Friday, December 11, 2009

Countdown to Christmas Recipe Ideas

With only 15 days left until Christmas it’s crunch time for holiday baking and entertaining. If your like me there is still shopping to do, house to clean, presents to wrap, and of course lots and lots of baking and meal preparation. So, in honor of these last few days of activity packed chaos I would like to share some of my all time favorite holiday recipes.

What would Christmas be without sugar cookies? I would like to share my family's favorite sugar cookie recipe. With only two weeks left there is still time to add these to your list of baked goodies.

My husband’s grandmother introduced me to this sugar cookie recipe years ago. It has become the only sugar cookie recipe that I use throughout the year.Christmas would not be the same without these delicious and festive cookies as the almond extract adds a unique and delightful flavor. For the past ten years around mid November my family starts to inquire about when I will be making these to ensure that I haven’t forgotten. It would be hard to forget something that is as fun to make as they are to eat.

I make several batches of these a couple of weeks before Christmas. After the cookies are completely cooled I make the frosting (listed below), decorate, and then freeze until needed. This frosting dries quickly and is perfect for decorating. I place the cookies in an large airtight container placing parchment paper between the layers of cookies. I also like to place these in gift baskets. You can use any kind of small plastic bag to put these in for gift giving. I use the small clear plastic bags that have holiday designs on them which can be found at most grocery stores this time of year. I place one cookie in each bag and then tie the tops with colorful ribbon.


Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg beaten

2 1/2 cups flour

1teaspoon salt

1teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions: Cream butter and sugar together then slowly add the beaten egg. Add flour, salt and extract; mix well. Allow dough to chill in the refrigerator for 1hour. After dough has been allowed to chill, roll out on slightly floured surface approx. 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 7-9minutes at 375 degrees. Allow to cool before decorating.


3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons milk

6 tablespoons butter (melted)

Directions: Put the 3 cups of powdered sugar in a large bowl and add the vanilla. Add the milk and then add the melted butter. Mix until frosting becomes creamy. Separate the frosting into individual bowls and add your favorite food coloring. Stir frosting occasionally. Decorate and enjoy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our December Featured Chef

Springfield, Mo is home to a long list of many great chefs. Over the next few months we will be introducing you to some of the top chefs in and around the Springfield area. We hope that you will join us on this culinary excursion.

Our featured Chef series begins by introducing you to Chef Brad Lyons. Chef Lyons has spent the last 20 plus years as a chef at The Tower Club which is located on 21st and 22nd floor of the Hammonds Tower. This private dining club has a reputation for creating one of the finest of dining experiences in Springfield. We want to thank Chef Lyons for giving us the opportunity to sit down with him and allow us a glimpse into his many years of success in the culinary world.

Tower Pics 002 (2)

Chef Lyons, The Tower Club 901 E. St. Louis St.

As you step off the elevator at the twenty-first floor at the Hammons Tower, you enter the stunning Tower Club with it’s breathe taking panoramic view. The elegant space over looking down town Springfield, Missouri and the Springfield Cardinal’s Home field is home to a great staff, meals, and catering opportunities. The Tower Club is used for formal business meetings, wedding receptions or just a romantic dinner for two. No matter what size of group the plates presented are nothing less than pure elegance. The smell and atmosphere on the twenty-first floor is like no other restaurant in the Springfield area!

Tower Pics 005

Head chef, Brad Lyons, has been creating masterpieces to be served at the Tower’s formal lunches and dinners for over 27 years! He says that he attributes his success to hard work, dedication, and lots of time spent in various kitchens learning as much as possible. At just thirteen years old, Chef Lyons, realized the kitchen was where he enjoyed spending his time.

Starting at the bottom as a dishwasher, and moving his way up through classes and kitchens in the Springfield area, and later completing his Executive Chef American Culinary Federation certification in Atlanta, Georgia, he began his career with the Hammons Corporation. Lyons says that without the Hammons Corporation and their belief in him in the formal dining atmosphere, his career would not be the success it has become. While this chef enjoys a traditional steak and potato kind of meal, his favorite thing to prepare for his customers, friends, family and fans is Jambalaya, he also said that anything with rosemary is going to be a great dish! Although this chef spends plenty of time in the kitchen working with things as simple as a potato peeler to more specialized instruments like the vegetable cleaver, he spends plenty of time out doors camping and getting in a good game of golf.

As Lyons and his coworkers at the Tower Club are preparing to open their doors for more hours this holiday season, he took a moment to reflect on one of the past holidays stating that after 35 years in various kitchens his fondest memory happened in the Tower kitchen. As he and the other chefs were preparing holiday meals later in the month of December, they began to really feel the pressure, and were simply worn out. He could hear the customers outside the kitchen enjoying the carols from a local group and so he stepped outside and asked the group to come in and sing to the chefs. Instantly, the holiday cheer was back in all of them as they began to laugh again and finished the night’s meals successfully.

Tower Pics 004

For more information regarding the Tower Club click on the link provided below.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


From our family here at Red Monkey to you and your family, may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Here Is A Video From Our New Buddy Chef Lippy


I was the 6th member of "Team Buz and Ned's" at the American Royal in Kansas City. Buz and Ned's is located in Richmond, VA and the BBQ is BANGIN' ! Go to and for more information.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sizzlin’ Sides Winner Announced


Congratulations to Nicole Filizetti from Michigan who’s “Cool and Spicy Vegetable Salad, ”(see below) took top honor in our Sizzlin’ Sides recipe contest. Nicole will receive $150.00 in cash plus $25.00 in Red Monkey Foods product and an official Red Monkey Foods tee-shirt. We also want to thank everyone that entered the contest. It was certainly not an easy decision.

