiful acaciaware® bowls and salad serving sets featured on some top notch blogs and food websites, from The Domestic man to Apartment Therapy (see images above) but we got the chance to expand our line and bring in some new items (see below.) Whether you’re looking for a classic round serving bowl or organically shaped dishes, our acaciaware® line has what you need.
This was also the year we really got to see just how versatile our new line of Laguna placemats can be. We’ve set dozens of tables with brightly colored Laguna mats and no matter what the occasion, the brightly colored, neatly bordered placemats really tied the whole table together. Check out both a Christmas shot and a Cinco De Mayo themed shot below to see just how nicely our placemats bring things together, whether set traditionally, scattered haphazardly for a pop of color or laid out neatly as a table runner!
As you can see, we’ve had quite the year here at Pacific Merchants, and we’re going to spend tonight celebrating 2013 and getting excited for all the awesome things that 2014 has in store for us! Cheers to a happy, healthy, exciting new year! Have a Happy New year, Everyone!
Happy Monday, readers! Welcome to roundup week at the Pacific Merchants blog. We’ll be bringing you the best we’ve found on the internet to make your pre-Halloween festivities, preparations, Halloween craft session, and YouTube watching marathons the best yet. Here are a few links to get the week started.
1. No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas from Brit + Co. How awesome are these? So many creative ways to approach pumpkin decorating–anyone can do it!
2. An oldie but goodie; parents eating their kid’s Halloween candy.
3. “Creepy Candles” from Martha Stewart. Simple, affordable, and a little creepy.
4. Decorate your table with our lovely placemats. With an array of colors and textures, you’re bound to find the perfect mat(s) for your seasonal table.
5. Kilner Cake in a Jar. Check out last Friday’s post for an easy, fun tutorial for making cute Halloween cakes!
It’s the end of the first weekend in September, and that means football season is upon us! If you’re thinking about hosting game day at your house, here are some great ideas that will keep your guests content from kickoff through the post-game show. Make sure to bookmark this page for your Superbowl party as well!
First, time your party well. Double check what time the game starts and what channel it’s on. Make sure you’ve got that channel ready to go, and start your party about an hour before the game. That gives guests plenty of time to socialize, snack and get comfortable before the game starts.
Second, set up two areas for food. One should be on a coffee table, side table or somewhere within easy reach of the couch. One should be away away from the game. Consider putting down easy-to-clean placemats in your favorite team’s colors to make cleanup simple.
Third, think small. Small food, that is. Easy finger foods and bite-sized snacks are perfect for football parties. They’re easy to prepare and fun to eat. Here are some delicious options to consider: Small sandwiches, Meatballs, Dumplings, chips and dip (or see our guacamole recipe from last week), tacos, and wings. Put out an assortment of dipping sauces in small bowls and all your guests can get creative with their food while you enjoy the game!
If you want to get really into the spirit, consider doing themed food – Crab cakes if the Baltimore Ravens are playing, Chicago Style Hot dogs if the Bears are playing. You get the idea. One of the first games this weekend is New England against Buffalo, so naturally, you’re going to want to make Buffalo Wings. Here’s our recipe for easy buffalo chicken wings. They’re baked rather than deep fried to keep it healthy, and they’re a classic football foods
Our hot Wings recipe: The ultimate Football food.
Win or lose, we hope you have a fantastic football season!
Labor Day doesn’t mean “back to school” now that most schools seem to start in August, but it’s a really good time to throw a great, end of summer barbecue and enjoy spending time outside before the weather turns cold. Of course, now that it’s the end of the summer, you might be a little sick of a traditional BBQ with burgers, hot dogs, and even ribs, so we’ve got some great tips to add some color (and some spice) to your Labor Day Barbecue!
First up, Set a colorful table! There’s something about bright, lively colors that make even the most casual get-together feel like a party. Use flowers, colorful foods, and vibrant placemats. For a recent party, we used 24 of our Laguna placemats as a tablecloth, and it looked great! As a labor day gift for you, we’re offering 25% off of our ENTIRE Laguna line to our retail customers from now until Tuesday, Sep 3. Just enter LABORDAY at checkout! Laguna mats look great indoors and out, so they’re perfect for entertaining as the seasons change.
