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Product review: SLAP FROZEN Energy

Do you need an afternoon jolt most days? I usually do, and sometimes there is nothing better than an afternoon cup of coffee and a giant chocolate chip cookie to help with an energy boost. But it’s summer and here in Madison, Wisconsin, maybe the hottest summer ever with temps hovering around 100 degrees almost every afternoon. So it’s best to have something cold, or–even better–something frozen.

So I tried a product this week called SLAP FROZEN Energy–a slushy energy drink, for lack of a better term. I am not sure if this is exactly true, but I think the word “SLAP” comes from the fact that you have to slap the beverage, which comes in an easy to squeeze pouch, against the counter or hard surface in order to loosen it up after three minutes.

They sent me three pouches–two crisp apple and one strawberry-frost. There is also a lemonade flavor which they did not send. And the drink is really delicious, refreshing, and gives that jolt I look for in the afternoon. It doesn’t have that horrible toothpaste-meets-orange-juice flavor of traditional energy drinks, but instead just taste like slushies. And there is nothing wrong with that on a hot day. And you get 25% more energy than those other brands with an infusion of taurine, caffeine, and Vitamins B3, B6, and B12.

My only beef–that mine took more like ten to fifteen minutes to defrost to the point that I could drink/slurp them. Maybe it’s my freezer, but they were rock solid when I removed them from the freezer and had to sit on my desk for a while. But I would certainly buy the product. In fact, I am going to look for them and stock up for the rest of the summer. They are available at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Casey’s General Stores.

For more information, you can visit www.slapfrozen.com or their Facebook and Twitter pages. And SLAP FROZEN Energy is especially going to come in handy for the Olympics, which begin tomorrow in London in a time zone that could be five to eight hours away, depending on where you live.

My new friend–fish

Chef JimI won’t go into too much detail about why I never cared much for seafood. I think that it’s because of the awful smell when my mom would take me into fish markets on Long Island. Ewww. And the beady eyes on those things. But I’ve tasted some seafood and have liked some things at times–crabcakes and shrimp cocktail to name a few. And I’ve had fish a few times too, especially at wine dinner events or special all inclusive “chef’s dinners” that my wife and I have gone to, like at Graham Elliot in Chicago. Well, there, I went into detail.

Anyway, I always notice how nice the frozen fish looks at Trader Joe’s, our favorite grocery store. And I keep thinking I want to give fish a chance. So last week we got some–a fish called Cape Capensis, a mild white fish from the coast of South Africa. Yeah, that’s a long way from Madison, but there it is. And last night, we tried it. And by we, I mean that I cooked and ate fish for the first time in my life. I won’t say it was my favorite thing ever, but it was tasty for sure and I’d make it again. The recipe was one I found on a site called The Fish Bus. (note: The Fish Bus name reminded me of this hilarious rap written by my wife’s friend Aly). I substituted panko bread crumbs for the corn chip crumbs and it seemed to taste fine.

So there you have it. My wife and sister are proud of me. My parents will likely faint when I tell them.

Premier Protein prize pack giveaway

Life requires protein, but the guys at Premier Protein know it’s hard to get lean protein. That’s why they make delicious protein products without all the sugar, fat and calories, to give you the energy you need every day. So whether you missed breakfast, have the 3 o’clock hunger pang, or need to refuel after a workout, Premier Protein gives you the protein you need, when you need it.

To help get the word out about they’re tasty products, we’re giving five lucky winners a prize pack that includes six Protein Premier bars (two of Chocolate Peanut Butter, Double Crunch and Yogurt Peanut Butter Crunch) and four Premier Protein shakes (two of Chocolate and Vanilla).

Click here to enter for your chance to win!

CONTEST ENDS: August 8th
note: entrants must be U.S. only
Premier Protein products are available at Sam’s Club and Costco stores

Product reviews/recipes–alcohol edition

I will never complain that from time to time I receive some free alcohol to sample in exchange for writing something up about said liquor. With that, I’m going to talk about three such liquors and what a novice mixologist like me did with them. And when I say novice, I’m talking still-in-the-womb novice. Most of my experience with booze is opening up some beer or wine, but occasionally I step out of my comfort zone. But at least you know that going in.

Chef JimFirst, I was sent three different types of tequila from Hornitos–Reposado, Plata, and Anejo. I’m looking forward to having a Mexican themed party with margaritas and Coronas, but meanwhile, I used the Plata (clearest form of tequila) for the following recipe sent to me by the rep for X-Rated Fusion Liqueur and substituted the Hornitos for the tequila they suggested:

The Garden Fresh Skinny Summerita

By Travis London

Chef Jim1 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1 oz. (Hornitos) tequila

Juice of half a lime
3 sprigs fresh cilantro
3 thin slices of fresh cucumber
3 thin slices of a fresh jalapeño pepper
Cucumber wheel for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (except cucumber wheel) filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with cucumber wheel.