Our Fall Flavors recipe and video contest is open until November 16th. Check out our website for all the details and official rules. We look forward to trying all wonderful creations. We also have our Facebook exclusive Generation Z contest that will run until December 15th for ages 13-19. Just go to Red Monkey Foods for all the details and official rules.

Cool and Spicy Vegetable Salad

8 oz. Fusilli, rotini or bowtie pasta

2 cups very coarsely chopped broccoli florets

2 cups shelled peas or sugar-snap pea pods, trimmed and cut in half diagonally

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini

4 Tablespoons rice vinegar

4 Tablespoons peanut oil

4 Tamari or soy sauce

2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon freshly ground Red Monkey Hot Pepper Blend

1teaspoon Red Monkey ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar and

2 Tablespoons peanut oil for serving , if desired

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until just barely tender. Drain, rinse well under cold water, and drain well. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the broccoli, peas, red pepper and zucchini and stir to combine. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, peanut oil, tamari, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and spices. Add to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight.

If refrigerating overnight, toss with the additional 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar and peanut oil before serving.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Foodie Friday!: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We’re getting in the Halloween spirit here at Red Monkey and we’re offering an extra treat for this week’s Foodie Friday – three recipes in one!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a great party snack and they're super simple to make in large or small batches. We’ve included a few variations on the seasoning blends but all start with the insides of a pumpkin. After harvesting my seeds from the clutches of the pumpkin stuff (see tips below), I yielded about 1 ¼ cup of seeds.

Classic Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 teaspoon Red Monkey Sea Salt Grinder (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon Red Monkey Pepper Medley Grinder

Tropic Heat Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

4 teaspoons Red Monkey Mango Habanera Rub

½ teaspoon Red Monkey Raspberry Chipotle Rub

Red Black and White Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 teaspoons Red Monkey Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon Red Monkey Sea Salt Grinder

1 teaspoon Red Monkey Crushed Red Pepper

½ teaspoon Red Monkey Pepper Medley Grinder

½ teaspoon Red Monkey Southwest Mesquite Rub

Remove the seeds and extra stuff from the inside the pumpkin and place in a large bowl or stock pot. Set the pumpkin aside for carving later.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Separate the seeds from the “stuff.” I like to fill the bowl/stock pot with water and gently stir the mix. The seeds will naturally float to the top and be very easy to scoop off. I’ve heard of people using their sinks; however, I find that’s not fun to clean. This way the mix is ready to be drained and tossed into your compost pile.

After separating the seeds from the stuff, rinse, and pat the seeds dry with a paper towel or tea towel.

The seeds are now ready for seasoning and heat! Spread the pumpkin seeds on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Combine the seasonings into a bowl and sprinkle over the seeds.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until the seeds are crispy and look slightly toasted.

We encourage you to experiment with the seasoning blend – we’ve had them in sweet, savory, spicy, and plain. Mix it up and have some fun! Oh, and don’t forget to carve that pumpkin.

These seeds can be stored in an air tight container for one week. It is very easy to multiply this recipe for a crowd or to do many small batches.

Party Idea: Have a pumpkin carving party and ask everyone to bring their own pumpkin. Let everyone be in charge of removing their seeds and seasoning them. Keep some zip top bags handy so if there are any left your guests can take them home with them. It makes a great interactive party where people can show off their creativity – especially if it’s warm and you can keep the mess outside!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Add These Monster Cookies To Your Halloween Menu


Saturday will certainly be a busy day for many households as they dress up their little goblins and head out for some ghostly fun. For those of us who will be at home awaiting the arrival of these scary little creatures here is a recipe that is sure to please even the scariest of ghoulish guests.

3 Eggs
1 1/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
1 C Sugar
1/4 TSP Red Monkey Cinnamon
1/2 TSP Salt
1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract
1 Jar (12 oz) Peanut Butter
1 Stick of Softened Butter
1/2 C Multi-Colored Chocolate Candies
1/2 C Chocolate Chips
1/4 C Raisins (optional)
2 TSP Baking Soda
4 1/2 C Quick Cooking Oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a very large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugars, mix well. Then add salt, vanilla, peanut butter and butter. Mix. Stir in chocolates, raisins, baking soda, cinnamon and oatmeal.
Drop with tablespoons about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes and let stand for 3 minutes before moving to cooling racks. Store in resealable bags or a storage container.
Makes 3 dozen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Look Into: Professional Pumpkin Carvings and Local Haunts

The most important symbol of Halloween is of course the jack-o-latern and as the time grows nearer both young and old will be in search for the perfect pumpkin to carve. Front porches and sidewalks across the nation will proudly display their creativity. I love looking at them, and can’t help but be surprised at the unique artistry and creativity that has gone into some of them.


Mine on the other hand, look the same today as when I was a child…terrible.

Every year since I can remember the jagged teeth that I try so carefully to create end up with my pumpkin being toothless, eyes too far apart and a top that doesn’t sit right. For years I have found comfort in telling myself that I just need more practice. That however…was forty plus jack-o-lanterns ago. So, I am left with the realization that I have been living in denial. I simply can’t carve pumpkins; there-I finally said it.

