Category Archives: product reviews

Get Your Taste & See NC Box with Coupon Code!

Hey, foodies!

You know fun it is to go to local markets, boutiques and shops and see all the yummy, local provisions? If only there was a way to see AND taste or taste and see. Well, there’s a new company, based right here in North Carolina that is giving us all a chance to bring home a box of North Carolina goodness. You pick your city and it’s delivered right to your door.

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My friend, Shayla, launched Taste and See NC earlier this year as a way to highlight local makers with a gift box of artisan food products from our fair cities. There’s a Winston-Salem box, a Durham Box, Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville. You get the idea. Shayna reached out to the foodies and asked us if we wanted a box (uh…yes, Shayla, yes!) and let us choose our city. I was familiar with some of Asheville and all of Winston-Salem’s box. I haven’t had the benefit of enjoying a whole lot of Durham goodies, even though it’s one of the top Southern food towns. So Shayna sent me a Durham box and I just had to show you how cute and fun it is. Of course, I’ve tried all of these items and will be sharing them with you here.

Look! It was a like a little present from Tiffany. Only better. Yeah I said that (No thanks to the post office for getting it all dirty).

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Inside that Carolina Blue box was a selection from some of the finest makers in the Bull City:

Big Spoon Roasters: Apricot and Pepita Bar
Chocked full of real ingredients. I started noshing on this little bar so quickly that I forgot to snap a pic. Oops! But I did remember later to photograph this bar as a topping to my smoothie bowl. It was chewy and lightly sweet and satisfying. On a side note, you can find Big Spoon in the Triad (including Whole Foods) and all over the region as they are super popular with their nut butters. It was fun to see they’ve gotten into food bars for a quick, healthy snack. Big Spoon is known for their sustainable practices including supporting our NC Peanut Farmers. IMG_8466

Sangha Tea: Ginger Peach Black Tea
As I write this, I’m fearing I’m catching the microfoodies’ colds. So this tea is very warm and soothing. This tea is smells and tastes exactly as its name. It’s gingery. It’s peachy and wonderful.

Ello Raw: Cinnamon Sugar Donut Bites
Another healthy grab and go option, these little grain-free bites are made with raw, organic superfood ingredients.

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Durham Toffee: 
Man, oh man. This toffee though. Fortunately it made it to me without getting all melted in the summer heat. This toffee is melt in your mouth, chewy, buttery deliciousness topped with the crunch of almonds. I’m going to miss it when it’s gone. It won’t be long now either.

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Double M Bakeshop:
Shhhh…don’t tell mr. foodie that there’s another nut butter in the domicile. He already shakes his head in disbelief. I have an entire pantry shelf devoted to nut butters (cashew, almond, flax and chia, peanut x 4, mixed nut)  and they are even stacked one on top of another. It’s almost embarrassing. Proudly, Double M now sits among its lower class peers. The peanut butter is all natural, with a little coconut oil and an ever so light lacing of honey for some sweetness. It’s a great blend of a little sweet, a little salty and the little girl who only eats peanut butter when she has to is Double M’s newest fan. On a bagel or with some crackers? Yes, please. Drizzled on a smoothie bowl? Done and done.

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So if you’re in, near or from one of these hometowns, they make a fun gift for yourself and especially for friends and family, to give them a taste of the local flavor. All City Boxes are $40. Find out more here.  City Boxes will get updated as well.

In December, Taste and See NC will begin offering a quarterly themed subscription box which will feature seven to ten NC food items. It might be a pantry theme or a chocolate theme, but you can bet it will be delicious. You can still order the City Boxes to sample the program or to give as a gift. Sign up for your quarterly subscription here. Get $5 OFF with the coupon code TRIADFOODIE

I also wanted to point out something about Taste and See…and Shayla didn’t ask me to tell you this, but it’s so worth knowing. Approximately 160,000 of North Carolina’s citizens receive emergency food assistance in any given week. One in four children live in food insecure households. You can help with your quarterly subscription.  A percentage from the sales of all quarterly subscriptions will support a NC-based charity specifically focused on feeding children in food insecure areas.  These NC makers are already doing their part by creating healthy, real food from our own state and supporting the farmers here. Now you can help Taste and See bring it full circle by enjoying your quarterly box or gifting them or a City Box to friends.

