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Product review: Sheets Energy Strips

How many energy products are on the market today? 50, 200, a million? Seriously….we’ve evolved from coffee and tea and iced versions of those to Red Bull and other energy beverages to 5-Hour Energy to countless other items. But convenience in today’s now-now-now society and workplace is increasingly important. That’s why those 5-Hour Energy thingies come in tiny bottles. But now there is a product that is even more convenient than that–Sheets Energy Strips. I’m talking stupid convenience here–a flat package about the size of a baseball card with four serving strips in it.

But while many energy products are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, this one will not set you back calorie-wise or give you that rush and crash thing that sweet products do. Instead it is a neat little breath-strip-like product that is chock full of B- and E-vitamins. Of course, it also has 100 milligrams of caffeine, something they don’t boast about in the press materials, but something that no doubt has significance here. That’s also about the same amount of caffeine as there is in a cup of regular coffee, but without the risk of spilling it on your lap or having to drink a hot beverage in the middle of summer.

Sheets also claims no crash like there is with sweetened products, and they are correct. But not only is there no crash, I took this after that inevitable post-lunch sedation that happens, especially after eating two chili dogs today like I did. And I had almost instant energy to continue my afternoon. Yes, Sheets Energy Strips are not only convenient–they also work as they claim to. And you can’t say that about every pick-me-up on the market. Oh, and one more thing….I don’t know how many flavors there are, but I tried the Berry Blast version, and this stuff actually tastes pretty good too. So if you need an afternoon pick-up, or a burst of energy before a night out on the town, give Sheets a try.

Hot Dog Friday (Tuesday): Mikey’s Buffalo Dog

Whew. I was on vacation last week, so my apologies for the lack of posts. But since I also did not post a hot dog recipe on June 17, here is one now. Then I’m going to give you a new one for 4th weekend.
I will also fill you in later this week on some of the food we had on vacation, including Tony Packo’s in Toledo and Michael Symon’s B Spot in Cleveland. And I’m pasting a photo below of a chili dog I had from one of those awesome dairy dip places that are all over the place in summer. Nothing beats a chili dog (or 2 or 4) on a hot day, followed by a thick shake.

But meanwhile, here is my Buffalo-style dog recipe…..

Mikey’s Buffalo Dog
I know, it seems like I have a buffalo chicken theme for just about every recipe. But that’s because I’m positively addicted to wing sauce, and the flavors that go along with wings—the sauce, blue cheese, and celery. And I know many of you are too! So it stands to reason that we just have to have a buffalo hot dog, right? Right. So here it is….

Ingredients
4 hot dogs, any kind
4 hot dog buns
1 cup Buffalo chicken hot sauce (I like Buffalo Wild Wings medium sauce)
1 cup cole slaw mix
2 small celery stalks, cut into match sticks
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup blue cheese
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Place dogs in a pot of boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain, and then add wing sauce to pot, and let dogs sit off heat in the wing sauce for a few minutes. Meanwhile, make the slaw. Combine cole slaw mix, celery, mayo, blue cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. To assemble, place dogs in buns and top evenly with the slaw. Drizzle with a little more wing sauce.

Product review: Emerald Breakfast on the Go!

I didn’t quite get the robot analogy that came with a package from the PR firm who sent samples of the new Emerald Nuts Breakfast on the Go! Nut & Granola mixes. Their message was that robots can turn out ordinary granola bars, but these Emerald “deconstructed” granola packets “humanize your morning.” Um, okay. But we’re not here to poke holes in the PR campaign. No, we are here to test out the food and let you know how it is. And in this case, the food is really good. They sent a sample of all three flavors, so let’s go over each one, shall we?

Berry Nut Blend–this one has granola clusters, glazed walnuts, yogurt raisins, peanuts, and of course–dried berries. It’s a nice, sweet blend without being overtly sweet, and the glazed walnuts take it up a notch.

Breakfast Nut Blend–very similar to the Berry Nut Blend, but with dried apples instead of dried berries. It also has the awesome glazed walnuts, but I will say that I like the dried berries better than the hard-to-chew dried apples.

S’mores Nut Blend–A bit different than the other two, this one features cocoa roasted almonds and has bits of dark chocolate, tiny graham cracker cookies, and also dried marshmallows to created the s’mores effect. Nuts and berries are good, but let’s face it, chocolate anything is better. This was easily my favorite of the three.

The only drawback to these bagged snacks is that they are a tad more difficult to eat than a granola bar, at least if you are driving or doing something else at the time. But it sure is a nice alternative. That was probably the message all along, but robots? I still don’t get it. Anyway, give these a try and let me know how you liked them.

17 hours in Vestal NY

Well, 17 hours plus 6 more waiting in the Binghamton airport. But that’s for a story on another blog. So let’s talk about my whirlwind on Sunday as I flew back with my mom, who visited us in Wisconsin. As with most families, my family gathers for and rallies around (and consumes happily) food. Not that I’m complaining, of course…I mean, I have a food blog, right?

Anyway, here were the three highlights from Sunday….

Chef JimMy sister made a lunch of chicken spiedies on the grill. These are marinated chunks of meat that are popular only in the central part of New York State for some reason. I mean, kebabs are everywhere, but only in this region are they called spiedies. And man, they are delicious. They are served on bread, often with sauteed hot peppers–this is especially awesome during the summer when my sister and brother-in-law grow the peppers and garlic in their garden. Yum. Oh, and don’t use whole wheat bread. As my brother-in-law says, who wants to put spiedies on “sawdust?” Sorry, Ellie Krieger.

Chef JimFor dinner, we ate at the place that, in my opinion, has the best pizza in the free world — Bud’s Place in Appalachin, New York. It’s thin, crispy, and has a cheese and sauce blend that is about as close to food nirvana as there is. Seriously…..if I could have Bud’s ship me frozen pies, I would be happy. We just don’t have good pizza in Madison, despite the fact that cheese is what we do here. Or at least, I haven’t found good pizza yet. I’m from Long Island, so I’m partial to NY pizza, but still, no one does it like Bud’s–it’s truly one of a kind.

Chef JimFinally, we stopped for ice cream at The Big Dipper. I was so full from pizza that I could only stomach the “lite” stuff called Dole Whip. Now, I wish I would have had the custard instead, but the pineapple whip wasn’t too bad. Still, we do have good custard places in Madison such as Culver’s and Michael’s.

Oh, and even though I got stuck in Binghamton’s airport for far too long, Bud’s pizza survived in plastic wrap at room temperature, well enough for my wife and I to have it for dinner when I got home. Man, that pizza is amazing. If you’re ever in that area, make sure you check it out.

Hot dog Friday: basic chili dog

It’s time once again for Hot Dog Friday! Here is a recipe for a basic chili dog that we published last year on Grub for Guys. Enjoy!

If done right, nothing beats a good chili dog. But if you use the wrong kind of chili, or cheese or even dog, it can easily get messed up. So here is our take on a classic….

Ingredients
4 all-beef hot dogs
4 hot dog buns
Yellow mustard
1 small can Hormel chili without beans (avoid so-called “hot dog sauce,” which is all mashed up beans and fillers)
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Directions
Cook the dogs, either boiling them on the stovetop for 10 minutes, or grilling on a preheated medium heat grill for about 5 minutes, turning frequently to avoid burning. Meanwhile, put chili in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for about 45 seconds on high. Assemble dogs by putting each in a bun and topping evenly with a squirt of mustard, the chili and the cheese.

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