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Every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event. Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue an experience youll look back on with a grin.

5 Ways to Make Your BBQ a Memorable Family Event

5 Ways to Make Your BBQ a Memorable Family EventSince Americans in the South began roasting pigs publicly, Barbecues have been a staple of North American living. For many, grilling becomes a routine mealtime activity, while for the most devoted grillers, summer is ruled by massive barbecue parties. But grillers do not have to choose between boring repetition and outrageous get-togethers: every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event. Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue a more unique experience: 1) Who said you have to stick to meat? Much can be done with bread and fruits over an open flame. To make this into a fun activity with your kids, use cookie cutters to make the bread and fruit into shapes. You can decide on themes like animals and letters or ask that each shape be different from the others! Then, let your kids decide which toppings they would like to put on. Add cheese, onion and various spices to bread and cinnamon and honey to fruit. 2) Try foil-wrapped surprise meals. Place different combinations of chicken, fish and vegetables with sauces and spices in foil packets. These cook in less than 20 minutes and lead to no-mess, lip-smacking results. Children will love the surprise element and can easily switch packets. You can even ask your family for combo suggestions before the barbecue, or draw ingredient names out of a hat to create new meal ideas. 3) A little variety goes a long way. If you tend to stick to the same old beef burgers and pork wieners, why not try grilled pizza or salmon steaks? Similarly, try to mix it up with condiments and seasoning. Sick of ketchup? Try salsa instead. Look online where youll find hundreds of easy recipes for barbecue rubs. These give your food that extra pizzazz and prevent the mess and drip that comes with barbecue sauces. 4) Barbecues dont have to be rushed. In fact, barbecue devotees will tell you that todays quick broiling is an insult to the term, which should represent a process of slow cooking on low heat. You can find many slow cooker recipes online, and the wait is a great opportunity to pass some quality time with your family and friends. Entertaining backyard activities include creating an outdoor canvas to paint on or playing backyard bowling with household items. 5) Mom said not to play with your food, but theres always an exception! Barbecue games are great fun and tasty at the same time. In the game Glutton, each player gets a certain amount of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or any other side dish. Various kitchen utensils are put in a box and the players blindly pick a few. On the go, they begin to eat their dish with the items that they took out. The first to finish his or her food wins the prize! Finally, dont fret! Far too many people get lost in the details of planning the perfect barbecue party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food. So kick back, bask in the relaxing sun and prepare for a summer of unforgettable barbecues!

Regional Cuisine Down Home Southern Cooking

Regional Cuisine  Down Home Southern Cooking

I grew up in New England, the home of plain cooking, where corn on the cob is served as is with a slab of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. We boil salted meats with vegetables and call it well, a boiled dinner. Our clam chowder is white, our baked beans have bacon and molasses in them, and no one in the world has ever invented a food that was improved by the addition of curry. By the time I was eighteen, I could boil a lobster, steam clams and grill a pork chop to perfection. Then I moved to Virginia, picked up a roommate from North Carolina and discovered a whole new world of down home country cooking goodness.To an All-American Italian girl from Boston, the menus in restaurants were in a foreign language. Chicken-fried steak, grits, corn pone pudding, strawberry rhubarb pie sweet potato pie?? In my mind, chicken and steak were two different meats, grits is whats on sandpaper, corn is a vegetable and what in the world is sweet potato doing in a crust? But I became a fervent convert to Southern cooking the first time my roommate made up a pan of the sweetest, tastiest, most perfectly melt-in-your-mouth delicious Southern baking powder biscuits and topped them with sausage gravy. From that day on, I was Sues disciple, standing at her elbow as she diced scallions to make up a mess of pinto beans, stirred the milk into a pan of drippings for milk gravy and rolled thin steak strips in chicken batter to make chicken-fried steak.Down home southern cooking is no different than New England plain cooking at least at its most basic level. Like any other regional style of cooking, it makes use of the ingredients that are plentiful and cheap. In New England we gussy up our dried beans with brown sugar and molasses, and serve them with thick, sweet heavy brown bread dotted with raisins perfect fare for cold winter nights. In North Carolina, they simmer for hours with salt pork and onions and served with scallions for scooping and a side of flaky biscuits cut out of dough with a juice glass. Salty, spicy and flaky-good all at once, its a down home meal that makes my mouth water just to remember.Some dishes just dont translate, though. There is no New England substitute for a Southern barbecue sandwich shredded pork simmered with spices for hours and ladled over buns in a sandwich that really requires a fork. The ubiquitous sloppy joe just doesnt cut it. It lacks the spicy-sweet tang and buttery texture of real slow-simmered pork barbecue. Nor is there anything that compares with chicken fried steak a dish that cant be described in words without selling it short. If youve had it, you KNOW how good it is. If you havent, the idea of dredging and dipping strips of beef and frying it like chicken just doesnt do it justice.My New England Italian roots show wherever I go. Lasagna will always be a favorite meal, and New England boiled dinners still make my mouth water. But I know, deep in my soul, that when I go to Heaven, the diners will serve flaky Southern biscuits with sausage gravy and chicken fried steak. Some temptations even the angels cant resist.