Enjoy these makers, foodies and don’t forget your coupon code!

 

 

Cackalacky Giveaway!

If you live in Nor’ Cackalacky, you’ve probably heard of Cackalacky. Heck even if you live farther away, you might have heard of this amazing NC-based company with its delicious sauces and peanuts. They do just a few things. But that’s what makes them so stupendous. This Siler City-based company does those things and they do them very well.

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What could be under here?? Revealing the prize package! 

The Cackalacky Sweet Cheerwine BBQ Sauce is a legend unto itself.  It  was a “favorite thing” a few years ago…you can read about it here. Add that to another zingy sauce made from Sweet Potatoes. They even have their own eponymously named beer, brewed by Full Steam Brewery. It’s a wonderful ginger-spiced pale ale that’s great with all things grilled and party. There’s also Cackalacky Spiced Peanuts made similarly to the Spicy sauce (they are QUITE spicy-mmmmm) and now….the Beer-B-Q Peanuts…Jumbo-sized peanuts with a hint of beer and BBQ. I’ve been waiting several weeks for these little legumes to make their appearance at my local Lowes Foods. Getting a little impatient with my store, I reached out to the folks at Cackalacky and they sent me a prize pack for a lucky winner (and a taste for me)! Thanks, friends!

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A glimpse of the prize pack with one of those nuts being for “research purposes by me.” 

By the way, the Beer-B-Q nuts are utterly fantastic. They are sweet and savory with a bit of a kick and hint of beer. They are so good just for snacking but I bet they’d be great in a salad too.

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In the prize pack, a couple of the new Beer-B-Q nuts, a large bottle of the Cackalacky Cheerwine Sweet Sauce, and some swaggy items you’ll love, like a souvenir glass, frisbee, bumper stickers to proclaim your fandom and some coozies. Fun!

Comment below follow us on Facebook and reply on your favorite way to enjoy anything Cackalacky. Tag a friend and share the post too. At the end of next week, we’ll draw a winner. And then we’ll arrange a way to get your winnings to you. 🙂

And stay tuned for the holidays. I have a feeling these nuts and maybe another Cackalacky item might make it on the 2016 triadfoodies Holiday Gift Guide. And you’ll want to see how to get your hands on that!

You can find Cackalacky in many local grocery stores. If you’re in NC, just check out the “local” section.

Cheers!

 

foodie b’eat: The Triad’s FAVE Pimento Cheese(s)

From 4/13’s CHOW in YES Weekly

Pimento cheese. Food of the Southern Gods. Known as Pate of the South or Caviar of the South. It can be a lot of things. Delicious. Spicy. Sweet.….Polarizing.

There’s always ONE troublemaker who hates it. And more than a few cooks who put way to much mayonnaise or sugar in it. If there’s one thing we got going for us here in the South, it’s a plethora of pimento cheese. Heck, here in the Triad, we have no less than 7 common (but uncommonly good) choices at our local markets and that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. Then there are those who say, “I can make it much more cheaply myself.” Face it. The good stuff ain’t cheap— but at the same time, making it yourself really isn’t either, what with all the cheese and roasted/pimento peppers and accoutrements.

You’ll almost always find it on the menu at any of the American Southern style restaurants and at the local potluck or family reunion We even enjoy a little friendly local competition that coincides with National Pimento Cheese Day (April 9) and it seems like every year there’s a different winner. More on the Muddy Creek Cafe Pimento Cheese Throwdown at the end of this story.

We did a little research on some locally produced Pimento Cheese, the kind that’s pretty easy to access…not the kind only available at one market (or restaurant) and asked some of our readers/fans about their favorite pimento cheese and we found some stand outs. There’s plenty more pimento cheese to go around, but it’s a start.

