In Episode 012 Taryn talks with Ramona Cruz-Peters from Fab Everyday about a fabulous idea for a Memorial Day cookout – a hot dog bar! Ramona goes over a ton of topping options that are sure to please any palate, including some really fun and interesting combos like a Banh Mi dog, a Mac and Cheese dog, and a Reuban dog! She describes all the things you’ll need to consider to host a successful gathering without a hitch, including setup, decor, and recipes for side dishes. She also mentions her latest cookbook, which focuses on Instant Pot cooking.
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Bio: Ramona Cruz-Peters is a cookbook author and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fab Everyday®, a lifestyle website and social media presence that reaches over 10 million people per month. Through Fab Everyday, Ramona inspires people to incorporate more fabulousness in everyday life through quick recipes, easy home décor and entertaining ideas, and life hacks. Ramona currently lives in Texas with her husband, two kids, and three dogs.
The following are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Beginners
- 30 Minute Instant Pot Cookbook: Quick & Easy Recipes for Every Meal
- Pit Boss Smoker
- Red Gingham Checkered Tablecloth
- Red Food Baskets
- Printables from Pocket Change Gourmet
- Truffle Mayonnaise
These are some of the recipes mentioned by Ramona in the episode. They are on her website, Fab Everyday, except where noted.
- Hot Dog Bar Topping Ideas
- Instant Pot Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Potato Salad (Hot Pan Kitchen)
- Grilled Corn on the Cob (Hot Pan Kitchen)
- Apple Broccoli Slaw (Hot Pan Kitchen)
- Smoked Crab Legs (How To BBQ Right)
- Garlic Lime Grilled Fish Tacos
Taryn Solie: Hello grillers! Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and today’s episode is perfectly timed for it. I talk with Ramona Cruz-Peters from Fab Everyday and we go over a really fun cookout idea that would be great for a large or small crowd.
You may notice in this episode I have a little bit of raspiness to my voice thanks to a cold I had at the time, but thankfully I don’t think it detracts from all the great ideas Ramona mentioned.
Before we get started, if you like listening to the guests I bring on I’m going to remind you to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast! It really helps the podcast be seen by others who are interested in food and grilling. Now, let’s get into the episode.
Taryn Solie: Hello! Today on the podcast, we have a Ramona Cruz-Peters. Ramona is a cookbook author and the founder and editor in chief of Fab Everyday, a lifestyle website and social media presence that reaches over 10 million people per month. Through Fab Everyday, Ramona inspires people to incorporate more fabulousness and everyday life through quick recipes, easy home decor and entertaining ideas, and life hacks. Ramona currently lives in Texas with her husband, two kids and three dogs. Ramona, welcome to the podcast.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Thank you so much for having me.
Taryn Solie: I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you. I think today’s conversation is going to be really fun. We’re going to discuss the holiday that’s just right around the corner, Memorial Day, and kind of a fun way to host a gathering for that. But before we do that, Ramona, I’d love for you to tell people a little bit about your background, kind of how you became an expert on entertaining and all that entails.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Well, thank you so much again for having me. I love entertaining. So this is a really fun topic. We love outdoor entertaining, especially. So Fab Everyday actually began around 2008. Uh, it was around the time I was planning my wedding. I was working in corporate marketing at the time, and I would do events for work, and planning my wedding was such a huge event planning experience, and I started documenting a lot of that online, actually on theknot.com for other, uh, other people planning their weddings at the same time, just to kind of help pay it forward, pay what I learned forward, help them with event planning advice.
And once the wedding planning ended, I realized that I really liked that. I loved entertaining. I loved finding new ideas and sharing them with others and I needed an outlet for that. So I was still working in corporate marketing for several more years, but, um, but I did start Fab Everyday, my own personal blog in 2008, kind of right after, after my wedding.
And it began really as an outlet to share my personal hobbies. I like to think of myself as kind of a modern day, Martha Stewart. So I love entertaining. I just love hosting kind of as a hobby and I wanted a place for that to live online. And then, you know, several years later it just started growing and growing and I got more and more out of it personally and eventually left my full-time job in corporate marketing and PR in 2018.
