Sunday, July 8, 2012

McCormick Grill Mates Grill Ambassadors Party (Crowdtap)

Thanks McCormick Grill Mates!
Its been a busy summer here on the farm, but we recently took time out to host a get-together showcasing McCormick Grill Mates.  We love to entertain, and we love to grill out, so hosting this party was perfect.  As a member of Crowdtap and a McCormick Grill Ambassador, I received a party pack of McCormick Grill Mates products to sample with my guests.  The party pack included Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning, Molasses Bacon Seasoning, Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinade, Slow & Low Memphis Pit BBQ Rub, and Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce, and an official McCormick Grill Mates chef apron.  

Our Grill Master!
Hubby is the "grill master" at our house, and he enjoyed experimenting with the seasonings as he cooked steaks for our 10 guests and the two of us.  Although we would have loved to eat outside, the outdoor temperature was a blazing 105-107 with wind gusts of 25-30mph. (This is normal for Oklahoma in June and July.)  So, we grilled outside, and ate inside.

Time to eat!
Getting ready to dig in!
Our menu consisted of grilled steaks, baked potatoes, baked beans, fresh fried okra and a cool tossed salad.  The steaks were fantastic!  We seasoned them with the various products we received as part of the McCormick Grill Mates package.  Some of the guests even seasoned their baked potatoes with the Montreal Steak seasoning or the Molasses Bacon seasoning.  The big hit of the seasonings was the Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ sauce.  I was really wanting to save it to use on ribs later on, but someone found it, and tried it, and pretty soon, everyone was giving it a try.  

As we discussed the seasonings, we agreed that  the Molasses Bacon was sweet and smoky, but surprised that it had a little bit of "fire" in the flavor.  None of us expected that - rather we expected a sweet taste, but we still liked the seasoning.  Montreal Steak seasoning is a family favorite at our house, and we were all familiar with its flavor of pepper, garlic and spice. 

I've always said that a good steak needs no sauce to hide its flavor, and a bad steak needs sauce to compensate for lack of flavor.  Well, by the time our dinner was over, the whole bottle of Brown Sugar Bourbon sauce was gone!  The party-people enjoyed dipping steak in the sauce and now my mission is to find a store that carries this stuff and stock up!(Hmm...does that sound as though our steaks lacked flavor?  NO!  They were delicious, but everyone was anxious to try the new BBQ sauce, and everyone agreed it was even better than the "local favorite" which is manufactured in our home town.)
I also received a packet of Memphis Pit BBQ Rub and a packet of Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinade.  When we fire up the smoker in a few days, we'll use the rub on a rack of ribs, and next time we grill chicken, we'll use the marinade.  I bet they are every bit as good as the other Grill Mates products we used for this dinner.

For more information and recipes from McCormick's Grill Mates, be sure to visit their website and Facebook page.  And don't forget to check out Crowdtap!

Thank you to Crowdtap and McCormick's for choosing me to host a party - it was a great experience and I can't wait for the next hosting opportunity to come along!

I am a member of Crowdtap and McCormick Grill Ambassadors. I received products and promotional items in in return for hosting this event in my home.  As always, the opinions shared are my own.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Verizon VIP "Feed Your APP-etite" Party (Crowdtap)

As a member of Crowdtap, I'm occasionally offered the opportunity to apply to host a party promoting one brand or another.  I've applied for every party that came along for the past few months, but was never chosen.  This spring, I applied to host a Verizon VIP "Feed Your App-etite" Party and  I was chosen!  YIPPEE!

Swag provided by Verizon Insider

Problems in shipping of the Verizon promo kits caused me to reschedule my party a couple of times, but we finally were able to host last Friday evening.  I wanted to give my guests some goodies to take home, so I visited our Verizon store and they provided pens, phone stands, coozies and magnets.  My promo kit included 4 bracelets, 2 water bottles and a shopping bag, and I planned to use the water bottles and shopping bag as prizes.

As party time approached, we set up and decorated our patio in bright red, arranged the food and goodies on the table, and prepared to fire up the grill.  Then the hot Oklahoma wind paid us a visit.  Having a plan B is always important...and we moved our party indoors to enjoy the comfort of air conditioning.

Ready to eat!  

Our menu consisted of grilled steaks, baked potatoes, baked beans, fresh fried okra and a cool tossed salad.  The steaks were fantastic!  Our dessert was cupcakes decorated with Verizon flags.  I scattered the Verizon goodies randomly on the table for my guests.

As we ate, we discussed our favorite apps.  Of those attending our party, one person had a Blackberry and AT&T, one had an iPhone and AT&T, and the rest were Verizon customers with Motorola and HTC phones.  I was surprised that most people prefer the game apps over any other apps, and Angry Birds was the favorite.  So, after we ate, we had an Angry Bird race.  The person who completed level 1 in the shortest time won the Verizon shopping bag and two runner-ups got the Verizon collapsible water bottles.  I tried to get photos, but I barely had time to be a good hostess, much less take photos and tweet.

Winner of the Angry Birds competition!

Favorite apps were (in no particular order):  flashlight, Angry Birds, Instagram, various barcode scanners (ShopSavvy, ScanLife, Red Laser), TuneIn Radio, and social media (Twitter and Face Book).  One person enjoys the Amazon Kindle app.  When given the opportunity to download an app that cost money, no one could think of any they wanted that they could not either get free, or find a similar app that was free.

Everyone really enjoyed the freebies provided by our Verizon store.  The favorite freebie of all were the phone stands!
Phone stands were a big hit!

Those of us on Verizon also discussed the new Verizon Share Everything plan, and it appears none of us will be saving any money.  Our bills will remain about the same, but the money will be redistributed to different areas, and we will lose our unlimited data.

We had a great time, even though our "outdoor" cookout and party turned into a "come into the house where it is cool and not windy" party.  Thank you to Verizon Insiders and Crowdtap for sponsoring our get-together.

I am a member of Crowdtap and Verizon Insiders. I received promotional items and financial compensation in return for hosting this event in my home.  As always, the opinions shared are my own.