Musten & Crutchfield: When asked, most respondents said their local favorite was none other than Kernersville’s market for home-grown deliciousness. It’s been around for a long time. With two varieties, Regular and Hot, you can find Musten & Crutchfield’s pimento cheese at their own store on Main Street plus local supermarkets, independent stores and even Walmart. It is very traditional in flavor, maybe a bit creamier than some of its counterparts. If you want to try something really fun, add it to some cooked breakfast sausage for a really tasty dip and enjoy with tortillas or pita chips. The creaminess with the sausage really works. On lucky days you may find the pimento cheese in their homemade ravioli! mustenandcrutchfield.com

Uncle Chris’: A personal favorite. With Uncle Chris’, first came the pickles, then came the pimento cheese. I first learned of Uncle Chris’ Pimento Cheese when perusing the menu of the Camel City Grill food truck. Owner Ben Devar said he liked it because it was the perfect blend of pimento cheese and not too mayonnaise-y. Chris Russell even makes pimento cheese to order for the food truck in flavors like Gouda & Bacon and Carolina Reaper. You’ll definitely find Uncle Chris at Lowes foods across the state. The Original and Fire Roasted Jalapeño are sure to please, but if you can take the heat, we recommend hooking yourself up with the Smokin’ Habanero. It is righteous. And so yummy on a cracker with a bread and butter pickle–particularly a Miss Jenny’s Habanero Bread & Butter. Oh yes…all day.

Red Clay Gourmet: Another personal favorite, made in Winston-Salem and served up on the burgers at First Street Draught House. Lance and Michelle Sawyer realized customers were quickly becoming super fans of the pimento cheese. They set out to make it more readily available and one that is “out of the norm” pimento cheese. Now Red Clay Gourmet is available at local markets, some Lowes Foods and Whole Foods in traditional flavors like Classic Sharp and Flame Roasted Jalapeño, but be sure to check out Hickory Smoked Cheddar and for a more refined elevated variety, the Goat Cheese & Sun-dried Tomato (which is really good in grits or with fried green tomatoes or on burgers or… just about anything). You can also buy online at redclaygourmet.com

Conrad & Hinkle: (not pictured) Based out of Lexington, Conrad & Hinkle Market has been around for 97 years. And the pimento cheese since 1940. They have an original and spicy version. I’ve found Conrad & Hinkle mostly at meat markets and many charming country stores across the Triad. It’s really great and an overall pleasant combination of and is probably more reminiscent of pimento cheese you grew up with. Sort of “unfooled around with.” C & H has actually shipped their pimento cheese as far as Germany. conrad-hinkle.com

Vantastic!: The pimento cheese that found a home at The Porch Kitchen & Cantina, this very sharp and cheesy pimento cheese has no mayo in it!  It gets its creaminess from the cheese itself and milk and some vinegar…which gives it a bit of a pickle juice flavor that has made it a local favorite for some time.  It comes in Original and Jalapeno. You can find Vantastic! at Lowe’s Foods and select markets.

My Three Sons: From Greensboro with flavors of Emmy’s Original, Fire Roasted Jalapeño and a Spicy White Cheddar. One of the things that sets MTS apart is that they like to leave the pimentos and peppers a bit chunky so you can see them. Found at The Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, Lowe’s Foods and Whole Foods. mtsgourmet.com

Honorable mention goes to Burlington-based Stan’s, another PC that a lot of folks grew up with around here.

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And for the record, there were plenty of respondents who said, “mine!” or “hers!” But sorry, homemade wasn’t in the running in this case.

Tip to those who want to try a homemade version: Use FRESHLY grated cheese not the kind that’s pre—grated AND this I learned recently, please try not to buy chopped pimentos. If you don’t plan on roasting your red peppers yourself, buy jarred roasted red peppers and take a minute to chop them. I promise you, it’s worth it. Here’s a great recipe by Charleston Chef Sean Brock. I LOVE his recipe. The adapted version is pictured in the image at the top of the post. I just subbed the pickled ramps for Miss Jenny’s B & B Habañero. And Texas Pete for Tabasco (naturally).

