Gourmet Hot Dogs the Hebrew National Way

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhatAGrillWants #CollectiveBias

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If you know us at all, you know we don’t do anything the plain and boring way. When we cook around here, it’s a challenge to see how over-the-top we can do things. Having a chef-to-be in the family (by daughter, Temera) means that every meal has to be a gourmet meal. That’s okay… it keeps us from the same boring food all the time. Seriously, even our hot dogs have to be gourmet.

We grill as often as we can and since we live in Southern California, it’s a year-round thing for us. Amanda has decided that she wants my husband to teach her everything about grilling so she can step up as Grill Master if he’s not home. She’s been bugging us for hot dogs for the last few weeks and since weekends are the perfect time to grill, I got together with Temera to figure out how we could take your typical hot dog and jazz it up a bit.

I don’t know if everyone has their favorite brand of hot dog, but we ONLY buy Hebrew National ones. It started when we were growing up and both my husband and I come from families that kept Kosher. Once we moved out on our own, we didn’t keep Kosher ourselves, but the habit of only buying Hebrew National kind of stuck. Seriously… they aren’t known as the hot dog you can trust for no reason.

We picked up our hot dogs at Ralphs, the only store near us that carries the entire line of Hebrew National hot dogs. You can get everything from the bun sized ones I bought to reduced-fat and knockwarst. The bun length are the best because I hate running out of hot dog when there is still bun left.

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So, David is going to man the grill while I get the hot dog toppings ready. I thought I would give you 3 different ideas and you can pick the one you like the best.

Homemade Potato Chips

First up, we are big potato chip fans and what goes better with anything grilled than chips? I had these small yellow potatoes in the fridge and thought it would be easy to make my own potato chips. It was easy. If you have a mandolin at home, use that to slice the potatoes really thin. You can cut them as well, but they might be slightly thicker… unless you can slice potatoes super thin. I can’t, so I used the combo grater/mandolin I had. Mine had ridges which ended up looking really fabulous on the potato chips.

I heated vegetable oil in a large skillet and once it was hot (drop some water in the oil and if it pops, it’s ready for the potatoes) I evenly spaced out the sliced potatoes.

It took about 10 minutes for them to really get crispy. I flipped them over once mid-way through.

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Drain on a paper towel and put aside until grill time.

MEDITERRANEAN SALAD

I love Mediterranean salad and it’s so easy and fast to make. It’s perfect on it’s own AND on hamburgers and hot dogs.

I chopped the cucumber (with skin off), tomato and yellow pepper into small pieces. You can use any kind of pepper, but I used an orange one because I wanted to be extra colorful. When you are preparing food, it always looks more appetizing when the colors are exciting. Add a little salt to taste and you’re good to go. I don’t add any other dressing or oil into this because you’ll probably want to add your own ketchup and/or mustard to your hot dog.

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Fried Onions with Pickles

I love relish and onions on my hot dogs. Never liked them as a kid, but now that my tastes have matured a little (well, sort of), I wanted to try something a little more upscale than opening a jar of ready-made relish. I grilled some onions, because there is nothing more amazing than the smell of grilled onions wafting through the house, and chopped up some dill pickles. I didn’t cook the pickles, just mixed them with the onions. So so so good. This is my new favorite thing to have on hot dogs and it takes minutes to make.

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Now that I have my prep done, it’s time to grill

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This is really the first time we’ve used our deck this summer. We recently purchased a new dining table and I just bought some chairs this weekend. I still need to get an outdoor rug and we want to string up some lights around the umbrella. The kids love eating outdoors and it does make for a fun, relaxing meal.

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Dinner was great and everyone thought the toppings were amazing. We’ll definitely be doing this again.

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If you haven’t tried Hebrew National hot dogs, give them a try. They use only premium cuts of 100% kosher beef from the front half of the cow and then choose the best from that. There are no artificial flavors, colors, fillers or by-products. When your hot dog is Kosher, that’s a hot dog you can trust! For more summer fun with Hebrew National, visit their Facebook page.

SUMMER DEAL: Save up to $2.00 on Hebrew National all-beef franks. 

What’s your favorite hot dog topping?


My 2nd Stitch Fix Box Unveiling

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I did a live opening of my 2nd Stitch Fix box this morning on Periscope. OMG it was a lot of fun. Fun opening the box and seeing what I got.. and fun doing the video. I’m still trying to work through the features of Periscope and figure out the best ways to use it, but it really wasn’t all that hard.

Periscope, for those of you who haven’t used it yet, is an app that records live video. It’s only viewable after the fact for 24 hours, although you have the option to download it to your smart phone, which I did. Then… you can post it on Facebook, Twitter, or email it to someone. I ended up emailing it to myself, but since the video was over 5 minutes, I wasn’t able to send it all at once. I broke it up into 2 segments and emailed them to myself separately.