But all is not lost since my children seem to have a least some talent in that area. As they proudly display their creations on the front porch I simply turn mine to face the front door so that only the immediate family is reminded that I cannot carve a pumpkin. But, that’s ok, I have finally come to terms;).

So now that I have come to terms, I have a deeper appreciation for those with real carving abilities. I thought everyone might enjoy checking out some serious pumpkin carvers. Using very large pumpkins Steve’s Pumpkin Art is truly amazing.

image image

Ray Villafane is another great pumpkin sculptor. This picture is just one of his many magnificently detailed pumpkins.


This house was decorated with over 3,000 carved jack-o-lanterns!

Halloween Pumpkins Galore has some very unique pictures of pumpkins that were carved by various artists.


Since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, there will be plenty of time to get out and visit some of the local hauntings. Below I have listed a few here in Missouri. But, no matter where you live I wish you all a very safe and frightfully fun weekend!

Fright Fest: Six Flags, St. Louis, MO

Maullers Frightmare: Joplin, MO

Faulkners Pumpkin Farm: Kansas City, MO

Halloween @ Dickerson Park Zoo: Springfield, MO

Verona Corn Maze: Verona, MO

These guys have all kinds of things to do!

23298 Lawrence 1150, Verona, MO 65769. Phone: 417-498-6191. Directions: From highway 60: Six miles West of Aurora, take the Verona turn off (Business 60) and go one mile. Take the first right (Farm Road 1150) for 1 mile. Get lost in The MAiZE! From I-44: Take Exit 46 in Mt. Vernon (Hwy. 39 & 265) going South for 5 miles. Turn right (West) on highway P and follow it for 5 miles to Verona. Turn right (West) on Business 60 for 1 mile. Turn left on Farm Road 1150 for 1 mile.

“Happy Halloween”!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Foodie Friday: Ramen Beef Stir Fry

Hey Monkey Fans,
We've found this great chef who is shakin' things up in the kitchen!
Check out his wicked recipe and video!!

Ramen Noodle Stir Fry with Beef, Carrots, and Green Onions
1 pkg Beef Flavored Ramen Noodles
5 green onions, julienned
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
1 bell pepper, julienned
1 lb flank steak, julienned
1 Tbsp. garlic
olive oil
sesame oil
splash of soy sauce

Prepare Ramen noodles as directed, stopping cooking them halfway through the cook time.

Add a bit of olive oil to a saute pan and sear the steak. Use soy sauce to deglaze the pan.

In another saute pan, toast the garlic a bit with 2 tbsp olive oil and a tablespoon of sesame oil. After roasting the garlic, add all veggies and saute.

Add the steak to the vegetables and toss. Add the noodles to the mix with a little bit of the cooking liquid.

Serve in bowls and enjoy!

Recipe video can be found below. It is taken from

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spice Up Your Health This Season


Author Caroline O’Neil from the Better Health blog has a great article this week on the added health benefits found in some of our favorite herbs and spices. With the cold season upon us and the flu making an early entrance, the use of herbs and spices is just one more thing we can add to our arsenal of disease fighting antioxidants.

HEALTHY EATING: Spices boost health benefits, too

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Generation Z Chefs Cooking Contest For Kids On Facebook


Hey kids, here is your chance to win some cash. We believe that aspiring young chefs should have a place to show off their talents and so we have created a place on Facebook just for you!

We are so very excited to introduce our latest contest addition which is designed for those of you that are between the ages 13-19. It’s fun and it’s easy. Just log on to Facebook and then type in, Red Monkey Foods – Generation Z Chefs. First, you will want to sign up as a fan so that we can keep you updated on cool events and giveaways. The first 10 to sign up will receive an official Red Monkey Foods Tee-shirt. Then just click under the events tab to find out about the contest.

Below is an overview of the contest but please make sure to go to our Red Monkey Foods website and read the contest rules before entering. Please include a parent or legal guardian's email address if you are between the ages of 13-17 so that we may obtain their approval.

Kids Contests:



$100 Grand Prize

Your first chance to earn some fame and money $$$ E-mail your best recipe to This should be a recipe that you make and is original. It can be anything from a basic burger to a dazzling dessert. We don't care what kind of recipe it is, as long as you've mastered it and make it yourself, we want to see it!
We will judge the recipes and send the winner an e-mail notification that they won. We'd love to see a photo of your finished dish, but won't count off if you don't include one.
Prize is $100 in cash! Enter today!
To enter please send your name, e-mail, date of birth, and recipe to
For an explanation of how our contests work, the full privacy policy, and disclaimer, see our website at


Today – Dec.15

$200 grand Prize

Your first chance to earn some fame and money $$$ e-mail your best recipe and video to This should be a recipe that you make and is original. It can be anything from a basic burger to a dazzling dessert. We don't care what kind of recipe it is, as long as you've mastered it and make it yourself, we want to see it!
We will judge the recipes and send the winner an e-mail notification that they won. We'd love to see a photo of your finished dish, but won't count off if you don't include one.
Prize is $200 in cash! Enter today!
To enter please send your name, e-mail, date of birth, recipe and video to
Please submit videos in .wmv format and make sure they are less than 2 minutes, 30 seconds in length.
For an explanation of how our contests work, the full privacy policy, and disclaimer, see our website at

Friday, October 16, 2009

The New “Green” Pizza Box



Pizza lovers across the nation may soon have even more to love about ordering their pizza to go.  Echo Inc., has just released information regarding their new “green” pizza box. Made from 100% recycled material the top has perforated lines that are easily torn apart to create 4 plates. The bottom section has been designed to store any leftovers inside. The new “green” box will officially launch on Monday.

