Archive for the ‘Smart Living’ Category

12 Ways to Jazz Up a Classic Tomato Sandwich

We are in the heart of tomato harvesting season, and one of the simple joys in life is a sandwich made with a perfectly ripe tomato. This southern delicacy can be made with an heirloom tomato from your local farmer’s market, a homegrown variety, or even a good tomato from your grocery store. As long as it’s ripe and flavorful, you can’t go wrong! You’re probably familiar with the classic tomato sandwich: Two slices of soft white sandwich bread Good quality creamy mayo (Dukes, Hellman’s, etc.) Thick slices of ripe tomato Salt & freshly ground black pepper But here are 12 ways to jazz up your next tomato sandwich: Fresh basil & fresh mozzarella (Caprese!) Thinly sliced cucumber (very British!) Thinly sliced sweet onion Pimento cheese Crumbled goat cheese Sliced Vermont cheddar Cream cheese instead of mayo (try herbed cream cheese!) Pesto (see my recipe) Hummus instead of mayo Greek seasoning Everything bagel seasoning Dashes of Holtkamp Heat Wave Hot Sauce! Bonus tip: in the winter months, Campari tomatoes should be readily available in your grocery store for you to enjoy tomato sandwiches year-round.   PS. Need to jazz up your indoor comfort? A $68 tune-up may be all you […]

3 Easy Summer Side Dishes

Summer is all about relaxing, so try some of these easy summer side dishes instead of spending time with fussy recipes! Pair them with grilled steaks, chicken, chops, or fish, and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time. Grilled Avocados Turn up the volume on delicious avocados by lightly grilling them and infusing some smoky flavor.               Ingredients Whole ripe avocados Fresh squeezed lime juice Olive oil Salt & freshly ground black pepper Directions Preheat grill to medium-high heat Slice the avocados in half lengthwise, removing the pit Brush the flesh with lime juice, olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper Oil the grill grates and place the avocados cut-side down over indirect heat Grill with the lid open for 3-4 minutes until the avocado becomes slightly tender Remove from the grill. Serve with more lime juice and salt/pepper if desired. They can be scooped and sliced, or eaten right from the rind. Sliced Tomatoes & Cheese               Whether it’s heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market or fresh ones from your local grocer, jazz them up with a few flavorful ingredients for a sensational side. […]

Summer Salad with Spinach & Strawberries

A light and tasty salad can be the perfect side dish in the summertime, especially with grilled meats. This easy Spinach & Strawberry salad packs some fantastic flavor with a hint of sweetness. You can add your own touch to it with some optional ingredients. If you can get fresh strawberries from a local farm or roadside stand, that’s even better. Make this salad dressing for guests, and I guarantee they’ll ask you for the recipe! Ingredients 1/2 cup Oil (extra virgin olive oil or canola) 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar 1/3 cup Sugar 2-4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce Salt & Pepper to tast Directions Put all ingredients in a mason jar & shake well. Place in refrigerator and allow to get cold. In a bowl, place clean baby spinach, sliced fresh strawberries, and nuts. (walnuts, pecans, or sliced almonds) Consider adding goat cheese or feta cheese for a tangy/creamy touch, or even some chunks of fresh avocado for another healthy addition. Shake the dressing well before pouring over the salad. Toss gently to combine. Serve to your family & guests, and enjoy! The dressing will stay fresh for 1-2 weeks in a tightly sealed jar. Speaking of fresh, if […]

Spring Cleaning: 23 Things to Declutter In Your Home

It’s that time of year when Spring cleaning kicks into high gear. We previously shared some top spring cleaning tips here and here, but this year is all about decluttering. When you look at photos of beautiful homes in magazines, online or real estate listings, do you know what is missing? Clutter. It can be visually distracting and disorganized, but clutter can also affect your mood. Studies have found that those who perceived their homes as cluttered had heightened cortisol levels, a stress hormone associated with chronic stress. How to Know What to Toss Marie Kondo, the reigning queen of tidying up your home, has six rules for tidying and decluttering. One is to ask yourself whether an item “sparks joy.” “Your feelings are the standard for decision making – specifically, knowing what sparks joy. To determine this when tidying, the key is to pick up each object one at a time and ask yourself quietly, ‘Does this spark joy?’ Pay attention to how your body responds. Joy is personal, so everyone will experience it differently; Marie describes it as “…a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising. By selecting only those things that inspire […]

Instant Pot Chicken Wings Recipe

Want a batch of delicious chicken wings in a fraction of the time it normally takes? Break out your instant pot and enjoy this easy chicken wings recipe in no time! A quick trip under the broiler (or on your grill) will crisp them up perfectly. Plus, you can finish the chicken wings in a delicious hot sauce, your favorite barbecue sauce, or some of both! Instant Pot Chicken Wings Recipe Ingredients 3-4 lbs chicken wings 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp Kosher salt 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper 3/4 cup chicken broth 1/2 cup Holtkamp Heatwave Hot Sauce (or your favorite) 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter Directions In a large bowl, combine chicken wings and sprinkle evenly with garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Add 3/4 cup chicken broth to bottom of Instant Pot. Place trivet inside pot and add wings. Secure lid and press the manual setting. Cook on high for 10 minutes. When cooking has finished, do a quick release. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a microwave safe bowl, microwave butter until melted completely. Whisk in hot sauce. Heat broiler on high. Transfer cooked wings to a large bowl and gently […]