So about 10 years after beginning my blog, it kind of became, uh something where Fab Everyday had a lot more opportunities and became something even bigger. So I made the plunge. And it’s been my full-time job ever since.
Taryn Solie: Wow. That’s amazing. Kind of a long, long runway to like, get to where you are today, but that’s, I mean, it can take a lot of time to like grow and it seems like you’ve got a really great thing going on.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yeah. It’s awesome. You know, I think corporate world is so, you know, you kind of get comfortable in what you know, in the familiar, the familiar ways of getting paid, for example and you know, the blogging world and the content creation world by this kind of the wild west for a bit. And you know, it took me a while just to feel comfortable enough making the switch, but I haven’t looked back ever since, and I love it.
So if anyone is thinking about switching to doing what you love as a passion for a living, I highly recommend it. If you can.
Taryn Solie: Good. So entertaining in general and you ment- you’re in Texas, which I think has probably a lot more opportunity. I’m in Seattle, so there’s probably a lot more opportunity to entertain outdoors in Texas than there are in Seattle.
Has your family always been into like grilling and entertaining outdoors, or is that something that, um, you learned kind of later on to do.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: So it started actually, when I was living, I grew up in Southern California. And so it began there. I was used to being able to be outdoors any time of year in Southern California.
And outdoors kind of gives you this unlimited amount of space to host people. And it’s just always lovely in California. So we we’ve loved doing outdoors for a long time in Texas. We really have to focus that around the spring and the fall, just because it’s really hot in the summer. So we do a lot of cooking and grilling still in the summer, but we bring the party back indoors usually.
But yeah, no, in Texas, when that weather is in that sweet spot, which is right now and then in the fall, perfect timing for tailgating, I should say, we take advantage of it and we cook and hang out outdoors as much as we can until we get to that really humid time of year.
Taryn Solie: Gotcha. Okay. So little, yeah. In the Seattle we’re, like, bring on the summer because that’s when like prime grilling time for us, for sure.
So now I do want to ask you because as someone who is in Seattle, um, and I think probably northerners kind of in general have this, the difference between a cookout and a barbecue. I did not know this, but there are two different things. So can you talk a little bit about the difference?
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yes. And I did learn this the hard way from my born and breed Texan husband. So we’re in Texas now. That’s where he’s from. He met me in California and I’d always thought, anytime you slap something on a grill and cook it outside, that that was barbecuing.
Taryn Solie: Same.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: And I have come to learn as I’m, as I’m sure anybody listening from the south would wholeheartedly agree that that is not the same.
It is a cookout. You are grilling, you are cooking out. You are not necessarily barbecuing unless you’ve got- well and you know what might be different in, say North Carolina or somewhere else, I’m not sure. So I’m speaking more from the Texas perspective, but for Texans, barbecue is much more like a smoking, um, experience.
It’s when food is not just grilled, but usually enclosed. And so you kind of get that, uh, that cooking happening kind of, not just from the heat source under you, but really from the environment that’s around the food. So think brisket, you know, we have a lot of brisket, pulled pork. Um, yes, we definitely do smoke, um, hot dogs.
We definitely smoke, uh, sausages, steaks, you know, you name it. But we don’t call it a barbecue unless it’s kind of enclosed and often it’s got that sauce or a great smoky flavor from a smoking type of environment.
Taryn Solie: Gotcha. And I’ve, I have heard too, that barbecues are more of like an all day, people are hanging out kind of like that’s sort of- where cookout is little, maybe a little more focused sort of thing.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I mean, for us, it’s every tailgate weekend and that’s another big thing in the south. I know everyone loves football but the south really, really loves football. And so in the fall, you really are, tailgates are just a big, uh, barbecue. You know, we’ve got the guy that brings the smoker. We’ve got, you know, people that bring, you know, the different necessary pieces of equipment and they start early, early in the morning so that everybody’s ready to, you know, eat by the time we get there.
