Archive for the ‘NERDSTEAK – Food View’ Category

AxeMenBBQ

The Axe-Men BBQ team out of West Dundee, Illinois is looking for supporters and sponsors for this years BBQ season. We are a new team that competed in our first KCBS event in October of 2014, and still ended up with a 9th place call for ribs, and 10th place call for chicken, even with minimal equipment.  Our team is planning to compete in at least 6 events next season, and our goal is to participate in high profile events like the American Royal Barbeque Competition in Kansas City, as well as the Jack Daniel’s Championship in Lynchburg. Many of the regional events we participate in will be in the Midwest. We are fully invested in competing on the KCBS circuit and making Axe-Men BBQ a grand-champion team.  We also would eventually like to sell our sauces, rubs, and marinades to the general public.

As you might be aware, these BBQ competitions take a lot of time, effort, and money to complete. We are interested in everything from grills, smokers, trailers, campers, and meat…down to cleaning supplies, tables, chairs, coolers, wood, charcoal, beverages, knives, utensils, promotion materials, entry fees, and cash donations. In return, we want to go above and beyond to help promote any sponsors who help us along the way. We would add your company/personal name and/or logo to banners, clothing, or any other allowable items.  We can hand out sell sheets, contact info, or samples of anything you wish to visitors of the events. We would add you to our email list so you can keep track of our competitions, as well as visit us at any time to sample some of our award winning BBQ. Also, we would be more than happy to have a representative from your company on site to discuss your products with the public or other teams. If you have any other requests on what you would like from us in return for sponsorship, we are more than happy to discuss. The team also has a large network on social media including personal pages, blogs, and professional contacts.
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional information. Below are a few links to see how exciting some of the events and opportunities we will be participating in.
Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
Steve Quirk
Mike Haracz
Ribs

ID-10061999Please take a look at my first article written for Examiner.com about 5 diet myths that are not entirely true. <—(just click on the link)

I would love to hear your thoughts so please let me know what you think and if there are any food related topics you would like me to write about!

Out of all the reality TV show hosts which pertain to flipping a poor performing bar or restaurant, I feel Jon Taffer is the best of the best.  Not only do you have to be knowledgeable in in the food and beverage industry, you have to know how to motivate and inspire. Here are a few reasons why he is the man:

  • Industry knowledge – Like many of the reality hosts, Mr. Taffer has years of experience and knowledge, however, he knows how to translate this into action.  He knows how to separate his personal opinion against what is needed for each bar or restaurant to be successful.  He looks at consumer data from the area, making sure there is an actual business need for the changes he implements.  Unlike other celebrity chef or bar consultant types, he does not have a cookie cutter standard on each operation. He also knows how to bring in other industry experts to get the job done.
  • Professional Chaos – If you really pay attention to him during his show, you will see that almost every time he introduces himself, he is EXTREMELY professional and proper.  Anyone in the industry should follow this same demeanor.  It isn’t until someone lies, cheats, or puts others in harms way, does he amp up into the beast he is know to be. He is full aware of all his actions and what the response will be.
  • Motivation – Yes, he may verbally abuse a poor performing employee who has a negative impact on his or her establishment.  Yes, he may bring people to the brink of tears or fist throwing.  But what happens, after all of the yelling and screaming, when the unmotivated employee actually starts doing well? He is the FIRST to provide support and praise this action. He will 100% give credit where it is due, and if you have just spent the last 3 days being yelled at by the ‘enemy’ and then the ‘enemy’ becomes your support system, brings out the best in you, and inspires you to achieve   what Mr. Taffer knew you could do all along…that is how you truly change habits, and bring a positive, reassuring attitude to the workplace, while also reassuring the credibility of your actions.
  • Needs no credit – It takes a team to pull off a complete overhaul.  Mr. Taffer always lets you know that company ‘xyz’ was the one who created your new sign in under 3 days, and changed all the plumbing, and added that cool new super cold tap in the bar, and provided all the kitchen equipment.
  • Aware of his surroundings – A skill that many people DON’T have, is being able to spot when a true problem is.  Maybe the chef or the bar staff is not lacking due to motivation, it’s because they haven’t been trained properly.  An employee might continually be hostile to his manager because the manager is actually his brother, and there are underlying family issues involved.  In order to fix a problem, you need to be aware of the root cause before changes can be made.
  • Out with the old – It does not matter if you are an iconic brand, and have been in operation for years. If the establishment is performing poorly, things need to change, and that is sometimes hard to hear.  Your grandfather built this bar from the ground up and it has a nostalgic value to YOU, but YOU are not the customer.  Mr. Taffer teaches people to separate their personal preferences against what is going to ultimately make money and add value to the business
  • Family Matters – A trend with many struggling businesses is that it is family owned and operated.  This makes the manager/employee dynamic very difficult to follow.  No matter the type of business, having a healthy family outside the 4 walls is equally important inside when running the business.  Mr. Taffer always seems to find where the family bonds are broken, and uses the business success to mend it.
  • Not above it – There is a certain expectation when opening a high class martini bar in Vegas, verses a biker bar in the middle of nowhere.  Mr. Taffer is not above serving hot dogs and hamburgers because THAT is his consumer base, that is what the people want, and that is what they are willing to pay for.  He does not expect to serve 10 courses when there is only a closet sized kitchen to work from, but on the other hand, he knows how to produce a high caliber product within any price point.  If you are serving cheap hot dogs, they will be the best cheap hot dog, and they will make the business money.

