Kicking Off BBQ Season With Grilling Tips From George Duran & The Dish

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I ADORE summertime.  But it isn’t simply the warm weather, the pooltime, the lack of school schedules and propensity for margaritas that gets me excited….though all of those do make me extraordinarily happy.

Consider this:

This is the ONLY time of year that I get a break from cooking.  I am the family chef EXCEPT when it comes to heading outside to the Barbeque.  THAT?  Is my husband’s job.  It is about time that I confess to you – I have actually NEVER grilled in my life.  Crazy, right? I know… but it is true.  It is the one place Jeff is really comfortable…so ever since we married, he’s just made that his contribution.  And I let him.  I just *might* be afraid of the grill.

So, this post is actually dedicated to my husband and the ten times a year he cooks dinner.  Because when he does…it is DIVINE.

Over on The Dish, Con Agra’s newest site for bloggers, Celebrity Chef, George Duran is kicking off an ‘Essential Guide For Barbeque Season’.  It is a perfect place to get the tips you need before you start throwing all of your ‘end-of-the-school-year-parties’.  (Admittedly, my small people JUST finished school – so I am ready to start having people over!)

Duran’s first post is dedicated to some new trends he is seeing (hint – people are getting creative with toppings and sauces…now this is something I can do since I usually help with the marinating!) He also has a few tips to make the process easier and keep you safe while you are tackling the big job.

I’m thinking it might be about time for me to get over my fear of grilling and just do it…. what do you think?

Disclosure: I have worked closely with Con Agra on the launch of The Dish and have been compensated for my time.




Need Snack Ideas For Your Kid’s Sports Team? Suggestions From The Dish

We are a Sports family. All year long.

Just because the school year is winding down, do not think our sports schedule is doing the same. Sure, in the Fall – it is soccer and basketball, but in the Spring and Summer, we are running full-tilt into softball and baseball.  Both small people.  And I’m told this is just the beginning.  (I was not much of an athlete growing up, so ‘traveling teams’ are foreign to me…but apparently they have a place in my very near future)

So…here’s the thing:  as the mom of a couple of little athletes, my job is to keep them healthy and hydrated.  This means skipping the sugary snacks that seemed to populate the end of every Pee-Week soccer game.  ESPECIALLY because they are a) working hard on the field and b) it is HOT in St. Louis in the summer.

But I still want something they will enjoy, right?

Good news.  The Dish… Con Agra’s newest site for bloggers, has a whole list of Quick Snacks for Sports – including items you can dish up on the sidelines and things you can serve on the fly at home. Think peanut butter. Think apples. Think cold water.  Think lemons. Think cheese.

Nice Save, Dish.

Disclosure: I was a consultant on The Dish and was compensated for my time.

Are You ‘In The Know’? A First Look, First Taste With The Dish

Admit it. It is fun to be in the know.

And especially fun when ‘in the know’ and food go together.  At least in my house.  The small people and my husband jockey to see who gets to open and try new foods as they make their way into our home for the first time… and for the kids – getting to take something to school that is ‘brand new’ – well that’s always a treat.  (assuming of course that they *liked* the newest addition to our pantry or fridge)

Con Agra and their newest venture, The Dish, have combined to offer a ‘First Look, First Taste‘ to bloggers interested in expanding their palatte and learning more about Con Agra’s products.  By signing up on the site, you can be among the first to know when a new product, like Orville Redenbacher’s Ready-to-Eat Gourmet Popcorn, is getting ready to hit the store shelves.

This latest offering comes in four flavors: Sharp White Cheddar, Classic Kettle Korn, Farmhouse Cheddar and Signature BBQ.  Once you register for ‘First Look, First Taste‘…it is as simple as requesting a sample for you and your family to try.

Don’t forget there are also plenty of recipes, expert kitchen tips and even blogging advice featured throughout the site!

Disclosure:  I was a consultant for The Dish and was compensated for my time.

How To Shop For Frozen Foods: An Interview With SuperMarket Guru Phil Lempert

You know I love to do interviews, right?

And it is ALWAYS so much fun to chat with someone who is lively, fun AND makes my life better.  Phil Lempert, the SuperMarket Guru, as he is known, falls right into that category.  Phil makes a living teaching people how to make the most out of their trips to the grocery store – how to make the smartest, healthy choices, how to stay up on food trends AND, how to keep more of your money in your pocket.

From Phil, I learned that we spend about $6 billion, that’s right…. BILLION on frozen, easy-to-prepare meals, and, on average, we eat about 6 of those meals a month.  So, it made sense to me, as a mom who always aims to a) provide the healthiest options and b) likes to save money, to ask the expert for Frozen Food Tips….

[Read more…]

Using The Supermarket Guru As A Guide

If I only went to the grocery store once a week it would be a small miracle.

In fact, if I only went twice… it would be impressive. Alas…. it seems I live there.  I’m always heading back for this…or for that.  You know what I mean, right?  You make a list, but forget something complicated, like bread.  Or your kids suddenly eat their body weight in oranges and need more.  On Wednesday.

