Pepper Roasting Rack: Perfect Gift for the Man in your Life

I am always searching for a great gift for my husband. He isn’t hard to buy for but I want to make sure I get him something he can use often. My husband loves to grill so any grilling gadgets area always a hit with him! So when Cave Tools asked me if I’d like to review one of their products I jumped at the opportunity!  In our home garden we grow banana peppers, bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Our family LOVES roasted jalapenos so this seemed like the perfect grilling tool to try.

I started by cutting the tops off my jalapenos and de-seeding them with the corer tool included with the rack. I added cream cheese and wrapped the jalapeno with a strip of bacon. Once I was done I set the wrapped jalapeno peppers in the Stainless Steel Pepper Roasting Rack.  We had planned to use our grill to roast these but our grill decided it wanted to have an off day but we were already set on eating roasted peppers so we improvised! We set the oven to low broil, put the Stainless Steel Pepper Roaster on a backing sheet and cooked them for about 15 minutes.

It was great that we were able to use this grill tool in our oven because as we all know sometimes life throws us curve balls and we have to improvise. This tool was so easy to use. Since then we have roasted peppers on our grill using the Pepper Roasting Rack and it was just as easy to use and also easy to clean. If you have a person in your life that loves to grill I would add this to their gifts this Christmas! The best part is that Cave Tools is offering a 15% off code for my readers! Just use code: ROASTPEPPER15 . OR if you have Prime you can order it through Amazon for free one-day shipping! I don’t know about you all but I can’t pass up a great deal on a great item!

I received this product in return for a blog post sharing my honest review. All reviews stated here are completely genuine and 100% my own!

The Secrets of Pairing Wine and Chocolate


The Secrets of Pairing Wine and Chocolate

There are fewer pleasures to the culinary palate than the combination of a great wine and sweet chocolate. Whether the occasion is a romantic evening with a special loved one or an after-dinner treat, pairing these two flavorful options is a mouthwatering experience.
The key, however, to successfully combining a chocolate confection with a fine wine – while not complicated – does require a bit of thought in order to properly complete a complex blend of textures and flavors.
The following are a few no so secret tips that will assist you in making the most of the delights of pairing these two dining favorites.

Use a wine that is as sweet as your chocolate

While this is not necessarily a hard and fast rule, generally speaking, you will find that your wine has a bitter taste if paired with a significantly sweeter chocolate.
Your best option is to find a balance, with both your chocolate and wine selections having an equal sweetness, with neither overpowering the other.
This is true, for example, with a Syrah or even a Merlot. More than likely, to avoid this pitfall, you may be required to endure a bit of chocolate and wine tasting in order to find the right combination.
Of course, this is usually a welcomed benefit of the experimentation.

chocolate-1335353_1280Do not skimp on the chocolate

One problem that can certainly derail a good chocolate/wine pairing is to utilize an inferior chocolate selection. Think of your chocolate in the same way you consider a fine wine.
You will want to use a brand that offers high quality taste and texture. This is true regardless of the type of chocolate you prefer, whether a dark, white or milk.
The use of a “dull” chocolate will certainly hinder the pairing with a higher quality wine.

Pair according to color

You will want to pair dark or light chocolate with an equally colored wine. Essentially, the darker the chocolate you select, the darker the wine (and vice versa). So, for example, if you have a nice red wine, you will want to opt for a dark chocolate to pair it with.
Alternatively, if you prefer a white wine, then perhaps a white chocolate with a bit of a nutty flavor works well.

wine-1543172_1280Proper Wine Selection

For chocolates with strong and intense flavoring, you will want to pair these selections with a full-bodied wine. Fail to do so and you will find that your chocolate will overpower the flavor of your wine, negating the purpose of pairing.

Try a Sparkling Wine

An interesting and pleasurable flavor combination is achieved if you pair a sparkling wine with a favorite chocolate. The lighter and often fruity taste of a sparkling wine from your home wine cooler provides a wide variety of contrasts with a sweet chocolate that you may find enjoyable.

Tried and true combinations

The following is a short list of good chocolate and wine pairings that keep in mind the preceding tips:
White Chocolate: wines that you may find pleasing with this chocolate option include Chardonnay (a fruity variety) or a Sherry.
Dark Chocolate: You will want to match a dark chocolate with a full-bodied wine such as Zinfandel or a Cabernet.
Milk Chocolate: You will want to really experiment with milk chocolate because of the high sugar content this option usually contains. Dessert wines, Merlot or a Muscat are typically nice options for this pairing.

Do not be afraid to experiment

While these tips are certainly helpful, remember, they are just tips. Not everyone has the same preferences when it comes to taste. While this guide is a great start, you will want to experiment to see what best agrees with your personal palate. Experiment with different blends to find what is right for you.
Indeed, with a bit of effort, you will find the best chocolate/wine combination for your dining experience. Have fun while you try out different blends and remember that the end result is more than worth the time and energy that you devote to this endeavor.