Second, make (or buy) snacks that you can set up ahead of time, like our chips, salsa and guacamole in the picture above. They’re easy to set out an hour ahead of time, and they’ll help keep your guests snacking and mingling if you need a little extra setup time. We love making and serving guacamole in our Mason Cash Mortar and Pestles. They’re perfect for crushing garlic, cilantro and spices and mashing avocado. Plus, they’re made of heavy stoneware that looks great on the table.
Here’s our signature guacamole recipe. It’s simple to make, and whether you’re grilling hot dogs and burgers or carne asada for tacos, it works. If you like more heat, add a chopped up jalapeno. If you like more tang, add more lime. This serves 4-6 people and is the perfect amount for the large Mason Cash Mortar and Pestle.
If you want to make a bigger batch, the recipe doubles or even triples really nicely. Just grind up the cumin, mince the garlic and cilantro, and make the whole thing in an Acaciaware bowl. Just like when you serve in the mortar and pestle, there’s one less dish to clean, since your serving dish is also your prep bowl.
Since you’re already making guacamole, I suggest you grill up some simple carne asada to go along with it. This flavorful dish is easy to prepare and uses a cheaper cut of steak, so even if you’re cooking for a crowd, you won’t break the bank. Do most of the prep the night before to save time!
We suggest serving the carne asada with fresh tortillas, grilled corn, our amazing guacamole, and some cheese and salsa. If you want, you can put together a whole condiment bar using small acacia bowls and condiment serving sets. Consider filling bowls with pico de gallo, shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, grilled peppers, grilled onions, and sour cream.
From all of us here at Pacific Merchants, have a really happy Labor Day. We hope you enjoy these last few weeks of summer and get to have a fun, relaxing 3-day weekend. And remember to enter LABORDAY at checkout to get 25% those colorful Laguna mats from now until September 3! You deserve a treat.
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Father’s day already. That’s right, Father’s day is coming up right around the corner on June 16, which means that you have until June 10 to get those orders for dad in. We’re told that fathers sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to the holiday. They’re given a tool as a gift and told to fix something, or given a grill and told to make everybody dinner. Not quite the restful, fun filled day they had in mind. Here at Pacific Merchants (a company owned by a dad, FYI) we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen with this great Father’s Day Gift Guide.
Now, if you have an unlimited budget, we suggest you bookmark this page and run out and by your dad something really shiny and fancy, like this Tesla. It’s good for the environment (we try to keep things green at Pacific Merchants) and your dad will love it.
If you don’t have a spare $80,000 lying around, we’ve got some more wallet-friendly gift ideas that your dad is sure to love just as much as he’d love that fancy, shiny car. So let’s get it started. And remember, when you check out, enter DADROCKS checkout! We’ll give you $5 bucks off your order of $30 or more!
Our first suggestion for celebrating dad: Throw him a party. It’s beautiful this time of year, so we suggest that you throw him a picnic or barbecue. If you really want to wow him, make sure to include personal touches. Set the table with placemats in his favorite colors. Our Laguna Placemats come in 12 vibrant, bright colors, and we’re sure that your dad’s favorite is among them. To make that barbecue even more special, we’re including our amazing brown sugar bourbon spice rub recipe. It’s amazing on ribs and pork loin, great on chicken, delicious on steak, and succulent on salmon. It’s also really good on hearty vegetables such as mushrooms, squash, carrots and peppers. Scroll on down to the bottom of this post for the recipe
If your dad’s idea of a great Saturday is spending time at the grill cooking up a storm for family and friends, we’ve got some wonderful pieces for him. We’re highlighting serving dishes and accessories that the grillmaster in your life will go nuts for. From Condiment serving sets to acaciawood plates (great for burgers) to amazing serving trays, we suggest that you help dad trick out his next barbecue with Acaciaware®barbecue supplies from Pacific Merchants!
Round Condiment Set of 4 7″ Plates Wood Oval Tray 12″ Calabash Salad Serving Set
Another great gift for dad is our Mason Cash Mortar and Pestle. These high-quality earthenware Mortar and Pestles are made in a design that is based on the original high quality models produced over 200 years ago. Mason Cash Mortar and Pestles are the best way to crush and grind herbs and spices. Collectable Mason Cash Mortar and Pestles have no wooden parts to absorb flavor or stains. The special matte finish inside the bowl and on the pestle enables improved crushing and grinding. With a wider than usual pestle is easier to use than a conventional one – just easy circular movements of the wrist are required. The Mason Cash mortar pestle is highly collectable (when you can find them) and are considered the world’s finest!