Taryn Solie: Oh, I love it. Oh, that’s so fun. Okay. So. Let’s get into, we’ll call this a cookout idea because it’s not technically a barbecue idea, for Memorial day. So what- you told me this idea, and I’m going to let you present it because I think it’s such a fun idea.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Sure. So, uh, how we, how this idea came about is my brother-in-law, his birthday- he’s living, living here in Texas, not too far from us. His birthday is around the 4th of July. And so we do, even though it is a little hotter that time of year, we do love to cook outside and celebrate outdoors for his birthday. And, um, he wanted to do something fun and different. You know, we wanted to have a bunch of people over outdoors and in the past, we, we love, uh, these kinds of grilling holidays.
We love Memorial Day, we love Labor Day, we love 4th of July and we try to think of something unique every time. For example, we’ll do a crawfish boil one year and you know, things like that. But for this one particular year, um, we came up with the idea of a hot dog bar as a way to please people that had different, uh, different dietary needs, different taste needs.
Uh, at the time my brother-in-law was living a keto lifestyle. So he loved the idea of, you know, having all this meat and maybe fun things to top, he didn’t necessarily want the bun. And then we had a bunch of people with kids coming and we wanted things that were kid friendly and classic, and then it kind of really spiraled from there.
We started thinking, man, there’s so many different toppings you could go for. And so I kind of took it upon myself to create almost a suggested set of hotdog bar menu kind of combinations that you could do, along with your traditional toppings so that people could mix and match, make whatever they wanted. I really kind of do whatever worked for them, dietary need wise.
And then we could also make some suggestions, you know, for some really specialty kind of gourmet dogs, if you will.
Taryn Solie: Yeah, this is, this is so- I love this idea so much because I think it covers so many good bases. Like you just mentioned where like hot dogs are like the quintessential kid food. Like any, almost any kid is going to be like, I actually have a niece who is like vegan, vegetarian, but she still eats hot dogs.
Like hot dogs are her one thing that she still likes. I love this idea. I think it’s so fun. So I would love it, if you could walk people through like the steps for making a really awesome hot dog bar for Memorial Day or any other like, hosting day, right.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Sure. So, you know, you definitely want to pull it together with some kind of a color scheme, if you can know. I know the aesthetics isn’t important to everybody, but for me, I like to at least think of, you know, even if I’m not going, you know, a huge theme, I love to have kind of a similar color scheme. So, because it was Memorial Day, I started thinking in kind of a gingham and, uh, you know, kind of that outdoor cookout kind of look, so went for a kind of gingham tablecloth.
Uh, just really, really simple, you know, there’s checkered tablecloths. Uh, we got a bunch of those plastic deli baskets. Like you would get maybe at a ballpark and those checkered liners to kind of coordinate and then tied it all together with some just free printable signs that I found online actually from, uh, from another blogger.
Um, I think, uh, the blog is called Pocket Change Gourmet is where I saw these, and I think it was that very, um, it works for 4th of July or Memorial Day, it was kind of that stars and stripes, you know, red and blue type of look. So, you know, those were just the little things we did to kind of tie together a theme and make it look aesthetically pleasing.
But really the effort goes into setting up those different toppings for people and how you organize them. So that’s the, that’s the fun part. Uh, and it’s actually not as complicated as you think when you have kind of a fixed menu like hotdogs. If you focus really on getting those all grilled, you know, in the morning, even keep more coming as needed for the guests when they’re there, then you can spend the time prepping the sides the night before and the morning of, and it’s not nearly as complicated as it might sound, uh, given all the different toppings that, that we, uh, that we were using.
