Eleni's Cookie Cookout
Too cute to eat—but you’ll manage—are these barbecue cookies from Eleni’s Cookies. There’s a grill, a cooler, hamburgers, hot dog, two fries, two lemonades, three ice cream cones, three ice cream sandwiches...and two smiling bees to buzz over it all. Gift tin, $48.00.



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August 2005
Updated August 2007

Marketplace / Entertaining Guide

Spice Up Your Labor Day Weekend

Here’s What We’re Serving Up At THE NIBBLE Barbecue

The last barbecue or picnic of the summer should be special, so we’ve dished up some of our favorite fare. They’re the foods most people enjoy—but we’d like to suggest what we think are better versions of them.

At THE NIBBLE we believe in N.B.C.—No Bad Calories. Whatever you eat, eat the best of it. If we’re going to drink a soda and eat a brownie, it is definitely going to be the good stuff! We feel the same about a chicken, a barbeque sauce, and a hot dog.

If you’d like our “To Pick Of The Week” e-mailed to you each Tuesday, click here to sign up for our free newsletter. Happy Labor Day!

1. What To Drink: Natural Sodas

Natural means the flavors are
real, not artificial, with no
chemicals. What a difference!

Boylan’s Old Fashioned Sodas

The taste of all natural sodas is eye-opening. Boylan’s has all the classic flavors—Birch Beer, Black Cherry, Cola, Ginger Ale, Grape, Orange, and Root Beer. The sugar-free flavors are spectacular—you won’t know you’re drinking diet soda. Suggested Retail Price: $1.59, 12-ounce bottle.

Click here for our review and shopping information.

Great classic sodas that taste like they
did in great-grandmother’s day.



Izze Sparkling Juice

If you’re not into the classics but would like a more sophisticated sparkle, try an “adult soda” like Izze, in fashionable fruit flavors like Blueberry, Clementine, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pear, and Pomegranate. It’s 100% juice, 100% natural. Suggested Retail Price: $1.49, 12-ounce bottle; $4.99, 4-pack.

For more about Izze and other alternative sodas, click here.



Flavors for the more sophisticated pop


2. What To Grill: Natural & Organic Meat & Poultry

Natural and organic meats are
so much tastier

Coleman Natural

Coleman Natural is the better grade of meat available in many supermarkets: you’ll find their Purely Natural beef, bison, chicken, lamb, pork, and sausage. The meat comes from animals that are vegetarian fed, and raised without antibiotics or hormones.

Beef burgers are available in 1/3-pound frozen, uncooked patties made from 100% all natural, high-quality beef cattle like Angus and Hereford. Average retail price $7.99.



coleman natural

Dakota Beef

People spend more money on organic beef because it tastes that much better. We had one of Dakota Beef’s hot dogs recently and it was an out-of-this-world experience. This year, why not upgrade to organic and see for yourself if you think it’s worth it.

Dakota Beef is a relatively new company with limited retail distribution. There’s a store locator on the website—but you can order their superb products online. Suggested retail price for Dakota Dogs: $3.99/pound.


dakota beef hamburger
It may look the same, but oh, the taste!

dakota beef


Niman Ranch

Niman Ranch began raising cattle 30 years ago in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge. It soon became a favorite with San Francisco restaurateurs, adding lamb and pork. Niman fame spread across the country, and its products became the first nationally branded gourmet meats to be named on restaurant menus.

Niman Ranch has franks with and without nitrates, made with premium-quality Niman Ranch beef, smoked over hickory. There are dozens of other choices including steaks, ribs, brisket, and virtually any other cut of beef, lamb, or pork you could ask for. The complete line is sold at the online store and at specialty retail distribution nationwide. Suggested retail price for a 2-pound package (4 links) of Fearless Franks, $7.95; Uncured Beef Franks, $8.95.



Ground Beef


Bell & Evans

It’s hard to find a better-tasting chicken than Bell & Evans. Professional chefs, food writers and restaurant reviewers agree that these chickens are in a class of their own. The birds live in a minimal stress environment, eat an all-natural diet, and are free to roam. They produce moist white meat and buttery dark meat, with excellent flavor and aroma. You can see a visible difference in quality in a side-by-side comparison of uncooked birds, and you can certainly taste the difference. Suggested retail price: $1.59/pound for legs, $2.79/pound for bone-in breast.

Bell & Evans chickens are sold in 39 states. There’s a store locator on the website.


bell and evans

whole breast


3. Barbecue Sauce

A great grilling sauce is a treasure

Grandville’s Gourmet BBQ Sauces

Everyone has a favorite barbecue sauce, whether it’s one’s own blend or a favorite brand. We’ve tasted a hundred, it seems, and Grandville’s stands out. In Original, Mild, Extra Spicy, Cajun, Tropical, and Teriyaki, these sauces are so packed with good things, you’ll want to use them beyond meat, poultry and fish on the barbecue. Spread them on toast and sandwiches, accent vegetables and potatoes, use them to dip kabobs and things that haven’t been near a barbecue. Try grilled bananas with Tropical BBQ Sauce!

Thicker and more textured than a typical barbecue sauce, they have a consistency is between a dessert sauce and a jam. Cajun and Tropical are Scovie Award winners. Even if you don’t get them in time for Labor Day Weekend, just get them! Case sales only, six 18-ounce jars per case, mix and match: $36 per case plus shipping.



Bronco Bob’s Chipotle Sauces

Bronco Bob’s Smoked Bacon Chipotle Grillin’ and Dippin’ Sauce won first place in the Condiments, Meat Sauce category at this year’s Scovie Awards, and pretty much wins everything it enters. Why? Great taste, great packaging. In addition to the heat, the flavors are intense, whether you like Smoked Bacon, Tangy Apricot, Wild Cherry Berry, or Roasted Raspberry.