Finally, most of the makers of the above mentioned pimento cheese have recipe ideas on their websites and we encourage you to check it out. But very quickly, here are some tasty uses for the pate of the south:

On sandwiches with bacon, tomato, fried green tomato; shrimp & grits, scrambled eggs, salad, egg salad, nachos, burger toppings (go crazy and put it with chili and jalapenos), tomato pie. Providence Restaurant in WS makes an ice cream with it! For a great snack, enjoy with a sweet pickle and crackers, or warm it up and serve with pork rinds.

Really, the possibilities are endless for the treat that’s as Southern as sweet tea.

Mentioned earlier, back on National Pimento Cheese Day, April 9, Muddy River Cafe held its annual Pimento Cheese Throwdown and 5k Run. Proceeds benefit the Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center in Tobaccoville. Muddy Creek owner and event organizer, Shana Whitehead, says she launched the event three years ago as a way to celebrate the trails around her Bethania cafe. “The run is getting bigger every year…this year we had 100 participants.” As for the pimento cheese throw down? “Our customers always tell us that our pimento cheese is the best. It’s really good on a sandwich with tomato and bacon. But we knew a lot of people make really great pimento cheese in different ways, so this throw down is a way to celebrate the creativity that goes into pimento cheese.” There’s also a category for the home cook. As for the pros….here’s a list of winners:

Best Classic-Wolf Daddy
Most Creative-Wolf Daddy
BEST Overall-The Living Room Coffee House & Wine Bar, Pilot Mountain
People’s Choice-Wolf Daddy

For more information on the Pimento Cheese Throw Down and 5K run, visit muddycreekcafeandmusichall.com The event is held every year around this time.

foodie b’eat: Giveaway!! triadfoodies and YES! Weekly’s Holiday Gift Guide

Hey, foodies! I wanted to let you know that on Tuesday, December 22, I’m going to be a guest on WFMY’s Good Morning Show to share triadfoodies’ and YES! Weekly’s Holiday Gift Guide. This guide has just a few of our favorite things.  And keep reading because on Tuesday, after the segment, we’ll show you how you can win some of these items. I have a BUNCH of goodies to give away so be sure to follow the triadfoodies Facebook page for details on how to win!

