National Candy Month – Don’t Feel Guilty!

June 15th, 2020

Who can complain about a month (yes a month) of consuming copious amounts of sugar that a diabetic would envy? Is it even possible to write about such a broad subject? No it’s not. So I am going to focus on M&Ms and Chocolate Kisses.

The obvious one to start with is M&Ms. Right off the bat you have regular and peanut. It’s a very simple choice though. Either pure chocolate or pure chocolate with a hint of healthy. You can justify eating M&Ms with peanuts as I believe it goes with every diet, even the Keto. Peanuts have those good fats, no?

Then there are plain M&Ms whereby you can take a handful, put them in your mouth all at once and just let them sit. They start to melt into a chocolate liquid reminding me of Willie Wonka, transforming little candies into a chocolate nectar for the gods.

Now let’s focus on kisses for a moment. First off they have an epic name. Secondly, the foil is fun and easy to remove. Third, Hershey’s chocolate in the form of a dollop is an efficient transfer of chocolate into the body. Try shoving as many as you can into your mouth at the same time and it will blow your mind. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

I really can’t see going further with this analysis. I poured both in our Ying-Yang bowl and there was an almost a natural balance, not to mention a reason for taking a photo that required me to purchase both. Can you say sugar high? Namaste.

Social Distancing: BBQ Chicken Or Tri-Tip?

May 1st, 2020

During the stay safe at home period, I have had a time to think. I am OK with washing my hands, wearing a mask and social distancing. The one thing I will not do however is social distance from my Weber BBQ.

Thinking can be a good or bad thing and I am not sure if pitting BBQ chicken against tri-tip is the best way to vent energy. But think about it. Chicken is moist and tender with a smokey flavor imparted by the hot mesquite coals. It comes in many forms: breast, thighs, drumettes, all delicious if properly grilled.

Then there’s tri-tip, a red meat that has marbling, making it perfect for my Weber grill. It is one of my favorite meats to barbecue and I like the fact you can have well, medium and rare all in one roast!

Thinking about the pros and cons of barbecued meats is one way to spend time when locked down. I can’t help myself. But hey! I received a tri-tip and chicken in my grocery delivery today so I guess I’m grilling both tonight, without a mask.

Vegan Crock-Pot Chili: Who Knew There Would Be A Shortage of Chili Powder?

April 13th, 2020

When the going gets tough, the tough make chili. The tough are also lazy hence the crock pot. Many of us are finding ourselves at home where the highlight for the day is scoring a good time for instacart to deliver groceries….one week from now. So we stick with the basics ordering foods that have a high probability of being in stock. Who knew there would be a shortage of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chili powder??


Our vegan crock-pot chili is easy prep, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. You just toss things together, not too mentally challenging but that’s what I personally need – no thinking.

Vegan Crock-Pot Chili

Ingredients

  • One 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can 8 oz. veggie broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 chilies in adobo
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag of chopped frozen peppers & onions (fresh works too)
  • 1 can red beans
  • 1 block soy meat crumble
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Splash of cinnamon
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Lots of minced garlic
  • Garnish:
    • Cilantro
    • ½ lime

Directions

  1. Throw all ingredients into a Crock-Pot or slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours on low.
  2. Squeeze the half lime over the chili once done, and garnish with cilantro to taste.

National Cold Cut Day – The Earl Of Sandwich

March 3rd, 2020

Today is national Cold Cut Day. One might ask why? I mean cold cuts are bomb but aren’t they full of nitrates, salt and other preservatives that have been proven hideously unhealthy? Not to be a buzz kill but hey, it is what it is.

Now that I have written my disclaimer I will admit that I LOVE COLD CUTS! They are what make a deli a real deli, whether Jewish or Italian. One can judge the personality of strangers by what they order at a deli. The daring order tongue. Passive people order smoked turkey. To me, corned beef is the key to living. Deli sandwiches have a history and it starts with the invention of the Sandwich.

Deli meats were created in Europe in the 1700s thanks to the Earl of Sandwich, who populared the “sandwich” concept. I wonder if they had peanut butter and jelly back then?