Mr. Taffer, if you ever need a chef to come in and help a struggling bar or restaurant, i am your man.  I get it :o)

ID-100128822You can hit that gym for 3 hours burning over 2,000 calories, or walk your dog around the block…depending on your fitness level, you still need to think about what to eat to recover after intense activity so you can keep yourself in top shape without turning into a zombie the following day.  It is recommended to have protein for muscle recovery and carbs/fat to replenish energy storage 30 minutes after activity.  Don’t assume that because you have SOME protein you will ‘bulk up’ as it is just as important for recovery as it is for muscle building. Here are a few good options for post workout recovering, or to recoup after shoveling all that snow:

  • Eggs – 1 large egg contain only 70 calories with almost 7 grams of protein. Pair some eggs up with kale, tomatoes, onions and avocado, and you have a super nutritious meal that will fill you up, and is surprisingly healthy.
  • Hummus and Pita – Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have both protein and carbs, plus when blended with olive oil and tahini, you have a very dense mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.  Remember that this is a bit calorically dense, but since you just used up a bunch of energy, this is the perfect time to add energy back.
  • Trail Mix – Nuts for protein and fats, fruit for carbs, trail mix is natures candy! It also has the benefit of being portable…so mix your own and take it with you.  Pairing nuts with dried blueberries and banana will also keep your immune systems in tip-top form.
  • Quinoa – It is super trendy AND super healthy with even more nutrients than brown rice, plus the added fiber will keep you fuller longer.  It can be eaten hot or cold and can be snuck in meals anytime of the day.
  • Protein Shake – You may or may not consider this an option, but protein shakes have been specifically formulated for muscle growth, recovery, and storage.  However, make sure you do not overdue it, as you may be gaining weight in either muscle, or fat form.  You need no more than 20 to 40 grams depending on the type of activity you just finished.  Also make sure you have carbs in the mix to replenish your energy as well.
  • Stir Fry – Many people are very hungry after workouts, but as stated before, don’t assume you can eat truckloads of food. For those of us who like the ‘full’ feeling, its a good idea to bulk on on the low calorie veggies, with the addition of protein (shrimp, chicken, tofu…) and some whole grains.  Sodium is an electrolyte that needs to be replenished if you worked up a good sweat, so a little soy sauce doesn’t hurt either.
  • The Salad – Maybe not smothered is super high fat dressing or made with 50% cheese, but a well planned salad full of colors, crunchy nuts and seeds, and even some dried fruit would be an excellent choice after raking up all those leaves.
  • Sandwiches – Protein and carbs in sandwich form.  Easy to make, easy to carry, but tasty to eat!

