Food

Smoked Salmon Recipe using Wildwood Grilling Alder Grilling Planks

I was sent product from Wildwood Grilling for sampling

Smoked Salmon Recipe using Wildwood Grilling Alder Grilling Planks

I have been finding some great deals on wild salmon lately. I picked up this Alaskan Wild-caught Sockeye yesterday and began preparing it for today’s smoker when I got home with it. My smoked salmon recipe is very simple, but plan ahead because you need to start it the day prior to smoke day. In this recipe, I smoked my salmon on Alder Grilling Planks from Wildwood Grilling.

alder grill planks

Prepping salmon for the brine is simple. I check my fish to make sure it is deboned and remove any bones I find. You don’t have to de-bone but I prefer to. I make my dry brine. You just need 3 ingredients, plastic wrap, 2 long baking dishes and some weight.

The brine:

  • 1/2 Cup kosher salt
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper


In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and black pepper. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface that is longer than the fillet. Spread 1/2 of the mixture on top of the plastic and lay the fillet skin side down on top of the cure. Top with the other half of the cure spreading it evenly over the top of the fillet. Fold up the edges of the plastic and wrap tightly.

Place the wrapped salmon fillet in the bottom of a flat, rectangle baking dish. Place another identical dish on top of the fillet. Place a couple of cans or something heavy inside the top pan to weigh it down making sure the weight is distributed evenly pressing the fish. Let it brine for 4-6 hours in the fridge.

After 4-6 hours in brine, rinse all brine off very well (the better you rinse the lest salty your finished recipe will be) and refrigerate overnight. For this you just need a sheet pan, wire rack and space in the fridge on a bottom shelf. After rinsing brine, pat very dry with paper towels, lay on rack and place that rack over a sheet pan. Place the pan in the fridge on a bottom shelf uncovered overnight so it develops a tacky film called a pellicle to form on the surface of the salmon that helps smoke adhere to the fish.

Once I was ready to smoke, I soaked the alder grilling planks in water for 15 minutes, weighing them down with mugs to get a full soak. As the planks soaked I preheated the smoker to 180 degrees and let the salmon sit out to get closer to room temp.

soaking grill planks

The smoke happened in about 4 hours at 180 degrees on an 80 degree day. Typical is 3-4 hours. Voila! These alder grilling planks made such a great addition to this smoke. It was my first time using planks of any kind and I will not smoke fish any other way now. I am real excited to smoke other foods on planks and have fun with it.

Wildwood Grilling offers grilling planks, chips, wraps, rubs and more. The alder plank left a subtle earthy and sweet taste. You can also choose from cedar, cherry, hickory, red oak, maple and the alder grilling planks. I also have cherry and want to smoke a shoulder or roast with it!

They have similar infused flavors for chips and wraps. The wraps are similar in that you soak, wrap and smoke or bake anything from meats, fish or veggies. The products are 100% pure and clean with no pesticides, herbicides or foreign matter and made with a food-safe process. They produce their own wood fiber and use 100% of it for no waste. They have many sustainable practices in place within the brand.

Wildwood Grilling

You can enjoy this salmon warm or cooled. You can keep it about 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container – a great recipe to make on a Sunday and cut, divide into meal prep dishes for the week.

Visit Wildwood Grilling if you decide that you want to use their grilling woods in your recipes! Also available via their Amazon store.

Food

Back to School and Stock the Staff Lounge for Teachers and Staff

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Back to School and Stock the Staff Lounge for Teachers and Staff

As we (finally) get back to a normal school year we will need to restock the kids backpacks and that may also include proper masks, water bottles form home and sanitizers. School lists may look a tad different and I don’t mind some added hygiene that we previously took for granted.

As we prepare to get the kids back to normal learning, our Teachers and staff are also heading to their home away from home where they previously worked from home, had shortened in-office hours or had to keep belongings close and away from others for sanitary reasons. Our Teachers leave home earlier than your student and stay in the classroom later as well. They are in that school building for a minimum of 2 mealtimes, lesson planning hours and reorganizing after a long day with the kids.

Teachers and staff use their staff lounge on their breaks as short-lived as some of those breaks are. They need to staff these lounges and their own snack drawers so typically they reach into their own pockets so they have some basics.

As you are out shopping, remember your Teachers and school staff. I am a staff myself at a local high school and I can surely tell you some great items needed for the lounge….

Stock the Staff Lounge

  • Coffee K-Cup Pods
  • Creamer
  • Sugars including healthier sweeteners like Stevia
  • Healthy snacks, like Nunbelievable Cookies (these are so good and not loaded with carbs or sugars)
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Foil
  • Paper coffee cups/lids
  • Paper plates, bowls
  • Utensils
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoning salt
  • Napkins
  • Ziploc bags-all sizes
  • Stir sticks
  • Fresh fruit regularly
  • Protein powders that can be mixed with water
  • Soda/sparkling water cans

I want to also add that staff loves it when there are unique items added here and there. We love seeing brands that give back and that is why I suggested Nunbelievable cookies. Save 15% with code 15NUNB. For every baked good sold, Nunbelievable provides a meal to help feed someone in need. We notice those things and feel proud to have such brands available to us. Don’t forget to stock the staff lounge this year as your child heads back!