Taryn Solie: That, so for- cause you’re right. Like the toppings are like the big thing, like you could, I would imagine you would have also other types of sides that like maybe some coleslaw or some chips or like that sort of stuff as well.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: And some of those sides are actually toppings as well. If you get creative enough with them. So the sides that we had, I mean, really for anything like this, you can have just your standard cookout side dishes because you know, hot dogs go with almost anything on the cookout, traditional cookout menu. So, you know, for us, that’s baked beans, that’s potato salad. We love corn on the cob. We love to grill corn on the cob too. Uh, then mac and cheese is a topping and a side. Uh, col- coleslaw is a topping and a side, uh, things like that. So, um, you can really get creative and, and that’s, what’s really fun too. As you see people just- they can start with kind of some of the starting ideas that I’ll share here in a moment. And then, um, other than that, that they can really kind of make that perfect dog out of the buffet, just with whatever pleases them.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. So tell, so let’s get into the topping ideas cause you had. On your site, you had so many different fun ones that I had never thought of, including the mac and cheese dog that you had, you just mentioned. So let’s walk through those, go ahead and walk through those.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Sure. I’ve got a bunch and there’s a few more and I’ll probably go ahead and update the site too, because I started thinking back. My family loves baseball. We love baseball. We travel, often we do road trips just to visit different major league stadiums. And we have found some delicious hotdog combinations from the ballparks as well.
I’ve added a few that I’ll talk about today and I’ll, I’ll update the blog post then if anyone wants to check it out, because as some of those ballparks have some really cool things. Mac and cheese dogs, actually, that’s where we first discovered it was from, um, it was at Comerica park where the, uh, where the Tigers play.
So, uh, yeah, so that’s a fun one, but, um, yeah, I’ll go ahead and list off some of the ones that we love along with their ingredients. And, uh, again, you can pick and choose. I think that’s the thing that, that I love to think about at Fab Everyday. You don’t have to make everything a copycat of what I do. I like to present a lot of ideas so that you can pick and choose what works for you. And leave the rest.
Uh, but that one of my very favorite ones was a banh mi dog. And actually, I think you’ll see a theme with some of these first few dogs they’re sandwiches, essentially that I turn into hot dog toppings. The first, uh the first, if it works on the sandwich, why can’t it work on a hot dog? A hot dog is a sandwich after all. So, um, banh mi, uh, that’s a great one.
Pickled veggies. And it’s actually surprisingly easy to do a quick pickled veggie that works for a banh mi. Um, cucumbers, carrots, and radishes, uh, specifically, and a spicy mayo, that’s really all you need. And that is a really simple, but very savory and delicious dog. Uh, then we have a Cuban sandwich version, uh, which is ham.
You can shred up or slice up just some great black forest ham, uh, some Swiss cheese and pickles. My very favorite sandwiches, a Reuben sandwich. So I had to represent that one. Uh, Reubens, uh, you put a Swiss cheese again, you’ve got sauerkraut, thousand island, and optionally, you can even do some shredded or chopped corn beef brisket.
So if you’ve got some of that left over from something, or you want to just get some from a deli, you can just double, double protein it up there. Uh, and then we’ve got this one that I found online, um, from, uh, uh, actually from the website Vice, I call the swanky dog. And this one, my, one of my kids really loves this one.
It’s, uh, truffle mayonnaise, bacon, shredded Gruyere cheese. And, uh, that, that website also included kind of a celery relish, but I don’t know if that’s necessary. I feel like the truffle mayo, bacon, and Gruyere is- that’s epic. So.
Taryn Solie: That sounds amazing. Oh my gosh.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: It’s good. Um, we love, yeah. One of my kids was very kind of bougie, loves that truffle, so we love it.
Um, a Greek dog, and again, these are all things that once your brain starts kind of flowing with things like these, a lot of these ideas will come up. So a Greek Doug with tzatziki sauce, uh, crumbled feta, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion. And then as you’re starting to see with these too, a lot of these toppings, are just your traditional hot dog toppings that people can easily mix and match or just pick what they like.
Um, the Mac and cheese one I mentioned before, that’s a really good, I recommend, I mean, really it’s just Mac and cheese. You can get, uh, make your own, or you can get a store, store ready side, add some crumbled bacon and some green onion on there to make it kind of a loaded Mac and cheese.