Click here to be directed to the article and the video.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National Dessert Day


While no one really knows when it originated, October is “National Dessert Month,” and today, October 14th is recognized as “National Dessert Day”.I cannot think of a better excuse to indulge in a day of decadent desserts. So in honor of the season and this most precious day (precious to those of us who are trying to eat healthier)it seems only fitting to include a dessert made with pumpkin. 


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


Crust: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon Red Monkey Organic Sea Salt Seasoning
8 teaspoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
Cooking Spray

Filling: 1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 package fat-free cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon Red Monkey Organic Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Red Monkey Organic Ground Allspice
1 large egg Remaining Ingredients: 1/4 cup chopped pecans and 2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare crust:

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add flour to pan; cook 5 minutes or until light brown, stirring often.  Remove pan from heat.  Transfer flour to a bowl; cool completely.Combine cooled flour, ½ cup brown sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until combined.  Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles fine meal.  Press 1 cup of flour mixture evenly into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; reserve the remaining flour mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.


To prepare filling,

spread pumpkin in an even layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 5 minutes.Combine granulated sugar, ½ cup dark brown sugar, and cream cheeses in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth.  Scrape pumpkin into bowl using a rubber spatula.  Add egg substitute, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, and egg; beat until smooth.  Scrape batter into baked crust.Combine reserved flour mixture and pecans in a small bowl; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons water.  Squeeze handfuls of topping to form large pieces.  Crumble over filling.Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until filling is firmly set.  Remove from heat; cool in pan on wire rack.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Forty-Three Years of Apple Butter Makin’

Since it’s humble beginning in 1967 Apple Butter Makin’ Days located in Mt. Vernon MO., celebrated 43 years this last weekend with more than 50,000 visitors making their way to the town square. With close to 400 vendors that had come from all over the country to sell their handmade items there was certainly enough to see over the three day event. From homemade jewelry to tropical fish made out of coconuts to Fall and Christmas decor this was defiantly the place to be for those of us who love to shop. On Saturday the crowd gathers for the annual Apple Butter Makin’ Days parade, afterwards things swing into action with a car show and live entertainment from area performers. The main attraction that has kept this festival growing over the years is the apple butter that is made each year on the courthouse lawn.

After a cold and rainy Friday the sun was a welcomed sight on Saturday as the temperature made it’s way into the lower 50’s. By the noon hour the weather was perfect for the spectators as well as the vendors. Before the sun had even started to rise the members of the Round Grove Church were making apple butter. The apple butter pictured above, cooks in these large kettles for 8 hours. While there are several people that make apple butter the group believes it is the wood smoke from an open fire that gives their apple butter such a unique flavor. Ground cinnamon, sugar or Splenda and red hot candies make up the rest of the recipe. It is then dipped out of the kettles and poured directly into mason jars. Once the lids are placed on the jars the heat causes the lids to seal. Then the jars are transported to a tent directly in front of the cooking area and can be purchased immediately. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the gentlemen who was stationed at one of the three kettles and he said that their butter is so popular that they bring 11 hundred pounds just to start with. I can see why because this stuff is delicious!


As we made our way around the square we stopped for a moment to listen to Mark Chapman as he performed before a large audience.

I had the opportunity to stop and visit with some of the vendors. I visited with one of the local vendors, Linda Bruenn of Linda’s Crafts from Joplin MO, who has been a part of the Apple Butter Makin’ Days for the past 15 years. She was kind enough to allow us to take a picture of her booth.

The day seemed to be flying by and suddenly I realized that it was way past lunchtime. The one thing we knew well in advance was where to eat because the Cattlemen’s Association has built a reputation around their steak sandwiches. The long lines well past the lunch hour sums it up.

Did someone say homemade root beer? One word…awesome!

As we made our way back to the car, I could not wait to get home and go through all of the goodies I had purchased. This was such a great way to begin my Christmas shopping. My calendar is already marked for the second weekend in October and for those of you who live close to Mt. Vernon I would highly recommend making plans to attend next year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Foodie Friday! - Smoked Chicken

Sorry for missing last week's Foodie Friday, I was experiencing the American Royal BBQ Competition in Kansas City! Lots of fun, lots of new friends, and lots of delicious food.

In honor of the American Royal Barbecue and the INCREDIBLE food we found there – yeah, that’s you Buzz and Neds, Smokin’ Yankees, and Always Rubbin’ Something – thanks for feeding the Monkeys!

We had some delicious beef, pork, and chicken. My favorite was easily the smoked chicken! And if you’ve never tried a smoked chicken, you’re missing the delight of juicy roasted chicken that has a great layer of smoke that is so tender it melts over your taste buds engulfing your senses in an explosion of flavor that is enhanced by the sweet scent of smoke and roasted chicken.

And before you run off to get some of your own, here are some tips and a recipe for your own smoked chicken!

