File Under Great Grilling Recipes: Hot Dogs For Everyone

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Sometimes ideas for great grilling recipes come from things you just take for granted.

Kyle’s favorite food is a good old-fashioned hot dog. As he got older, after I brought home every different kind of hot dog you can imagine – pork, turkey, chicken, beef, veggie, and even uncured applewood smoked beef – he declared that “beef” is his favorite, and when he comes grocery shopping with me (which is a rare occurrence but it happens) he always asks me to buy Ball Park brand hot dogs.


So we were both excited when I signed up to grill some of the new Park’s Finest™ Frankfurters from Ball Park®! But I can’t just eat a plain old hot dog anymore. I did when the kids were so little and time-consuming that I just ate what they ate. But now I do indeed make food more pleasing for myself, so I was happy to discover a hot dog that both the kids and the adults found tasty and satisfying, because I need easy dishes for my busy family. You can purchase them in Southern California at Vons.



Park’s Finest™ Frankfurters come in four flavors but we opted for the plainest one because of our picky eaters. That was okay because the “savory seasonings” were mild enough for the kids but interesting enough for us. The kids ate them plain on a wheat bun, but I gave myself a creative challenge. To serve the hot dogs with more than just the same old ketchup and mustard, I whipped up something I like to call kale relish. We have six enormous kale plants growing in our garden – I need to use it whenever possible. It was an experiment with favorable results: there was nothing left over after my husband and I attacked it!


Kale Relish

2 giant leaves of curly kale

1 small tomato

1/4 red onion

1/4 small carton of sliced white mushrooms

1/2 green or red bell pepper

Dice everything finely. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan, then add all vegetables, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until soft. The tomato’s juices really bind all the vegetables together. Spoon over hot dog (or mix into omelet or with ground turkey for a veggie/meat burger).



Here are some grilling tips from Ball Park to make sure your hot dogs taste even better!

  • Spray it before you lay it: Before laying hot dogs on the grill, be sure to spray the grill with vegetable oil or cooking spray to ensure the food doesn’t stick to the grates as it’s cooked.

  • Don’t lose the juice: Use tongs rather than a fork to gently turn franks and handle as little as possible. Do not cut or pierce the hot dogs while they are grilling or those delicious juices may be lost.

  • Get the “smoky” flavor – If you prefer your hot dogs to have a smoky taste, keep the grill completely covered while cooking.


A package of 8 Park’s Finest™ Frankfurters cost me $5.00 that day, but if you’re looking for ingredients for easy summer dishes, you can use this coupon for $0.55 off any ONE (1) Park’s Finest Product (runs 5/26/14 – 6/1/14).

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Wordless Wednesday: Dairy Free

fake milk for coffeeNB: All of these, plus the stevia powder, failed my taste test. I now use a combination of french vanilla flavored coconut milk creamer and plain coconut milk creamer. (Flavored too sweet, unflavored not sweet enough.)

No Fear Shakespeare: Shortcuts With a Twist

Hamlet as a graphic novel? Yes, please!

hamlet act five babra

First of all, a confession:

Someone pitched me the No Fear Shakespeare series over a year ago in advance of Shakespeare’s 2,134th birthday on April 23rd. So two of his birthdays later (OK fine I actually looked it up and this year he would have only turned 450. I’d like to say I figured this was a better year to post about these books, but that would be a lie.) I thought it was a great pitch – “Like Cliff Notes for Shakespeare, except more inventive!” (I paraphrase.)

Specifically, the No Fear Shakespeare titles give you a catchy hook into the texts. Most of them have a similar layout: Shakespeare in modern language on the right page, and the original text on the left, so basically what you have is the actual play or sonnet, with a contemporary translation alongside it. No flipping back and forth to the footnotes or end notes.

For example, in The Taming of the Shrew:

Left side

Petruchio: Signior Baptista, my business asketh haste
And everyday I cannot come to woo

Right side

Petruchio: Signior Baptista, I’m actually in a bit of a hurry. I can’t make this wooing into a daily thing.

Right?! I kind of love the people who translated Shakespeare into 21st century language.

That reminds me. My very first memory of Shakespeare is a scene in Beverly Cleary’s Fifteen, in which Jane Purdy is doing her homework and she is trying to translate the original text of Hamlet into “plain English.” I read Cleary’s book far before I turned fifteen. It took many more years for me to read Hamlet.

That play, along with other titles in the No Fear Shakespeare series, gets an even better treatment as a graphic novel. I will confess to you and all the people of the world two things: that this is the first time I’ve read Hamlet, and also the very first graphic novel I have attempted.

I loved them both.

The artwork by Neil Babra gives Hamlet the print version of action-film treatment. It makes Hamlet a beach read for summer. It makes it a page-turner, which is a big surprise for me and Shakespeare. Still crazy after all these years.

I mean, who knew? I certainly wasn’t thinking “Oh, I need to get around to reading all of the Shakespeare I wasn’t required to read during 8 years of Catholic liberal arts education.” Every now and then I pull out my anthology of Shakespeare to reference something I learned a thousand years ago that stuck with me (Helena’s monologue in “All’s Well That Ends Well,” which I used for Acting 101 during my junior year of college, comes to mind). But once this pitch found my in-box, I looked through the titles and chose a few that piqued my interest.

The Tempest. I’ll be honest, I wanted to read this because of the teaser at the end of the film “Shakespeare in Love.” Shut up.

the tempest no fear shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew, because I saw a middling production of it in college.

taming of the shrew no fear shakespeare

And Hamlet, because everyone should have read Hamlet. It’s like working in food service. It builds character.

hamlet graphic novel

No Fear Shakespeare – lots of titles
, prices vary. Read that Shakespeare play you’ve always you wanted to read. Why not?

And just for fun, enjoy this tune by Shakespears Sister, called “Heroine.” The founder of the band was once in Bananarama. Your mind is now blown. You’re welcome.

Wordless Wednesday: Window Shopping