A bit of a background. A few years back, I was inspired by Oprah (the one and only) to give my family some of our favorite things. A basket or box of goodies that included all kinds of things, from a lip balm to Cheerwine to cookies or treats we discovered. And we always try to bring in a local focus. One year it was all North Carolina food products. It’s such a joy to put together and we encouraged our family members to do the same. So now, we’re very happy to receive two other “favorite things” packages each year from other members of the family. We love seeing what people love. And I highly recommend this tradition for your family.
For 2016, triadfoodies and YES! Weekly share some of our local favorites from the holiday season and a few that have stood the test of time and are favorites all throughout the year.  All of these awesome products are made right here in the Triad. Not only do you have a chance to win, we also tell you where you can find them individually. The items on this list are on here for one thing only, and that’s for being awesome.
Black Mountain Chocolate Fruit Cake, 732 Trade Street, NW Winston-Salem $15
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This ain’t your average “door stop.” Mention fruit cake and most people are so, like, “ugh.”  Not so, here. This delight, made by pastry chef, Meghan Peters, at the factory on Trade Street, is unlike any fruitcake you’ve had in years of ‘ore.  For one, it’s moist. Like, perfectly moist with whiskey. You see, Black Mountain likes to cook and experiment with all the local finds here in Winston-Salem and beyond. With next door neighbor Broad Branch Distillery’s Night Lab, it’s a boozy, chocolatey masterpiece. Note for parents: not for the little ones. Like I said, it’s got drank in it.
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It’s tea, not cocoa. Made with actual cocoa husks with a touch of smoke. When you first taste it, it’s interesting and delightful with a hint of cocoa flavor that’s earthy and herby and when made into a latte and topped with a bit of cinnamon by any one of the various coffee shops, it’s just ahhhhh, just the thing… Cocoa Matè is here for a limited time and fresh loose leaf bags can be found at many locations across the Triad including Black Mountain Chocolate, Washington Perk & Provision, Musten & Crutchfield. It’s prepared at many local shops as well. Check out chadschai.com for location and ordering info.
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Take Winston-Salem’s most popular cookie and beer and you’ll get a brew that celebrates the culture of the Moravians, the original settlers of the city. It’s believed that Moravians were  some of the first brewers of craft beer.  Moravian is Foothills People’s Porter with a few ingredients from the Moravian cookie recipe— ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg— you get the idea. You will need to act quickly as Moravian Porter is available for a limited time and quantities at local beverage shops like Stella Brew, City Beverage, Bestway Grocery and Total Wine. And you will get a tiny little sample of Salem Baking’s Ginger & Spice Moravian Cookie to pair with it. Try them together!
So while we’re at it….
Moravian Cookies from Salem Baking  5.49
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If you buy the People’s Moravian Porter, you’ll get a sampler of Ginger & Spice cookies. But of all these super thin, Old World confections, our fave is Sugar. Simple and delicious and addictive. I can eat half a can before I even realize what’s happened. What, like you haven’t?!
Available everywhere and in Old Salem at at salembaking.com.  A tie for being just as wonderful (but not included in our giveaway) is Mrs. Hanes’ Moravian Cookies. We thought this company definitely deserved the mention. These cookies are available at various stores across the area or hanescookies.com. By the way, I have a TON of tubes to giveaway! So excited!
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Miss Jenny’s done hit the big time. Jenny Fulton went on Texas Investors Club and got an investor and is on her way to putting the pickles on shelves nationwide. Miss Jenny’s has enjoyed a lot of success over the past few years, from pickling out of her home in Kernersville to moving to an actual facility to handle the demand. The pickles can be found in local grocery stores and markets all across the state. If they promote local, they have Miss Jenny’s. Heck, they’re even at Trader Joe’s here! Way to go! They pickle a variety of flavors like Salt & Pepper Pickles, Salt & Pepper Habanero and traditional Bread & Butter, but we are here to tell you, the way to go is the award-winning Habanero Bread & Butter. They are sweet and tangy with a kick of spice. So delicious for snacking, but also on burgers and sandwiches. My tip, enjoy them on a cracker with pimento cheese and you’ll be so happy. They’re also super good chopped up in your own homemade tartar sauce or diced up and sprinkled on nachos for an added spicy sweet element. For more info, go to missjennys.com
Gorilla Grains  $6-8
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Your granola search might just end here. I’ve searched the world over and thought I’d never find true granola love, until this yummy, crunchy butteriness. It’s the butter. For real. You can taste it. And you will miss it if you ever taste another variety. Made in small batches in Burlington, Gorilla Grains was a labor of love that took Alicia Rehburgh “seemingly forever” to perfect until she got that butter ratio on her 100% organic oats just right. Her husband, the former chef, approved. And if my child loves it, well, he can’t be wrong. This made “Our Favorite Things” for our family members last year and only seemed natural for it to take its natural place in this official guide for 2015. The flavors come in Original and Original with Cranberry/Walnuts. Gorilla Grains is served in many a breakfast place, but you can find packages at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market each Saturday, the Iron Hen Cafe, Roasted Coffee Depot, Musten & Crutchfield and various other locations or call (815) 846-0924.
Seersucker Chef Bloody Mary Mix
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After you’ve done the open presents throwdown, how about a Bloody Mary to go along with your brunch? This all natural Bloody Mary Mix is made by Chef Jody Morphis of Blue Denim Restaurant. He has a whole line of yummy goods including pickles, but this year, he’s giving away a big ol’ Mason Jar of his all natural mix made with tomatoes, peppers, beets, veggies and select spices. Sip on that while your kids bang around on their new toys.
So, be sure to tune in at 7:50 AM to WFMY 2’s Good Morning Show. And follow on Facebook later to find out how you can be one of many winners. I’ll announce the winner on Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas, foodies!

triadfoodies’ Favorite Things 2014

Every year, for years now, our family has been giving the gift of our favorite things to a few select people in our lives…mainly close family. It’s usually quite the hit! It always always has foodie items and sometimes something cool like a mug or lip salve or anything funky that we discovered or became “reacquainted with.”

Here’s this year’s list of our favorite things…a good list this year with Got to be NC products and one or two out-of-towner’s but at least one was purchased at a locally owned business. Links to the companies that make the products are in the list! Merry Christmas!