Once I downloaded the two video segments to my desktop, I uploaded them to iMovie and joined the two clips together again. From iMovie, you can upload directly to YouTube and there you have it. The only issue is that the video is only vertical and it really should be horizontal. Periscope needs a fix for that. Not sure if I could do anything in iMovie to fix it… if anyone knows how, let me know.

And there you have it… it was super easy. Even I could do it without any help. So take a look at the unveiling of my 2nd Stitch Fix box and then check out the photos to see what they really looked like on me.

And here’s what they look like on.

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I really like the top, and the orange embroidery. It’s definitely something that would catch my eye in a store. It will be perfect for summer with a pair of shorts or jeans. Now, let’s talk about the jeans. They are super comfortable and have some stretch to them. The problem is that I have several pairs of jeans (although you can never have too many, right?) and I did get (and kept) a pair that came in my first Stitch Fix box. Those were different, more stone washed. These are darker and more of a skinny jean. I keep going back and forth over if I want to keep them. The price is killing me… they are $98 – more than I would ever pay for a pair of jeans. But when you find a pair that fits and you like, you get them, yes? I don’t know. The jury is still out on this one.

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I’m just not loving the shirt. It doesn’t look bad exactly, it’s just not really my style. The sleeves are kind of strange (as a rule I don’t like 3/4 sleeves). It’s going back.

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I’m seriously in love with this dress. You saw that when I opened the box I was excited. This is so me. I love the color, the print, the fabric and the style. I was so hoping it would fit and it definitely does. This is going to be my go-to dress for the summer. I would seriously buy this in every print it comes in. In fact, I need to see if I can get it in different colors. If you don’t love it, keep it to yourself. Don’t burst my bubble. I’m only afraid that I might find it hanging in Temera’s closet one day.

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And this is the bag… the one on the right with the stitching. The two solid black ones are mine. I don’t even need 2 of them, let alone 3.

What I really love is that they also give you an idea of how to style the clothes. You know how sometimes you like a piece but aren’t sure what to wear with it or how to accessorize it? This helps.

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To give you an idea of the prices of the clothes, you are definitely paying full retail for them, but you are also paying for the convenience of not having to shop yourself. I can shop all day and try on hundreds of clothes and still not find anything I like, so this is the perfect service for me… having someone pick out what they think I’ll like based on my profile and send them to me. It’s worth the money. And honestly, when you think about it, the prices are pretty comparable to what you find in stores.

For those who have already been asking me questions on Facebook… when you sign up for Stitch Fix you are automatically charged $20 per box because your private stylist has to really work to put together the right clothes and accessories for you. The $20 is non-refundable if you decide to send everything back. If you keep any of the pieces, the $20 is applied towards the price. Now, if you keep all 5 pieces, you get a discount for purchasing all of them. If you only keep a few, no discount, but you still get the $20 credit that you already paid.

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I think the dress at $68 is very reasonable, as is the tank top at $38. The jeans are still making me twitchy at $98. I like them, but spending that much for them? Somebody convince me.

So after my 2nd Stitch Fix I’m still kind of hooked on this. I scheduled one to be delivered every other month so my next one will be arriving towards the end of September. I can’t wait!

Have you tried Stitch Fix? If you want to give it a go, let me know. You can sign up through my affiliate link HERE. I get credit towards my own Stitch Fix when you sign up and order one yourself.

 


If the Suns Out, the Spoons are Out – Mini Ice Cream Mud Pies Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SunsOutSpoonsOut #CollectiveBias

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It’s sweltering! Completely sweat-dripping, blister-inducing, heat-stroke-making HOT! I love living in Southern California, but we get no ocean breezes and the only wind that sweeps through is the steam engine kind. When we think of ways to cool down, there is pretty much only one way that tops our list every single time: ICE CREAM!

We have a community pool, but it’s not like being able to head out to the backyard and jump right into some cold water. Just the thought of packing up all our swim gear and either heading to the pool… or the beach (which is an hour away) is exhausting. The kids don’t even like going out to ride their bikes or walk to the park. Air conditioning is definitely where it’s at this time of year. So the fact that we’re all stuck in the house so much, we’ve had to come up with a few ways to not drive each other stir crazy. Keeping the kids busy is the key. Keeping my sanity while I’m keeping the kids busy is the bigger key.

I’m a list maker so it’s pretty typical that my kids would be list makers as well. Every summer they write out their bucket list… all the things they want to do over summer break. To them, summer break is still a magical time where you don’t have to follow a routine and you get to do all the things you can’t do during the school year. Oh poor little kids… you have no idea how quickly summer is going to fly by.