There are 1,000’s of other options, so comment with your favorite post-activity meal or snack!

TrendSince everyone and their mother has been posting what they can expect from the food world in 2014, I thought I would add my own little list of things I expect to see rise and/or fall in the following year:

The fall of quinoa – Other than pumpkin spiced everything (yes I know it is seasonal), pretzel bread, and sriracha, quinoa has been taking over restaurant and retail outlets in the US…which also means as the demand increase, so does the price.  Consumers are going to find there there is a whole list of ancient grains they can incorporate into their diet which rival the nutritional value of quinoa, such as kaniwa, amaranth, buckwheat, bulghur, farro, freekeh, grano, millit, oat groats, spelt, sorghum, and teff, not to mention all of the non-processed rice varieties.  Hurry up and buy in bulk before these other options become ‘the next big thing’ and the price increases on those as well.

Hipster Sweets – Think of all the old school desserts which the hipster crowd is ready to reinvent.  One that I am hoping for is salted butterscotch, (salted caramel knockoff)!  With the boom of specialty beverages as well, we are going to see updated versions of bananas foster, cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, mangos diablo, and peches louis…half of which the hipsters never even heard of.

Turmeric-Shakur – Indian, middle-eastern, and mid-asian cuisine is becoming more and more accepted in the US.  One ingredient in particular climbing the ladder is turmeric. It has a bright color and has been used in curries for years, as well as a coloring agent for multiple purposes.  It also contains curcumin which potentially can treat a whole list of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and allergies.  Not of these claims have been definitively concluded yet, except for turmeric being a tasty addition to your spice cabinet.

Hot Chile Time Machine – Jalapeños, chipotle, cayenne, and habanero are only four of the hundreds of varieties of chiles out there.  It is time to bring in the specialty varieties like aleppo, aji amarillo, calabrian, puya, wiri wiri, mulato, and scorpion to increase heat, build eccentric flavor, and add variety to your menu.  Consumers are accepting heat in their foods more than ever before…thanks fast food!  Sriracha will have some more time at the top, then harissa will take over…

PB&Hey, That’s Not Normal – First, we had peanut butter, and it was good.  Then the alternate nut butters came along, and they were also good.  Now it’s time to raise the bar and flavorize all these tasty spreads.  Due to the fact that the US now wants to add fat back into their diets, we will see an increase of nut and nut butter consumption, but lets take it a step further. Pumpkin spiced walnut butter?!?!?! Maple and black pepper pecan butter?!?!?! Salted agave peanut butter?!?!?! Why not throw in some sriracha bacon rhubarb jam in the mix? (Maybe TOO trendy?)

American Comfort Story – We are going to continue seeing a rise in the American comfort food arena in the upcoming year.  Chicken & waffles made 1000 ways, mac & cheese with artisan locally sourced cheese, meatloaf with specialty game meats, pies with strange crusts, weird fruits, unfamiliar seasonings, salted red velvet cronut cake-pop cupcakes…!!!!!!!!! How many desserts can we mash together???

What are some of your predictions for 2014? Your guess is as good as mine!

Random chubby guy eating pizza. Ooohhh the irony...

Random chubby guy eating pizza. Ooohhh the irony…

Like I said before, I like to feel full when I eat.  This causes a problem when also on a calorie restricted diet!  Here is a list of low calorie food options that you should add to your diet to pack in the VOLUME of food you want, with a low amount of calories!