Always start with good meat! Avoid chicken that is packed in solution, it’s a chemical brine that’s meant to make it look good, it doesn’t help the taste. I think brine can be great, I just like to do it myself. Start with a fresh bird that’s about 4 lbs, this will feed 5-6 people depending on your crowd.

Smoked Chicken
1 Chicken
4 cups apple juice
4 TBSP Red Monkey Mango Habanera Rub

Before smoking the chicken, wash it well, remove the giblets, and trim off loose fat and skin. Prep your smoker to be around 220.

Rub the chicken down with the Mango Habanera Rub being sure to get in all the crevices, use more if needed based on the size of the chicken.

In a small metal bowl, add 3 cups of apple juice and place in the smoker with the chicken to help give extra moisture and more flavorful smoke. Reserve one cup to add to a squirt bottle for spray basting.

Smoke at about 220 until the chicken breast reaches 180-185 (around 4 hours) And before you say ‘wait, chicken’s done at 165’ I know, but it’s better to overcook when smoking. The juices should run clear, the skin should have a warm brown color, and above the meat should have the right temperature.

This makes a slightly sweet, spicy chicken with an amazing smoked flavor that goes great in sandwiches, appetizers, or just on its own! Roll out the grill/smoker this weekend and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Trip To The American Royal

Surrounded by plastic palm leaves, crock pots and corrugated we set off for our four and half hour journey. A journey that would take us down a path of endless campsites dressed up with tents and colorful banners. Within each site a team busily prepares for the days that lie ahead. As we make our way to where we are to set up, smoke surrounds us. Suddenly, I am starving.

Words cannot describe how wonderful it was to finally get out of the small area I had been sitting in. After a few minutes I was able to walk again and we proceeded to put our booth together.

Then it was off to see the sights.

And there were defiantly some sights to see!

The picture below was taken on Friday of a very elaborate set up. On the right side of the bridge there was a pond with little yellow ducks floating around. Inside the tent, a tiki bar along with rows of tables and chairs awaited a night of fun, food and entertainment. This was just one of many that had pulled out all the stops to make this night a memoriable one for all.

Saturday brought a quietness as the teams got down to business.

For those of us who love a good barbecue...paradise.

While there was so much to see and so many highlights, the biggest highlight was meeting the youngest member of the Smokin' Yankees pictured below. We met him on Friday when he dropped by our booth and started sampling various spices. Saturday he would be competing in the kids Q and was looking for something that he felt would do the trick for his steak entry.
A few moments later he had made his choice and promised he would return on Saturday to let us know the results. Saturday evening he returned to tell us the news that he had taken 4th place. We were so excited for him and I am certain that we will be seeing his name on the winners list for many years to come.

The Monkey team salutes you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Flavors Recipe Contest


The Monkey is still full from trying out all those fabulous side dish recipes from the last contest and while we are a few days away from announcing the winner we wanted to go ahead and get started with our next contest. So… it’s time to get out your favorite original appetizer recipe and get it to us.

Our Fall Flavors recipe contest begins today October 5, and ends on November 16th. The winner will be announced on November 23, just in time to have some extra cash for the holidays.


Submit your original recipe and win $150.00 in cash and $25.00 of free Red Monkey Products and an official Red Monkey Foods tee-shirt. We also encourage you to send a picture along with your submission.


Create a video preparing your original appetizer recipe for a chance to win $250.00 in cash and $50.00 worth of free Red Monkey products and an official Red Monkey Foods tee-shirt. The video can be serious or funny, just use your imagination.

Go to Red Monkey Foods for all the details and contest rules.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

American Royal Barbecue Competition This Weekend!


Web monkey and I will be packing our bags and heading to the American Royal Barbecue in Kansas City this weekend.  We are so excited that we have even agreed to let the big monkey tag along with us.  For those of you who are not familiar with this event, it is the largest barbecue contest in the world and is regarded as the World Series of Barbecue.  With nearly 500 team competing for the top prize there is plenty of excitement. 

For those of you who will be attending, we would love to meet you. Drop by our booth (36A) in the Governors building  and say hello! 

To learn more about this event use this link, American Royal Barbecue.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Foodie Friday! Blissful Blueberry Muffins

With the weather cooling down, this monkey plans to have an indulgent Sunday brunch on the patio with a few family and friends. This is a favorite muffin recipe that is best when using fresh blueberries. The lemon gives them a brightness and the cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth and depth.

They make a great care package for students off at college or friends who are far away. But I promise you won't see any objections from coworkers, friends or family if you drop a few of these on their desks/doorsteps either.

I enjoy these muffins most when I need to slow down and unwind. They make a great traditional addition to brunches or breakfasts. But I also enjoy grabbing a mug of tea, a good book, one of these muffins and curling up in a comfy chair to make for a great afternoon/evening relaxer.

Blissful Blueberry Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp Red Monkey organic ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar (White will do, but we like brown sugar)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons Red Monkey organic ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. Makes 8 regular sized muffins, or 5-6 jumbo muffins.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon zest and nutmeg in a bowl. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.

Mix into flour mixture, taking care to not over mix. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture (see below for topping directions).

