Summer Blogger ‘Grill-Off’

round logocookina logos familleThe folks at Colman’s Mustard and Cookina are hosting a Summer Blogger “Grill-Off” to introduce Cookina’s Reusable Grilling Sheet, which is a like a non-stick, reusable (and easy to clean) alternative to aluminum foil.

Last year, I participated in the Mystery Ingredient Blogger Showcase in which the secret ingredient was Colman’s mustard. That contest was great and I was able to win enough Colman’s hot mustard to share with friends. Folks love some spicy mustard. And the barbecue sauce I developed for last year’s contest would be perfect to top anything you’d throw on the grill. Or you can just use the prepared Colman’s mustard straight (from a handy new squeezy bottle), which is what I did when it was time to test the grilling sheet out.

What I really like about the Cookina sheet is that I can put it on the grill and I don’t have to worry that my not dogs are contaminated with any critter juice and they will still get a nice char and smoky flavor, despite the seeming barrier of the grilling sheet. And it was nothing to remove it from the grill and wipe it clean. Of course, most people would use it for fish, veggie kabobs, or grilled pizza, I’m sure.

photo(119)You can use the Cookina Reusable Grilling Sheet in the oven, too. Speaking of pizza, it’s perfect for use with your pizza stone since it will keep it clean and also in any way you would use a Silpat or parchment for baking. The grilling sheets are inexpensive, too. You can find them at Home Depot stores for about $15 each.

Right now, there’s a #YesYouCanCookina contest going on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The grand prize is a trip for two to Las Vegas!

OZ000_BANDEAU-Facebook_EntryPAGE

Posted in Product Reviews | 2 Comments

KIND Healthy Snacks and Stur: Ingredients You Can See and Pronounce

KINDIt’s been a while since I’ve done any product reviews. I actually have a great, long list of items I love that I need to share pretty soon. But this is a special post about really great products with “ingredients that you can see and pronounce,” to borrow the very accurate phrasing from KIND snacks. This isn’t something I’ve always paid attention to, but I’m beginning to be alarmed by all the unnecessary additives and artificial ingredients in foods. When I have to purchase snacks and other foods, I’d prefer that they be made of the ingredients I’d use if I were making them myself.

No doubt, I could probably make the KIND bars and granola myself. But I don’t. And sometimes, I find myself out and about and in need of a snack and I’m happy to have a healthy option. Not just for me, but for my daughter, also. Recently, KIND has expanded their product line and added some awesome flavors, too. They sent me a package of bars and clusters to try out and I have loved each and every one. I have to say that my favorites are the Cashew and Ginger Spice, Madagascar Vanilla Almond, and the Almond and Coconut. I’ve sprinkled the Cinnamon Oat Clusters on Mini Eats’s cereal to make it a healthier meal and she loves it. She really loves the flax seeds!

Along with new flavors of bars and clusters, KIND also has a new product line called Strong & Kind, which is geared more toward the power protein bar eaters with flavors like roasted jalapeno and Thai sweet chili. All KIND Healthy Snacks are made from whole nuts, fruits, and whole grains and other all-natural ingredients and flavors. They’re a delicious way of getting your body essential nutrients like fiber, protein and antioxidants when you’re on the go. You can find them in most groceries, but for the best selection, see their online store.

sturI also recently received a product called Stur. It’s a  flavored liquid water enhancer. When I first heard from the Stur team, I didn’t think much about it other than, yeah, I’d love to try something that will make Nashville’s water taste better. I’m originally from Memphis—which has artesian well water that is amazingly good—so I struggle to drink as much as I should here of what we call “Cumberland Punch” (so named for the river, which is our water source).

Stur was developed by a man who wanted to help encourage his pregnant wife to drink more water. But the other flavor enhancers were full of ingredients that concerned him. On a recent trip to Target, I checked them out myself (Mio, Vitamin Water, Dasani, Crystal Light and even Kool-Aid and the tea makers have gotten in on this trend). Though many of the unpronounceable words are vitamin supplements, I saw a lot of dyes, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners as well as propylene glycol. No wonder he didn’t want to give those to his pregnant wife! Stur uses stevia extract (an all-natural, plant-derived, zero-calorie sweetener) and natural vegetable dyes for color. There are no preservatives or caffeine and only vitamin C from citric acid is added. Even better—one little squirt makes a 16 ounce glass of water taste great!

So far, I’ve only tried the fruit punch flavor, but I plan to buy more. I’m really excited about orange mango, tea + lemon, and mint cucumber. I also like that this is a good way for me to get more water into Mini Eats without more sugar. I love the carrot juice blend I buy for her from Trader Joe’s, but this is a great option for later in the evening and certainly for when we’re out and about. Stur is easy to carry along in a purse or pocket. I haven’t yet seen Stur in stores, but you can buy it online as well through amazon.com.

Posted in Product Reviews | 11 Comments

Generous Helpings May 15 + a giveaway

GenerousHelpingsThere are a lot of great tasting events held in Nashville every year, but one of my very favorites is Generous Helpings. Not only because it benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee’s Middle Tennessee’s Table (their prepared and perishable food rescue program), but also because it always features food from the best restaurants, caterers and food trucks in the area. And for a really great price. For just $50 (in advance; $60 at the door, if available), you get samples of appetizers, entrees and desserts plus wine and beer. All you can eat and drink, folks. This year, the event will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 15 in the Market House at The Nashville Farmers Market. You can purchase tickets online in advance here.

Participating restaurants this year include:
312 Pizza Company
55 South
Amerigo Italian Restaurant
B&C BBQ
Chago’s Cantina
Commerce Street Grill/Renaissance Nashville Hotel
Cork & Cow
Etch
Fido
Holland House
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Josephine
Kickin’ Coffee & Tea
Kohana Japanese Restaurant
Kroger Chef Shoppes
Legato Gelato
Mad Platter
Marché Artisan Foods
Margot Café & Bar
McConnell House
Midtown Café
Nashville State Community College Culinary Arts Program
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Pied Piper Eatery
Provence Breads & Café
Puckett’s
Red Pony
Riffs Fine Street Food
Second Harvest Culinary Arts Center
Sunset Grill
The Southern Steak & Oyster
Zumi Sushi Japanese Kitchen

This event is always a good time. And I’m happy to, once again, be able to offer free tickets to this event! The winner of this giveaway will win TWO tickets (a $100 value!).

Entry #1 (mandatory to win): Second Harvest wants to keep you up to date on the great work they do, so all you have to do to enter the giveaway is sign up for their email list. Come back to this post and leave a comment letting me know that you signed up and you’re entered to win!

For up to 3 additional entries, you can also:

1. “Like” Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee on Facebook. (If you already like them, just say so!)
2. Follow @2HarvestMidTN on Twitter. (If you already follow them, just say so!).
3. Follow @lesleyeats on Twitter and tweet Yay! @lesleyeats is giving away tickets to @2HarvestMidTN’s Generous Helpings http://ow.ly/w7kdw or something similar (as long as you include the @s and the link!).

Leave a separate comment for each entry (up to four total!) to make sure you’ve maximized your chances of winning.

The contest will be open from now until Friday, May 2 at 1pm CDT. The winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email that afternoon and will have until Monday, May 5 at 6pm CDT to respond. If there’s no response, I will choose another winner.

Good luck! I hope to see you there!

This contest is now closed; congratulations to commenter #3, Liza!

Posted in Events, Giveaway | 44 Comments