Or even better… that new dinner recipe you were going to try out for the first time?  Well, naturally you forgot one of the ingredients.  And you realize it as you start to gather everything together to cook.

Such is the life of a fancy-food-shopping-making-and-preparing-mom.

So, it would make sense that I’m always looking for ways to simplify. And since I don’t have anyone to shop FOR me… the next best thing is to turn to the experts to make the process not only easier, less expensive (YES!  LESS EXPENSIVE!) but more in line with the healthy goals I have for my family.  If I’m honest, when I’m in a hurry, the things I reach for aren’t always at the top of the ‘good for you’ list.

Does the name Phil Lempert ring a bell? Known as “The Supermarket Guru”, Lempert is a food marketing expert and correspondent for the Today Show who helps families to understand food trends, save money and aim for healthier eating.  He is also a spokesperson for ConAgra Foods and a weekly contributor to their new site, The Dish.  Weekly he tackles a new topic, ranging from Holiday Food Safety to Milk Alternatives for families trying to cut down on milk consumption.

Each expert on the site can be contacted with questions and suggestions, so if there is a topic I would like him to address, I could certainly email to request he put explore it.  Little does he know I’m making my own list.

Disclosure: I have worked closely with Con Agra on the launch of The Dish and have been compensated for my time.



Finding New Recipes For Your Family With The Dish

I’m bored in my kitchen.


I feel as though I’m serving the same old things.  I would detail them for you, but frankly, I’m a touch embarrassed.  Let’s just say they involve chicken and rice, chicken and pasta and well, chicken and….chicken.  I do throw some salmon in there for good measure.  And? I’m terrible at cooking vegetables.  Maybe because I have never truly liked them.

The truth is, I’ve been feeling decidedly uninspired.

(My brother would be horrified – HE is NEVER uninspired)

Why, you ask?  Likely for some of the same reasons you do. (I’m assuming you occasionally have this problem, yes?)

1) I’m not a gourmet chef –  I assume all fancy meals require ridiculous skill

2) Between work, homework, and small people activities, I don’t have that much time at the end of the day

3) I need something everyone will eat.

Now, there are LOTS of resources out there to help me, yes?  But I decided to visit my friends at The Dish to knock me out of my slump.  Hopefully this can kick you into gear as well.  In addition to a variety of food-related resources, The Dish has a section dedicated specifically to recipes.  Many sites, do this, I know…. but what makes this special:  with one quick glance I can see a picture of the meal, how long it will take me to prep the meal, the total time to make it (IMPORTANT), how many ingredients I will need AND how many people it will feed.  In only a few seconds, I can determine if this is a meal I want to try out on my family.

If a dish is only going to take me 25 minutes to prepare, I am far more likely to tackle something new – and risk trying something my small people (or husband) may be having for the first time.

And, in addition to the basic recipe section, there is a Seasonal Spotlight Category dedicated to dishes I may want to try during that specific time of year.  This keeps me feeling festive, yes?

Now… to decide…  what to try first?  I’m thinking I need to ask Supermarket Guru and Dish Expert, Phil Lempert, to go shopping with me….

Disclosure: I have worked closely with Con Agra on the launch of The Dish and have been compensated for my time.

Con Agra ‘Dishes’ Out New Website for Bloggers


The way this space…. this social media space…  my blog, your blog, his blog, their website, her website… the way it all evolves is a distinctly beautiful thing.  I will confess it is this constant desire to BE evolving to BE moving and changing that attracted me to this space in the first place.

Every once in a while, I am given the opportunity to be a part of a creative team that is molding and blending, designing and honing in on something unique… in this case, from the very beginning.  And it wasn’t my own site – as naturally – I’m always involved at the very begninning there.

This time, I was invited by a company I have worked with in many different capacities over the years – Con Agra Foods to participate in the creation and launch of a brand new site.  In the past, I have worked as both a charitable advocate on behalf of the Con Agra Foods Foundation and Child Hunger Ends Here and with Con Agra Foods as a consultant.

In this case, I was part of a team that helped to fine tune what you now see today as The Dish.  This site was designed specifically to give bloggers special access to exclusive content from Con Agra Foods including recipes, seasonal tips and trends and even cooking advice.  A special section, First Look, First Taste allows bloggers to register to see new products before they are released, receive coupons and even free samples to review. That post you see excerpted there is from my friend, Kim Moldofsky who was on our team and is this month’s featured blogger as well. (stop by and say hello to her!)

A Panel of experts including Celebrity Chef George Duran and Savings expert, Phil Lempert will be posting on the site AND you can ask them questions as well.  (Kim is taking questions too, be sure to ask her a nice one!)

Since the site is brand new (and a lot of people worked very hard on it) I would love to know what you think of the site – and naturally, if you have any suggestions.

I have been paid for my time consulting with Con Agra on The Dish Project, but as always, my opinions can not be purcahsed.  All thoughts shared on this site (by me) are mine and mine alone. (If you see my husband posting – I’m not responsible for his thoughts or actions)