15 Memorial Day Cookout Grilling Tips

If you are grilling for Memorial Day next week and need some grilling tips, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 of our fave tips we spotted from various sources and around the web and assembled into top 15 tips:

1. Gas vs. Charcoal? – The age-old debate over which grilling method is “better” involves multiple variables, from flavor to cost to convenience. While no studies prove that either is healthier, gas does burn cleaner. Charcoal grills emit more carbon monoxide, particulate matter and soot into the atmosphere, contributing to increased pollution and higher concentrations of ground-level ozone. From a taste perspective, on the other hand, many people prefer the smokier, richer taste of food cooked on a charcoal grill.
2. Get It Hot!– Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature (and to kill any bacteria). Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat. A properly heated grill sears foods on contact, keeps the insides moist and helps prevent sticking. While searing doesn’t “seal in” the juices (contrary to popular belief ), it does create improved flavors through caramelization.
3. Brush It Off – It’s easier to remove debris when the grill is hot, so after preheating, use a long-handled wire grill brush on your grill rack to clean off charred debris from prior meals. Scrape again immediately after use.
4. Oil It Up– Even on a clean grill, lean foods may stick when placed directly on the rack. Reduce sticking by oiling your hot grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel: hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
5. Marinate Your Meat -Marinating does more than infuse food with flavor; it also inhibits the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines), which form when grilling “muscle meats” like poultry, red meat and fish. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent.
6. Is It Done?The best way to know if protein is fully cooked is to check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
7. The Hand Test- To gauge the temperature of a grill without a thermometer, place your open palm about 5 inches above the grill rack; the fire is high if you have to move your hand in 2 seconds, medium if you have to move your hand in 5 seconds and low if you have to move your hand in 10 seconds.
8. Tame The Flames- Flare-ups happen when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. This causes carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form and accumulate on your food. Meat licked by flames also tastes “off” and flames may char the outside of food before the inside has thoroughly cooked. To reduce flare-ups, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove poultry skin. And, keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly douse any unexpected flare-ups.
9. Give It A Rest – Let finished meats rest on a clean platter, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before carving so juices can redistribute evenly.
10. Veggies Lift –  Keep the lid up for Veggies so they don’t become too limp and are crisp not soggy
11. Fishy Fish – For fish, slice lemon and make a bed of them and lay the fish on top to grill.
12. Ribs Boil – Boil ribs for 10 to 15 minutes before grilling to make sure you kill all bacteria from them. 

13. Get Saucy – Add the sauce during the last 15 minutes of grilling. 

14. Keep it Juicy – Don’t flatten your burgers and cause all the succulent juice to run out. Instead poke them with a fork. 

15. Portion control – To avoid overcooking or undercooking, grill smaller pieces of meat at a time. 

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Memorial Day: 5 Recipes for Kids

This Memorial Day weekend, as with previous years, many families will be gathering to honor fallen soldiers and vets. Here are 5 fun recipes to consider making this weekend while grilling, picnicing and hanging out with family and friends.
Mom’s Strawberry Lemonade

2 liter Sprite
1 can frozen lemonade
3 cans water
1 package kool-aid lemonade
1 cup sugar
fresh or frozen berries
lemon slices
lots of ice
Directions: Mix everything together in a large drink container. This punch is super sweet, but always a hit at a party.

Chicken Pasta Salad

    12 ounces rotini pasta
    1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
    1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    4 roma (plum) tomato, diced
    1/4 cup Italian-style salad dressing


In a large pot with boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, season chicken strips with lemon pepper and garlic powder. Broil in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until juices run clear. Cool chicken. Cut into bite size pieces.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta, chicken, quartered tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Serve with Italian dressing poured over top of pasta.  

