Thanksgiving Day Hacks

Thanksgiving Day is notorious for being one of those stressful holidays.

Thankfully, the Huffington Post has provided us with 13 Cooking Hacks that will make your Thanksgiving a little easier.

1.) Make fluffier mashed potatoes by adding a pinch of baking powder when mashing. The powder mixes with the heat and forms tiny air pockets, and making your mashed potatoes the best on the block!slide_383866_4578582_free

2.) Store mashed potatoes in a slow-cooker. Not only will this free up your stove-top burner, but it will also keep your mashed potatoes warm and ready to enjoy.

3.) Let your dishwasher wash the potatoes for you — and peel them when they come out clean. OR, boil them with the skin on and give them a dunk in cold water once cooked. This will shock the skins loose and make peeling a breeze.

4.) You can slow-cook your turkey overnight. Wait, what? Pop the bird in the oven the evening before and wake up to a nearly completed Thanksgiving feast. Here’s the recipe.

5.) Save your dried out turkey with chicken broth. It happens, people! Pour a little warm chicken broth on top of the slices to add flavor and warmth.slide_383866_4578926_free

6.) Make your pie dough in advance, and then freeze it! It’s one less thing you have to do around the big day. Or, you could just buy one already made. We won’t tell.

7.) Use dried beans or rice in place of pie weights and fashion yourself a pie shield out of aluminum foil.slide_383866_4578862_free

8.) Prepare your gravy ahead of time! That way you don’t have to stress about the gravy when all you and everyone else wants to do is sit down and eat.

9.) Store your gravy in thermos. Genius!

10.) You can chop your veggies and freeze them, days before the big day!

11.) Chop garlic in 10-seconds. Seriously! Here’s the video.

12.) Bring out your cooler. It works as a second fridge. Everything that doesn’t fit in the refrigerator – which is a lot on Thanksgiving – goes in the cooler. It’s so simple, yet so genius.slide_383866_4578628_free

13.) Print out your recipes and tape them to your cabinets. It’ll free up the much-needed counter space that cookbooks or computers take up. Clever!

These 13 simple steps could turn your stressful Thanksgiving Day into an enjoyable experience. Too bad we don’t have a Black Friday survival guide.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Celebrate the Season with an Outdoor Holiday BBQ Cookout

By Angel Beltran

Whether we’re ready for it or not, the holiday season is rapidly approaching. That, of course, means family, friends and food!

Due to the dip in temperature during the fall and winter seasons, holiday dinners are typically hosted within the home. However, a non-traditional form of holiday fare can take place in the backyard or patio.

firepit-fpt-2500

Entertaining guests in the backyard or patio encourages a more laid back atmosphere. Combine that with good food and company, and you’ve got the recipe for a successful holiday dinner party! Most outdoor/patio gatherings occur during the daylight to prevent extreme cold from ensuing on your guests. If the party continues into the night, a bonfire or fire pit provides heat and visibility for your guests, as well as an excuse to make s’mores!

Decorating amongst natural foliage can enhance the look and feel of your outdoor holiday get together. Hanging twinkling lights from your patio will have a dramatic effect at dusk. You can also make your own garland by attaching cut outs onto a string: bat shapes for Halloween, leaf-shaped cutouts for Thanksgiving and snowflakes for Christmas. Simplicity is key!

Outdoor umbrellas don’t only provide shade during the day, but also help define your outdoor dining room space. If wind is an issue, you can weight dishes by placing a treat on your guest’s plates as a welcome gift, try a candied apple for a Halloween party! Setting up tables in different locations throughout your patio or backyard with food on one table, and drinks on another, will encourage guests to roam and be more convivial. Simplicity will make your holiday dinner a success and take the stress out of hosting a formal dinner.

firepit-fpt-h401

The best part about hosting an outdoor holiday fare is the ability to grill your meal on an authentic grill. Several traditional holiday recipes have been given the rustic treatment and translated into barbecue. Favorites such as corn on the cob, sweet potatoes and even whole turkeys can be prepared on an outdoor grill.

Cooking on an outdoor grill will give you more versatility than cooking on a traditional stove top oven, which is essential while preparing a holiday dinner. The direct heat and indirect heat an outdoor grill produces allows for a variety of cooking styles to occur at once. Direct heat is identified with cooking meats, while indirect heat provides the ability to steam or even bake some of your favorite side dishes. Imagine cutting down your holiday cooking time in half! That means more time to spend with family and friends!

calflame-grill-2

Whether you enjoy a succulent steak fresh off the grill, or seek comfort next to a cozy bonfire, Cal Flame can help you host your next gathering. Cal Flame has the ability to customize its wide range of hearth and barbecue products depending on the need of each customer. Ranging from barbecues, to fire pits, and fireplaces, Cal Flame offers products that will entertain guests and turn your backyard or patio into a “Home Resort.”

Since outdoor entertaining means simplicity, once guests have gone home or moved the party indoors, your patio or backyard will be a breeze to pack up. Pre-made desserts and holiday-themed cocktails drinks can be shared once the party moves inside.

grill-a-la-cart-series

Spending quality time with family and friends in a unique setting and Cal Flame products can create a whole new entertaining holiday experience!

For more information about Cal Flame products, please visit www.calflamebbq.com.

Super Bowl Green Grilling Tips

Super Bowl is this Sunday, which means time to dust of that ol’ grill of yours. Below are some helpful “green” grilling tips from Cal Flame so you can grill your favorite meals and appetizers this weekend without harming the environment.

Gas vs. Charcoal

  • Although it doesn’t offer the same flavor as charcoal, the cleanest, most energy-efficient grilling option is gas grills (natural gas or propane), with electric grills coming in a distant second.
  • The demand for natural gas and electric products certainly has environmental impacts, (offshore drilling, hydro-electric dams and coal-fired power plants), but these two options still offer the cleanest, most energy-efficient way to burn fuel.
  • Wood and charcoal burners pollute the air with tiny particles of soot that can contribute to chronic lung and heart problems.

Use Organic Meats & Produce

  • Look for free-range meats that have been grass-fed or produced using certified organic feed.

Use Eco-Friendly Briquettes

  • Briquettes or lump charcoal are NOT completely earth-friendly because burning either of them can cause pollution.
  • Producing wood-based lump charcoal can contribute to global warming and/or deforestation.

Dispose of Ashes Properly

  • Wood ash is alkaline. It can be used in the garden as a fertilizer, but only if you’re trying to neutralize very acidic soil so apply it with care.
  • Charcoal ash contains chemical residues which are harmful to plants and should be disposed of in the garbage.

Light Your Fire without Fluid

  • Chimney starters and electric probes are good alternatives to lighter fluids, which emit harmful
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) when lit. They are inexpensive (usually $12-$15) and provide a fast, reusable, pollution-free alternative for lighting up the grill.

For more information on Cal Flame, please visit: www.calflamebbq.com