To Make Crumb Topping:
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Try a batch this weekend and enjoy a simple, comforting pleasure. Once you get comfortable with this recipe, see what other fruits and berries you can add/substitute. We like strawberry, blueberry/raspberry, blueberry/strawberry, and the occasional peach muffin. Try some of your favorites!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Means Chicken and Dumplings

Thursday,fall officially begins and for me it is a time for celebrating the joys of cooking. The crisp cool mornings rejoice of the coming season.The landscape becomes a parade of pumpkins on beds of straw surrounded by bouquets of mums and the scarecrows that are keeping a close watch over them.  Fall brings about such wonderful memories for me growing up on a small farm. Each year as autumn approaches my mind drifts back to those days.

As a child it meant coming home from school to a house filled with an aroma that would comfort the weariest of souls. One of my fondest memories was my mother’s homemade chicken and dumplings. When it comes to comfort food this is and has remained at the top of the list. While my mother made her dumplings from scratch,I adapted the recipe to fit our families busy lifestyle without giving up any of the flavor in this wonderful dish.  For me,this is the perfect ending to a busy day.








Chicken and Dumplings

8 pieces of chicken (2 1/2 lbs.)

2 Red Monkey Bay Leaves

2 celery stalks

1 tsp. Red Monkey Garlic Salt

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 cans cream of chicken

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup half and half milk

1 can crescent rolls


Place chicken pieces, bay leaves,garlic salt and celery in stock pot and cover with water. Cook chicken on medium high for approx 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and remove 1/2 cup of the broth. Keep broth in pot on low heat. Allow chicken to cool until it can be handled safely. Remove the skin and chicken from the bone,discard the skin.Place the chicken pieces back into the pot.  Add the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the 1/2 cup of broth and mix making a paste, set aside. (To make it more like a soup omit the cornstarch and broth mixture).

Bring the broth to a boil and add 2 chicken bullion cubes and the 2 cans of cream of chicken. Mix well. Whisk the cornstarch and broth mixture making sure that there are no lumps. Add the 1 cup of half and half and stir until completely mixed.  Turn heat to medium and cut crescent roll into small squares. Add  the squares to the mixture and  coat dumplings with soup ,then cover. Do not remove lid as the steam from the soup is the secret to moist dumplings. Allow dumplings to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Dumplings will float to the top when they are done. Grind fresh Red Monkey pepper medley over the top and serve in soup bowls.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Foodie Friday! Creamy Basil Dressing

In honor of the delightfully warm weather, here is a fresh Creamy Basil Dressing recipe found from our friends at Mambo Sprouts.

Creamy Basil Dressing

1/2 carton Unsweetened Original Soymilk
The juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic
Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 thyme leaf
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. black pepper
A dash of cayenne pepper
A dash of sea salt
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese or cheese alternative

Blend first four ingredients together in blender. Slowly pour in oil while blending. Add remaining ingredients and blend briefly. We're certainly partial to the Red Monkey spices and we added a grind of our Zesty Italian Grinder to add a bit of extra perkiness to the dressing.

We found this was delicious for a back yard barbecue after work. The lift from the citrus and dill with the headiness of the garlic and fresh cracked pepper goes great over some fresh spinach or romaine lettuce.

Our salad was perked up with some boiled egg, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and paired with some grilled chicken breast and grill roasted corn. It made for a fun, easy meal out on the back deck for us and a few friends as we watched the fireflies dance and the sun go down on another week.

Best wishes for a great weekend to all our readers. Here's hoping its full of fun and friends (and maybe a little football)!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Winner Wednesday



Here at the monkey, we are passionate about developing new and exciting all-natural flavor blends that are as unique as our name.  Today, we would like to give some of you who are just as passionate about great tasting meals as we are the opportunity to try some of our blends.  So… the first 5 people to post the correct answer to today’s question will receive 2 of our most popular seasoning blends.

After you have posted your answer send me an email with your mailing address to: so that I can get your products to you. 


Today’s question will be an easy one, just to get things started.  Ready? Go!



What is the most expensive spice in the world?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sizzlin’ Sides Recipe Contest Ends Tomorrow


Just a quick reminder that tomorrow, September 15th our Sizzlin’ Sides recipe contest will close.  A big “thank you,” to all who have submitted their original recipe.  You still have time to get your cooking video or original recipe submitted, but the clock is ticking. Just go to Red Monkey Foods for cash and prize information and please be sure to read over the contest rules. 

Fabulous Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls


These cinnamon rolls are so easy to make you almost feel guilty eating them, unless… you make plenty to share with family and friends. With the cool autumn days just around the corner these are always a warm and welcomed treat. 


Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls

3 cups water

2 packages quick rise yeast

1 tsp salt

1 box white cake mix

5 cups flour


1/4 cup butter melted

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoons Red Monkey organic cinnamon


Mix the 3 cups water, yeast and salt in large mixing bowl. Set aside while you gather the other ingredients.  Add the cake mix to the yeast mixture and whisk until smooth. Gradually add 4 1/2 cups of the flour, reserving the 1/2 cup. The dough will be sticky. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until double in bulk. While the dough is rising mix the 1 cup sugar and cinnamon together, set aside.  Knead the dough for 3 minutes incorporating the remaining 1/2 cup of flour into the dough. Roll dough into a rectangular shape about 1/2 inch thick.  Spread melted butter over the top of the rolled dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top. From one of the long sides roll up the rectangle an cut into 1 inch slices. Cover with a damp cloth until double in size.  Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 15 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.  Brush remaining butter over the warm cinnamon rolls. Let the rolls cool completely then top with cream cheese icing below.