White Barbecue Sauce Gourmet Bbq Sauce At Its Best

White Barbecue Sauce  Gourmet Bbq Sauce At Its Best

Barbecuing is not what it used to be. When growing up the only time that my family would start up the grill or smoker was in the summer and on the weekends. Today, people barbecue every night and all year round. Barbecue sauces have come along way since then as well. There used to be only a couple of choices at your local market. But now with the invention of super markets the amount barbecue sauces you can buy locally has grown significantly. For those gourmet barbecue sauces the web is probably the only place you will find these unique sauces. If you dont live in the Alabama area the only place you will find traditional White BBQ Sauce like Big Bob Gibsons is on the web or of course you can try to make it yourself.In Alabama Barbecue traditional Sauce uses Mayonnaise as its base rather than tomato sauce, vinegar, or any of the other more typical barbecue sauce bases. It is clearly a region favorite. Bob Gibson of Decatur, Alabama is credited with the invention the white sauce back in 1925. Friends and family were first treated to this secret-recipe sauce on chicken and pork at weekend barbecues where boards were nailed to trees for tables. Today, this famous mayonnaise-based condiment is traditionally employed to baste chicken, seafood and pork.White BBQ Sauce is as synonymous with the state with Alabama as the legendary "BAMA" football program. White BBQ Sauces intriguing flavor complements salads and is a superb baste for chicken, pork and turkey. You can also use White Sauce as an ingredient to add an extra kick to your favorite slaw or potato salad. However, because the racks of your local grocer are dominated by many incarnations of tomato-based sauces and white bbq sauce is such a regional anomaly, most people outside Alabama have not tested this concoction of flavor.Like many barbecue sauces you want to apply this only at the very end of your grilling or smoking. It will breakdown and separate if it is heated too long. Use this sauce on chicken and turkey. It is also good on pork. Alabama White Barbecue Sauce has a tangy flavor that is a great addition to grilled foods.White BBQ Sauce makes a unique experience. Use this recipe when grilling chicken; brush lightly over the chicken during the last few minutes of grilling. This sauce is also great for dipping; keep some sauce aside for passing at the table.White BBQ Sauce RecipeIngredients:1 quart mayonnaise3/4 quart apple cider vinegar1/2 cup corn syrup1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepperPrepared horseradishLemon juiceSalt and freshly ground black pepperDirections:Place all ingredients in a very large blender or food processor. Blend for 1 minute, or until thoroughly mixed and sauce is smooth. Pour sauce into a large container or bowl.

4 Types of Tea: How is Each One Made

4 Types of Tea: How is Each One Made

Tea is one of the most popular after food drinks in the world, but still very few people are aware that there are four inherently different flavours and types of tea one can find in every supermarket. Each tea is made out of different ingredients and each tea has its advantages and disadvantages. I will explain.What you should always remember is that there are only four types of tea.1) Black tea2) Green tea3) White tea4) Oolong teaAll these are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, also known as the tea plant. Other herbal infusions such as chamomile tea, ginger tea or red tea made of rooibos leaves are disqualified as types of tea since the tea plant is not involved in their making. The difference between the four tea variations lies in the process of making them. In addition, each type of tea has another flavor and various health benefits. 1) Black TeaThe strong flavored burnt Sienna colored hot beverage is the most popular type of tea in the West. Either served with a squeeze of lemon or added milk and a cube of sugar, the cup of black tea is part of daily tea ceremonies that take place worldwide. Black tea is made of heavily oxidized Camellia sinensis leaves. When served plain, it contains no calories, carbohydrates, or fats. A cup of black tea contains more caffeine than any other types of tea but less than in any cup of coffee.2) Green TeaThe lightly oxidized tea has been popular in China, Japan and Korea for centuries. Recently, rumors on its health benefits increased its popularity in the West as well. It has been proven that drinking green tea can lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, increase metabolic rates and be helpful in variety of other conditions and illnesses. The green tea is lightly oxidized, dried, but not fermented. It is usually served plain, without sugar or milk. Since some of the green tea variants taste a bit bitter, it should be brewed in lower temperature than the boiling point.3) White TeaWhite tea is rarer and more expensive than the other types of teas mentioned above. Originated in the Fujian province of china, the white tea is made of young Camellia sinensis leaves, which go through a long process of steaming or frying, inactivate fermenting and drying. Since the leaves are harvested while the buds are still covered by white hair, it is called white tea. White tea has the most delicate, sweet taste than the other types of tea. Moreover, it contains the smallest amount of caffeine and the largest amount of antioxidant that help "prevent cancer" .4) Oolong TeaThe traditional Chinese tea is the common companion of Chinese foods such as dim sum and chop suey in American Chinese restaurants. The oolong tea, black dragon in Chinese, got its name after its long, dark distinguished leaves that look like wild black dragons when brewed. The unique taste of the oolong tea is achieved by a long process that includes sun drying of the Camellia sinensis leaves, light oxidization, cooling and drying processes. The result is a lighter flavor than the popular black tea and stronger than the delicate green tea.

