Tag Archives: buy local

Texas Brew Salsa, a hearty breakfast and a GIVEAWAY; what a morning!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Wen, winner of our Texas Brew Salsa giveaway. Enjoy! Special thanks to Brenda Craig of Texas Brew Salsa. I very much appreciate her generous offer to make a reader’s salsa dreams come true.

Good morning, y’all. At least I hope it’s a good morning for you. If it isn’t, then maybe you should have one of these beauties for breakfast:

A Texas Howdy Breakfast with Texas Brew Salsa

Nothing gives your day a swift kick in the pants like a rib-sticking breakfast smothered in salsa, am I right? And not just any salsa – Texas Brew Salsa from right here in the heart of Texas. Created and run by local salsa magnate Brenda Craig (she’ll get a kick out of that title), it’s a great example of Texas ingenuity and creativity. And honey, Texans know salsa.

Texas Brew Salsa ingredients are roasted over an open fire for exceptional flavor. Better yet, they’re all natural. That ‘little something extra’ you’ll taste is honey. Varieties include Honey Roasted Chipotle, Honey Roasted Peach, Honey Roasted Pineapple, Honey Roasted Mango, Honey Roasted Apple Cinnamon, Hot Iron Habanero, Fire Roasted Poblano, and Fire Roasted Black Bean & Corn. Texas Brew is slightly sweet, and yet not too sweet and it’s highly addictive. We’ve tried it on just about everything – eggs, fish tacos, burgers, bean burritos and bag after bag of tortilla chips. Like I said, it’s addictive.

I took this photo; that’s why the bottom right jar has some missing. Yum.

I was introduced to Texas Brew Salsa via a blog giveaway hosted by Jen of Juanita’s Cocina. Like most of you, I enter these things thinking “I’ll never win, but what the heck; may as well try!” Well, it’s a good thing I did. A few days later, I received an e-mail from Jen saying ‘Congratulations!’ which was quickly followed by an e-mail from Brenda saying “You’re a winner – which varieties would you like to try?” In a few days, I had a big heavy box of salsa at my door. Now that’s great customer service. Here’s what I was inspired to make for you:

NanaBread’s Easy Green Chili, Cheddar & Bacon Biscuits:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk baking mix (I use Pioneer; Bisquick will work)
1/2 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon roasted Hatch green chilies, minced
1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled (reserve the bacon fat)
1/2 Tablespoon bacon fat
pinch of cracked black pepper
pinch of garlic salt
2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter

Filling:
bacon, fried to perfection
sausage, fried to perfection
eggs, soft fried to perfection
salsa, fire roasted to perfection
(see the pattern here?)

Pre-heat your oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set it aside. In a bowl, combine the baking mix, grated cheese, green chilies, bacon, pepper & salt; stir to combine. Gradually stir in 2/3 cup milk and blend just until the dry ingredients are incorporated; do not over mix. Using an ice cream scoop that has been lightly oiled, scoop biscuit mix onto the parchment paper. Place a pat of butter on top of each biscuit. Real butter, pretty please.

Biscuits just before they go into the oven


Bake for 15-18 minutes (depending on the size of your biscuits) or until they turn a pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before slicing to prevent them from falling apart. Biscuits can be tricky like that.

Biscuits as big as your head, just out of the oven. Pretty!


Carefully slice the biscuits in half and top each half with a schmear of butter, a generous helping of bacon or sausage (or both – your choice), and a soft fried egg or two. Slather the entire pile in Texas Brew Salsa (I used the poblano).

A bacon, egg & cheese biscuit is good, but salsa makes it so much better!

This recipe makes two very large or 4 small biscuits. But this is Texas, so we make them big. Of course. I’m digging in. Would you like to join me?

You’d better be hungry; this is one big biscuit!

Now, who would like to try Texas Brew Salsa? Brenda Craig has generously offered to give away a box to one lucky reader. For a chance to win:

Leave a comment telling us what you’d make with Texas Brew Salsa or if you’d eat it straight out of the jar with a big bag of chips.

For extra entries, you may:
1. Follow Texas Brew Salsa on Facebook
2. Follow Texas Brew Salsa on Twitter
3. Follow me, NanaBread on Twitter
**NOTE: You MUST leave a separate comment stating that you have done each or any of these three things.**

This giveaway is for one variety pack of Texas Brew Salsa, including free shipping right to your door. This giveaway is open to Continental US residents only. It will run from Monday, October 1st, 2012, to 9:00 p.m., CST on Friday, October 5th, 2012. At that time, one winner will be chosen by random draw and notified by e-mail. He/she will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Now get to entering! You can’t win if you don’t!

Texas Brew Salsa – getcha’ some!