Cream Cheese Icing

1 (8ounce) packages cream cheese

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash salt


  In mixing bowl cream the butter and cream cheese gradually add the the confectioners sugar, mix until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and then add dash of salt.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Foodie Friday!

Happy Foodie Friday from the Monkey! This week a beautiful color brochure FULL of recipes and chef bios found it's way to my desk. Given that this brochure was based around potatoes, I HAD to track the producer down. - I was a LITTLE excited to find a whole commission for one of my favorite food groups... er... vegetables.

This led me to a great conversation with the Washington State Potato Commission's Assistant Executive Director, Karen Bonaudi. She gave me permission to feature the recipes and gave me a few facts.

I was surprised to learn that Washington's climatic and geological conditions allow it to produce an average of 60,000 of potatoes per acre in red, white, yellow/gold, blue/purple, and fingerling varieties! Holy potato!

Feel free to check out the Washington State Potato Commission at for more information. They have many wonderful recipes, facts, and suggestions on ways to cook potatoes but here is one of the scrumptious looking recipes that I will be trying this weekend.

Smoked Salmon Latkes

Makes 4-6 servings of about 3 latkes each

1 pint sour cream
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning (or any good crab boil seasoning)

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and seasoning. Set aside.

1 1/2 pounds Washington Russet potatoes
5 oz smoked salmon, finely chopped
1 small white onion, peeled and grated
1/2 cup flour
1 egg yolk
2 tsp kosher salt (I'm partial to the Red Monkey Sea Salt Grinder)
1 tsp ground black pepper (Again, go figure, I'm a fan of the Pepper Medley Grinder)
Vegetable oil

Scrub potatoes under cold running water. Shred with large holes of box grater or food processor. Turn the shreds into a strainer set over a bowl. Press potatoes firmly. Reserve liquid in bowl. Let liquid stand several minutes. Pour off top clean layer and reserve cloudy starch remaining.

Rinse squeezed potatoes with cold water. Drain in colander.

In large bowl, combine all latke ingredients, including the reserved starch, and mix well. Form into silver dollar sized cakes, squeezing to form the cakes. Arrange cakes on a paper towel covered cookie sheet. Pat dry with paper towels.

In large skillet over high heat, heat enough oil to cover 1/4 inch over bottom of pan until very hot. Add cakes and cook until well browned. Turn and cook second side. Serve 3 cakes per portion. Spoon cream over.

One of the best things I found about this recipe: only 414 calories with 12 grams of protein and a serving of fish! Thanks so much to Karen, the great people at the Washington State Potato Commission, and all the potato farmers. I'm a fan!

Best wishes for a great weekend all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Flavors of Fall


September 22, marks the official beginning of fall. As the beauty of the autumn leaves begins to surrounds us, so does that wonderful aroma that fills our kitchen this time each year. Fall is the time when we focus our attention on making those delicious comfort foods such as stews,curries, soups and of course all of those wonderful desserts. As we say goodbye to the hot days of summer our attention turns to stocking our cupboards with all of the ingredients needed to make those wonderful autumn dishes. Below you will find a list of a few fall spices that will not only fill your home with a delightful aroma but will also incorporate some hidden health benefits while creating those great tasting meals.

cinnamon illustr

Cinnamon- While cinnamon is by far the most loved spice for the baker, there are a few things that one should know before purchasing cinnamon. Cinnamon derives from the bark of the cinnamon tree. It takes approximately 15 years for a cinnamon forest to mature to harvest. The 1st meter of the trunk contains grade A cinnamon. The 2nd meter up the trunk is grade B and then further up the tree is a C grade. When the bark is cut away it kills this section of the tree and the remaining part of the tree is cut down and used for firewood or making furniture. When using cinnamon for baking grade B or C is recommended as it has less volatile oil. Grade A has the highest content of volatile oil making it too bitter to use for baking. It can be recognized by the color in which it is very red. So, when choosing a cinnamon for baking look for a rich brown color. Cinnamon is also known for it’s many health benefits such as; lowering blood sugar, increases circulation, mildly lowers cholesterol and helps with indigestion just to name a few.

tumeric illustr

Turmeric- Also known as Indian saffron it is commonly used in curries and Asian dishes giving them that beautiful golden yellow color. Turmeric is a great spice to experiment with when preparing chicken and turkey dishes, vegetables and salad dressings. This spice, a part of the ginger family, is a ribosome root, called fingers and has earthy notes and very pungent which gets stronger when cooked . With this in mind it is better to start with a small amount and add more if needed to reach your desired level of flavor. Turmeric goes through a process of being boiled, dried and then ground into a power that can range from a deep orange-yellow to a bright yellow in color. Turmeric is believed to be a very powerful antioxidant and has been used to treat inflammation, joint pain, poor circulation and allergies.

bayleaf illustr

Bay Leaves- Are commonly used in soups, stews,meat dishes, marinades and vegetables. The majority of bay leaves come from Turkey where the trees grow as tall as 40 feet. The young branches are cut, the leaves removed and dried in the sun. All leaves are gone through by hand and measured. The leaves that are not chosen are thrown into a pile and bailed to be used for crushed bay leaves later. While bay leaves add great flavor to a variety of dishes, it is important to note that the leaf itself is bitter. If the recipe calls for crushed bay leaves make sure that they are crushed very fine to avoid the bitter taste. If you will be using whole bay leaves remove them before serving. Bay leaves are used by some for blood sugar imbalances.

