Tips for Making the Perfect Burger

hamburgerThis weekend just about everyone across the United States will be pulling out their grills and setting up picnic tables for the Great American Cookout. No Memorial Day cookout is complete without a few burgers on the grill — and we know how to make your burgers stand out for the crowd. Here are 5 tips for making the perfect burger.

Save the Salt When you’re seasoning your meat, leave off the salt. Salt draws water out of meat and when it hits the grill it shrinks up, dries out and crumbles. However, salt is important for flavor — salt your meat when you put it on the grill to add flavor without drying it out.

Add Some Fat Everyone likes a moist, juicy burger and we don’t like to think about it, but it’s the fat that makes it so tasty. But as long as you’re eating burgers, you’re probably not thinking about fat content! To make your burgers as juicy as possible, mix in some olive oil (2TB/pound) or bacon fat. You will not regret this and your guests will be awestruck.

hamburgerWarm Buns When you’re plating your burgers, don’t forget to give those buns a little love — throw them on the grill to warm them up a little bit before you add your patty. It doesn’t seem like much, but a warm bun is the difference between a good burger and a fantastic burger.

Better with Butter Never underestimate the flavor power of butter. Add a pat to your bun just before you place the patty on it. You know how everyone loves bread and butter? Just imagine what everyone will love once they’ve had bread, butter and burger! Once you start, you will never go back to a butterless burger again.

Warm Bath If you’re cooking for a crowd, don’t be shy about cooking your burgers ahead of time — not hours ahead of time, but enough time that you’ll be able to socialize and eat when your guests arrive. To keep your burgers hot, moist and delicious, keep a shallow pan of water on the grill — season it a little bit with beef base and stick your burgers in there when they’re done cooking. When guests are ready to eat, throw a patty on the grill for just a second and serve. The only issue with this is the burgers will all be cooked thoroughly (but not in a well-done, overcooked way), so guests who want a medium-rare burger might be out of luck, but the warm bath will make the burgers tasty enough that no guest will be disappointed.hamburger


Remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, so you may not be able to follow through on every request that comes your way at the grill. But burgers are the crown jewels of every Memorial Day barbecue — you can do them your way and still make it a memorable holiday for everyone!

Last-Minute Memorial Day Camping Ideas

campingYou have a three-day weekend coming up and the weather is just warm enough to sleep outside under the stars! It’s time to go camping and we have 4 last-minute Memorial Day camping ideas.

Backyard Camping If you have kids to entertain this weekend, you may want to take baby steps to get into the camping mood. Start small with a backyard camping trip. Have the kids pack a sleeping bag and backpack with the things they need to survive a night in the backyard and make believe you’re really in the woods. Heat up the grill and make all the things you might eat on a camping trip in the wild — hot dogs, hamburgers, hobo dinners, s’mores — to get them ready for a night of ghost stories.LTD-sleeping-bags

RV Camping If you want to get away from home but need all of the comforts while you’re becoming one with nature, check out RV rentals around town. Once you have one locked down for the weekend, all you have to do is throw your clothes and gear in the camper and off you go on a mildly wild ride for Memorial Day. It’s a great way for families with small children on an outdoor adventure because you have all your amenities with you — beds, kitchen, bathroom. You’ll have all the fun of being in the countryside without all of the inconveniences.

ltd-camping-grillCar Camping For families with kids that are a little bit older, pack up the car and drive off into nature and rough it for a few days. It doesn’t take too much planning if you have the right gear. Sleeping bags, a campfire grill and clothes that can handle a little wear and tear. Use the daylight hours to go hiking or fishing and use the evening for bonding with the family over a campfire dinner.