10 Perfect Food & Wine Pairings

From whites to reds and many in between, try exploring some new wines that pair perfectly with these dishes and flavors. The wine will enhance the food and vice versa. Chardonnay & Salmon A dry, medium-bodied Chardonnay pairs great with light meats like fish and other seafood in flavorful sauces. Pinot Noir & Earthy Flavors Pair a deep Pinot Noir with earthy, savory flavors like mushroom dishes or hearty pizzas. Cabernet & Red Meat A rich wine needs a rich dish. That’s why Cabernet and red meat pair so well together. Sauvignon Blanc & Tart Flavors Sip a Sauvignon Blanc and pair it with a tart dressing or sauce for a flavorful zing. Rosé & Cheesy Dishes When it comes to cheese, Rosé is your go-to because it has the acidity of white wine while still maintaining the fruity notes of red. Riesling & Sweet, Spicy Flavors Lightly sweet, many Rieslings help balance spicy dishes while complementing sweetness as well. Sparkling & Salty Flavors Sparkling wines usually have notes of sweetness in them, perfect for complementing salty foods and snacks. Same goes for champagne. Syrah & Spiced Dishes For heavily spiced dishes, choose Syrah to help finish out the flavor […]

5 Minute Candied Pecans Recipe

Throw these tasty pecans in a mason jar with a festive ribbon for the perfect hostess gift or “take home” gift for your guests. They’re great as a snack, appetizer or even on salads. Careful, it’s easy to eat a lot of these candied pecans! Ingredients 2 cups pecans 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 tbsp light brown sugar 1/2 cup water 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1/4 tbsp salt 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional) 1/4 tsp vanilla (optional) Directions Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. To a large non-stick skillet, add the pecans, granulated sugar, brown sugar, water and butter. (and cinnamon/vanilla if using) Place over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture has evaporated and the pecans become glossy and start to clump together. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and quickly transfer nuts to prepared baking sheet. Spread out into a single layer and set aside to cool. Once hard, break apart and enjoy!

Warm & Hearty Potato Leek Soup

As the weather cools down, there’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup served with crusty bread. This easy and quick potato leek soup makes a great starter, and is filling enough to be an entree. With a few dashes of our Holtkamp Heatwave Hot Sauce, it will definitely keep you warm this fall and winter! Ingredients 4 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces 2 tbsp unsalted butter 2 Russet potatoes, diced into 1/2” pieces 1 Vidalia onion, diced 2 leeks, sliced thin and rinsed 2 tbsp flour 1.5 quarts chicken stock 1 tbsp Better than Bouillon (chicken flavor, or two chicken bouillon cubes) Splash heavy cream (optional) Dashes Holtkamp Hot Sauce (optional) Salt and pepper Directions Add bacon to large dutch oven and cook over medium high heat until bacon is brown and crispy. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Add potatoes to bacon grease and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. It’s ok if potatoes stick to pan a little. Add butter, and when melted add onion and leeks. Sprinkle with a good dash of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook and stir occasionally another 5 minutes until onions and leeks have softened. Add flour […]

Tips on Building a Better Burger

Does it get any better than juicy, flavorful burgers? You can keep them casual for a delicious backyard meal, or class them up with a glass of red wine for dinner. Either way, we have some solid tips to help you build a better burger! From choosing the right beef to adding some savory ingredients, you’ll never make burgers the same way again. This blend of ground sirloin and ground chuck finds the perfect balance of flavor and juiciness. If you can’t find one or the other, 85% lean beef will work. Ingredients 1lb 90% lean ground sirloin 1lb 80% lean ground chuck 2 tbsp finely minced red onion Splashes of Worcestershire Sauce Squirts of Yellow Mustard Dashes of Holtkamp Heatwave Hot Sauce (optional) Kosher salt/freshly ground pepper Directions Add beef to large mixing bowl and use a serving fork to carefully separate the meat. Gently spread the meat around and up the sides of the bowl so it can be seasoned evenly. Sprinkle evenly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle the finely minced red onion evenly. Add a few heavy dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and a few squirts of yellow mustard. Add a few dashes of hot […]

Tips on Decanting Wine

Decanting serves two purposes: to separate a wine from any sediment and aerate a wine so the aroma and flavor will be more vibrant upon serving. Red wines naturally produce sediment as they age, white wines rarely do. Decanting is simply the process of separating this sediment from the wine. Here’s how to Decant Your Wine: Set the bottle upright for 24 hours or more before drinking, so the sediment can slide to the bottom. Locate a decanter or other clean, clear vessel from which the wine can easily be poured into glasses. Remove the cork; wipe the bottle neck clean. Pour the wine into the decanter slowly, without stopping; when you get to the bottom half of the bottle, pour even more slowly. Stop as soon as you see the sediment reach the neck of the bottle. It may appear cloudy or like specks of dust. It can help to hold a light under the neck of the bottle; a candle or flashlight works well. Discard the remaining ounce or two of sediment-filled liquid in the bottle. Let the wine sit for 30+ minutes in the decanter. The wine is now ready to serve. Enjoy! If you’d like to […]

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