Friday, November 30, 2007

Operation Sauce Drop Milestone

As of today, Operation Sauce Drop has sent out 99 free gift boxes of sauce to US military personnel stationed abroad. This means that on Monday, the 100th Operation Sauce Drop gift box will ship out, along with several more gift boxes. We couldn't have done this without the generosity of our donors (60 of them to date), and we send out a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed funds to Operation Sauce Drop. The troops also are expressing their gratitude, with thank you notes and photos that you can read and see on our Operation Sauce Drop Feedback Page. Time permitting, I plan on adding a few more recently-received notes and photos to that page over the weekend.

Now for the other news: As of tonight, we have 71 troops still waiting to receive a gift box (and some have been on this list for a month now). We have enough funds to send out a few more boxes on Monday December 3rd, and I've been told that a donor will be contributing $100 next week (which will help send out another 5 gift boxes, since they average about $20 with shipping and insurance). But at best that means we might be able to send out up to 14 gift boxes off the waiting list next week IF that promised donation comes in AND we can purchase the inventory in time - and new gift box requests continue to come in. Looming on the horizon like a storm cloud is the first deadline for shipping gift boxes in time for Christmas, this coming Tuesday, December 4th (for Priority Mail packages going to 093 zip codes).

I received a touching email from a Marine Corps Administrative Support Assistant, asking if we could please add two Marines to the Operation Sauce Drop Gift Box list. The writer explained that these two young men are single, and haven't received any packages from anyone the entire time that they've been deployed. Of course, I gladly added their names to the list so that they could receive Operation Sauce Drop gift boxes (and I crossed my fingers and said a prayer for more donations to come in soon so that we could send their gift boxes before the holidays).

So how about it - can you spare a little dough to help bring a smile to a deployed soldier's face, and help him or her spice up their chow with a taste of home or a favorite hot sauce? No amount is too small, and 100% of all funds received are used solely to purchase the gift boxes at cost (not retail) and pay for shipping. Plus, the Carolina Sauce Company chips in to cover the incidental costs associated with each donation and gift box (e.g., credit card transaction fees, internet transaction fees etc.), ensuring that all donated funds are used solely for gift boxes and shipping costs. To make a contribution, please go to the Operation Sauce Drop Donation Page. And please email the link to anyone you think might be willing to contribute, or post the link on your blog or website or forum. For more information on Operation Sauce Drop, just visit the Operation Sauce Drop Main Page and the Operation Sauce Drop Feedback Page. THANK YOU, not just from me, but from our brave servicemen and women serving abroad!

Zestfully yours,

Onions & Peppers a la Pig Pen

Pig Pen's Original Seasoning is one of our favorite dry rubs for chicken and pork, but its food-friendly, salty-sweet blend of spices works well as a seasoning for steaks, eggs, veggies and more. Our friend Cliff came up with the first version of this recipe when he sauteed some sliced onions in olive oil and Pig Pen's Seasoning until the onions were soft and golden, and served them as an accompaniment to grilled steaks. Tonight Greg came up with the following recipe as an accompaniment to grilled venison burgers. You can make this recipe on the stovetop by sauteeing the peppers and onions instead of grilling them.

2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbs Pig Pen's Original Seasoning
2 Bell Peppers (we used green ones, but red or yellow would also work), sliced into strips
2 Medium red onions, sliced

Grilling instructions: Combine all ingredients in a bowl or reseasable plastic bag and mix to coat the vegetables evenly. Grill over medium heat until the vegetables soften and the onions start to turn golden (about 30 mins).

Stovetop instructions: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, careful not to over heat (you don't want the oil to smoke). Add vegetables and sprinkle with Pig Pen's Seasoning, stirring to coat evenly. Sautee until vegetables soften and onions start to turn golden.

Zestfully yours,

PS: I topped one of my venison burgers with Pluto's Paradise Potion instead of my usual ketchup - man, was that burger good!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pluto's Paradise Potion

I had the pleasure of tasting a little bit of Paradise yesterday - Pluto's Paradise Potion, to be precise. This is the latest creation from native Jamaican and now resident North Carolinian Pluto, and the label does not exaggerate when it claims this sauce is good on everything! Like Pluto's other two sauces (traditional Jamaican Jerks in Hot and Mild), Pluto's Paradise Potion is certified organic and uses all natural ingredients. But Paradise Potion is not a jerk sauce - rather, it's a Caribbean marinade that's reminiscent of chutney with its complex, intense flavors and thick, rich texture. When I first tasted the sauce straight from the bottle, I detected a slight bit of chile heat and ginger zip, but when used on food, the heat is gone and only the intoxicatingly good flavor is left. In addition to traditional Caribbean herbs and spices plus garlic, chiles and onions, Pluto's Paradise Potion also features real ginger, tangy citrus, tart tamarind, and a touch of sugarcane and vanilla to round out the flavors and bring everything together.

Pluto's Paradise Potion is the epitome of an all-purpose marinade, sauce and condiment. You can use it to marinade seafood, fish, meats, poultry, tofu and vegetables - add nothing else but the sauce - and cook at 375F until done, and you'll be blown away by the results. I've used it as a condiment on a turkey sandwich (and it would work quite nicely on a burger, much like a chutney), as a salad dressing and a dip for baby carrots. I plan on marinating some fish in it this weekend to either grill or broil, and I bet it would be fantastic on pork and lamb as well. You can also use Paradise Potion on beans, rice, pasta and in soups and stews. So if you've been looking for a unique, new way to liven up your meals that's healthy (it's fat-free) and helps the environment (it's organic) - or if you're just looking for some good eats - I highly recommend Pluto's Paradise Potion!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hunters' Thanksgiving Feast

As has become our tradition in recent years, Greg and I (no, I'm not in the pic!) celebrated Thanksgiving at his deer hunting camp in northeastern NC - and as usual, Greg handled virtually all the cooking and did a masterful job using only the tiny kitchen area in our RV and the oven at the camp's "cookhouse." The menu featured smoked turkey with gravy, Greg's mom's oyster & sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, roasted sweet potatoes, and a special treat made by Ron (on left in pic), one of Greg's hunting pals: smoked antelope. Earlier in the month, Ron went antelope-hunting out west, and on Thanksgiving Day he rubbed one of the hams with a chile-based dry rub (it also had a hint of sweetness to it), wrapped it in bacon, and put the antelope ham on his smoker to cook at low heat all day. The result was fork-tender and absolutely delicious, with no gamey taste at all. This was my first time eating antelope, and I was quite impressed! The flavor was so rich and satisfying (and the bacon had kept the meat moist) that there was no need to add any sauce.