Overnight Alternatives If you don’t want to commit to an overnight stay in the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature for your long weekend. Consider packing water and lunches for a day hike. Everyone will get a little bit of exercise while spending time with the family and you’ll still get a breath of fresh air. If hiking is too rigorous an activity, try spending the day on a dock fishing if you’re properly licensed. camping

There are so many ways to spend your holiday weekend — there’s no reason you have to be inside. Any of these ideas will give you the weekend break you need after a long winter at home. Anyway you decide to do it, you’ll have the option of staying close to home in case the weather doesn’t cooperate or you want to join friends and family for a good, old fashioned Memorial Day barbecue.

5 Salads to Try for National Salad Month

May is National Salad Month — with all of our gardens starting to supply our fruits and vegetables and Memorial Day barbecues to plan, it couldn’t come at a better time! We have a few favorites to serve at home to the family or put together for a spectacular cookout. Here are 5 salads to try for National Salad Month.corn salad

Summer Corn Salad Everyone loves corn in the summer, so we had to include a favorite corn salad. Aside from the corn, avocados and tomatoes, this one includes ingredients you probably already have in your pantry: dried basil, dried parsley and Dijon vinaigrette (which you can whip up yourself or buy ready-made). Check out Everyday Mom’s Meals for the instructions.

quinoa-saladSouthwestern Quinoa Salad Quinoa is all the rage these days — it makes sense because it’s a supergrain. It’s not quite like rice, but it’s a good substitute considering all of the health benefits: high in protein, iron, potassium and fiber. Not only is it healthy, it’s also tasty making it a great addition to your summer salads. Our favorite is the Southwestern Quinoa Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen. Black beans, bell peppers and a light citrus dressing makes a satisfying salad you can serve as a side to your grilled kabab or as a cool meal to take with you to work.

orzo-saladMediterranean Orzo Salad Orzo is a fun addition to salad — particularly if you have young, picky eaters in your family! This salad from Iowa Girl Eats is a simple one, but it’s simply delicious! Cherry tomatoes and parsley brightens the flavors while capers and olives give it a bit of saltiness — to balance it all out, the dressing has a little bit of honey for sweetness. If you want to add a little more freshness, seed and dice a cucumber or green pepper to throw in. Anyway you mix it up, you’re going to love it.

bbq-chicken-saladBBQ Ranch Chopped Chicken Salad Of course we have to include a salad that’s not just a side, but a whole meal! This one comes from Chew Out Loud — and this lady should be proud because this salad is amazing! Barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, cheese? In a salad? Yes, please! As long as you have your grill ready, good romaine lettuce and the right beans and corn, you can add something sensational to your summer menu.

Ramen-SaladCrunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad We’re always on a culinary adventure here at LTD, so we have to include a salad outside our comfort food zone. Under that category you’ll find the Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad from Gimme Some Oven. This isn’t quite like how you ate ramen in college — but it’s as easy to make! All you need is a coleslaw mix, toasted sesame seeds, almonds and ramen, a few extra vegetables to make it green, toss it with dressing and you have a potluck salad everyone will envy.

Now that it’s salad season we can start getting excited about all the fun summer activities we’ve been waiting for since the first snowfall. Check back with LTD for more ideas to make this summer memorable.  

 

 

 

6 Trees to Plant in Your Garden

White-Beam

Whitebeam

When we start planning our gardens, our brains take us to all the flowers that decorate our yards and vegetables that fill out our summer menus. The one thing we sometimes overlook are trees to add a little more color and shade for your backyard oasis. Here are 6 trees to plant in your garden.

Whitebeam Whitebeams grow to be about 40 feet tall and are decorated with white blossoms and bright red berries. Not only are whitebeams beautiful, but they work well in gardens because they are very adaptable and can tolerate heat and wind and different types of soil.

Adirondack Crabapple Crabapple trees add a splash of color to any yard or garden, but the Adirondack crabapple is lovely for gardens because they only grow to be about 18 feet high. The delicate white flowers make it a jewel in anyone’s garden crown, but it’s also a very practical tree as it is disease resistant and drought tolerant.