cloves illustr

Cloves- A great spice to keep on hand as it works great with other spices to create flavorful blends in both sweet and savory dishes. Madagascar with it’s tropical climate is known for it’s clove production where the clove trees grow from 40 to 60 feet tall. Flower buds from the trees are harvested by hand at the yellow and red phase. If possible buy whole cloves as apposed to ground. Ground cloves will lose their flavor much quicker than whole which can be stored up to a year in an air tight container. When cooking with cloves it is important to understand that it is a very strong spice and should be used sparingly. Cloves and clove oil have been used to relieve the pain of a toothache. It is also believed to help with depression and fatigue when used aromatically.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Foodie Friday! Good Thyme Garlic Pepper Steak

Hey Monkey Fans, we're launching Foodie Fridays, an offering of a great recipe EVERY Friday! The recipes will be entrees, side dishes, drinks, soups whatever our taste buds are lovin'. Some will be seasonal, some will be exotic, some will just be good down home favorites. We'd love to have suggestions or original recipes, we will certainly give you credit if you submit something.

In honor of Labor Day Weekend and Football Season kicking off, we thought it only appropriate to honor the grill! Here is a great, simple recipe for a New York steak with a garlic, thyme, and pepper marinade. If you want to make it a great grilled meal, pair this steak with a side dish recipes from Red Monkey Foods!

Good Thyme Garlic Pepper Steak

You’ll need:

4 tablespoons of olive oil. Two for the steak, two for the grill grates.

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon Red Monkey Organic Thyme

Red Monkey Organic Hot Pepper Grinder

2 pounds of steak

Red Monkey Organic Pepper Medley Grinder

Red Monkey All Natural Sea Salt Grinder

Combine the oil, garlic, thyme, and a few grinds from the Hot Pepper Grinder in a zip top bag. Add steak, seal the bag, and gently roll the bag around to coat. Leave steaks to marinate for at least two hours but it’s great when made the day before and left to marinate overnight. Turn the steaks occasionally while they marinate.

Heat grill to med-high and use the rest of the oil to oil the grates. Once grill is preheated, remove the steaks from the zip top bag and discard any excess marinade. Before grilling, grind some salt and pepper over the steaks for extra flavor. Cook steaks in a covered grill, turning only once. For medium rare, you will need about 7 minutes on each side. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Make Your End of Summer Celebration a Winner


As the labor day holiday weekend approaches many of us will be gathering with friends and family to say goodbye to summer. With only two weeks remaining in our Sizzlin’ Sides recipe contest, why not seize the moment while cooking for family and friends and make a video ? Your cooking video could be worth $250.00 in cold hard cash plus some free Red Monkey Products.  Just submit up to a 2 1/2 minute video of your most succulent side dish and you could be on your way to winning cash and prizes.

Submit your original recipe and you could win $150.00 cash and free Red Monkey products. So, log on to Red Monkey Foods for all the details and get those recipes into us before September 15th.   Remember the top 10 in both categories will receive an official Red Monkey Foods tee-shirt!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Missouri BBQ Events In September

With the days of August quickly coming to an end, September holds some great events for barbeque fans. Below is a list of these events that will be taking place across Missouri.


4-5 Windsor September Fest Cook off Windsor MO

11-12 Blue Springs Barbeque Blaze-Off Blue Springs MO

18-19 Jesse James Barbeque Cook Out Kearney MO

25-26 Roots n' Blues n' BBQ Columbia MO

25-26 Hermann BBQ and Brats Festival Hermann MO

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Unique Approach To Healthier Meals For Children

While we continue to update our blog roll I wanted to take a minute to mention one of our newest additions, “The Sneaky Chef.” This site is great for those of us who are constantly searching for ways to get our kids to eat healthier meals. Missy Chase Lapine, author of The Sneaky Chef, shares her unique approach to preparing the meals kids love with the healthy benefits hidden within. She also has some fabulous ideas for back to school lunches. The Sneaky Chef is full of practical tips and information which is why it has earned the Monkey’s seal of approval!

red seal of approval

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Search Of The Ultimate Salsa Recipe

20230 This time of year everyone is seeking out those recipes they have been waiting for all year long to prepare with vegetables from the summer harvest. On that list of sought after recipes is fresh salsa. While there are many recipes to choose from, I ran across one from Gluten-Free Girl, “Smoked Tomato Salsa,”that is defiantly one worth checking out. While your there, you’ll want to take a moment to check out some of her other scrumptious recipes with eye catching photos. This site is also full of information on gluten-free cooking along with some wonderful stories.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Win Two Tickets To Farm Aid

Farm Aid will be giving away two tickets to this year's concert that will be held in St. Louis on October 4. The grand prize winner will receive an expenses-paid trip and two front row tickets to the event. The concert which has been held for over 20 years is an opportunity to bring family farmers together to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of the American family farmers.To enter the contest you will need to submit a picture of anything that represents family farmers.

Currently scheduled to appear are Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, Wilco, Phosphorescent and Jamey Johnson. To find out all the details or to learn more about this event just click on the link provided below.
Farm Aid photo contest