So, I thought I’d take their bucket lists and keep them kind of organized so know exactly what we need to accomplish this summer. I added mine to the mix as well since I’m the worst offender in terms of never getting anything done over summer.

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I had this cool frame that’s been sitting around the house for years and since I hadn’t done anything with it, I thought it would be cute for this simple project. I created the tags for each one of us in PicMonkey and now we can all just tear off the items that we’ve accomplished. Hopefully by the time school starts again, we’ll have them all torn off.

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And after all that hard work of going to the mall, boogie boarding at the beach, cleaning out closets, and redecorating rooms, we deserve a serious ice cream break! Good thing I have a stash of mini mud pie jars in the freezer.

These are incredibly easy and fun to make and you don’t have the mess in the freezer of a big mud pie oozing all over your shelves. The beauty of these is that you already have something special to serve for dessert after a BBQ, or as a spur-of-the-moment treat when you have company.

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Mason jars are fabulous because they come in all shapes and sizes. I have larger ones I use for drinks, but these short ones are perfect for ice cream treats. During the summer, I’m all about convenience, so I used pre-made mini graham cracker crusts as my base. You can make your own, but honestly, when it’s already hot in the house… you won’t want to.

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I used 2 mini pie crusts per jar so the bottom would be completely covered. Then I added Blue Bunny Homemade Vanilla ice cream, about 2 scoops. When you are making something like this, you want to make sure you have the very best ice cream. It really does make a huge difference. Blue Bunny has so many varieties that you can mix it up and add different toppings to your favorite. For me, the pure deliciousness of vanilla is the key. You can really taste all the flavors together and it’s like a jar full of heaven.

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Next you’ll want to spoon in two heaping tablespoons of room temperature hot fudge. You don’t want it hot or you’ll just melt all the ice cream. If it’s too cold, it will be hard to spoon into the jars. Again, use really good quality hot fudge… or make your own.

Once you have everything in the jar, you can either add your whipped cream on top and serve… or you can put the mason jar tops back on and store in the freezer. I like to make a whole bunch of these and freeze them for when they are needed.

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When you are ready to serve, take out and add your whipped cream, or any other toppings you like. You can definitely get creative and let the kids add their favorite candy, etc. Personally, I like the purity of the mud pie.

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Walmart has a huge selection of Blue Bunny ice cream and novelty items so you have no excuse not to have a freezer full of treats this summer.BlueBunnyCollage

If you want to give Blue Bunny ice cream a try, select Walmart locations will be holding demos for the ice cream (and pairing it with Chips Ahoy – double win!) from July 2 – 4. Check to see if your store is on the list.

Leave me a comment with your favorite ice cream flavor.

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Mini Ice Cream Mud Pie Jars
 
Prep time
Total time
 
These are great to make ahead and freeze for BBQ's or when guests come over.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4- 8
Ingredients
  • Small mason jars.
  • Blue Bunny Ice Cream (2 scoops)
  • Hot Fudge Sauce (2 heaping tablespoons)
  • Whipped Cream
  • Mini ready-made graham cracker pie crusts
Instructions
  1. Use two of the mini pie crusts at the bottom of each jar. Go ahead and crush them so they cover the entire bottom.
  2. Add the two scoops of ice cream to the jar. Any flavor of your choice.
  3. Top the ice cream with two tablespoons of room temperature hot fudge sauce. If it's too cold, it will just lump together. If it's too hot, it will melt the ice cream.
  4. Either freeze the jars with the tops back on or serve immediately.
  5. If you are serving immediately, add whipped cream to the top and any other toppings of your choice.


My First Visit to Knott’s Berry Farm

Thank you Knott’s Berry Farm and Giga Savvy for inviting my family to experience Knott’s Berry Farm this summer. #KnottsIronReef #NewatKnotts

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We FINALLY made it to Knott’s Berry Farm. Yes, it was the first time I’ve ever been there… never mind that I’ve been living in Southern California for 28 years. The kids were really excited to go, and truth be told, I might have been just as excited. I think part of the reason we haven’t been before is that we live so close to Magic Mountain, literally a hop, skip and a jump from the main gate. Still… while Magic Mountain would be considered an amusement park, Knott’s is definitely more of a theme park. And so much more fun!

I have to admit we did get the VIP treatment on this trip. An incredible lunch (I finally know what all the fried chicken fuss is about) and Fast Passes to use throughout the day. Now really… Fast Passes are the way to go… when we go back, those are a must. The park was pretty crowded, but even so, it wasn’t so crowded that you couldn’t enjoy yourself. Which we did.