Weeping Birch The weeping birch doesn’t have colorful fruit or blossoms, but its loose, limp branches bring character to a yard. They only reach heights of about 15 feet, so you can almost predict how much shade you’ll get where you plant you weeping birch. The weeping birch needs a lot of sunshine and does well in acid soils.

Judas-Tree

Judas Tree

Judas Tree If there were a tree to illustrate love, it would be the Judas Tree. They’re small with a maximum height of 40 feet so it does well by the garden, but they also decorate the garden with its bright pink blossoms shaped like hearts. To keep Judas Trees lovable, plant them in well-drained soil with full sun or partial shade. One bonus for the Judas Tree is that it’s generally pest-free.

Carolina Silverbell Silverbells are a little bit bigger — they grow to be about 33 feet tall, but the height doesn’t dwarf the impact of their blossoms for which they are named. The tender petals of the white flowers face down like bells. What makes them great for a yard or garden is they are pest-resistant. To keep Carolina silverbells happy, plant them in moist, well-drained acid soil and full sun.

Japanese-Maple

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple The Japanese maple is popular for gardens because they only grow to be about six feet high, but they are also unique looking. The leaves aren’t like regular maple trees — they’re wispy and almost feather-like. Some varieties produce green leaves but others can have deep-red leaves even in the summer. To keep them thriving, plant Japanese maples in a spot with full sun and sandy, well-drained soil.

It’s time to bloom! There are so many plants and accessories to add to your garden — it’s hard to put a limit on your ideas! But LTD Commodities can help you put your gardening ideas into action. From ideas on how to plan a vegetables to products to keep your herbs thriving, shop LTD for everything to get your garden growing.

5 Tips to Save Money as a Maid of Honor

bridesmaidsIt’s the start of wedding season — and if you’ve been given the privilege of taking on the duties of maid of honor, you have a lot of work ahead of you. The work also includes a sizable amount of money to make every step leading up to your friend or relative’s big day. But there are ways to get around going into debt and still make every event special. Here are 5 tips to save money as a maid of honor.

Budget Expectations Let your bride and the bridal party know your budget expectations before planning starts. This may not cut off over-spending before it starts, but it may put everyone on the same page as you coordinate all of your different obligations. If it helps, set aside the money you can use for all of the wedding planning in one account and only withdraw from that account for your wedding expenses. This makes tracking costs easier.

bridesmaidsBook Travel Wisely As soon as you know the dates of the biggest events, start looking into airfares. Fares fluctuate, but there are websites like Kayak that can tell you if you should book now because fares will go up or if you should wait because the fares are expected to go down.

Share The Load As the maid of honor, you’re responsible for making sure things get done, but that doesn’t mean you have to do and pay for everything yourself. Recruit the other bridesmaids to help you decorate, put together menus and coordinate gifts for the shower and bachelorette party. The other ladies will likely want to help out to make all of the events spectacular.

DIY Put on your craft hat and start clipping, gluing and bedazzling. Turn your bachelorette party and bridal shower into a big DIY project. That sash and tiara your bride is wearing for her bachelorette party and all of the favors and food for the shower can be handmade — it’ll save you cash and it will make your efforts all the more appreciated.bridesmaids

Say No The bride is your best friend/sister/cousin and you want her to celebrate exactly the way she wants to, but how she wants to celebrate may not be what you can afford. You’re allowed to say no to things you can’t afford. But when you do say no, be prepared to offer a reasonable alternative to what your bride wants to do.

You’re going to be part of someone’s most memorable day — it doesn’t have to be expensive to be extraordinary. LTD Commodities has gifts and ideas for every occasion — from bridal showers to Christmas dinner, LTD has products priced for fun.