Taryn Solie: Oooo, yeah.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: The California dog, which is avocado, sprouts., Uh, mayonnaise. I do love mayonnaise on my hot dogs, personally. I know some people are very particular about the, the, the condiments they use. But I love mayo. Um, this one is one that I just discovered at the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase field. The Arizona Diamondbacks play there. We found a, I think they call it a tater tot dog, but I’m calling it kind of a tacho dog because it reminds me of it’s like nachos made out of tater tots that go on a hot dog.
Taryn Solie: Oh!
Ramona Cruz-Peters: This is what is, its tater tots. It’s um, chili. It’s nacho cheese. What else did that one have, green onions, sour cream. It was really truly, almost, like, nachos, but with tater tots on a hot dog.
Taryn Solie: Oh my gosh.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yeah.
Taryn Solie: It sounds so decadent.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: It was! It came on one of those big, you know, 12 inch hot dogs too at the, at the ballpark. And so one of my kiddos and I shared that one, it was great. Um, could do a Buffalo dog with hot wing sauce, crumbled blue cheese, like shredded mozzarella.
Taryn Solie: Oh yeah.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Um, a Hawaiian dog. Which is simple enough, you can just put some teriyaki on there and pineapple chunks or, um, I would recommend taking it a step further and grilling those pieces of pineapple with your hot dogs.
Taryn Solie: That is my favorite, grilled pineapple is so good.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: It is so good. It really, I don’t know what it is. There’s certain fruits and foods that just. The grilling, just brings something special out and pineapple is one of them. And so that’s a great one. Um, you could go kind of traditional with a Chicago dog, um, which is a traditional Chicago hot dog, uh, would be yellow mustard, um, chopped white onions, uh, sweet pickle relish.
A pickle spear as well, a dill pickle spear. So you’ve got double pickle action on that one. Sliced tomatoes, or wedges of tomatoes would work as well. Um, and pickled peppers and celery salt. So that’s fun. And anybody that’s from Chicago, they might like seeing that set of toppings there for a little bit of nostalgia.
And then of course you gotta have your ketchup, your mustard. Although some people I know would argue ketchup does not belong on hotdog. I know there’s a lot of debates, I think among Northeasterners about-
Taryn Solie: Oh!
Ramona Cruz-Peters: About what, I think that- my dad, my dad’s from New York and he, he thinks ketchup is just not allowed on hotdogs, so.
Taryn Solie: I have not heard this. We are ketchup and mustard sort of people over here. So,
Ramona Cruz-Peters: I mean, you gotta have it all there anyway, give people their options. Right. But it’s fun. And then you might, you know, spark some fun party debate too.
Taryn Solie: For sure.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: It’s entertainment.
Taryn Solie: I’m gonna, I’m going to give you another, a Seattle dog topping. Have you heard of the Seattle dog?
Ramona Cruz-Peters: I’ve heard of them. I don’t know if I’ve ever had one, but I do feel like I’ve seen them on the menu at places.
Taryn Solie: They’re very good. Uh, they, I hope I don’t get this wrong because the ones that I’m used to, I’m like, oh, I think this is, I don’t eat a lot of hot dogs as much anymore, certainly from a cart, but it’s the hot dog and you put grilled onions and cream cheese on it.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Okay. I would try that.
Taryn Solie: I know it sounds weird, but it’s very, very good. And you don’t, I mean, you don’t have to, like, you can put just like a little bit of cream cheese if you’re a little hesitant or whatever, but it is so- I never would have thought it. And then I had one and I was like, okay, this is delicious. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna give that to you as like a suggestion for that, to update that post with, for sure.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: I will. The Seattle dog, I like the sound of that. And see, see the onions, I think you can have multiple types of onions on your hot dog bar. I would put chopped red onion, chopped white onion, grilled onions. That’s a great choice. Even fried onions. You know, if you’ve got those French’s fried onions, those are super savory. So, I mean, those are the kinds of things you just have, not necessarily for one of these theme dogs, but just there, you know, a la carte. All of the onions you’ve got to have that. You gotta have relish for folks, of course, too, um, mayo, uh, sauerkraut, which, you know, those were part of some of those other themed ones, but you know, some people do love a sauerkraut just with their, with their dogs or their sausages.
