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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Family Style Spiced Ribs That Anyone Can Grill

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




Summertime is MY TIME OF YEAR because this here mama throws down on a grill like nobody's biznass!!! WERD.  My family knows, during the summer, they can get plenty of good meals out of me.  I grew up with grilling women in my life.

I was raised by both my mom and grandmother and we were Warrior Lady Grillers!  (that's totally a thing).  Growing up in Connecticut, you have to savor the summer months, because they don't last very long. As soon as the air is warm enough and the sun starts shining, my grandmother would pile up on charcoal and we'd commence to grilling!

My job as a child, was to always be the prep cook and to keep an eye on the meat as it cooked. Watching my Warrior Grilling Mamas, I learned when to put the meat on the grill how to listen to the sound and smell of whatever was cooking and to always keep an eye on the food so, it didn't burn (badly).  I lived for those moments on our small little concrete porch, with green turf carpeting, and a cool glass of lemonade or tea, talking to my mother and grandmother about our day - it was the best.

Now that I have my own family, I try to take moments like the ones I had with my mom and grandmother and build them with my kids and hubby.  The only good part is that I live a little further south and our summer days are much longer than those Connecticut summers!

Any given day of the week, you can find me getting my family around the patio for a delicious grilled meal.  Being the festive person I am, I always like to make summer dinners extra fun.  So, I set up a fun BBQ Blending Station with sauces and fresh ingredients to make our own flavored sauces.  We just add them to already delicious KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce to kick it up a notch.  Nothing says summer like saucy smoked ribs loaded with BBQ Sauce, right?

To get ready, I headed out to get some Extra Tender Smithfield Ribs.  These have always been our go-to ribs for grilling and you can find them at Wal-Mart.  What I personally like about Smithfield Ribs is that they don't have any added hormones or steroids, they're also hand cut, so all the work is pretty much done for you and they always, always come out super tender and juicy!


I know some people are intimidated by ribs and grilling in general.  You do not have to be.  The process is super easy.  All you need to do is follow my lead.  Light up your charcoal on one side of your grill.  You will know it's time to put your ribs on the grill when the coals have turned white and have a red glow to them.  Since all grills work differently and cook at different speeds, you will want to make sure you keep an eye on things.  I'll be honest, I sat down to have a little mini 'wine-tasting' and may or may not have scorched my ribs a teeny bit.  It's all good, because, these ribs were still tha bomb dot com.




When I grill my ribs, I like to rub them down in my own spice mix - you can find my spice mix recipe at the end of this post.  Once I do that, what I like to do is put a good sear on both sides of the ribs while the grill is super hot  - so, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  You might see some flames, if you do, just be patient and watch the flame die down.  Once both sides are nice and seared, you will want to put your ribs onto the side of the grill WITHOUT  the charcoal.  Then, close the lid on your grill and let those babies smoke for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours....keep an eye on them and check about every 20 minutes or so.




You can always tell when the ribs are done.  The meat will pull easily from the smallest bone.  Don't be afraid if you see any pink near the bone of the rib, this just means your ribs are perfectly smoked! This picture does the ribs NO JUSTICE!  Maaan, the meat was flavorful, juicy and tender.  YEAH BABY!  Be sure to put your ribs onto a pan to rest and let the juices go back into the meat.  While you're waiting - grill some veggies, cause those are awesome too!



The ribs came out perfectly juicy and tender.  I'm telling you, Smithfield never disappoints on tender, taste and flavor.






*GRILLING TIP: If you ever over cook your ribs, place them in an aluminum pan and place them in any type of broth....the juice will return to the meat and it may just fall right off the bone!  Sauces make ribs even more delicious.  Here's an idea I came up with for flavor pairings to add to our favorite KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce.




You don't have to get all fancy and festive as I did, but you definitely want to put out some really delicious fresh ingredients.  My husband LOOOVES KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce, but I notice he's always doctoring it up with fresh ingredients.  So, I figured, I'd add something fun to the mix and set up a BBQ Blending station to go with our grilled ribs.