Items We Adore: Product Picks for Mother’s Day

We have exactly one month until Mother’s Day — that seems like a lot of time, but when the sun is shining, time can get away from us! We thought we’d help you out with a little gift planning, so we’ve picked out a few items we think mom would like. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Product Picks for Mother’s Day.heart-handprint-charms

Charm Mom Give mom a little something sparkly to carry thoughts of her little ones on a Birthstone Heart Handprint Charm. Heart-shaped charm has an embossed handprint and a sparkling crystal in their month’s birthstone color. It comes with a touching message printed on a card that accompanies the charm. Charm attaches to her own bracelet with a strong, lobster-claw closure. Add a few charms to the Silver Link Bracelet to start a collection of her loved one’s birthstones and her own. The more charms you add, the more meaningful her bracelet becomes.Chopped-cookbook

Feed Mom For the mom who likes to cook, this is a gift for mom and you! With The Chopped Cookbook, the question, “What’s for dinner?” will never stump you again. The cookbook shows you how to shake up weeknight dinners with 188 appetizing possibilities created with the contents of your fridge. It will guide you in making salad dressings, creating pan sauces, reinventing pastas and more.sports-mom

Equip Mom Help mom out by giving her the gift of stylish practicality with this Sports Mom Rhinestone Tote by Lyn Dorf. On each bag, crystal-clear rhinestones spell out either “Baseball”, “Football”, “Basketball” or “Soccer”. Each “M” in “Mom” is formed by clear rhinestones, with colored rhinestones creating a sports ball for the “O”. tower-planter

Grace Mom This is the gift that keeps on giving all summer long for the mom who loves her flowers. She can add her own plants to this freestanding flower tower planter to grow a tower of beautiful flowers. It has room for 30 nursery plants to grow into lush greenery. The internal watering tube distributes water and fertilizer so plants grow evenly in the display. Tower has finger-hole handles on top to easily move it around the deck or patio. Craft-Organizer

Arm Mom These Owl Print Craft Organizers take the clutter out of mom’s creative spaces! Multiple pockets make it easy for her to sort supplies and handles make them easy for mom to carry. The Tote is surrounded by 9 pockets for markers, paintbrushes, scissors and more. The Bin has 6 pockets on each side. Put needles or pens in the 4 thin pockets and scissors or rulers in the 8 wide pockets. Versatile organizers can also be used to tidy up around the house.

LTD Commodities has hundreds more ideas for Mother’s Day and holidays to come. Whether you’re looking for gifts or decor to make your celebration bright, shop LTD for products priced for fun.

Gardening Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed

It may not feel like it yet, but it’s spring and we’re moving forward as if it’s warm out! Our gardens are almost ready to go, but they’re going to need upkeep all summer long. To maintain the lush green leaves and violet and pink flower petals, we need a few gadgets — some you might not know about! Here are 5 gardening gadgets you didn’t know you needed.Gardening-stool

Wonder Wheels Wheels make the garden green! Maybe not all wheels, but the ones on the Garden Scooter do! Sit comfortably while tending to your flowers and glide along to weed around your vegetables and say goodbye to the aches and pains from kneeling and squatting!

watering-stakesWorry-Free Watering Save your two-liter soda bottles to keep the soil around your plants moist even when you’re not around to water! The Set of 8 Sunflower Watering Stakes adds a little color and a lot of ease to keeping your plants healthy in the summer heat. Fill a plastic bottle with water, and screw it into the flower on the stake’s top. Then, push the spike into the soil to slowly release water into the ground to keep your flowers and veggies green and thriving. Fun and functional to keep your plants looking good.

Squirrel-FeederFun Feedings Need a little backyard entertainment while improving the lives of your furry friends? This Squirrel-A-Whirl Feeder spins with the squirrels’ weight, letting the little acrobats have some fun while grabbing a bite to eat. Attach corncobs, fruit or peanut butter to the 3 dowels. Keep a snack on hand with the Bag of Corn, which includes 12 ears.

Hose-guidesGarden Guidance Garden guidance comes in the shape of frogs, owls or birds at LTD! These little guys protect delicate plants in your yard as Solar Lighted Hose Guides. Drag your hose through the lawn without worrying about damaging your flowers and veggies. That’s just during the day — at night these charming critters sit atop the stake to guard your lawn with a little light powered by the sun! Light shines through cutouts on the creature’s tummy.