But I digress: as defined by the web site Mobile Cuisine, “cold cuts are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves, that are sliced and served cold or hot on sandwiches or on party trays.” Here are few facts listed on the MobileCuisine.Com web site:

  • • March 3rd (TODAY) is National Cold Cuts Day.
  • • Americans annually eat about $2 billion worth of cold cuts per year.
    • Most pre-sliced cold cuts are higher in fat, nitrates, and sodium than those that are sliced to order.
  • • One of the most well known cold cuts in the United States is bologna. Named for the Italian city of the same name, bologna is similar to an Italian sausage called Mortadella.
  • • Every year, the Butterball plant processes about 12-15 million turkeys, into cold cuts.
  • • Head cheese, which really isn’t cheese at all, is made from head meat including tongue and snout.
  • • Synonyms for Cold Cuts: lunch meats, luncheon meats, sandwich meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, and cold meats.
  • • The customers of Carnegie Deli in NYC eat up to 10,000 pounds of pastrami a week.

So SPLURGE – make a sandwich to celebrate the Earl Of Sandwich!

Cold Cuts Fun Facts

National Pancake Day: Plain or Chocolate Chip?

February 29th, 2020

National Pancake Day was this last week and I can’t believe I missed it! No worries because I just made “breakfast for dinner” including a batch of plain with maraschino cherries and chocolate chip pancakes (see photos of pancakes served on our Acaciaware plates). There’s something about pancakes that is basic, visceral and sugar high euphoria. However there is an ongoing debate about which version is better: plain pancakes with syrup or chocolate chip pancakes? I choose both syrup and chocolate chips (heavy on the chips) to satisfy both urges. Others don’t want to upset the natural balance of pancakes and maple syrup so they don’t like chocolate chips. Forget the fruit flavored syrups – only maple for me!

Another reason I wrote about pancakes is because I am pissed off with my local deli that..yes…sells pancakes. This otherwise good deli refuses to make pancakes with chocolate chips. Can you believe that!?? I finally asked the owner why and he said it made the grill too dirty. OMG WHAT A WEAK EXCUSE! What about blueberries on the menu – those aren’t dirty on the grill? I was so disappointed.

However I digress – for those of you who like banana pancakes, good for you. There is something unsatisfying to me using banana. However blueberry pancakes rank right up there with chocolate chip in my book. Some people use strawberries and I get that. I tend to be a sugar fanatic so I will use strawberry preserves, served along side apricot preserves. I admit syrup is not needed here because it gets in the way of the fruit flavored sugar high.

I don’t care if I am diabetic. There is nothing that is going to get in between me and my chocolate chip pancakes, period.

National Tortilla Chip Day – What About Fritos??

February 24th, 2020

What do you know—it’s National Tortilla Chip Day! We think the tortilla chip is important enough to have it’s own day, don’t you? Considering how universally liked and pervasive these chips are in society, they are definitely taken for granted. It’s also a competitive market—we counted at least ten brands at the grocery store!

Generally available in white, yellow, blue and red corn, tortilla chips offer a plethora of calories. The best tortilla chips are homemade from fresh tortillas and generally only available for purchase from Mexican restaurants.

Let’s take a moment to give an honorable mention to Fritos because they are also heavy hitters. Fritos are similar to tortilla chips but I just wanted to honor Fritos as they are my favorites along with Ruffles BBQ chips (do you remember “rrrrrrruffles have rrrrrrrdiges”?)

In honor of the tortilla chip, here’s a borrowed recipe to make your own! Feel free to change the seasoning to your taste and the goal is to keep them light, crispy, a little spicy and not oily:

Ingredients:

  • • 1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
  • • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cut each tortilla into 8 chip sized wedges and arrange the wedges in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  3. In a mister, combine the oil and lime juice. Mix well and spray each tortilla wedge until slightly moist.
  4. Combine the cumin, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle on the chips.
  5. Bake for about 7 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes or until the chips are crisp, but not too brown.
  6. Serve with salsa, guacamole, bean or cheese dip. Oula!

Carrrrumba!

Recipe reprinted from Allrecipes.

National Love Your Pet Day or Pamper the Puppy!

February 18th, 2020

February 20th is Love Your Pet Day. That’s not to say we don’t love our pets every day. It’s more like a “Pamper” your pet day. For example, why don’t you grill a steak for your dog? Our photo shows our mascot Murphy the golden retriever as he flashes appreciative eyes and tongue for his tri-tip, grilling on the BBQ. I made a bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich shown on our Acaciaware acacia wood tray but decided it is for ME!