I set out a variety of sauces along with fresh ginger, lime, crushed pineapple, brown sugar and red pepper flakes to add a bit more kick to the sauces.  This ideas is also a great alternative to people who want to maybe make their own bbq sauce.  On a chalkboard, I listed some 'recipes' for creating a sweet, tangy or spicey blend  for the sauce.






The kids really enjoyed this part of family time and got very creative with adding the different sauces and seasonings to make their own blended bbq sauce.  We even let them brush on their sauce and warm the ribs on the grill for a few minutes.  It was good and messy fun!


This was my how I whipped up my sauce and it was so good....sriracha, lime, a small bit of crushed pineapple and red pepper!!!!  I added fresh grilled veggies to my plate, because.....veggies.





Since we grill out so often, I like to make a huge batch of BBQ Spice Rub and store it in small jars. The jarred spice also make really nice gifts especially if you have guests come over for a summer cookout or you're invited to one.  My recipe is super easy and can be printed here.  Use round chalkboard labels and a white gel pen to hand write the name of your special rub mix.



I hope you enjoyed these easy tips for grilling ribs.  Don't be intimidated by it, there are no mistakes, remember slow and steady wins the race here, folks......enjoy.  Hey, PS -  Father's Day is coming up - try grilling the special dad in your life some delicious ribs and let me know how they turn out!  I'd love to hear from you!  


Do you have any grilling questions for me?  Ask me on Facebook - I'd be happy share more of my tips!





Be sure to check out Smithfield's HogWild Throwdown Contest whether you're an amateur or pro griller you have a chance to win one of 2 Ford F-150's.  Get on board and don't miss out, celebrity grill talents Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone are brand ambassadors for this event!




To learn more about the Smithfield Family of products visit:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CookingwithSmithfield
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SmithfieldFoods
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/smithfieldfoods/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/smithfieldfoods
Website:  http://www.smithfield.com/products/marinated-pork/

#HogWildThrowdown





Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Xfinity Offers a Great Way for Busy Families to Stay Digitally Connected





I recently attended a local blogger meetup hosted by Comcast Xfinity, you know.....the 'cable company'.   An event of this nature, is not typically something I'd go for so, let me just be honest here, I went to the meetup for very selfish reasons.  I wanted to meet some other bloggers in the area and I needed adult female bonding time.  I can't lie.  I rarely get out of the house without having my brood in tow...and I love them, I truly do....but sometimes, mama needs a break.  Yes, before you ask, I have friends....but to meet other bloggers in person is something I don't always get a chance to do.  So, I took this as a welcomed opportunity to meet 'my people' face to face.


Photo Credit: Comcast




I have another confession......I HATE CABLE TV.....I mean it.  I've paid LOTS of money every month to be disappointed by over 300 channels....that I don't even watch.  Last month, I got over spending all that money and I cancelled my DISH cable service and have been streaming movies and shows through my ROKU player and aside from the buffering issues, I have no complaints.  So, I knew deep down, I had no business going to that event, but I did it anyway.  I went without shame, but I must say, I was changed!





First of all.....I loved meeting all the nice ladies and eyeballing the deliciousness on the food table.....because all the eats were right up my low-carb loving lane.....sans the cupcakes....and macaroons (yes, I had one).....but I was expecting to hear a sales pitch and then get whisked off to some corner to try and get signed up with Xfinity....and then prepare myself for buyers remorse, because I promise you....if that would have happened, I'da been completely sold!





All my expectations about Xfinity were out the door.  Not only were the good folks from Xfinity NOT trying to make us buy anything, they were friggin' awesomely cool people!  They demonstrated all the different ways that Xfinity isn't just cable programming....I mean, they have cable programming, but they have so much more.  I was really impressed by what's available.

So, the first little ditty that caught my eye was that you can pretty much use Xfinity Home services to turn your house into a full automated secured smart home!  You can literally go anywhere and just with the use of your smartphone, tablet or computer, access live video and find out when someone is at your front door, you can 'peep in' on your kids when they get home from school, in some areas you can turn on your AC or set your heat remotely, set a timer on your lights, and I love this.....set your alarm! Like seriously.....if you think you left your coffee pot on, you can access your system from work and turn the darn thing off!   We got to test out these features in a hands-on experience by using....get this y'all....a remote control that you talk to....I can't......I can't!!!!  Maybe I'm behind in the times when it comes to technology....but this pretty much blew my mind.