I will say this–it’s not a sweet fu-fu drink. With the jalapeno in there, this is a downright spicy drink, but it’s also extremely refreshing. If you can take the spice, you can probably drink three or four of these without blinking on a hot summer day. And let’s face it–it’s freaking hot everywhere in the country right now.

Chef JimThen there is this drink I created using SKYY Infusions Coconut vodka. I’m a big coconut fan, so it was easy for me to like this one. I’m also a big fan of flavored carbonated water, and for this one I used La Croix Coconut and Lime flavors:

Mikey’s Lime in the Coconut (make sure the Harry Nilsson song “Lime in the Coconut” is playing when you drink this)

1 oz. SKYY Infusions Coconut vodka
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. sugar water (1 tsp. of sugar dissolved in 1 oz. water)
1 oz. La Croix coconut carbonated water
1 oz. La Croix lime carbonated water

Combine vodka, lime juice and sugar water in a shaker with some ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a glass with ice. Slowly pour in the seltzers and stir before serving. Garnish with a slice of lime.

This one was pretty refreshing as well, but perhaps it could use a touch more sugar. Or maybe more vodka. Hey, I told you I was a novice!

A delicious lunch–burger and spicy ketchup

I have a confession to make. I have many items that were sent to me that I have on tap to review, and I will start hammering those out in the next couple of weeks. Good for all of you for content, good for me for content, and good for my publicist friends who are being patient!

Now, I have another confession to make. I love burgers, and I found these most excellent Kobe beef burgers at Trader Joe’s. You let them defrost for a day in your fridge (or under cold water in the package if you have less time), and either grill or make in a skillet on your stove. Yesterday I remembered that I bought some Melinda’s Habanero Ketchup, and so I paired the two items for lunch. Even better, I picked up a nice big kaiser roll at the grocery store to put it on. Man, I’m getting hungry again.

So since it was about 95 degrees at lunchtime, and my deck is right in direct sun, I cooked this burger inside, with a dome over the pan to keep the steam and juices all locked in. And for some burgers, you just can’t load on lettuce, tomato or even (gasp!) cheese. So I did this the way I like it–a little salt on the burger, and then just the ketchup on both sides. And I lucked out too by cooking the burger perfectly–a little pink in the middle, and with the juices intact. And with the spicy tang of the ketchup, it was a masterpiece.

The downside? I had to finish working rather than take a long nap.

Cool Hummus Pizza

So it’s freaking hot. I mean, we live in the great white north, and last Thursday it was 107. In fact, we had 4-5 days of 100-plus heat and it’s been consistently in the upper 80s and into the 90s as well for the last month or more. It sucks too that there has been no rain, but that is another story. Anyway, it is times like this that it’s good to break out hot weather cool foods such as green salad with a protein, pasta salad, or cold soup such as gazpacho. But eventually you run out of options and get tired of these things, especially when there is no relief in sight for the heat.

Last night I busted out a creation I had in my head–the cool hummus pizza. And it was as good as the idea itself, if I don’t mind patting myself on the back a bit.

Here is what to do. Buy a ready-made ball of pizza dough, or if you can’t find any, pick up one of those tubes of dough you might find near the cinnamon rolls. Roll it out into a round (or square, whatever you prefer), brush with a little olive oil, and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until slightly brown (it might bubble up a bit, that is fine). Let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Then spread the crust with about 3-4 a tub of hummus. Top with sliced cucumber, chopped tomato, chopped kalamata olives, feta cheese and parsley…and if you like, some pickled hot pepper rings. Slice and serve.

The Fourth–hot dog time

Last week I celebrated the 4th of July early with one of the synonymous food items for it–the hot dog. Specifically, I had a two-dog Chicago style dog rolled up in a tortilla. And really, this is a great way to have a dog with all those toppings, because you don’t have toppings all over your plate or the floor. It mostly all goes in your mouth. And also, it’s an easy way to slide two dogs into your bread vehicle.

So what goes on the Chicago? Any combo of this–yellow mustard, tomatoes, onions, sweet relish (neon green if you can find it), pickles, cucumber, hot peppers and celery salt. And it is best with all beef dogs, but that is not at all necessary. For me, I can’t eat raw onions without heartburn and bad breath, so I do myself and my wife a favor and omit those.

But really, you can also come up with all sorts of combos to top a dog. It’s the 4th, right? Also, the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest is on ESPN, another tradition that we have–going to our local parade, and then watching the contest and eating a dog (or 50!). Have a great holiday everyone, and make sure to hand your keys to someone if you have too many (drinks that is, not hot dogs).

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