Mark and Kristi’s (and Ava’s and Beck’s Favorite Things 2014

Favorite things: Featuring Cackalacky Sweet Sauce, Gorilla Grains, Fogwood Farm Spiced Tomato Jam, Cheerwine, Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter and this most awesome mini sifter from Southern Home & Kitchen

Favorite things: Featuring Cackalacky Sweet Sauce, Gorilla Grains, Fogwood Farm Spiced Tomato Jam, Cheerwine, Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter and this most awesome mini sifter from Southern Home & Kitchen

Merry Christmas! We can’t believe this season happened upon us so quickly! It was so fast we nearly forgot this beloved (we hope) tradition. This year, most of our favorite things just so happen to be “Got to Be NC”.

Cackalacky Sweet Sauce: This Famously Original Sauce is from the awesome guys in Chapel Hill who grabbed our state’s nickname and threw it on everything they make. This BBQ-type sauce is made with NC’s own Cheerwine and it gives the sauce a sweet, fruity element that’s amazing on meats, especially pork belly. Cackalacky also makes a sauce from Sweet Potatoes called “Spicy” and they make these killer peanuts as well. Lots of restaurants around the state use their products. And if you ever see Cackalacky beer in the beer aisle, be sure to pick it up. It’s made by Full Steam Brewery where the two companies partnered to bring a unique ginger pale ale that’s different than any other beer you’ve probably ever tried. cackalacky.com

Fogwood Food Spiced Tomato Jam: Not to be confused with ketchup, this is a slightly sweet and spicy tomato “jelly” that tastes like the holidays. It’s especially good on cream cheese and awesome on garlic bread with some parmesan sprinkled on top. Try it with a bit of hummus and veggies (pickled or not). This wonderful farm in Reidsville also grows shiitake mushrooms, peppers and dehydrates them and they make this amazing buttered pecan syrup that we’d loved to be able to put in your treasure trove here but we just couldn’t get our hands on it. You can probably order it online! You should! Highly recommended on pancakes. Check their website as well for a list of local shops that sell their products, which includes various Lowes Foods as well as Kernersville’s own Musten & Crutchfield and another fave, Let It Grow Produce.  fogwoodfood.com

Speculoos Cookie Butter:  This is almost Ava’s favorite thing. We are on a roll with the cookie butter. If you like the original from two years ago you will love this. This has the cookies (from last year) not all the way mushed into cookie butter. So you get crunch and cookie butter and it’s still meltable and pourable after melted and we really just eat it off the spoon and enjoy. You do whatever you want. Located at Trader Joe’s.

From Beck:  Gorilla Grains Granola: Let me tell you, the butteriness of this granola will make you so happy to be alive. You really will just consume it right out of the bag and not bother with all that fussy stuff like yogurt or milk (unless it’s to drink it). It’s just too good for snacking. And you can get it with cranberries and other troublesome things in it but the original is just too darn fabulous to pass up. Beck will not eat any other granola. He asks if it’s this. He can tell with just one bite. How this woman who owns this company is not a millionaire used to be a mystery…but a recent conversation with owner Alicia Rehburg explains that she keeps it small so she can have the best quality control possible, but who knows what the future holds?  You’ll have to find Gorilla Grains on Facebook and order personally by calling or messaging. And you can find her just about every weekend at the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market. Also at Summerfield Farms. 

Powdered Sugar Spoon: Isn’t it like totally cute? I mean, enough said. We found this at Southern Home & Kitchen in WS. You can probably find them at most kitchen stores. This will give your desserts, coffee or whatever a nice teeny tiny dusting that’s just enough with not a big mess. LOVE!

From Ava:  Cheerwine: (see first entry)  Ava has probably drunk her weight in Cheerwine this year. This soda was born in Salisbury, NC in 197 and is wild cherry cola yumminess. It’s as authentic North Carolina as gets with a juicy burger and fries, mmmm.  You can have the “legend” delivered right to your door! cheerwine.com

So that’s our favorite things 2014. If you think there’s something we should try that ought to be on our list, suggest to us please! What are some of your faves this year?