Greg prepared the turkey by brining it for just over a day in his standard brine (I posted the recipe earlier) using limes as the citrus, and then smoking it at 300 degrees until the meat reached 180 degrees (that took about 6 hours - it was a windy day and the smoker needed much tending to in order to keep it hot enough). The bird was succulent and had a pleasantly smoky flavor that did not overpower. On a whim, Greg placed a pan in the smoker under the turkey to catch drippings, with the thought of making gravy. While the bird smoked, he boiled and then diced the giblets to add to the gravy. Once the turkey was done, he removed the pan with the drippings and heated it on the stove, stirring in flour and cooking until thick & bubbly, then adding the giblets. One look at the finished product and we both thought it was a disaster: the color was a pasty gray, with a layer of grease on top (which he skimmed off). Thankfully we decided to taste the gravy before throwing it out - and it was remarkably tasty (if visually unappetizing), with a rich poultry flavor enhanced by a touch of smokiness.

As usual, the oyster & sausage stuffing was phenomenal (almost as good as when Greg's mom makes it). I'll see if I can post the recipe in the future. And especially because the turkey was cooked in a smoker, Greg baked the stuffing separately. The sweet potatoes were a new recipe (Greg didn't want to attempt his traditional souffle using the primitive kitchen environment): Greg chopped the unpeeled sweet potatoes into large chunks, placed them in a resealable plastic bag with enough olive oil to coat plus a healthy amount of brown sugar, and then shook everything well to mix. He then roasted them in a baking pan until the potatoes were done and the sugar had started to caramelize. They provided the perfect sweet counterpoint to the smoky turkey and antelope. The green bean casserole was the old warhorse found on the back of the can of mushroom soup. Definitely comfort food and a foolproof dish even in a hunt camp or RV kitchen. The only disappointment was the dessert: Greg didn't have time to make his famous bourbon pecan pie so we resorted to store-bought pie. But we were all so full by the end of the meal that dessert didn't really matter!

If you had any unusual or unique foods this Thanksgiving, feel free to share your comments and recipes.

Zestfully yours,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Problems Ordering Online? Please Call Us!

If you are trying to place an order online today but are experiencing problems, PLEASE call us at 919-765-0143. Unfortunately, Yahoo is experiencing widespread technical problems that are affecting Yahoo stores including the Carolina Sauce Company. Yahoo is working on the problem, but in the meantime the "order" buttons and shopping carts aren't working (or are very slow). You can still order by phone, so please call us at 919-765-0143 if you want to place an order - or email us your phone number and let us know when is a good time to call, and one of our representatives will call you. Please email sales "at" carolinasauce "dot" com.

We apologize for this inconvenience, and we hope Yahoo will resolve this problem ASAP.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas & Holiday Sale!

If you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday or special event between now and the end of the year, and you need that unique gift for someone special, the Carolina Sauce Company is where to shop and save big! We've slashed our already low prices for selected items, good while supplies last. Here are some quick links to help you find great savings - just look for the red sale prices, or for "On Sale Now":

* Selected Hot Sauces
* Selected BBQ & Grilling Sauces
* Selected Rubs & Seasonings
* Selected Marinades & Dressings
* Selected Salsas
* Selected Mustards
* Selected Snacks
* Selected Jamaican Jerks

To make shopping easier, we've also assembled Themed Gift Sets at a reduced price than if you bought the selected sauces individually. And if you're stumped and don't know what to get that finnicky foodie or picky relative, just send them an electronic Gift Certificate and let them pick out the perfect zesty gift!

Make sure to shop early because some of these products are in limited supply or take time to re-stock.

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Carolina Sauce Thanksgiving Schedule

The Carolina Sauce Company will be closing at noon EST tomorrow (Wednesday Nov 21st) through Sunday Nov. 25th, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. You can still order online during this time, and we will resume shipping out orders on Monday Nov. 26th. You can also email or leave us voicemail while we are closed, and we'll reply as soon as we can once we re-open on Monday.

In case I don't get a chance to write again before Monday, here's wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hurricanes Tickets Winners!

The results are in, and it came down to the last minute. Here are the winning donations:

Weds Nov 21st: $140

Fri Nov 23rd: $65

The individual winners have been notified privately (we didn't know if they'd want their names and donation amounts made public).

THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this fundraising effort! Thanks to the generosity of Carolina Hurricanes fans, we received a total of $520 today! One hundred percent of this will be spent on purchasing the Operation Sauce Drop gift boxes and shipping them to our troops serving abroad. Greg and I had originally thought we'd just sell these 4 tickets at their season ticket holder face value and donate that amount ($300) ourselves, but then he had the idea of holding the fundraiser to bring in even more money than the face value. Thankfully, it worked, and $520 will help send out more than 20 gift boxes from our waiting list! Thanks again to all.

Zestfully yours,

Last Chance to get FREE Hurricanes Tix!

As of 4 pm EST, here are the highest donations for the two Carolina Hurricanes games for which we're giving away a pair of Center Ice Premier tickets:

Weds Nov 21: $100

Fri Nov 23: $50

To win the tickets, simply make a donation to Operation Sauce Drop for more than the current highest donation for the game you want (don't forget to specify which game). The tickets will go to whoever donates the most money for that specific game, and winners will be announced just after 5 pm. If you've already made a donation but not for the current highest amount, you can donate again and we'll add your donations together.

For more info about the Hurricanes ticket giveaway, visit my Nov 14th post.

Thanks to all who have donated so far, and remember to check after 5 pm today for the winners!

Zestfully yours,


Brining a chicken or turkey for 1 to 3 days before grilling (or roasting) will result in the juiciest bird you’ve ever had. Do not worry about the amount of salt in the brine - the meat will not be salty, nor will you have a "high sodium" recipe. Likewise with the sugar: you don't end up with a sweet bird. Instead, the salt and sugar merely act to create an osmosis process that helps the flavor ingredients (e.g., the lemons and any herbs or spices) penetrate into the bird, together with some water to preserve moistness when you slow-cook the chicken or turkey. The key is to make sure the entire bird is submerged in the brining solution - and of course you need to keep the raw bird refrigerated. Here at Carolina Sauce Company, we like to use a cooler with zip-top plastic bags full of ice (because you don't want to dilute the brine with melting ice) as the container in which to brine a whole turkey or a few chickens. For parts or smaller birds, you can place the brine and the bird in a large zip top bag and store it in your refrigerator. Here are a couple of brines to try this Thanksgiving. You can multiply the ingredients to make as much brining solution as you need - just keep the proportions the same.