There are also really good options for safe programming for families which may or may not have changed my mind about cable tv.  With Xfinity you can set up a feature called Kids Zone, which allows parents to control what channels your kids can watch based on their age.  Your kids can safely watch their fave shows.  Also, you can use the Xfinity TV app and a cloud based DVR feature to take movies and shows on the go.  Say for instance, you know you're going to be on a six-hour car ride with an (ahem) eight and 11 year-old....you can grab your devices and load them up with their favorite movies and shows!  And because Xfinity lets their customers have access to millions of hotspots across the country, you can pretty much access the app from anywhere without worrying about running up that cell phone bill!  These features may have changed my cable-hate...for realz.




There were a few other features that really wowed me but one in particular stood out the most.  My husband's family lives locally and we get to see them all the time.  But, my mom and grandmother, who are both my fave ladies in the world, live far away.  So, when the kids have special performances or school functions, I don't always get to share those live moments with my mom and grandmother. Well, Xfinity allows you to send live real-time video from your smartphone or tablet to another TV! Of course everyone would need to have Xfinity services to do that, but how cool is that???  Watching the grandbabies on the TV???  Sooo sweet!!!




With all these features and apps that Xfinity has available, I must say, they make it very hard for me to not want to sign up.  They're really offering a way for families to stay better connected by using the newest technology and placing everything right at your fingertips.  The prices started at under $30/mo....and for what services I checked out, would definitely work for my budget.

As the event wrapped, we were gifted with a gift bag filled with lots of tech gear and an awesome Samsung Galaxy tablet - which I gave to my husband for always supporting me and having my back.
I'm so glad I actually went to this event - even if it was for selfish reasons.  I met some fab blogger ladies and truly enjoyed myself and Xfinity may have just earned themselves a new Xfinity customer.








I snagged this slideshow of our event from the Comcast Twitter feed - you can see me in the yellow sweater and tan dress ;)





Disclosure:  I was invited by Xfinity as part of their #XfinityMoms AppyHour and received a gift bag and tablet for attending.  As always, thoughts and opinions are all my own.



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Super League Gaming Discount





Now your family can play Minecraft in select movie theatres with Super League Gaming. Super League brings together gamers of all ages for a fun, social, face-to-face gameplay experience on the big screen with superhero themed maps and mods in a custom Minecraft adventure called, Rise of Heroes.


HOW IT WORKS
Bring your laptop with Minecraft 1.9.2 installed and play first-person on your computer and then you wirelessly connect to Super League's server which puts you and everyone else in the movie theater's gameplay up on the big screen. Parents and siblings can attend for free to watch and cheer their gamer on.

Your gamers will play, collaborate and socialize on teams with 4-7 members their own age as they build, battle and use their creativity and imagination. Super League even provides all the tech help and support making this a great family-friendly event.




THE LEAGUE ENCOURAGES SOCIAL CONNECTIONS & TEAMWORK
It's all about teamwork and collaboration. Each player gets a free gaming t-shirt encouraging team building and camaraderie. There's even an opportunity for the winning team to evenly split a college scholarship. 

League starts April 30. Visit Superleague.com for a schedule of times and locations. Tickets are regularly priced $60. Use promo code "USFAMILY10" today for an exclusive $10 discount.
Save $10 off Playing #Minecraft in a Movie Theatre with SuperLeague.com - Save $10 off Playing #Minecraft in a Movie Theatre with SuperLeague.com is coming to Town! Use promo code USFAMILY10 to Save $10 OFF!

Check out superleague.com to find a theatre near you.

Check out Super League in the news:
New York Times - http://nyti.ms/1KVZyq5
NPR - http://n.pr/1CBqY7u
Variety - http://bit.ly/1hCd778
Hollywood Reporter - http://bit.ly/1fet2YL




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