Um, sriracha sauce. Chili and cheese, if someone just wanted to make a chili cheese dog and pickled jalapenos. I think I mentioned earlier coleslaw as a side dish, but you can put some coleslaw, black beans, even some barbecue sauce on a hot dog. Or you could do black beans, guacamole, and salsa and make it kind of a Southwest style dog.
Um, and you can do sweet salsas for that matter, you know, kind of a mango or a pineapple salsa.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: So those are, um, those are good. And then kind of finally, this is another one that it’s not, it’s not in my blog post, but I love it. Being from LA, um, we have these great street vendor dogs, um, and I forget what they call them.
Specifically, but really they’re kind of synonymous with LA you know, the street vendors on every corner, you know, in the major part of, tourist parts of the cities or at Dodger games, for example, will have these hot dogs wrapped in bacon. So they’re grilled, wrapped in bacon and it’s served with almost like a fajita set of grilled veggies. So you’ve got some onions and peppers.
Taryn Solie: Oh, I have never had one of those. That sounds really good.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: They are really good. And I always just think of them as like LA street dogs, you know the street vendor type of hot dogs. But I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a specific name for them. I just, you know, I always got them, you know, after a late night out in Hollywood or we’re at a Dodger game or something, for example.
Taryn Solie: Oh, that’s so, okay. This- there’s so many ideas. So can you help people? Because that, I mean like all the ideas that we covered, which are numerous, are super fun, but I would, unless you’re hosting like 300 people, I would imagine you would not have all of those ideas, you know, you wouldn’t have the toppings for all of the ideas.
So how, what suggestions do you have for people to kind of narrow it down? Um, based on either like the number of people they’re hosting or like their knowledge of like their family or that sort of stuff.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Right. So that’s a great question. I think it really comes down to how well do you know your crowd? Because you might know right off hand, oh, so-and-so loves this type of a thing.
Or I know the kids are going to go crazy over this particular thing. So if you know your crowd, definitely kind of hone in on what you think is going to get the most bang for your buck. You can also look at topping combinations that kind of cross over, any of the ingredients that crossover between a few, because then it makes sense, you know to have both of those options.
Um, but you know, also how much prep you’re willing to do. Because some of these it’s super simple things like the Hawaiian dog with the teriyaki and pineapple, the Mac and cheese dog, those are all kind of simple. Just throw them together type of things. But if you wanted to do say the Greek dog or the banh mi dog, that’s going to take you more prep and you’re going to prep, have to cut more veggies, buy more ingredients, um, you know, pickle the ve- uh, you know, the veggies for the banh mi. And, which none of these are difficult, but you really want to look at your own appetite because you’ve got to enjoy.
And I mean, a appetite more in the sense of what you’re willing to take on, because you know, you want to enjoy the event too. You don’t want to be stressed out. So I think, you know, look for ingredients that kind of cross a few different items. Think about what will give you the most bang for your buck. You know, this was when we first did this, it was a really big event.
There were quite a few people there. So we had fun going just all out and allowing people to choose what they want. But, you know, for, you know, for a smaller group, more intimate group kind of pick just your basics, but then also think of like a couple things that you might want them to leave, like with their mind blown. Things that they would have never thought about, you know, the Reuben dog, the Greek dog, you know, those are things that people would never think to top your hot dogs with. And there’ll be talking about that for years to come. So, you know, it’s always fun to kind of surprise and delight.
Taryn Solie: Yeah, for sure. And when you’re, when you were like pr- like for somebody who would be doing this at home, would you recommend having like a sheet of paper or like little cards saying like, this is how you make this type of dog?
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yes. Yes, definitely. So I had, um, for any of the specialty type of dogs, I would put a sign that was kind of like, you know, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with like, uh, going to a Mongolian barbecue or place like that. You can kind of serve yourself, but they have some suggestions on, Hey, this combo is great. So we would have, we’d have cards with every single topping so that people knew what it was.