All are great as a starter, spread over cream cheese (or blended) and served with crackers. And we love the fruit flavors as dessert sauces. In addition to vanilla ice cream, try Roasted Raspberry over raspberry sorbet. The heat and the cold are quite exciting. Set of 3 15-ounce bottles of one flavor, $28.00; gift sampler with one of each, $38.00 (prices include shipping).



Bronco Bob's

4. How to Season

Spice it up with international

French’s GourMayo Flavored Mayonnaise

We love this line of light mayonnaises: we have all four flavors. The two we’ll spice it up this weekend are Wasabi Horseradish and Smoked Chipotle. Both have just the right touch to give your potato salad, cole slaw, or dip a little something special...without being too overtly flavored.

Wasabi Horseradish has zestiness, Smoked Chipotle has smokiness with a bit of pepper heat. They come in squeeze bottles so you use them on burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and hors d’oeuvres with ease. Suggested retail price: $2.59 for an 11-ounce squeeze bottle. There’s a printable 75 cent coupon on the website!


asian cole slaw
Supermarket cabbage mix + Wasabi
Horseradish GourMayo = easy and
delicious Asian cole slaw.



Salad Splashes

Use a lighter dressing—called a splash—on your greens, to marinate tomato and cucumber slices, as a lighter dressing for cole slaw, to mix potato salad. Sweeter splashes can work as fruit salad dressings, even as ice cream toppers!

The original Salad Splash® was created by The Silver Palate some 20 years ago. We’ve been a big fan of their Raspberry Sun Salad Splash ever since. It can glaze a chicken, grace a salad, make cole slaw, or top a sundae. Suggested retail price, 12.5 ounces, $4.39. There’s also a fat-free version, Really Raspberry Salad Splash®.


Now, splashes come in many nationalities, like this Lemongrass Salad Splash from Thai Kitchen, which is also low-calorie: just 10 calories a tablespoon. Suggested retail price, 7 ounces: $3.29.


Both brands are available in many supermarkets as well as in specialty food stores.

Silver Palate Salad Splash

thai kitchen

International Seasonings

Labor Day is an American holiday, but we’re a country of world cultures: we all reached this soil from somewhere else. Embrace the culinary heritage of another culture’s spices in your marinades, dressings and seasonings. You can find ready-made international-themed marinades, sauces, glazes salad dressings in specialty food stores, international markets, and many mainstream supermarkets. There are plenty of recipes online if you want to cook from scratch. Some ideas:

  • Chinese: garlic, ginger, sesame oil, scallions, soy sauce, Szechuan peppercorns
  • Jamaican: allspice (pimento), curry, habañero chiles (hot pepper sauce), jerk pork spice, nutmeg
  • Mexican: chipotle, cilantro (coriander), lime juice, mesquite, salsa
  • North African: cinnamon, cilantro, cumin, lemon juice, turmeric
  • Thai: cilantro, curry powder, chili, cumin, green chiles, lemongrass, lime juice, tamarind
Wild Thymes
A Thai cuisine favorite, peanut sauce
is accented with garlic, chile, lemongrass
and coconut milk. There are specialty
brands like Wild Thymes (11-ounce jar,
$6.99, available in specialty food stores
and at WildThymes.com)...
Thai Kitchen
...and brands like Thai Kitchen (10-ounce
jar, $4.49), which is easy to find in many supermarkets and as well as at

Spice Up Your Potato Chips

Gourmet brand Kettle Chips asked consumers to vote on new flavor for 2005, and it was a Thai...actually, a tie between Spicy Thai and Cheddar Beer. If you want to make a matching dip for the former, try blending chutney and yogurt. The 2006 winners, Tuscan Three Cheese and Buffalo Bleu, will be hitting the stores shortly.

Kettle Chips makes so many wonderful flavors that you can’t help but think, “so many chips, so little time.” Go Mexican with Jalapeño with Tequila and Lime or Salsa with Mesquite. Go French with Honey Dijon or Roasted Red Pepper with Goat Cheese. Classic chip lovers can have Sea Salt and Vinegar, Sour Cream and Onion, Classic Barbecue, and yes, even “regular” Lightly Salted and an Unsalted. Kettle Chips are sold at fine supermarkets and specialty food stores nationwide. The price for a 5-ounce bag can range from $2.49 to $2.99 depending on the region and retailer.


Kettle Chips

Tied for first place in a national vote
of chip lovers. (THE NIBBLE editors
voted for it!)
5. Dessert #1 - Chocolate Favorite finger food:
no muss, no fuss

Fairytale Brownies

Made with Callebaut dark Belgian chocolate in regular, walnut, pecan, peanut butter, chocolate chip, and caramel, plus the less frequently found flavors we love like coconut, mint, raspberry swirl, toffee crunch, and white chocolate. Get one of each flavor brownie for $36.00 plus shipping.


fairytale brownies
A different flavor for everyone; and so
easy, you don’t even need a knife.

6. Dessert #2 - Spicy Fruit Salad Spice it up with a versatile

China Blue Cider Splash

China Blue is known for its gorgeous bottles and the line of fine Shanghai sauces, glazes, dressings and oils inside. Their versatile Cider Splash can be used as a dressing for green salads or, as we suggest here, to splash on fruit salads. If you don’t want to cut up an entire fruit salad, just slice pineapple or mango.

We splash it on vanilla ice cream too! A fitting ending to a fun day.

Available online and at fine retailers including Whole Foods and A Southern Season. Suggested Retail Price for a 10-ounce bottle, $10.99.


cider splash


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© Copyright 2005-2022 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.