Basic Brine:
1 Gallon Water
1 Cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Sugar
Juice and pulp of 3 lemons (you can substitute oranges for 1 or more of the lemons)
1/4 cup seasoned pepper

The Hound's Brine:
1 gallon water
1 cup Kosher salt or 1/2 cup table salt
Juice of 3 oranges
Juice of three limes
Juice of three lemons
Rinds from the oranges, limes and lemons
1 sliced white onion
1 head of garlic, crushed
Stems from a bunch of cilantro, chopped
Fresh serrano peppers to taste (at least 4)
rough ground cumin and coriander 2 Tbsp each
1/4 cup chili powder or any ground chile you prefer
Optional: 1/4 cup onion powder
Optional: 1/4 cup garlic powder

Directions for Either Brine:
Prepare the brine by either boiling everything together, or stirring vigorously to dissolve the salt and sugar into the solution. Place chicken or turkey in the brine in a zip top bag (or a cooler, adding zip-top bags full of ice to keep the bird at a safe cold temperature). If brining in a bag instead of a cooler, store the bag in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. If preparing a large batch in a cooler, check periodically to see if you need to switch out the ice baggies as they melt. When ready to cook, rinse off the bird to remove surface salt - do NOT soak or you'll pull out all the flavors the brine brought into the bird. If you want crispy skin, pat the bird dry with paper towels and let dry for a few hours in the refrigerator before cooking. Throw out the brine - never re-use!

Zestfully yours,

PS: You can still make a donation to Operation Sauce Drop and qualify for a pair of Carolina Hurricanes tickets at center ice for the Nov 21 or Nov 23 home games. More info in last week's posts....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tangy Green Bean Salad; Hurricanes Tickets Update

Still waiting for that first Operation Sauce Drop donation to get Carolina Hurricanes tickets for Nov 21 and Nov 23.... The biggest donation gets tix for the game specified by the donor, and since we've had 0 donations even a mere $20 would get you tickets worth $180 if bought at the box office. More info is available in my post for November 14. Won't someone please step up to the plate?

OK, I'm stepping off my soapbox now... And speaking of plates, here's a tangy green bean recipe that will be welcome on the plate of anyone who likes mustard. This green bean salad tastes best if allowed to marinate overnight. Try it this Thanksgiving instead of that tired old green bean casserole!

1 1/2 lb fresh green beans, rinsed and ready to cook (some folks like to trim the ends)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs old-fashioned mustard with whole seeds (not yellow mustard and not dijon mustard - I like to use Scorned Woman Mustard for its deliciously spicy flavor and great texture)
3 Tbs olive oil (extra virgin or virgin)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs fresh minced chives

Add enough water in a pot to cover the green beans (but remove the beans if you used them to measure the water level). Bring the water to a boil, add the beans and cook until tender (about five minutes). Drain the beans and blanch in cool water (I like to have a separate bowl with ice water ready for this step). Drain the beans well and remove to a plate with paper towels to dry (you can also pat them dry with paper towels when you're ready to add the dressing). For the dressing, whisk together the other four ingredients in a small bowl. Place the green beans in a non-metal container, pour the dressing over the beans, gently stir together to combine, and then cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours but ideally overnight.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, November 16, 2007

Free Hurricanes Tickets Update

OK, I'm going to assume that the "underwhelming" response (i.e., 0 donations) to our Free Carolina Hurricanes tickets fundraising effort for Operation Sauce Drop is just that folks are waiting until the last minute to make a donation. To summarize the fundraising effort, here's the deal:

Make a donation for Operation Sauce Drop in ANY amount up until 5 pm EST Monday, Nov 19th, and specify in the "comment" section of the order form which one of the following Carolina Hurricanes home game you'd like 2 tickets for:

Nov 21 vs. Philadelphia Flyers


Nov 23 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

These are GREAT seats in Center Ice Premier (with access to Club Level): Section 103 Row K Seats 1 & 2, season-ticket price is $75 each (they're more expensive at the box office). Whoever makes the largest donation gets the 2 tickets for that game. The winner will be notified after 5 pm on Monday Nov 19th. More details are in my original post two days ago.

Greg and I are doing this because we had *hoped* to raise at least $300 (4 tix @ $75 each) to help send more free gift boxes to the troops - the waiting list has 90 troops on it, and we are completely out of funds to send any more gift boxes until more donations come in. The average cost to purchase and ship a gift box is $20. Of course, donations in any amount are most welcome - and we'll honor the Hurricanes tickets offer even if the total amount donated is less than face value. So how about it, faithful readers, especially those of you who are in the Triangle area: how about making a donation for Operation Sauce Drop, and maybe even go see a great hockey game in great seats! The troops will thank you for it....

Zestfully yours,

PS: I'll be at the Hurricanes game tonight but will post another fundraiser update after the game if we receive any donations.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conquering Lion Hot Sauces

Conquering Lion Hot Sauces are hand-made in small batches using all-natural, farm-fresh, mostly organic produce. The neat thing about these hot sauces is that the manufacturer grows many of the ingredients himself on his West Virginia farm. Vine-ripened tomatoes and habanero peppers are cold-smoked using freshly-cut Appalachian hickory wood for a natural smokiness that perfectly complements the fiery habanero heat. Unlike the standard thin, vinegary hot sauces in your grocery store or from mass producers, Conquering Lion Hot Sauces have a hearty taste and rich texture that set them apart from the pack. The Original flavor features full habanero pepper intensity paired with earthy hickory smoke in a robust tomato base that's not sweet but also isn't harshly tart. The XXX Hot flavor multiplies the fiery heat level by increasing the proportion of habaneros to other ingredients, instead of relying on extracts that can add strange aftertastes. The result is a naturally super-hot hot sauce that still manages to taste really good. My favorite Conquering Lion Hot Sauce is the Mango flavor. Unlike other mango hot sauces, Conquering Lion Mango hot sauce isn't sweet, but rather uses mango to add a hint of tropical fruit that takes the edge off the smoky habanero without diminishing the heat level (the Mango flavor uses the XXX recipe as its base, so this is a serious hot sauce). The result is a food-friendly fiery-hot sauce that's great in baked beans, on hamburgers and meatloaf, in poultry dishes, and much more. Try some Conquering Lion Hickory-Smoked Hot Saucetoday, and taste what hot sauce was meant to be!