Garden-matEffortless Flowers Need an instant flower garden? Here’s your answer to bringing a garden to life with just the roll of a mat with the 3-Pk. Roll-Out Flower Gardens! Each flower mat is pre-seeded with over 1,000 premium wildflower seeds of many varieties. The mat is 100% biodegradable and can be cut to fit window boxes, pots and various-sized flower beds. Blooms germinate in 10-20 days and grow to be 6″-24″ high.

5 Best Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

ChivesMother Nature has been teasing us with the snowy spring weather, but this last storm is not going to break our stride. We’re still planning our gardens as if we didn’t just get a fresh blanket of snow! Right now we’re focusing on adding a little flavor to our gardens with herbs. Herb gardens make so much sense — herbs can get pretty expensive when you buy them fresh — so we’ve put together a list of the best herbs to grow in your garden.

Chives Chives are versatile for cooking — freshly minced, they add bright green to an omelet, give cream cheese a delightful zip or boosts a soup’s freshness. Chives are also rich in dietary fiber, packed with vitamins and an excellent source of folate. While they do so much for our food and bodies, they’re also easy on the eyes. When they’re in bloom, their wisps frame a delicate purple flower that some gardeners use as edging for herb gardens. To make sure they’re as happy as they make us, keep them in full sun. They’re not picky about the dirt they grow in —  they grow well even in poor soil.vertical-planter

Basil Basil is great on pizza, makes pesto perfect and produces a stand out pasta salad. There’s no herb that you’ll use more than basil! Basil is a great source of protein and vitamin E on top of being tasty. Basil plants are bright green and don’t stop growing if they have rich, moist soil and a good six hours of sunshine every day. They’ll be good to plant outside two weeks after the last frost.

rosemaryRosemary There’s no shortage of health benefits from rosemary — it’s good for digestion, makes our hair and skin nice as well as boosts our immune system. In the kitchen, it’s fantastic roasted with chicken, infused with oil for salad dressing or in drinks, it adds a unique layer of flavor to cocktails. In the garden, rosemary brings a garden bed a unique aesthetic. It has leaves that are like soft needles with a piney fragrance. That fragrance is very relaxing — studies have shown that it can actually reduce hormones that make us feel on edge and anxious. If you put it on a garden path for people to brush against, it releases its scent to make your garden a sensory oasis. To care for rosemary, give it full sun with well-drained but moist soil and prune it regularly.dill

Dill Dill can turn just about anything into a summer treat — mixed with Greek yogurt, it makes a fabulous sauce for grilled chicken, it stamps out bland in egg or potato salad and it’s the perfect addition to savory baked goods like scones. Dill is also packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C and folic acid, so you can’t go wrong by sprinkling it on your meal! In the garden, it’s feathery fronds peak out behind adorable yellow blossoms to add a little brightness to your herbs — it’s also a butterfly magnet! To care for dill, give it full sun, plant it in deep soil water it moderately.thyme

Thyme Thyme is a good source of folate, calcium and dietary fiber. It’s also known to lower blood pressure as well as boost your mood. In the kitchen, it’s popular for our holiday dishes — Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t be the same without it! It brings out the flavor in mushrooms, roasted vegetables and poultry. In the garden, thyme is a little different than the other herbs mentioned in that it makes fabulous ground cover. It looks great surrounding garden paths or as a flowery, fragrant blanket peppered with tiny blossoms on a garden bed to attract bees. To care for time, give it full sun and soil that drains well.

Items We Adore: Garden Product Picks

The first day of spring is here! We can already see some of the buds poking up from the ground and we can”t wait to get our hands dirty in the garden! This week we”re looking at all the things we need to make our gardens perfect — and we”ve made a list of a few of our faves! Here are this week’s Items We Adore: Garden Product Picks.

solar-orb

This futuristic Solar Orb Mobile is an interesting element for your outdoor decor. The shimmering orbs automatically light up at dusk. They”re surrounded by spinning rings. A solar panel at the top provides the power for the lights.