Thrill Friends And Family With A "Make It Yourself" Pizza Party

If there is one thing kids love more than eating pizza, it's being able to make it themselves using all their favorite toppings. Creating a "make it yourself" pizza party is a great way to customize the meal while involving friends and family in a fun activity. Best of all, this crust recipe, which uses a surprise ingredient, is simple enough to make at home without making a mess of the kitchen. The secret to this simple crust is the addition of potatoes. Idahoan brand flavored Mashed Potatoes were recently named the best-tasting instant mashed potato compared to major national competitors by the American Culinary ChefsBest.™ Incorporating these convenient, 100 percent authentic Idaho potatoes in the crust adds moisture and rich flavor to this homemade version of one of America's favorite foods. The following recipe for Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Pizza uses fresh summer produce; however, when making pizza at home, each person can substitute his or her favorite toppings. With this versatile recipe, you can enjoy a delicious homemade meal that enables everyone to eat the pizza that they love.Fresh Tomato And Zucchini PizzaCrust:1/2 cup dry Idahoan Roasted Garlic flavored Mashed Potatoes1 cup boiling water1 cup all-purpose flour3 tablespoons olive oil1 teaspoon saltTopping:3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced and patted dry1 small zucchini, thinly sliced1 tablespoon olive oilSalt and ground pepper to taste4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese2 tablespoons fresh shredded basil or 1 teaspoon dried basilCombine dry Idahoan Roasted Garlic flavored Mashed Potatoes with boiling water in a bowl, using a fork to moisten all potatoes. Let stand for one minute. Add flour, olive oil and salt to potato mixture. With hands, knead mixture until dough forms a ball. Let rest 5 minutes.Preheat oven to 400 F. Press dough into 12-inch by 8-inch baking pan. Arrange zucchini slices and tomato slices over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.Bake about 15 minutes. Top with mozzarella; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with basil.Yield: 4 main-dish servings or 6 appetizer servings

Choosing The Perfect Charcoal Grill

Everyone loves good, old fashioned charcoal grilling. Aside from being cheaper than other grilling methods, it adds a raw, distinctive taste to your sausages, burgers, ribs, and other grilled items. Some people prefer charcoal grills over gas grills because they are easier to transport and are safer to use than gas. While there are differences in opinion and preference among grillers, it still remains that charcoal grills are here to stay. So be it an picnic, or an outdoor grill, charcoal grills will more that make up their worth in usefulness and reliability. When choosing charcoal grills, however, it pays to know what your needs are and to know the pros and cons of having such a grill over the other available grills around. 1. Cooking Space First of all, you have to determine how much space you need for grilling. If you are grilling for a small family of three, you will do well enough with a 75 square-inch grill. You will have to consider larger grills if you are cooking for more people. It doesnt make sense if you bring a puny sub-75 inch grill to a large picnic. Remember that the size of your grill increases the amount of items you can grill exponentially. Just looking at the grill wont give you a clear idea on how big the grilling area is. Some grills have a warming rack that increases the perceived size of your grill. 2. Portability- Get grills that have wheels- Try choosing grills whose parts are ergonomic and efficient- Lessen the risk of damaging your grill when transporting- Your grill also has to withstand the rigors of outdoor use- It does not pay to purchase a flimsy looking grill - go for those that are durable and lasting 3. ConvenienceSome charcoal grills come with their own igniters. Try choosing grills that have this option. Other grills need lighter fluid to fire up. With the built-in igniter, you will not need lighter fluid anymore. On the other hand, you may want to avoid lighter fluid altogether. Some people dislike the taste and smell this fluid adds to the grill. If you must, use alcohol instead. It burns odorless and does not ruin the flavor of your food. Choose grills that allow you to easily access the ash pan. This makes cleaning the grill a lot easier. It also lessens the amount of ash flakes that may settle in your food. Also, lids are a very important part of the grill. Choose a grill that has a lid to keep the heat trapped within the grill. This allows for faster and smokeless grilling. 4. QualityThe materials used in making the grill are also very important. Some grills are made of material that easily corrodes or does not stand up well against the elements. Stainless steel grills hold up remarkably well to both the weather and the heat of the grill. Try avoiding painted grills as the paint may easily flake of. Although lightweight, durable materials are hard to come by among grills, you would do best to look for such. Remember, though, that first and foremost, the most important built characteristic you are looking for in a grill is durability.

Summary

Every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event. Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue an experience youll look back on with a grin.