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FREE Hurricanes Tickets for Operation Sauce Drop Donors

If you would like to attend an upcoming Carolina Hurricanes home game, here's your chance to do so while simultaneously supporting a good cause. I’ve got 2 tickets available to the following home games:

Nov 21 vs Philadelphia Flyers

Nov 23 vs Tampa Bay Lightning (sure to be an exciting grudge rematch after tonight's less than stellar performance by the Hurricanes)

The tickets for both games are Center Ice Premier seats, section 103, row K, seats 1 and 2. These seats are on the blue line behind the visiting team's bench (the end where the Canes are on offense twice). These tickets will also get you into The Deck and the exclusive Club Level at the RBC Center. The season ticket face value on these seats is $75 per ticket, so that’s a $150 value per pair – and the walk-up price at the box office is higher, if you could get seats like this.

So how much will you have to pay me for these tickets? Absolutely nothing. You can have them for free - by making a donation to Operation Sauce Drop between now and Monday, November 19th.

As you already know if you've read earlier posts, the mission of Operation Sauce Drop is to deliver great-tasting sauces, and perhaps a little taste of home, to our troops serving abroad, for FREE. So far, we’ve shipped out over 70 gift boxes to appreciative service people, but we’ve got a backlog of 90 waiting for their gift boxes and we can't ship them out without more donations. Check out the feedback and photos we've received from military personnel to see the happiness you can help to spread with a donation.

So here’s the deal for the hockey tickets. Make a donation to Operation Sauce Drop and specify which game you’d like to attend in the comments on the order form (or send us a separate email if you donate through PayPal). The person who makes the largest donation for a particular game gets the tickets for that game. If you make more than one donation, we’ll add them up for the game you specify. I’ll post the current winning donation amount on this Blog each day until 5 pm EST November 19th, when the winning donor for each pair of tickets will be announced here and notified.

Please note that this is not an auction - our purpose in doing this is to raise as much money as possible for Operation Sauce Drop, so it takes a donation (and not just a bid) to have a shot at the tickets. But even if you don't win the tickets, think of the smile your generosity will bring to a deployed serviceman or woman's face when they receive a free gift box of sauce while spending the holidays far from home. So if you've been waiting for a chance to attend a Carolina Hurricanes home game this season, now's your chance - and win or lose, you can feel good about supporting Operation Sauce Drop!

Zestfully yours,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marie Sharp's Shortages

We've recently learned that the folks who make Marie Sharp's Hot Sauces, a venerable brand of authentic Caribbean hot sauces from Belize, are experiencing production problems. Unfortunately, we don't quite know the nature of the problem or when they may be able to resume production of their tasty and fiery hot sauces. The good news is that the Carolina Sauce Company still has all but one of the flavors (the original Marie Sharp's Hot Habanero Sauce) in stock. But if you are a fan of Marie Sharp's hot sauces and your supply is starting to run low, or if you're planning on giving one or more bottles of Marie Sharp's hot sauce as a gift anytime before the end of the year, you'll want to order the hot sauce as soon as possible since supplies are dwindling. So don't delay - get your Marie Sharp's Hot Sauces now, because once they're gone, there's no saying when more will be available again!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sauce Slogans We *Didn't* Use

These days it seems like every hot sauce and BBQ sauce out there has a cutesy slogan or catch phrase. Some are clever; some are groaners. Here are a few we considered but decided not to use for marketing our own sauce. ***Warning: If you are easily offended, please stop reading now and tune back in tomorrow for a tamer topic!***

1. It makes unemployment tolerable.
2. So good you can eat it on roadkill.
3. Particulary good on spotted owl.
4. Locusts are better this way (they're still not good, but better).
5. More kick than a fat man doing Tae Bo.
6. It's the answer to the question, "W.W.J.E." (What Would Jesus Eat)
7. We know how to treat a chick.
8. Theo Fleury would grow new teeth to eat it.
9. It'll give you gas, but it's worth it.
10. Sauce that puts hair on your chest.
11. It's really good. Trust me, I'm in sales.
12. If you're offended by a slogan, then No Sauce for YOU!
13. All your sauces are belong to me.
14. We have ways of making you sweat.
15. Please put my sauce on the side, not on the meat.
And finally, my personal favorite:
16. More than just a condiment, it's a Personal Defense Weapon!

Send us your creative slogan for our list - if we like it, we'll post it and send you a special gift!

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Military Mail Holiday Shipping Information

If you are planning on sending Christmas or other holiday gifts or care packages to military addresses (APO and FPO), you'll want to be aware of the following deadlines from the US Postal Service if you want the package to arrive by December 25th (which falls on a Tuesday and is a mail holiday).

For all APO/FPO AE, AP and AA addresses, the deadline to ship Parcel Post packages for delivery by Dec. 25th is November 13th.

For APO/FPO AE addresses with ZIP codes beginning with 093, the deadline to ship Priority Mail packages for delivery by Dec. 25th is December 4th.

For APO/FPO AE addresses with ZIP codes beginning with 090 thru 092 and 094-098, and for all APO/FPO AA addresses, and for all APO/FPO AP addresses, the deadline to ship Priority Mail packages for delivery by Dec. 25th is December 11th.

If you are sending letters or cards via First Class Mail to APO/FPO AE addresses with ZIP codes beginning with 093, the deadline to mail for delivery by Dec. 25th is December 4th.

If you are sending letters or cards via First Class Mail to APO/FPO AE addresses with ZIP codes beginning with 090 thru 092 and 094-098, and for all APO/FPO AA addresses, and for all APO/FPO AP addresses, the deadline to mail for delivery by Dec. 25th is December 11th.

These dates will be here sooner than you expect, so make plans now to ship early if you have a loved one serving in the armed forces overseas. Likewise, if you've been considering making a donation to Operation Sauce Drop but just haven't gotten around to it, now is a good time to contribute so that we can get as many pending gift box requests off our waiting lists and shipped to our troops in time for the holidays. And don't forget to mention this Blog when you donate, and we'll send you a thank-you coupon good for 10% off the total product price the next time you shop with the Carolina Sauce Company.