And in case there was allergies or any people were aware, at least, okay, this is blue cheese, this is nacho cheese, whatever. But then we would have, um, a few bigger signs that were kind of that suggested topping. So it would say, uh, you know, Cubano dog, um, suggested kind of ideas are, you know, your ham, your Swiss, your, um, your relish, uh, whatever it might be so that people could, um, if they wanted to just keep it easy on themselves and go straight for one of those, they could.
Taryn Solie: Got it. Okay. And that’s, I think that would be really helpful because otherwise I’d be like, what are all these toppings for? I don’t, I don’t understand what happening.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: It wouldn’t make sense.
Taryn Solie: Yeah, for sure. So now what are you and your family’s favorite types of hot dogs to make?
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Oh, okay. So we, we are foodie, a foodie family. We’re not really picky, so we try almost anything, but you know, Reuben sandwiches, as I said, that’s, that’s my all time favorite sandwich. So the Reuben dog is one of mine.
My husband is much more of a, I think he likes the classics. And so he would just, kind of, he probably throw some bacon on there too, but really stick with your classic toppings. And then the kids, it’s the Mac and cheese dog. You just can’t go wrong with that one for kids. Um, and then my youngest would just eat hot dogs on their own.
So, I mean, he would just go right back to the, to the hot dog bar and just take straight hot dogs, just on their own and be happy as a clam.
Taryn Solie: Yeah. Yeah. I think mine, my kiddos would be the same way. Just hot dogs are their favorite for sure. I love it. So now I want- one last question and then we’ll give um, a chance to let people know where they can connect with you and that sort of thing. Um, what is your family’s either a tried and true like grilling recipe that you love or something that you might be grilling now that you’re just like really into, non hotdog related.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Non hotdog related. And this one, I’m happy to share this with the world because it has blown our minds- smoked crab legs.
Taryn Solie: Oh!
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Honestly, it’s so unbelievable. Unbelievably easy. I think the recipe that we found was from How To Barbecue Right. Um, the website, a BBQ is, is how it is in the URL. How To BBQ Right. Um, and, oh my goodness. It’s, it’s such a simple method. A lot of people, I don’t think I mean, I don’t think, I haven’t thought about crab legs, you know, in the, in the smoker. We love, we love using our smoker.
We have a Pit Boss brand smoker, and for anyone that’s in the market and researching, we have loved that brand. Um, we did a ton of research comparing it to Traeger and you know, and other things. And we personally feel that Pit Boss is one of the best bangs for your buck out there, quality wise. It’s been, it’s worked solidly for us for, for a while.
But, um, so yeah, so because we love our, uh, we love our Pit Boss smoker. We try to think of unique things. And then my husband actually was trying to think of something, I think for Mother’s Day, last year, for me to, again, surprise and delight. And so we opted to do the crab legs and we’ve done them several times since, because it is so easy and you’ve never had crab that just comes apart this easily. It just separates from the leg in one complete strip, the meat comes out.
Taryn Solie: Oh, nice.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Perfectly tender. Uh, we use, the recipe that we use from How To BBQ Right, it’s got kind of a Cajun butter seasoning on the outside of the legs too. So it’s almost like, you know, a little bit like a crawfish boil or something like that, but with the snow crab legs, and I’m telling you, give it a try.
It has changed everything. We have to, like, we come up with excuses to make it because it’s kind of a special occasion thing, you know, snow crab isn’t the cheapest.
Taryn Solie: Right.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: But it is so worth it. Um, so that. Fish tacos too, I think it’s because we do grill and smoke so much food that you know, where we do ribs a ton. We do things like that. I mean, we smoked, um, ham for Easter.
Taryn Solie: Yeah.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: A lot of the traditional things. So I think it’s fun to do less traditional, so fishes, like fish tacos and these crab legs are kind of real fun for us. Yeah.