About Emma Kidman

A longtime vegan and health ambassador. Member of a team of freelance writers from New York publishing product reviews for Consumerion site and recipes for the Secrets of Vegan Baking blog.

Smoked Pork Chops on the Grill!


Summer is here and at our house that means grilling several nights a week! We love to try new recipes and products on our grill. Thanks to Cave Tools we recently had the chance to try and review their Smoker Box!

My husband has been asking for a smoker for some years now but we just haven’t got around to purchasing one. I thought this Smoker Box from Cave Tools might be the perfect thing to try before we dive in to a big purchase with a full smoker. Turns out it was exactly what we had hoped for! We were able to smoke our pork chops right on our grill for dinner last night! I must say they turned out delicious! We won’t need to purchase a big smoker because we are happy with our Smoker Box and we’ll be using it to smoke our meat now!!

Often times, with pork in particular, the meat can be dry when grilling at low temps for a long period. In this case the pork meat was tender and juicy!! If you’re like us and have been thinking of purchasing a smoker but either can’t afford the big purchase or accommodate the size of the smoker I highly recommend this Smoker Box! Don’t let it’s small size fool you… it is convenient to store year round, very easy to use, PLUS it added the perfect smoked wood flavor to our pork chops! 

Did I say how easy it is to use? We just filled the Smoker Box with our desired wood chips, placed it between the grate and flavorizer bars on our grill, turned the grill on a low heat and let the smoker box do it’s thing!

Are you ready to try this Smoker Box for yourself? Well check it out on Amazon and use this Coupon Code for %15 off just for my readers!! Amazon Coupon Code: TJ4VTYCS
Smoked Pork Chops!

Disclaimer: I was given the product to review. I was not paid for my review of this product. All opinions about the product are my own and very honest and true! 

All Time Favorite Salsa Recipe!

I made my salsa for Fiesta Bunco night a couple months back and since then my friends keep requesting it at all of our get-togethers. They asked if it was a secret family recipe and although my family all does make this salsa in our varying ways, it is no secret. I do have a secret ingredient that I think takes my salsa to the next level! See if you can spot my secret ingredient in the recipe below!

All-Time-Favorite-Salsa-Recipe!! This is simple to make and a crowd favorite too!






All Time Favorite Salsa Recipe!


  • 8 Tomatoes
  • 4-5 Jalapenos (depending on how hot you want your salsa)
  • 1 Onion
  • Cilantro - nickel sized bunch at base/stems
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 drops Young Living Lemon Oil or 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice


  1. Finely chop tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and cilantro leaves. Add all the chopped veggies, garlic, salt, and lemon to a blender or food processor. Blend until desired texture. Taste, add additional salt, garlic salt, or lemon as needed. Refrigerate for an hour, then serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
  2. *Side note: If you'd like to make pico de gallo instead of salsa just finely chop everything and combine in a bowl, chill and serve!

I highly suggest taking this to your next bbq or potluck! Your friends will be begging you to bring it every time!

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am just blogging about my own experiences and results. I only use Young Living Essential Oils and we choose to take them internally like the recipe above.

Beef Shepherds Bisquick Bake

Beef Shepherds Bisquick Bake

My family had been asking for Shepherds Pie only I didn’t have any potatoes so I decided to get creative. I made my own version of Shepherds Pie with a yummy Bisquick Biscuit on top! Paired with some fruit for this perfect easy to make meal! I hope your family enjoys as much as we did!

Beef Shepherds Bisquick Bake

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10 servings


  • 2lbs Ground Beef
  • 1pkg Frozen Mixed Veggies
  • 2 cans Diced Potatoes
  • 2 TBS Garlic Salt
  • 1 tps Black Pepper
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 4 TBS Flour
  • 1/2 cup 2%Milk
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup Milk


  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Cook ground beef then drain off grease. Meanwhile in a saucepan heat butter until melted, add flour, then slowly whisk in beef broth and milk. Bring to a low boil and let thicken.
  3. Once meat is cooked add seasonings, frozen and canned veggies. Heat for about 10 min.
  4. While meat/veggie mixture is heating. In a mixing bowl combine bisquick and milk until well blended (batter should be slightly runny).
  5. Pour meat/veggie mixture into a 8x10 glass dish, scoop spoonfuls of bisquick batter onto the top of meat mixture. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot!

Beef Bisquick Bake

Crock Pot Philly Cheese Steak Sliders

Philly Cheese Steak Sliders

Crockpot Philly Cheese Steak Sliders

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: PT5 to 8H

Yield: 12 servings


  • 2lb Round Roast (boneless) (*You can substitute 2lbs ground beef here.)
  • 1pkg Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3TBS Steak Sauce
  • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Small White Onion
  • 12 small buns or rolls


  1. Place roast in crockpot. Pour Italian seasoning over it, followed by beef stock and steak sauce. Cook for 8hrs on low or 5hrs on high. 30 minutes before serving; shred roast in crockpot, slice onion and bell pepper, add to crockpot cook on high for 25 minutes. Stir meat, onions and bell peppers well, add provolone slices to the top of meat mixture in crockpot and cook on high for 5 minutes. Scoop out meat, place on buns/rolls. Serve warm!