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Spicy Butternut Squash

I make this recipe in my microwave oven, because that really speeds things up. You can probably make it in a regular convection oven, and maybe even brown the cheese under the broiler. Please drop me a note if you try that, and include how long it took and at what temperature you set the oven.

1 Medium butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled, deseeded and cubed
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced (use a clove of Twenty Pepper Garlic for a spicier dish)
1 Tbs butter or butter substitute
1/2 cup chunky salsa, such as Bone Suckin' Salsa (mild or hot depending on your preference)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided into 1/4 cup portions
Optional: Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place the squash cubes in a 1 1/2 quart microwave-safe casserole, and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook at full power for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, stirring once while cooking. Drain and remove the squash into a separate bowl. Add the butter, onion and garlic to the casserole dish and cook at full power, uncovered, for about 2 minutes or until the onion is tender. Stir in the salsa, half the cheddar cheese, and the salt & pepper (if using) into the onion/garlic mixture, and gently fold in the squash cubes. Cook at full power, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes or until everything is heated through. Add the remaining cheese on top, cover, and let stand for 1 to 2 minutes to melt the cheese. Serves 4

Zestfully yours,

Friday, November 9, 2007

George's Barbecue Sauce

Today I had the pleasure of visiting the home base for George's Barbecue Sauces, located in an idyllic farm setting in Nashville, North Carolina (a picturesque little town in eastern NC). After driving down a pine-lined winding gravel road, the scene opened up to gently rolling farmland complete with pastures and a pond, with donkeys, geese and other farm animals. Past the main house is where the barbecue sauce action can be found: George's actually makes and bottles their sauces on-site, which is unusual (most small sauce companies contract out this labor-intensive process to a commercial bottler called a "copacker"). I was given the grand tour by Ashly, a very sweet and friendly young lady who took me through the bottling room where employees were busy filling bottles with sauce from a large commercial "vat", and to the warehouse where pallets were stacked high with cases of all three flavors of George's Barbecue Sauce (Original, Hot, and Special - a thicker version with tomatoes and jalapenos). Some of the cases still felt warm to the touch, evidence that the bottles inside had recently been hot-filled with freshly made BBQ sauce. Having visited copacking facilities and a commercial cooperative kitchen/manufacturing facility, it was fascinating to see a similar operation but on a much smaller scale.

All three flavors of George's Barbecue Sauce begin with an eastern NC style vinegar base that's mellowed with a touch of apples and just a hint of tomato. But don't get me wrong: Both the Original and the Hot recipes are real vinegar-based eastern NC barbeque sauces, very thin and tangy and just begging to be poured onto some pulled pork BBQ. The Special recipe adds enough tomatoes to make the sauce richer and thicker, and the jalapenos and extra spices create layers of peppery flavor. I particularly like the Special version on chicken, and it's also quite good on ribs. Through the years the folks at George's have developed some easy, crowd-pleasing recipes using their sauces on everything from pork and beef to poultry, baked beans and even shrimp. During my visit I picked up eight different recipes, and you'll get a copy of all of them the next time you order any flavor of George's Barbecue Sauces from the Carolina Sauce Company. There's even a recipe for Turkey Barbecue, just in time for Thanksgiving! If you haven't tried George's Barbecue Sauce, now's the time to try this Carolina favorite.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Carin's Ultimate Tuna Sandwiches

These aren't your kid's canned tunafish sandwiches - this recipe uses grilled or broiled tuna steaks and other fine ingredients for grown-up palates. My close friend and hockey teammate Carin sent me this yummy recipe.

1 lb. fresh or frozen tuna steaks (thaw if using frozen)
2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. dill pickle relish (or if you prefer a hot & spicy relish, use Twenty Pepper Sweet & Hot Relish)
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon zest
1 tsp. minced garlic (for added spiciness, substitute a minced clove of Twenty Pepper Garlic)
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
4 6-inch long Italian-style or French-style rolls, or Italian flatbreads (you'll roll up the sandwiches like wraps if you use flatbread)

Brush tuna steaks generously with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; chill 2 hours in refrigerator. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 2 cups of water. Add onions and allow to soak for 15 minutes. While the onions are soaking, grease the rack of your grill, start up the grill and bring the coals to medium (or set the grill at medium if using a gas grill). Drain the onions and set aside. Remove tuna from refrigerator and place on the greased grill rack and grill (uncovered) directly over medium coals for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness or until fish begins to flake easily when tested with a fork, turning once. Remove tuna from grill into a medium bowl and break into chunks with two forks. (Note: If it's too cold to grill outdoors, you can broil the tuna steaks instead.)

In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, relish, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, minced garlic, and mustard. Add this mixture to the chunked tuna and stir gently to combine. Spoon the tuna mixture onto the bottoms of the rolls (or spread onto the flatbread). Top with the onions, and the remaining roll half (or roll up the flatbreads). Serves 4.

Zestfully yours,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Operation Sauce Drop Photos

This is just one of several photos from our troops who have received sauce gift boxes as part of Operation Sauce Drop. You can see more photos, and read thank-you notes from soldiers, at the official Operation Sauce Drop Feedback page. Regardless on where you stand on the war, we should all be in agreement that the men and women serving overseas deserve our support, and need to know that folks back home are thinking of them and wish them well.

There are plenty of "support the troops" programs out there, so why should you support Operation Sauce Drop? For two reasons: first, Operation Sauce Drop lets a serviceperson select something for themselves, to suit their personal taste in food - a luxury or treat, if you wish, as opposed to a "necessity" (think cool toy instead of underwear for Christmas). Second, Operation Sauce Drop helps bring a taste of home to our military personnel spending time away from family and friends, especially as the holidays approach. Think back to the first time you went away from your childhood home for a long time - maybe it was a sleepaway summer camp, or maybe it was college, or maybe a job, marriage or military service caused you to relocate. I bet one of the things you missed the most was a homecooked meal, a favorite food, or the flavors and seasonings you were used to. By donating to Operation Sauce Drop, you can help our deployed servicemen and women enjoy a taste of home while stationed overseas. This can really make a difference (as you can read from the feedback), especially with Thanksgiving (a major food holiday!) around the corner, followed by Christmas, Hannukah, and other holiday celebrations.