David and I started out on the Ghost Rider roller coaster. The kids refused to go on it, but we grew up on old, rickety, wood coasters so I agreed to go (even though I’m not normally a coaster fan). It was definitely rickety… but certainly reminiscent of old times. David mentioned that it was almost like we were on a date (because we went on it without the kids). I reminded him that the last time he took me to an amusement park (before we were married) I got sick and threw up all over the place. Good times.

Surprisingly, I went on many more rides than I normally would at a park like this. Probably because there were many more I felt comfortable going on. Somebody really needs to fill me in on the story behind the Pony Express. That is one crazy (weird) ride.

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I think part of what made the day so much fun is that we met up with my friend Laura and her family. She has a daughter close to my kids’ ages and it was great having them be able to experience the park with a new friend.

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My girls even had the chance to play some of the carnival games. Lauryn didn’t win the giant panda (very sad girl), but Amanda won this odd, colorful thingy. No idea what it’s actually called.

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Can we talk about the boysenberry everything? Yum! I hear they even have a boysenberry latte at the Starbucks inside the park. Going to have to try that one someday.

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It really isn’t often we get to go do fun things like this as a family so when we do it feels really special to all of us. The kids had a blast (and keep asking when we can go back) and David and I had a lot of fun too.

If you are going anytime soon, definitely make a beeline for the new Knott’s ride, Voyage to the Iron Reef. It’s a 4-D ride and they give you 3-D glasses and you get to shoot at things. Seriously, it was so much fun. I might have screamed as some big, scary looking monster came jumping out at me. I said might. Also, go on my favorite ride, the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Hot day + water ride = can’t go wrong!

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What really surprised us the most was the incredible Vertical Impact show. We stopped for a few minutes to watch on our way over to Iron Reef, but we ended up staying for the entire show. It was mesmerizing. The acrobatics were incredible and I was blown away by all these fit and talented kids. Yes, I’m calling them kids because I’m probably old enough to be their mother. And also because I’m insanely jealous of those abs. Go see the show… you’ll see what I mean.

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We totally have a new favorite place and by the time we got home (around 11:15pm) we were done. DONE! My feet still hurt from walking so much and I think I twisted my neck (I’m sure it was the Ghost Rider’s fault) but it was worth it. Knott’s… leave the light one for us… we’ll be back!


Shop Zazzle for Father’s Day Gifts

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Zazzle.com.
Products featured were chosen by me and all opinions are entirely my own.
This post does contain affiliate links.

Father’s Day gifts are always a little difficult in our house. My husband has expensive tastes… meaning, he loves cars and electronics. Kind of pricey for a wife with a start-up and kids who aren’t old enough to work yet. We usually do handmade gifts or fun little things that will make him laugh. We’ve done a mini Leg Lamp (from A Christmas Story) and a mini drum set (that you play with your fingers). We’ve done the framed children photo and the coupon books. It gets harder from year to year to come up with good ideas.

This year for Mother’s Day, I bought some things for myself from Zazzle that I really loved. I thought it would be a good idea to check out what they were suggesting for Father’s Day. I had my kids sit down and go through the website as well. I wanted them to be able to pick out their own gift… they are definitely old enough to decide what they want to get their father themselves.

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Hey… if you order TODAY you might still get 30% off your order. I’d do it… you want to make sure you get everything shipped by Father’s Day.

Since we really didn’t have a clue what to get, we were on the site a long time. There were mugs and shirts and hats and water bottles and flasks and phone cases and cards and posters and yes, even ties. Do people still buy ties for their Dads?

These were some of our favorites.

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So, what did we decide on? It wasn’t easy. The kids loved the mug I had bought for myself so they wanted to get their Dad one too. There were a lot to choose from, but in the end this one was the winner.

zazzlemugClick to order.

My gift was even harder to find. My husband is all about his family. He works so hard for all of us and he never makes time for himself. If he happens to have a day off here and there, he would always prefer to spend it with us than doing something on his own.

There was this print I saw a while ago and I thought of creating one myself, but when I saw that Zazzle could do it – in less time and probably for less money (and less stress) than I could have done it myself, I knew that this would mean more to him than any other material gift I could get him. I love it! I hope he does too.

zazzleprintClick to order.

Not so easy trying to get a photo of a glass framed print – the shadows and everything! I ordered the inside print that I customized, of course. The beauty in this is that you get to choose the type of paper and the fonts. I wanted something vintage looking and although you can order a framed print, I opted for the poster itself and then found this incredible vintage-looking frame to put it in. The matte I purchased separately and is a vintage-looking linen. I adore this and can’t wait to hang it up in the house.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 10.04.06 AMPhoto courtesy of Amanda West.