I love Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches. They are one of my favorite types of sandwich. It’s even better when I can cook them all day without really doing much at all…thanks to my crock pot! What is your favorite dinner sandwich?

Three Ingredient Pancakes to make with the kids!

3 ingredient pancake- Perfect to make with kids

Three Ingredient Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 TBS Honey
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 TBS Peaunt Butter (optional)


  1. Slice bananas (let children use kid friendly knives to slice), place in bowl, mash the bananas.
  2. Add eggs, mix well with whisk. (Kids can do the mixing and adding of ingredients) Then add honey and peanut butter (if you'd like). Mix well...again get kids mixing and helping.
  3. Adult: Spray skillet with cooking spray. Pour 3in 'pancakes' onto skillet. Cook each side evenly until golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle on powdered sugar and enjoy!

My kids LOVE to help me in the kitchen. I must admit that up until about a month ago about the only thing I would let them do was get the ingredients out of the fridge and set the table. Then two of my kids took a children’s cooking class and it changed the way I looked at having them in the kitchen. They truly love to cook, I like the help, it is a great learning experience and much needed tool as an adult. I just needed to provide them with the opportunity to cook and the knowledge of how to be safe and efficient in the kitchen. Now my kids know to wash their hands often, only stir/add ingredients when asked by me, what tools they are aloud/able to use in the kitchen, and how to be of help to me.

I LOVE HAVING THEM IN THE KITCHEN COOKING NOW! This recipe is perfect for all ages of kids to help in the kitchen. We started small with this recipe and now my kids can make a basic dinner almost completely on their own with my supervision!

Do you let you kids cook with you? If so, what things do they cook or help you cook? I’d love some more ideas!

Crockpot Sausage, Potato and Peppers

Crockpot Sausage, Potato, Peppers

Crockpot Sausage, Potato and Peppers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: PT6-8H

Yield: 8 servings


  • 8 beef sausage links, sliced
  • 6 red potatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 2 TBS Salt
  • 1 TBS Pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 cup green chile peppers, diced


  1. Line your crockpot with aluminum foil. Spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray.
  2. Place potatoes, peppers, onion and garlic in the crockpot on aluminum foil. Add sausage, lay slices of butter over everything, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Serve warm! Great to add a little shredded cheese to the top.

This recipe is my rendition of a classic foil dinner we usually cook on the grill but I changed it up by cooking in the crockpot instead! My family loved this! I liked that it is easy to make and tastes delicious!

Scrumptious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

peanut butter chocochip cookies

My family loves cookies especially when they have chocolate and peanut butter chips in them. Here is the delicious recipe I cooked up this week for these cookies. They were the perfect consistency. Yummy to dunk in milk (and who doesn’t like dunking cookies in milk). And perfect to throw in school lunches for a tasty treat!

Scrumptious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: PT9-10M

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 36 medium sized cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 sticks soft butter (or 1 cup), softened
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 10-12 oz Bag of peanut butter chocolate chips.


  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl blend butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla, then add eggs one at a time until completely mix in.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, making sure it combines slowly.
  4. Add peanut butter chocolate chips.
  5. Drop spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake at 375 for 9-10 min.
  7. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes, then remove and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing or eat WARM!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ingredients

Beef Dip Sandwiches in the Crockpot

This week I completely forgot about getting a post together for my Oven Free Recipes link up. Of course I cook every night and during the summer months I rarely use the oven BUT I didn’t get any pictures of the foods we ate. Have no fear I threw some yummy things in the crockpot yesterday morning to make a delicious meal to share with you all (well the recipe and pictures anyways). 😉 This was a HUGE hit in our house. I’ve made it a couple times before but had forgotten about it until yesterday. My family gobbled it all up!

Easy Crockpot Beef Dip Sandwiches

Beef Dip Sandwiches in the Crock Pot

Cook Time: PT6-8H

Yield: 8 servings


  • 4-5 lbs beef roast
  • 1 clove minced garlic (about 1 TBS)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Your choice of bun/bread/roll
  • Any toppings of your choice


  1. Place (frozen or thawed) roast in crock pot. Pour soy sauce, broth, and water over the meat. Add the garlic. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. When you are ready to eat shred the beef with a fork in the crock pot. Put meat on your choice of bun, roll or bread with any toppings. Pour the liquid from the crock pot into small bowls to dip your sandwich in.
  3. Serve on your choice of bun, roll or bread!

Crockpot Beef Dip Sandwich

I have been linking up all month with some other great Texas bloggers for this Oven Free Meals month…you can follow me on Pinterest to pin all these yummy recipes and more!

Check out what they’ve got cooking up with week…

Stuffed Hatch Peppers – The Vegan Bee

Lemon Cherry Infused Water – The Late Farmer