As of this post, there are 92 servicemen and women waiting for their gift box. The average cost (with shipping) to send a gift box is around $20. Won't you please give something - just $5 will help - to send a taste of home to a soldier serving abroad? They will thank you for it, and appreciate it more than you think.

Zestfully yours,

PS: Mention this Blog when you make a donation, and as a personal thank-you I'll send you a coupon for 10% off the product total the next time you order from the Carolina Sauce Company.

Black Mamba Venomous Hot Sauce

I'm usually not impressed with the flavor of most ultra-hot hot sauces, even when I make it past the intense extract-driven heat level. It often seems to me as if flavor is an afterthought to most manufacturers when they're developing an ultra-hot sauce, as if the only thing that mattered was outdoing the heat level of the last new ultra-hot to hit the market. There's an exception, however: Black Mamba Venomous Hot Sauce. Yes, this ultra-hot packs a huge bite from the instant you taste a microdrop - and the searing heat lingers for a good long time. But because it's made with the darkly flavored chocolate habanero pepper (comparable in heat to Red Savina habaneros but with a more complex flavor profile) and blended with high quality capsaicin extract, Black Mamba actually has some pleasant smoky flavors that complement heavy foods like ribs and grilled meat. Make no mistake: Black Mamba is only for serious chileheads and you'll definitely get an endorphin rush from this ultra-hot (and you do NOT want to get it on your skin or eyes!). And if you're keeping score at home, Black Mamba Venomous Hot Sauce now occupies 4th Place on my list of Hottest Hot Sauces, right after Da Bomb Ground Zero and ahead of Blair's Mega Death. But Black Mamba actually tastes good, and is an ultra-hot that's meant to be enjoyed on food and not merely left on a collector's shelf gathering dust. So if you have a cast-iron stomach and teflon-coated tongue, get a bottle of Black Mamba today - just make sure you have plenty of antivenom (milk) handy in case its bite is more than you can handle!

Zestfully yours,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thai Lime Shrimp with Rice Noodles

This exotic recipe is actually pretty quick (around 30 mins with prep & cooking), easy and healthy. Most if not all the ingredients are available at your better grocery stores in large cities, or at natural foods stores. Otherwise, you can definitely find the more exotic ingredients at Asian markets. This recipe feeds up to 4 people (or two really hungry ones, which is often the case in my house!)

2 Tbs canola oil
2 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 Lemongrass stalk (found in the fresh herbs section, or Asian markets)
2 Kaffir lime leaves (found in the Asian section of your supermarket, or Asian markets)
1 Small/medium red onion
1 Fresh hot red chile pepper, preferably an Asian variety (remove seeds to reduce the heat level)
1 1/2 inch Fresh gingerroot, peeled
1 lb Large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 oz Fresh snowpeas (you can use frozen - thaw first)
8 oz Bok choy, torn into pieces
2 Tbs Thai fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 Package of rice noodles, soaked according to package instructions (be careful not to oversoak, or they turn to mush!) and drained
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Lime wedges as garnish

Using a very sharp knife, very thinly slice the garlic cloves, red onion and chile pepper, and place in a bowl. Then cut the lemongrass stalk in half lengthwise, bruise with the flat side of the knife (this helps release the volatile oils), and place in the bowl. Use the knife to carefully shred the kaffir lime leaves into long, thin strips, and place in the bowl. Also cut the gingerroot into long thin strands and add to the bowl. Heat the oil to medium-high in a large pan or wok. You know the oil is hot enough when a slice of garlic sizzles as soon as it's dropped in. When the oil is ready, add the garlic, onions, pepper, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and gingerroot, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shrimp, snowpeas and bok choy, and stir-fry until the shrimp is cooked through and the vegetables are just starting to soften but are still crisp. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes - be careful not to overcook the shrimp (you can remove into a separate bowl if they finish cooking before the vegetables soften, and then add the shrimp back in when you're ready to continue with the recipe). Remove the lemongrass pieces and discard. Add the fish sauce, and the lime juice to taste (some folks like 1/2 lime, I personally like the juice of the whole lime), and stir-fry for one minute to heat everything through. Add the drained rice noodles and cilantro. Stir-fry for another minute to combine and to heat everything through. Serve with lime wedges, and a bottle of Thai hot sauce such as A Taste of Thai Garlic Chile Pepper Sauce or Dave's Gourmet Garlic Chile Sauce, for folks to add to their taste.

Zestfully yours,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

October's Top Ten Best-Selling Sauces & More!

The numbers are in, and the results have been tallied, and here is the list of the overall Top Ten Best-Selling Products for October at the Carolina Sauce Company:

1. Busha Browne's Pukka Sauce, a perennial all-purpose favorite from Jamaica (but not a jerk sauce!)
2. Blue Tick Dressing, a raspberry-poppyseed vinaigrette from the makers of Carolina Swamp Sauce
3. Matouk's Calypso Sauce, a rich, thick tropical hot sauce that's full of scotch bonnet fire
4. Wells Hog Heaven BBQ Sauce, a classic eastern NC vinegar-based barbeque sauce that's always in the top ten
5. Capsicana Zing Sauce, another perennial favorite with its spicy, food-friendly flavor - and it now comes with recipes!
6. Carolina Swamp Sauce, an Asian-inspired marinade and grilling sauce that's a North Carolina original
7. Matouk's West Indian Hot Sauce, seriously hot with a touch of tropical fruit
8. Matouk's Flambeau Sauce, a thick, intensely hot scotch bonnet sauce that's packed with flavor and fire
9. Matouk's Hot Pepper Sauce, a traditional West Indies scotch bonnet hot sauce from Trinidad & Tobago
10. Calhoun's Charcoal Grill Seasoning, adds authentic charcoal flavor when you use a gas grill

If you're looking for specific categories of best-sellers, such as BBQ sauce, hot sauce and more, just click on the links below to see the latest best-sellers as of November 1st:

* Best Selling BBQ Sauces, with Corky's Memphis BBQ Sauce making its debut on the list;

* Best Selling Hot Sauces, including the intensely hot and berry-packed Robert Rothschild Hot Raspberry Thunder Sauce, back on the market by popular demand;

* Best-Selling Rubs and Seasonings, including the smoky Pepper Dog Dry Rub cracking the Top Ten for the first time;

* Best-Selling Marinades and Dressings, featuring the mellow Wahoo Willie's Mango Vinaigrette from Wahoo Willie's seafood grill in Wrightsville Beach, NC;

* Best-Selling Salsas and Relish, with Red's Sweet Salsa staying on the list;

* Best-Selling Jerks and Curry, including the great-tasting and good-for-you Pluto's Certified Organic Mild Jerk Sauce;

* October's Best Selling Mustards, Best-Selling Snacks and Best Selling Wing Sauces, featuring full-flavored favorites that are ideal for tailgating or watching the big game at home;

* Best-Selling Gift Sets with the Dave's Insanity Gift Set leading the pack; and

* Best Selling North Carolina Products, with more than just barbeque sauces on this list - see what other tasty treats North Carolina has to offer!