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“Buy Local” Spotlight – Texmati Rice from RiceSelect out of Alvin, Texas

RiceSelect is one of my favorite food companies in the Houston area. Located in Alvin, Texas, they produce a full line of rice products which are, in my humble opinion, the best rice products on the market. Our personal favorite is Texmati, a basmati rice grown just minutes from our home. The texture is perfect, and that nutty flavor is heaven. I like to toast raw rice in a little hot oil until it smells like warm toasted nuts, then add water & a pinch of salt and cook it until it’s perfectly fluffy. Add a pat of real butter, and it’s heaven on earth. The Complete Package is a nut for this stuff. He says, “I like rice” the same way Bubba says “I like shrimp” in Forrest Gump or Karl says “I like them French fried potaters” in Sling Blade. I think it may be his favorite food on earth. It’s one of the staple products we make sure to always have stocked in our pantry. We love rice, so we feel blessed to live so close to such a culinary gold mine. Our local grocery stores are great about carrying a variety of their products, which are numerous. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Texmati (basmati) and Jasmati (jasmine) rice, and I’ve recently fallen in love with their tri-color pearl couscous. Those little babies are like buttery pearls of pure gold. I can’t even begin to describe the texture and flavor. Just try it. You’ll like it. You’ll see.


You can learn more about RiceSelect brand products on their website at: http://www.riceselect.com. Their comprehensive website includes the nutritional information for each of their products, cooking instructions, and recipes. It’s just one more reason to love them. And we do, oh how we do.

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“Buy Local” Spotlight: Salt Lick BBQ

If smoked meat is your idea of heaven, the Salt Lick BBQ is the place!

If you are lucky enough to live in the Austin area or the hill country around Austin and find yourself craving smokey meat, you owe it to yourself to visit the Salt Lick in Driftwood. It is the mecca of smoked meat and sweet, spicy sauce. And I love the atmosphere almost as much as the food. You can easily spend an evening sitting on the patio under the live oaks sharing cold beverages, local music, and great friends. It’s like hanging out at a neighbor’s house, if your neighbor had an enormous patio surrounded by hundred year old live oak trees right next to a world-class barbecue restaurant. A girl can dream, right? And like your friend’s house, you’ve invited to bring your own beer. Because the restaurant is located in a dry county, they allow guests to bring in their own beer. I recommend Shiner and/or a 6-pack of Dr Pepper. It’s a Texas tradition.

The altar of smokey meat at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood

There are many things I love about the Salt Lick. One is that they offer to serve you from a menu, or you can order “family style” and they’ll keep bringing food to your table until you beg them to stop. Another is that it’s built into an old rustic ranch-style farmhouse and the furniture and atmosphere reflect that old western charm. I love that the meat pit where all the action happens is inside the restaurant so you can drool over it, and they’re gracious enough to let you walk right up to it or around it to see the glorious piles of smokey meat and take pictures. I’m enamored with the sesame
scented coleslaw, the potatoes served in the shape of someone’s gloved hand, and the warm bread, sliced onions, and salty pickles that dot the table. I love that the worn farm tables look like something out of my great-grandmother’s barn. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING surpasses the meat at the Salt Lick. There’s not a bad batch of meat on the menu. The ribs fall off the bone, the sausage is flavorful, and the brisket is perfectly tender and wears that pink smoke-ring of perfection we Texans crave. The only thing that will keep you from stuffing yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey is the need to save room for cobbler. Your choices are peach and blackberry, both served with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream (on request). And since they’re both too awesome to choose one over the other, I recommend you get both. Just ask for extra spoons and be prepared to share. After a big meal, four people can easily share one serving of cobbler. If you’re dead set on only ordering one, I highly recommend the blackberry.

My dinner - the sausage and brisket plate. I wish this photo was scratch-n-sniff.

Before you leave, hit the small merchandise corner by the front door. They have great t-shirts and hats, but my favorite “take aways” are the sauces. They have really, really good sauce. Cross my heart. They also sell excellent dry rubs for the home chef. If you’re too far to visit but too fascinated to pass it up, they have an online store. If you’re close enough to visit, then by all means do. Pick a nice evening with cool temperatures and a great breeze. Stock an ice chest with cold beer or sodas for the kids. Throw a deck of cards or a board game in the car in case you decide to hang out in the courtyard before dinner. Skip lunch or eat light before you go, and don’t forget to wear your stretchy pants.

For more information on the Salt Lick BBQ including directions and the online store, visit their website at http://www.saltlickbbq.com/

Disclaimer: NanaBread is not tied to the Salt Lick BBQ in any way, even though she’d like to tie herself to one of those farm tables and stay until they run out of brisket and cobbler. She has never been compensated for providing feedback on the restaurant or their products. Ever. She just loves the place and can’t keep her big mouth shut. Big surprise.