Deviled Egg Boats By Rebecca Milanski

    12 hard boiled egg, cooled and peeled
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    2 teaspoon dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 pinch sugar
    1 red bell pepper
    1 yellow bell pepper
    1 green bell pepper
    1/2 teaspoon paprika, for garnish

1. Slice the eggs in half from top to bottom. Scoop the yolks into a medium mixing bowl and lay the whites aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, cayenne pepper and sugar using a fork; stir to thoroughly combine.
3. Place the yolk mixture into a zip-top plastic bag and cut a small hole at one of the corners. Pipe the mixture into each of the white halves.
4. For the boat sails, cut each bell pepper into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip into 1-inch squares and slice each square diagonally to make a triangle. Stick each sail upright into yolk mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
5. Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.

Kid’s Macaroni

    1 (8 ounce) package uncooked elbow macaroni
    3/4 cup mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    1/4 cup green onions, sliced
    2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold running water.
In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, green onions and jalapeno peppers. Stir in the macaroni. Refrigerate until chilled before serving, at least 30 minutes.
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup sour cream
    Easy White Icing
    Sprinkles (optional)

Martha Stewart

Flag Cup Cakes

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.

    Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.

    Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Easy White Icing using a table knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Decorate patriotic cupcakes in July with stars piped in blue buttercream and stripes cut from red licorice laces.

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Mom of 12 boys gives birth to 13th son

A Michigan couple with 12 sons just can’t seem to make a baby girl. Jay Schwandt and his wife Kateri welcomed their 13th son yesterday, Wednesday, May 13th of all days of the month. Kateri was four days overdue so it’s like this kid wanted to arrive on lucky number 13. Last year, when the two were in the news, they told reporters that they have a tradition of not finding out the gender in advance. “Ok, so the boys know now!” the 40-year-old father said in a post on Facebook. “It’s a BOY! Now we need to choose a name! BLESSED beyond belief!”Kateri said she didn’t mind having another son but Jay admitted he was looking forward to a girl this time.  “My thoughts are it’s probably going to be a boy,” Jay told The Grand Rapids Press before the baby arrived. “But if I could put my order in, I would root for a girl.”I’ve done all the boy stuff. I’d just like to experience it from the other side once.”Their 12 older boys range in age from almost 2 to 22 years old.The odds of giving birth to 12 boys in a row is .02 percent, a genetics expert old The Grand Rapids Press.

4 Memorial Day Inspirational Style Looks

This Memorial Day, many people choose to celebrate the day off by heading to cook-outs, barbecues, pool parties, picnics, fesitivals and beach outings. If you are a mom, new, veteran or expecting trying to figure out last-minute what to wear, we’ve assembled some style looks to inspire you as you plan  your outfits.


For that All WHITE PARTY…

Lisa Marie Fernandez, Jules Smith Designs






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50 Healthy Habits for Young Women

I saw this on Pinterest by SkinnyMom blog and I thought it was perfect for my readers. Behold 50 Healthy Habits every girl should have, but I’m assuming when she says “girl”, she’s including us older “girls” . ha! :


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Video Dedication to our TTC community

…here is an inspirational Yolanda Adams song and video with a great message. 

((((Virtual Hugs)))
from your friends at The Bellyitch Blog

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Social media judges pregnant army wife without full story

Given my post from Friday about the group of pregnant teens posing in a bathroom mirror which got a lot people (including me) judging the girls and  getting upset over the image  with half the story, here is another example of social media and online images being misinterpreted.
The Twitter, G+, Facebook and Blogsphere were going IN on this photo of a pregnant mom, Kendra Kaplan, who was 5 MONTHS pregnant on August 18, 2009 as she joined other family members of the 4th Infantry Division returning after a 12 MONTH DEPLOYMENT in Iraq. Get it?

If Kaplan’s husband was away for 12months, who is that baby’s father? Can it be her husband Staff Sgt Joshua Kaplan‘s baby? People were saying  all sorts of mean things about the mom not knowing the whole story and going on some shoddy journalism – what we do here in the blogerverse.

But the COMPLETE STORY behind THIS PHOTO  is the baby was conceived during her husband’s mid term leave in March, as explained in the Zimbio photo caption. In her hands is an envelope with the baby’s gender that she was waiting to share with her husband when he arrived.

The dangers of social media I guess.

A picture ISN’T always worth a thousand words:
Original Photo which was co-opted and made a viral online joke.

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