Brown Sugar Bourbon Spice Rub Recipe
Instructions – the long way for maximum flavor
Instructions – the quick way for more time with dad!
From all of us here at Pacific Merchants Trading Company, we hope that your dad has a really happy father’s day, and we hope that whether you buy your dad a mortar & pestleor the Tesla, we were able to help make shopping for dad (or cooking for dad) a little easier. Just remember to get those orders in by June 10 so that your father’s gift gets to him on time. And remember to enter DADROCKS at checkout!
The sun’s shining, temperatures are heating up, and friends and families are regularly gathering outdoors around the grill to enjoy some summertime R&R and a savory meal.
Besides maybe swimming, nothing is more synonymous with summer than barbequing. And although barbeque season is already in full swing, it’s never too late to up your game and learn a few new tricks of the trade. After all, the Labor Day holiday is just around the corner and is the perfect time for aspiring BBQ chefs everywhere to show off their skills.
Charcoal versus Gas
A debate worthy to rival plastic or paper, choosing the right barbeque is simply a matter of preference. Both types churn out delicious eats, and have their strong suits and not-so-strong suits.
Charcoal grills are known for adding that signature, smoky flavor to food, lend themselves to adding wood chips for an added layer of flavor and often retail at lower prices than their counterpart. Gas grills produce a lot less smoke, eliminate the fuss of dealing with briquettes and lighter fluid, and cut down on cooking times.
Whichever type of grill you prefer, practice makes perfect. So fire up the grill and give these sizzling grilling tips a whirl, and before long you’ll be the Bobby Flay of your neighborhood.
Start with a Clean Grill
Put some muscle into it and scrub that grill ’till it sparkles. You don’t want yesterday’s lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs to taint the taste of dinner’s succulent salmon. A clean grill improves the taste and quality of your food. Charcoal users will also want to get rid of old ashes to promote better air circulation.
To keep your grilling endeavors running smoothly, keep supplies like utensils, paper towels, antibacterial wipes and serving dishes within arm’s reach. It’s important to continually wash your hands after handling raw meat, and use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw meat to eliminate any bacterial cross-contamination. You don’t want to be running inside for supplies while your meat starts to overcook on the grill.
Make things even more convenient, and bring your Cutting Edge Flex Mat from Pacific Merchants outside by the barbeque so that you can chop and prep vegetables and more while you grill.
Preheat the Grill
It’s important that your barbeque reach the optimum cooking temperature before placing food on the grill to avoid burning or drying it out. Preheat the grill 15 to 30 minutes before you begin cooking. If you’re cooking on a charcoal grill, eyeball your briquettes. Once they take on a grayish hue, it’s time to put the food on.
To increase the heat, you can push the coals together or lower the cooking grate. To decrease the temperature, sprinkle the coals with a little water or raise the cooking grate. Opening and closing the barbeque lid is another tool to help you control the temperature. Open the lid for thinly cut foods that cook quickly or require supervision. Close the lid for thicker cuts of meat and controlling flare ups.
Marinate, Marinate, Marinate
A good marinade is the hallmark of sensational, flavorful BBQ. As a rule of thumb, the longer you marinate the better with one exception. Tomato-based or sugary glazes and BBQ sauces should be applied close to the end of cooking time to prevent burning.
Do You Have Your Own Mouth-Watering Marinade or BBQ Sauce?
Enter our Pacific Merchants BBQ Sauce Recipe Contest 2011 today by going to the Pacific Merchants facebook fan page. Contest ends August 27, 2011. Winners will be announced on September 2, 2011, just in time for Labor Day weekend!
Share your recipes with us for a chance to win the Grand Prize of a beautiful Eco-Friendly Acacia Wood Salad Bowl and Salad Serving Set. Second Prize is an Acacia Wood Serving Platter from Pacific Merchants. Acacia Wood Serving Trays and Bowls are both durable and beautiful, making them the perfect serving ware for your next backyard barbeque.