Taryn Solie: I love fish tacos are one of my favorite things to eat. I love fish tacos so much. They’re so good. So now quickly kind of before we go, because we’re nearing the end of our time. I know, in addition to grilling, you love other ways to cook including your Instant Pot and you have not one, but now two Instant Pot cookbooks. So can you just, I want to give you a chance to talk a little bit particularly about the newest cookbook, about what’s in it and where people can get it, because while I love to grill and you love to grill we don’t always grill all the time. There are other ways that we cook our food. So please tell us a little bit about that.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Right. And, uh, Instant Pots are my kind of solution for busy, busy nights when I don’t have the time to spend with a meal or, you know, this busy kind of back to school times a year when just everything seems to be going on all at once.
Um, it’s so awesome to have these kind of one pot set it and forget it recipes. And so the Instant Pot, as well as sheet pan recipes, those are kind of my go-to’s during those busy times a year. But, um, my first cookbook was called pressure cooker cookbook for beginners, and it was really to help the folks, uh, and there’s a lot of folks that have the same story that say, oh, I bought my Instant Pot, you know, on black Friday. Cause it was a good deal and everyone said I needed to have one, but it’s in the box still. I’m afraid to use it or I don’t know how. It’s intimidating. So that was the inspiration for my first cookbook, was to help people feel more confident using their devices as a beginner.
Now, my second cookbook, which just came out in April is 30 minute instant pot cookbook. And it’s still a very beginner level. I keep the instructions very clear for you, so you don’t have to stress about it. But, um, really the theme of it is, you know, it’s those nights when we have, you know, school and then baseball practice and this and that, and I really need to get a good hearty dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.
So every recipe in the book, um, can be made in 30 minutes, completely or less. And that includes prep time and time for the pot to reach pressure.
Taryn Solie: Oh wow, that’s a big deal,
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yeah, a lot of Instant Pot recipes, they’ll say, oh, it cooks in two minutes or really it’s, you know, 20 to 40 minutes who even knows with the pressure cooking time. So, um, this book though, everything, completely in under 30 minutes and it’s really made for yeah, for the busy person, the busy person that wants to use their device more, wants to get more bang for their buck with it. But, um, but just, you know, you want something good and you don’t have a lot of time, so I’m really excited about it.
The recipes are delicious and the reviews have been really positive so far. So I’m super excited. You can get it on Amazon, of course, in both Kindle ebook version and paperback, and it’s also available just wherever books are sold. So Barnes and Noble, Target, um, yeah, just keep an eye out for it.
Taryn Solie: Oh, great. Awesome. Well, congratulations on that cookbook. Those, both of them sound really good. I love my Instant Pots, so I will have to check those out for sure. Now, where can people find you and connect with you online?
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Yeah, so you can find me at Fab Everyday dot com for my website or on any social media network pretty much that there is I’m fab everyday, just @fabeveryday.
I often do host Pinterest TV episodes live on Pinterest, where I’m showing you how to cook or entertain or do something for your home. So I kind of bounce back and forth between different lifestyle topics there. So I’ll either be doing a recipe or I’ll be sharing a couple of quick party ideas, which include either the core, um, entertaining tips, uh, quick and easy party recipes, uh, even some easy home decor kind of seasonal trends and things like that too. So do check me out on Pinterest, specifically, if you want to see me in action.
Taryn Solie: Oh, I love it. Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for coming in today. This was such a good conversation. I am so excited to go try a hot dog bar. I hope everyone who’s listening will be excited to try it too. Thank you so much, Ramona.
Ramona Cruz-Peters: Thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.
Taryn Solie: Are you dying to try out your own hot dog bar now? I could not believe how many options Ramona mentioned, and the post on her website has even more! If you get a chance, I very much recommend trying a Seattle dog – they are super delicious.
I’ve included a link to her hot dog bar post on the show notes page, as well as links to other recipes and items we discussed. To get to the show notes page, you can either visit my recipe website at Hot Pan Kitchen (dot) com and click on podcast in the main menu or just click the link that’s provided on whatever platform you’re listening to this podcast on. Thank you for tuning in today and until next time, keep grilling like a mother.
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