Zestfully yours,

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Vicky's Shrimp Tacos with Lime Cabbage

This unique and flavorful take on tacos comes from my dear friend Vicky, and although it takes a little bit of advance preparation for marinating, it is very easy to make. This recipe generally feeds 4 people, but the ingredient amounts are quite flexible - simply adjust to your taste (and appetite!)

1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 package taco shells
1 small bag finely shredded cabbage
1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
salt, to taste
sugar, just a pinch
olive oil
1 to 2 green bell peppers*, sliced into strips
1 to 2 medium onions, sliced into strips
1/2 to 1 cup Greg's Happy Sauce

Put shrimp and 1/2 cup of Greg's Happy Sauce (shake bottle well first) in a resealable plastic bag, seal and shake to coat the shrimp well. Marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours. One hour before serving, put the shredded cabbage in a non-metal bowl or large releasable plastic bag and add the juice of the lime, a little bit of grated zest from the lime, the chopped cilantro, salt to taste (1/8 tsp works for me, or you can omit the salt altogether or add more), a pinch of sugar (or more, to taste), and olive oil to taste (about 1 tsp or so). Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Once the shrimp is done marinating, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil and stir-fry the peppers and onions until soft and onions are translucent, then add the shrimp plus marinade from the plastic bag and stir-fry until the shrimp is cooked - be careful not to overcook! You can add more Greg's Happy Sauce (shake bottle well first) while stir-frying, especially if you're using 2 peppers and 2 onions. Remove from heat. Warm up the taco shells for a few seconds in the microwave, then spoon some of the stir-fry mixture in each shell, top with the lime cabbage to taste, and wrap each taco tightly in aluminum foil for 5 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
*Note: You can substitute a finely sliced hot pepper or two, such as a jalapeno, habanero, serrano (or one of each!) for one of the bell peppers if you want to make this a hot & spicy dish.

Zestfully yours,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce

I've tasted a lot of BBQ and grilling sauces in my day, so it's not often that one comes around and knocks my socks off. Well, Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce did just that to me. To be honest, when I first examined the sauce in the jar, I expected it to taste like your typical tomato-vinegar Piedmont NC style BBQ sauce. But when I dipped in my spoon, I couldn't help but notice that Bigtime's was not only thicker than a typical Piedmont style BBQ sauce, but it also coated the spoon nicely. A second look at the ingredient panel revealed why: in addition to tomatoes and vinegar, this sauce also includes mustard in its base, and a bit of canola oil - which not only adds more body, but prevents the sauce from burning on your food while it grills AND it helps "seal in" the natural juices in your meat or chicken. One taste and I quickly understood why this sauce is called Bigtime's *Lip Smacking* Grilling Sauce: YUMMMM!!! Made from a family recipe with all-natural ingredients from a local farmer, this grilling sauce combines a secret blend of peppers and spices in the tangy, slightly sweet tomato-vinegar-mustard base for a pleasant mild-medium heat level, which means that Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce is kid-friendly as well as food-friendly. In addition to grilling ribs, chicken, meat and game with Bigtime's, you can also add it to baked beans or green beans and even grilled fish. Today I snacked on baby carrots dipped in it, and even that was really tasty. You can also use it for marinating, basting, injecting, mopping, in a crock pot and in the oven. I can't wait until my husband gets home from his deer hunting trip tomorrow, since we plan on marinating and grilling some venison this weekend in Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce! Get yourself a jar, and let me know what you think and how you use it.

Zestfully yours,

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Carolina Sauce Newsletter, Earlybird Holiday Sale

Welcome to the first Carolina Sauce Newsletter to be sent out via RSS feed!

Earlybird Holiday Sale
Get a jump start on your Christmas and holiday shopping while saving money! Simply order any of the following products now through November 21st and enter the coupon code "News1107" to get 10% off the product price - no minimum purchase required! Don't delay - some of these products won't be available after they sell out, so act now to save big!

Hot Sauces
A Taste of Thai Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce, an authentic Thai favorite
Ass Kickin' Hot Sauces, all flavors (Cajun, Garlic and Horseradish)
Blair's After Death Sauce, intensely hot and with a skull keychain
Blair's Mega Death Sauce, mega-crazy hot, with a skull keychain and "holographic" label
Blair's Sudden Death Sauce, hotter than "After Death" but not as bad as "Mega Death", and with the skull keychain
Burning Asphalt racing-themed hot sauces, all flavors (Habanero, Garlic, Jalapeno, and Sweet Hot Garlic)
Da Bomb Ground Zero, one of the hottest ultra-hots on the market
Dat'l Do It Hot Sauce, a flavorful favorite from Florida featuring the rare datil pepper
Dave's Gourmet Garlic Chile Sauce, a California-Thai sriracha style sauce in a generous 10oz bottle
Hog's Breath Key West Hot Sauces from the famous Hog's Breath Saloon, all flavors (Red, Green, and Extra Hot)
Infusion Firepower Hot Sauce, a firecracker of a hot sauce that adds heat without interfering with your food's flavor
Kato's Down South Hot Sauce, a traditional style scotch bonnet sauce - like fiery sunshine in a bottle!
Marie Sharp's Belizean Heat Hot Sauce, made with seriously hot tropical peppers from Belize
Marie Sharp's Grapefruit Pulp Hot Sauce, an exotic blend of grapefruit and habaneros (not a sweet sauce!)
Marie Sharp's Orange Pulp Hot Sauce, a citrusy blend of oranges and yellow habaneros (not a sweet sauce!)
Mountainman Roast Corn Garlic Chipotle Hot Sauce, rich smoky flavors masterfully blended with roasted corn and fiery chipotles
Ring of Fire Chipotle Garlic Sauce, a thick, homestyle southwestern sauce that begs for Mexican and Tex-Mex food, comes in a generous 12.5oz bottle
Ring of Fire Red Pepper Sauce, blending pimientos, sweet red peppers and cayenne to create an all-purpose table sauce that also makes great chicken wings and bloody marys, in a generous 12.5oz bottle
Ruth's Mango Sauces, all flavors (Original, Gingery, and Hot)
Susie's Papaya Delight Hot Sauce, a fruity Caribbean treat that's great on chicken, seafood and grilled meats
Toad Sweat Dessert Hot Sauces, all 4 flavors (Cranberry, Chocolate Orange, Key Lime, and Lemon Vanilla) - fabulous on cheesecake and ice cream!