Food, Gift Guides

Create Your Own Gift Mix with Ghirardelli Chocolate Custom Mix

I have partnered with Ghirardelli and Find Your Influence for this feature. Opinions and experience is my own.

Ghirardelli chocolate custom Mix

Do you have a hard time fin ding gifts for certain friends or family on Holidays or birthdays? Chocolate always wins! Even if you are invited to a lot of gatherings and love bringing host gifts, these Custom Mix Gifts at Ghirardelli Chocolate are perfect to order now and have on hand! I chose a birthday tin to have on hand, some bags for gatherings and boxes of mixed flavors I chose so I can create Teacher gifts and other mini gifting opportunities for the year! One order and many gifts to come!

Chocolate gifts

Creating your custom mix at Ghirardelli is so easy and fun! First, choose your package design- tins, bags, boxes. Second, choose any accessories if it applies like bow colors for bags. Third, choose the chocolates. Their site keeps tally so you see what flavors you have chosen and how many more until your quantity limit on each product. This is great so you see your ratio – how many dark vs milk or how many kids vs adults would like so you get a perfect mix.

Ghirardelli bags

These are the bags. I chose 2 – the 75 piece Heart Bag and American Bag. I then chose bow colors to match. These are great when invited to a BBQ or house party because there is enough to share. I chose red, white and blue colored wrapper choices for my American bag. Then I chose red, pink and white wrapped flavors for the heart bag. It is fun to theme these in that way.

Ghirardelli tins

The tins are great and simple gifts. You choose the cover and there are several to choose from. Then choose 3 flavors and there will be 5 of each inside. I find that adults love dark chocolate and filled chocolate flavors while kids love the fudge, mint and milk chocolate flavors. I like gifting a tin of chocolates with a gift card if shopping for a teen.

custom chocolate gifts

The box of your count choice is great so you always have a stash for adding to gift baskets or creating small gifts. Bulk boxes come in amounts of 200, 250, 300 or 500. With their current sale the bulk prices hover around .36 cents a square. A great stock up price. When I buy a small bag in the grocery store they tend to run about .50 cents a square. There! I did the match for you already. You are welcome.

Ghirardelli box

To create your mix, visit Ghirardelli and browse their gifts or mix your own.

Food

What to Bring to a Food Truck Festival

What to Bring to a Food Truck Festival

Summer is a great time to get outside and have some fun. The last year has been difficult, and you probably haven’t been able to get out to any type of festival for a long time. But now that things are getting back to normal, you probably want to attend many summer outings. 

A good food truck festival is a great place to start. It is good to be prepared for what you might encounter when venturing out. There are several things to consider as you plan a day or two sampling great food out in the world.

Comfortable Shoes

Food truck festivals usually require a lot of walking. The trucks can’t be too close together, so they don’t create such a big crowd that you can’t get to the trucks themselves, and so the lines don’t get confusing. This means the festival is usually spread over a few blocks that you’ll have to walk to get to everything. They aren’t always on paved walkways, so you may be treading through grass and mud to get to the trucks.

Your best option for footwear is either comfortable tennis shoes or boots. Sandals generally are not comfortable for long periods of time and run the risk of allowing your feet to be eaten up by bugs or get messy in the mud. When you are planning your day, check the weather and look at the festival setting to know what kind of terrain you’re dealing with so that you can pick accordingly.

Backpack

Backpacks are a great way to carry around everything you’ll need throughout the day. Remember, this is a festival. You’ll need a few necessities such as sunscreen, bottles of water, and even a change of clothes in case you get messy. A backpack is a great way to keep all your stuff safe and leave your hands free. 

There are several types of backpacks out there, and you should pick one that best suits your needs. For a food truck festival, a traditional backpack, sling bag, or knapsack might be the best option to keep your hands free and comfortable. It can also add a fun element to your overall look.

Sunglasses

You’ll proabably be outside for a while, meaning you must protect your eyes at all times. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays leads to an increase in the risk of eye disease. Your sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful rays. There are also issues of glare from the sun bouncing off the trucks. It could cause you to be unable to see where you are going, run into another person, or trip and hurt yourself.

Oakley sunglasses protect the eyes and look stylish. Find sunglasses that fit your style and will also stay put throughout the day. You might want to stock up on multiple pairs, so you’re never without sunglasses.

Cash

Many food trucks only accept cash, so you need to be prepared for that possibility. Make sure you pull cash beforehand because there may not be an ATM available near the festival. Cash can also be good to tip the vendors.

Cash is also an excellent way to set your budget for the day. If you have a set amount you want to spend, taking that amount of cash can help you stick to that budget. Once you are out of cash, you are done spending money for the day. This also helps you buy only the things you are truly interested in trying, making your day more enjoyable.

Folding Chairs

Typically you can check out a festival site ahead of time online to see if there will be benches or tables. However, even if there are benches in the area, if the festival is busy, you might not be able to find a place to sit and enjoy your food. Having your own folding chair can be very helpful in that instance. 

Camping chairs are lightweight and easier to carry around. There are several different styles you can choose from, including some that will fold up small enough to fit in your backpack. This ensures you’ll never be without a seat.

Remember to Have Fun

A food truck festival is all about having fun and trying new foods. The planning for the day is meant to make things less stressful and ensure you have everything you need throughout the day. So once you have the essentials packed, just enjoy the day with good food and good company.