Food

The Meat District pre-seasoned selections are tender and full of flavor

The Meat District pre-seasoned selections are tender and full of flavor

Tailgaters and Grill Masters, this post is for you! Meat District has pre-seasoned meats that you can use to create so many dishes from burgers, tacos, meatballs and more. The patties are made with different blends of protein, including bison, wagyu beef, Angus beef brisket, short rib, tri tip and chuck. The wings are seasoned beautifully. They are my go-to smoker recipes when I need a quick and easy meal.

bacon cheddar burgers

The Seahwaks lost tonights game, but it’s OK. I grabbed some Meat District wings and Angus Chuck beef patties with bacon & cheddar for dinner. Any meat with added bacon makes a sad game better. I threw the wings on my smoker with Cherry pellets at 375. 10 minutes later I added the burger patties. Cooked about another 30 minutes and dinner is done.

Tonight we did the Buffalo chicken wings with a mango habanero seasoning and for those who do not do spicy in my home, I also added some beer brined wings to the smoker.

smoked chicken wings

The beauty about Meat District patties is that there are no rules that say you must keep these formed as a burger. You could easily take the meat and create meatballs, tacos, meatloaf and you get that Meat District seasoned beef to elevate your meal.

Visit Meat District’s website to see all of their meat selections and the flavors they have added. Meat District premium products will be sold at supermarkets nationwide, including Albertson’s, Kroger, Ralph’s, Pavilions, Vons, Stater Brothers, Winn Dixie, Food Lion and Hy-Vee. I have also seen the burger patties at my local Costco.

Food

Zak’s new back-to-school products include Mickey, Minnie and Lilo & Stitch

I was sent product to try myself and may contain affiliate links

Zak’s new back-to-school products include Mickey, Minnie and Lilo & Stitch

Zak Designs has rolled out 3 of the most adorable characters into their new 2021 Back to School line – Minnie, Mickey and Lilo & Stitch! Your kids (and you) will go nuts over these lunchbox essentials. The colors they use are just gorgeous and with distance learning, the old stuff we have had sat too long now, so it is time to update.

This is the Zak Disney Reusable Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Food Container, Minnie Mouse. It is deigned to keep food at the perfect hot or cold temperature. The insulation prevents condensation on the outside and it will not rust or oxidize. This container is built to last! Available in many designs.

The Zak Disney 14oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle, Mickey Mouse is so adorable! 14oz is a great beverage size for kids and is made of food-grade stainless steel. The lid has a carrying loop and screws on. It is built so there are no leaks, no condensation so it can be tossed in and out of bags with no worries. The silicone straw is covered when not in use, protecting it. The button used to open the straw is as easy to open as it is to close. This water bottle is also available in other designs.

Then for Mom (or child, but I claimed ours for myself) is the Zak Disney 25oz Reusable Water Bottle, Lilo & Stitch. Your older child or teen will love the designs these come in, especially if they are Disney fans. You can sip from the cup or straw (straw is included). There is no condensation. The lid is dishwasher safe, but it is recommended you wash the cup by hand. I will be keeping mine at the office.

Zak has so many great designs, but I have featured their 3 new designs for the 2021/22 school year! Visit Zak and find your lunchtime essentials for this year! Also, located in retailers and Amazon.

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

This post contains affiliate links

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!