  • Arugula – The is a peppery flavored leafy green packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  There are also some findings that dark leafy greens improve your libido. (Wink wink, nudge nudge…know what I mean?!)
  • Cabbage – The darker green and brighter purple the better.  Very affordable, great crunchy texture, and contains properties that may reduce your risk of cancer and stink up your house when cooked.
  • Kale – You have seen, and will see this ingredient popping up more and more on menus and store shelves.  It has been classified as one of the best super-foods, which means it packs an amazing nutritional punch with very little calories. You can also call yourself a hipster while eating it.
  • Beets – A slightly sweet, earthy vegetable with beautiful color and rich in iron, potassium, and folate.  It is also growing on the ‘trendy’ side by being added to veggie burgers, and new improved salads. Dr. Dre would be proud.
  • Cauliflower – Another great source of vitamin C and folate, this vegetable is wonderful in place of mashed potatoes, used in indian curry dishes, and a whole head can be sliced into planks and grilled for cool presentations.
  • Mushrooms – No matter if you use standard button mushrooms, or branch out into the hundreds of varieties available, mushrooms are low in calories but are full of immune-boosting antioxidants.  They also contain the elusive UMAMI flavor profile which will add some savory meat flavor to your recipes.
  • Tomatoes – Real tomatoes are actually very low in calories! It is only when we associate they with pizza, ketchup, and meat sauce do they pack in the calories.  Tomatoes contain all those healthy vitamins and minerals you are looking for plus some natural sweetness.
  • Zucchini – This squash is VERY low in calories while being VERY easy to grow in your own garden. It is pack with vitamin A and is a tasty treat raw, or cooked. Call them courgettes to be extra fancy.
  • Egg whites – 1 whole cup of egg whites has about 120 calories and 26 grams of protein. HHHMMM maybe make an omelet with all the above ingredients mixed together?!?!?
  • Cod – This is a mild white fish that is very high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  Since it is so mild, it will easily blend with any other flavors you add to it.
  • Bison – If you are a red meat fan, grass fed bison is actually a healthier option due to minimal fat marbling, and it contains just as much omega-3 fatty acids as salmon. It also contains even fewer fat calories, and lower cholesterol than skinless chicken! Also, Dances With Wolves is a must watch 😉
  • Fat-free cottage cheese – You can get about 11g of protein for a half cup serving with only 70 calories.  This type of protein is digested very fast, so it is perfect for recuperating after a tough workout.
  • Coffee/tea – It is only when you blend with heavy cream, sugar, whipped cream, honey, chocolate syrup, and caramel do these beverages become high in calories.  There is also, of course, caffein which has been shown to improve your calorie burning thru the day, but still does not increase the quality of your work, or make that morning meeting any better.

Now before you yell at me…yes I know there are plenty of other healthy, low calorie food options (feel free to post your favorites!)  Before you troll my post…yes I know there are other, more nutrient dense foods like fruits, whole grains, legumes, and all that fun stuff.  Before you comment with your biased opinion…yes I know you feel that processed foods are to blame for being fat, and you should eat clean.  Before you post about your vegan, paleo, or gluten-free diet…maybe this post isn’t for you.  Read the title and you will get it 🙂

p.s. There is no spoon…

ID-10013075Don’t shoot the messenger.  Some people need to satisfy their craving for fast food, but if you must, there are some better for you options if you know where to look.  Although nothing would beat making your own meals, these would be decent options for people who are on a calorie restrictive diet, looking to eat small meals throughout the day, and need their fast food fix.  This also does not include the obvious salad choices, because lets face it, you are most likely not craving a fast food establishments salad…

  • Subway – 6 inch turkey on wheat with everything, no cheese, no sauce, add vinegar without any oil, plus salt and pepper (280 calories, 4 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein)
  • Taco Bell – 3 fresco chicken soft tacos (420 calories, 10.5 grams of fat, 48 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber, 30 grams of protein)
  • Sonic – Grilled chicken wrap w/o light ranch (360 calories, 8 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 31 grams of protein)
  • BurgerKing – Tendergrill chicken sandwich w/o mayo (400 calories, 11 grams of fat, 43 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 31 grams of protein)
  • McDonalds – Premium grilled chicken classic sandwich w/o mayo (300 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 27 grams of protein)
  • Arby’s – Roast beef classic (360 calories, 14 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 23 grams of protein)
  • Chipotle – Barbacoa burrito bowl w/ brown rice, fajita veggies, tomato salsa and lettuce (375 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, 29 grams of protein)
  • Wendy’s – Ultimate chicken grill w/o sauce (330 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 34 grams of protein)
  • Chick-fil-A – Grilled chicken cool wrap (330 calories, 12 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fiber, 38 grams of protein)