How about a fillet of sole for kitty? There are more than just dog and cat pets so you need to figure out what your pet would love. Like Pistacios for the Parrot?  I think a spa treatment using blueberry shampoo for Murphy my golden also sounds intriguing. Then we both get pampered because there is no better aroma than a puppy just after bathing. And of course clean dogs receive more kisses.

But I digress: pamper your pet and you will receive love back many times over. Aren’t they (and you) worth it?

Want a FREE BOWL?

February 13th, 2020

Follow us on Instagram!

Want to try out the Acaciaware™ line of sustainable wood serveware? Want an extra bowl to complement your Acaciaware™ collection? Look no further: we’re giving you one 4″ round dipping & nut bowl for FREE!

Acaciaware™ 4″ x 1.5″ round dipping & nut bowl (K0009) – $6.95 value

All you have to do is follow us on Instagram, email us, and you’ll have the perfect starter wooden bowl for condiments, spices, dips, nuts, and more!

Steps:

  1. Follow us on Instagram (@pacificmerchant)
  2. Email your Instagram username and U.S. mailing address to [email protected] with the subject line “FREE BOWL PROMO”
  3. Wait 5-7 business days for your bowl to arrive (while supplies last)

Terms & Conditions:

  • Only open to residents of the contiguous United States.
  • Mailing address cannot be a P.O. box.
  • Pacific Merchants Trading Company is not responsible for any product damage sustained during transit and delivery.

The Acacia Açaí Bowl

February 10th, 2020

As a natural and sustainably harvested wooden bowl, Acaciaware™ bowls are the perfect shell for a healthy, scrumptious açaí bowl.

The açaí berry is not only incredibly rich in antioxidants – it also tastes wonderful blended into a thick frozen yogurt-like smoothie. Learning to make açaí bowls at home will not only save you a few bucks, but will also be the perfect companion for a clean-eating lifestyle.

PMTC Acai Bowls
PMTC Acai Bowl prep
PMTC Acai Bowl
PMTC Acai

Earth Day Açaí Bowls

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pouch of frozen açaí purée
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 5 fresh strawberries
  • A splash of apple juice

top with:

  • Hemp seed granola
  • Almonds
  • Goji berries
  • Coconut flakes
  • Fresh fruit
  • A drizzle of honey

3 SIMPLE STEPS:

  1. Place the frozen açaí purée, pineapple chunks, mango chunks, banana, and strawberries into a blender. Pulse until the frozen fruit is broken down slightly.
  2. Slowly add in a splash or two of apple juice, just until the mixture comes together. Be careful not to add too much! Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the smooth and creamy blended açaí into an Acaciaware™ bowl, decorate with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

The key to achieving the perfect açaí bowl is thickness: the blended açaí mixture should be thick enough to eat with a spoon!

BBQ Chicken Breast: The Simple Secret To Success!

August 8th, 2019

Such a simple concept: light the charcoals, throw on some chicken breasts, thighs, and drumettes. It is actually quite simple but there is A SECRET!

Yes, I said it. I have a secret method to grilling chicken that I am about to impart on to the world. You know how white meat can grill and become dry? Not to mention the few seconds you look away and the breasts are afire and burned. Those days are gone after you read this!  You will thank me…I love cash.

I only use a Weber grill and mesquite charcoal. There’s something alluring about pouring lighter fluid over wood and lighting it. But that’s the pyro in me coming out.  The real reason for mesquite wood is because it is burns hot (and I mean HOT!), which sears the juices into the chicken.

Are you ready for the secret? Here it is: indirect cooking. Never cook your chicken breast directly over coals. Use the BBQ as an oven, not a broiler. You can cook drumettes and thighs over the coals directly because they are fattier than white meat.  Make sure you turn your chicken frequently.

BUT THE REAL SECRET is to slather your favorite barbecue sauce at the end (during the last 30 seconds) so it does not burn. So many people put BBQ sauce on way too early. If you did not know this, I just made your BBQ chicken taste fabulous!

I told you it was simple…

Photo credit: SkinnyMs.


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