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“Buy Local” Spotlight: Lola Savannah Coffee Company of Houston, TX

Hawaiian Grog Coffee - Hello, Luvah

As I’ve said before, buying products grown or produced in my own community is a new passion of mine. I find myself looking for local products more and more often when I shop. I like the idea of buying stuff made or grown close to home. It makes me feel like I’m helping make Houston a better, more self-sufficient place. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Lola Savannah Coffee Company. They opened for business in 1995, and are known for producing an incredible array of coffees and teas while staying committed to sustainable agricultural practices. Their list of flavored coffees alone is staggering. My personal favorite is “Hawaiian Grog.” It’s incredibly tasty, and it also makes my house smell fabulous when I brew it. Here’s how it’s described on their website:

“You don’t need to be Hawaiian or groggy to enjoy this special mix of 100% Arabica beans, real coconut flakes, Highland crème, and just a hint of coconut crème. You’ll be saying “Aloha” with every sip!” -LSCC

They’re right. Sometimes, early in the morning, I whisper “Aloha, Hawaiian Grog! I love you soooo much!” before I take that first sip. It’s really good stuff, especially if you’re a nut for coffee and coconut like me. Other flavors I plan to try soon: Almond Bliss, Angel Dust, Chocolate Crème Brule, Strudel Cake and Tiramisu. My winner for their most unique blend is “Lunch with Elvis.” That’s right…it’s a peanut butter and banana flavored coffee. Yes, I know it sounds bizarre, but I’ve tried it and it’s actually pretty good. Unexpected, for sure, but it’s good! You’ve got to give it to them – it’s pretty clever.

I like to buy my Lola Savannah coffee from the large bulk barrels at my local HEB Market so I can grind my own, but HEB also sells small foil packages so you can try other flavors in small batches. They can also be found in Central Market and Fiesta stores in south Texas. If you’re not from the Houston area and/or you don’t have access to an HEB market, don’t sweat it! If you’re more of a tea person than a coffee person, that’s okay too! They sell both! They have a really nice website with online ordering. They’re also thoughtful enough to include a page called “Coffee 101” to help you learn more about coffee in general, and a “Brewing Tips” tutorial to help you make that perfect cup of Joe. Intrigued yet? I hope so. They certainly got my attention, and now they’re a part of my morning routine. You can check them out at www.lolacc.com.

As a special treat for one lucky reader, I’m giving away three sample pouches of Lola Savannah coffee. The flavors are Texas Pecan, Lunch with Elvis, and Chocolate Creme. Leave a comment telling me your favorite flavor or type of coffee and where you get it. Be sure to include your e-mail address. All entries must be received by midnight Central Standard Time on Thursday, October 7, 2010. One winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail on Friday, October 8, 2010. I’ll post an update on the blog to announce the winner, as well.

Lola Savannah Coffee Samples - 1.75 ozs. each

Disclaimer: The Lola Savannah Coffee Company of Houston, Texas has no earthly idea who in the tarnation NanaBread is, so it goes without saying that they have in no way compensated or bribed her to provide this endorsement. But that won’t stop her from buying her weekly pound of Hawaiian Grog and shooting her mouth off about it. The sample packs for the giveaway were purchased by NanaBread with her own cash money. That just proves how much she loves this stuff and how strongly she feels it must be shared with the coffee lovers of the world. Think of this as a public service announcement for fellow java junkies everywhere (12-step program not included).

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“Buy Local” Spotlight: Arriba Salsa

Lately, I’ve found myself gravitating towards local products at the grocery store. I like the idea of buying stuff made or grown close to home. It makes me feel like I’m helping make Houston a better, more self-sufficient place. For that reason, I’ve decided to start highlighting local products and/or producers I love. Don’t fret…there is no crass commercialism involved. I swear on a stack of Dove bars that I’m not being bribed or compensated in any way to promote any product. I just want to share the information; you can decide if you’d like to try them. Think of it like running into a stranger in the grocery store who turns to you and says, “Have you tried these yet? What did you think?” That’s not unusual for me. I seem to have random conversations with strangers in the grocery store quite a bit. I must have one of those faces. Anyway, here we go:

Local Product Spotlight #1: Arriba Salsa
I’m starting with this one because The Complete Package and I both love it to pieces. I’m not joking when I say that I have one jar in the fridge and three in the pantry at this very moment. We’re addicted. We eat it on everything and anything, but it’s also great straight out of the jar on tortilla chips. It’s good stuff.

Arriba Salsa - A Fiesta in a Jar!

Our favorite is the “medium” fire roasted Mexican style red salsa. It’s a perfect balance of roasted tomato flavor and heat. Not too spicy, but not too wimpy. It’s made by Riba Foods in Houston. They make a wide variety of salsas including Mexican style, California style and Texas style. They also have a line of pickles, peppers and olives as well as drink mixes, dips and sauces. We just tried our first jar of their Texas Pepper Works Candy-Krisp pickles and they are awesome! They’re sweet spicy pickles with a cayenne and garlic kick. Like the label says – not too spicy, not too sweet. I could eat the whole jar. I might not be able to feel my lips afterwards, but I could do it. If you don’t live in Texas or the Houston area, don’t sweat it! You can order directly from their website if you can’t find them at your local grocer. Here’s the website; the rest is up to you.
If you’re interested, you can check them out at: http://www.ribafoods.com/RibaCart/catalog.aspx

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