BBQ and Grilling Sauces
Dave's Gourmet Badlands BBQ, a hot and spicy mustard-tomato BBQ sauce that's thick, rich and slightly sweet
Greg's Happy Sauce, an award-winning grilling sauce, marinade and cooking sauce that comes with lots of recipes!
Grill'n Time Spicy BBQ Sauce, thick, rich, sweet and pleasantly spicy - perfect for game meats!
Little Boy's Chicken Splash, sweet and tangy, slightly spicy, and great on meats as well as chicken
Nando's Sweet Apricot Cooking and Grilling Sauce, versatile South African sauce that's wonderful on pork and poultry, whether grilled or cooked on the stove or in the oven
Orelly's Brown Q Sauce, made from an authentic Jamaican recipe, this traditional caribbean brown sauce is great for exotic meats and game, as well as beef, pork and chicken

Marinades and Dressings
Red Tide, a mediterranean-inspired dressing and marinade from the makers of Carolina Swamp Sauce
Signolia's Balsamic Vinaigrette, hand-made in small batches with the finest olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and a touch of soy for a wonderfully rich flavor
SunFire Red Vinegar Marinades, gourmet marinades and cooking sauces in Original and Garlic flavors

Mustards and Salsa
Ass Kickin' Mustard, a zesty Dijon mustard spiked with hot peppers
Dave's Hurtin' Habanero & Honey Mustard, serious habanero heat tempered with sweet honey makes for a mouthwatering taste sensation
All three flavors of Peppers Blue Crab Salsa, made with real Maryland blue crab and other fresh ingredients - comes in mildly spicy Original, fiery Chipotle & Smoked Corn, and horseradish-infused Zesty

Wing Sauces and Dry Rubs
Anchor Bar Honey BBQ Wing Sauce, from the original Anchor Bar in Buffalo and full of rich, sweet and spicy BBQ flavor
Anchor Bar Hotter Buffalo Wing Sauce, the original sauce that made Buffalo wings famous, only hotter
Pork Powder Dry Rub, a peppery smoky seasoning blend that comes in a very generous 12oz bottle
Rick's Ragin' Cajun Rub, ideal for blackening in a cast-iron skillet and for all your Cajun recipes

Jamaican Jerks
Orelly's Jerk Q Sauce, a thick, rich all-purpose jerk that also doubles as a barbecue and grilling sauce, and works wonders in a crock pot
Walkerswood Hot and Spicy Jamaican Jerk Sauce, a versatile table sauce full of tropical flair that's perfect for adding real Jamaican flavor to any dish

Remember: use the coupon code "News1107" when ordering any of the above products to get 10% off their regular price. Don't delay - the savings end on November 21st, or when supplies run out, whichever occurs first!

Operation Sauce Drop Needs YOU!
Operation Sauce Drop, our project to send FREE gift boxes of sauce to US military personnel stationed abroad, has been very well received, as you can see from our feedback page. As of the time of this writing, we have been able to send gift boxes to more than 60 servicemen and women, thanks to the generosity of our donors. The problem is, we have a waiting list of over 50 servicemen and women waiting for a gift box (and the list grows daily), but we are all out of money! Can you help? Maybe pass up that morning cup of fancy coffee and send a donation of $5 (or more if you can afford it), so that we can continue to send a little taste of home to our troops spending the holidays away from their families and friends? Please click here if you wish to contribute - and to thank you, we'll email you a coupon for 10% off your next order, good through June 30, 2008! Just type the word "Earlybird" in the comment section if you donate with a credit card, or send us an email mentioning this "Earlybird Newsletter" if you donate through PayPal. Thank you!!!

Check Out Our Newest Products!
Here are some of the latest zesty finds recently added to our online store - try one (or more) today, and discover a new favorite! Shoogs' Authentic NC Barbeque Sauce is a tangy, peppery vinegar-based eastern NC style sauce with just a touch of tomato to add body (but this is definitely not a sweet tomato-based sauce!). Shoogs' is perfect for pulled pork BBQ and also as a marinade for chicken and meat. Tarheel Premium BBQ Sauces are old family recipes from tiny Stella, NC, that come in two styles: vinegar-based Gone Whole Hog BBQ Sauce for pulled pork, and sweet, thick Honey BBQ Sauce for chicken and ribs. Durham Bulls Triple Play BBQ Sauce comes from the minor league Durham Bulls baseball team and previously was available only at the ballpark in Durham. Now you can get this tangy and slightly sweet Piedmont style BBQ sauce anywhere you live, by ordering from us! Big Daddy's Marinade is another old family recipe that's now hitting the market. This flavorful marinade penetrates meat and chicken to tenderize and add great flavor all the way through - and you get a free recipe card when you order it from us! Another family recipe that's a real winner is Bigtime's Lip Smacking Grilling Sauce from Benson, NC. Made with all-natural ingredients from a local farmer, this thick tomato-vinegar-mustard sauce is tangy, pleasantly spicy, slightly sweet, and excellent on chicken and ribs. Pepper Dog Salsa Verde is a genuine green salsa made with tomatillos, peppers, cilantro and other all-natural ingredients. Its medium heat and full flavor add authentic flair to chicken enchiladas and other Mexican or Tex-Mex fare. The last "new" product is actually an old favorite that is once again available due to popular demand: Robert Rothschild Hot Raspberry Thunder Sauce! This thick, fruity and intensely hot sauce is wonderful with chicken and turkey, pork and grilled meats, and makes a deliciously fiery dip and spread when blended with cream cheese. Finally, don't forget to check the Carolina Sauce Home Page where we list new arrivals as they come in - we might just add a treat or two before the end of the year!

Zestfully yours,