 

vertical-planter

Gardeners and non-gardeners alike will love this Polanter Vertical Planter. It”s casino online easy to use, can be hung anywhere and needs less watering than hanging baskets and flower pouches. Use for flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and more. 

wrought-iron-trellis

The Set of 2 Wrought Iron Garden Trellises displays your climbing plants in an especially attractive way. The freestanding trellises, topped with a decorative finial, add a dramatic accent to your yard. Encourage climbing roses, ivy or other flowers and shrubs to cover the heavy-gauge, rustic-finished bars. 

watering-stakes

Maintain your plants indoors and out with a Set of 3 Glass Watering Stakes. Fill these clear, decorative figurines with water, then stake them in any potted plant. The watering stake drips water into the dirt, so your plant is always perfectly watered. 

Wind-bell-tree

Twisted Garden Bell Tree enhances your garden with unique style and sound. It has 6 spiral wires adorned with multicolored acrylic beads and bells at the tips. When the wind blows, the bells create beautiful, harmonic sounds.

7 Container Garden Ideas We Think You’ll Like

Container-GardenGardens aren’t just for those who have big backyards or giant lots in suburban spaces. Perfect gardens can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that don’t have to fit in the confines of a garden plot. At LTD, we’ve been looking at all the fun ways to give our gardens character. This week, we’re all about container gardens. Here are 7 container garden ideas we think you’ll like.

Old Tea Cups Before you send your old dishes off to the thrift store, think about how they might hold some herbs or flowers. If you have a teapot (these are very popular for container gardens) to match your cups, create a flower tea party!

coffee-can-gardenTin Cans Whether you have coffee cans or soup cans, clean them out, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, fill them with soil and seeds and you have a garden. They can be arranged and rearranged to suit your mood, painted to give your patio a pop of color or mounted to create a vertical garden. The Newly Woodwards hung their coffee can planters along the fence to create a welcoming yard — tin cans are about as versatile of a planting vessel as you can find!

Tool & Tackle For those who have a handyman and angler in their lives, old tool boxes and tackle boxes make spectacular container gardens. You really only need casino online to punch a few holes in the bottom of the box for drainage and you have a themed planter. The same idea can be used for those old themed lunch boxes you can’t bare to throw away but don’t have any use for.

soda-bottle-gardenPlastic Soda Bottles Plastic soda bottles can be hacked up into planters of all shapes. Cut off the top and you have a steady container to put anywhere. RiteMail cut out the middle of many bottles and strung them together to create a vertical garden that covers an outdoor wall. The same idea can be used for something on a smaller — but still impressive — scale.

Kitchen Garbage An old lemon peel or an empty egg shell make sweet planters if you plan well. Cut (or crack) the top off your lemon (or whatever piece of fruit or egg shell), scoop out the middle and prepare it for drainage and add the appropriate seeds (small plants and flowers) for your natural planters.

Furniture Not all furniture is in the right condition to become a container garden. They have to have some sort of base or foundation remaining to stand up straight — for instance, you may not be ready to get rid of that antique chair with a missing leg, but that doesn’t mean it should be made into a planter. But that chest of drawers that’s taking up space in the garage may be able to hold all of your favorite plants with plenty of drainage to keep them healthy.

croc-container-gardenShoes They may not be fit to run another marathon, or support you at your next formal dinner, but you can get more mileage out of any shoe in the garden! One family took rubber shoes, made them into planters and hung them on a fence to create an outdoor vertical garden. It’s one more reason to buy new shoes.

From ski boots to a dresser drawer, just about anything can be turned into a garden! As gardening season picks up, LTD has more ideas and products to give you the garden you want to take care of.