Giveaway: Char Crust and Trader Joe’s

This Saturday I’m giving away two fun food-related items.  The first is a set of spice packs called Char Crust Rubs.  These rubs are to be used on meat when barbecuing to add flavoring and a nice crust.  Recently I was sent four different varieties to sample, and the winner of this giveaway will be sent those same four flavors.  The flavors include: All American Barbecue, Roasted Garlic Peppercorn, Amazin’ Cajun, and Ginger Teriyaki.  The 4-ounce boxes  at $5 each are a mite pricy, but I’ve gotten 2 or 3 meals out of one box for my family.  So for an average size family they will probably last even longer.

The second item in this giveaway is a cookbook called Cooking With Trader Joe’s Cookbook: Pack a Lunch! As you might guess, a lot of the recipes in this book include specialty ingredients from Trader Joe’s.  Because I don’t happen to have a Trader Joe’s in my area, I wasn’t sure if the book would work well for me.  But on closer inspection I decided it’d be relatively easy to find similar items at any grocery store.  So I don’t think you’d need access to Trader Joe’s to enjoy this cookbook.  Recipes that caught my attention included:  Toasted English Muffins with Avocado and Hummus, and Lentil Salad with Pancetta and Sausage.

To enter this drawing, you can comment below and share one of two things:  either tell me about your favorite barbecue recipe, or describe the most interesting thing you pack in lunches for yourself or for your kids.  I’ll choose one winner on Tuesday to win both these items!


  1. Angela Mayer says:

    The most interesting thing that lands in my hubby’s lunch is leftovers from dinner the night before! True, if that was curry, it is certainly interesting and draws the attention of the office when it gets reheated. 🙂

  2. For lunch I will have tuna salad in a roll hollowed out. My 3 yr old nephew loves it that way too. But then the other thing we like (my husband and I) are chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

  3. We like to grill pineapple; very nice! I am not the best lunch packer, I admit. I need some help so I hope I win! Sometimes I will use pita bread instead of regular bread – does that count? 🙂

  4. I’m so excited… Trader Joes is opening a location in my city!

    My go-to easy lunch for myself is a bean and cheese burrito… just refried beans and shredded cheese. I think that is delicious but not very exciting… having grown up right near Mexico. But my coworkers in the south think it’s interesting!

  5. These look great! I am always looking for fun lunch ideas.

    One of my favorite things to pack for lunch is homemade dehydrated apples and nuts for a homemade trail mix.

  6. Definitely hummus — I could eat it every day!

  7. apples. we love apples. and the fact that there is no wrapping.

  8. Our favorite barbecue recipe is marinated flank steak – the marinade recipe came in the Weber barbecue cookbook 🙂

  9. I love Trader Joe’s! The nearest one is an hour away, so we stop in every time we go to that area.
    For my kids’ lunches I usually do: a sandwich (cheese, PB or nutella), a fruit, some probably not so healthy store bought item (granola bar, rice cakes, etc), and a protein(egg white, cottage cheese, yogurt, trail mix).
    My husband’s lunches are always leftovers… causing a lot of funny looks at work when he takes Ethiopian or Indian food. 🙂

  10. My favorite BBQ is anything that my dad makes, which really isn’t a recipe … So, I guess the most interesting thing we eat for lunch is called “clown face.” It’s something my Grandma started with me when I would visit and now I do it with my kids. I find a variety of finger foods in various colors and shapes and use them to form a clown face on their plate (so, a cherry tomato for the nose, a couple of cheese cubes for the eyes, etc.) It’s super quick and lots of fun for the kids.

  11. we bought a side of beef this year — we are grilling a lot of steaks! ymm!

  12. We like to grill chicken spiedies, a tradition for the part of upstate New York I was born in. 🙂
    By the way I read your $75 Dinners book and LOVED it!!!

  13. Mindy Kroesche says:

    I love to grill steak that’s been marinated for several hours. We have several recipes that we really like that make a very tender, flavorful steak.

  14. I love Trader Joe’s! When we lived overseas (esp in Maur, which was sorely lacking in the shopping dept unless you LIKE a lot of goat and long-life milk), the stores I missed were Fred Meyer’s, Trader Joe’s, and of course Powells.

    We love mishwi, which is the Arabic word for barbecue, and lately we love shish kabobs. To make, take ground lamb and super-finely-minced onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Pat into thin circles around a flat skewer, and grill over very hot coals. Eat with Arabic bread, salad and pickles. MMMMMMMM!!! SOOO good!

  15. Jennifer says:

    My fave BBQ is when the hubby gets out the smoker and we throw as many chooks on it that can fit. Then all the meat we don’t eat gets shredded and frozen for future use- enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches, the lot!

  16. Oh goodness, I pack SUCH boring lunches…I really need this cookbook!

  17. My favorite bbq recipe is bbq pork on nachos with lettuce,tomatoes,cheese, and ranch dressing

  18. Jessie C. says:

    I like grilled teriyaki chicken.

  19. Sharalee says:

    Our favorite BBQ recipe probably isn’t even a recipe, but we love to make it!!! Pork steaks with Lawry’s season salt and for a side twice baked potatoes! They are great regardless, but with a little extra smokey flavor from the grill they are delish!

  20. This cookbook sounds great, I love Trader Joe’s. We don’t get to visit often but when we do I stock up!
    Often when I have to pack a lunch I end up throwing in some muffins and a piece of fruit. It would be great to get some new ideas!

  21. I’ll never forget the time (back in the day when I only had one kid) I sent some hard-boiled eggs, a piece of cheese, some bread and butter and a piece of fruit with my daughter. The daycare provider called me and asked me where her sandwich was and proceeded to give her a pb&j because I guess lunch isn’t lunch without a sandwich.

  22. My favorite BBQ is Korean kalbi. LOVE!

  23. My favorite bbq recipe is to get in the van and drive 22 miles to Rudy’s BBQ in Round Rock. They make the absolute best brisket and also spicy sausage links.I mean hello! Not quite a recipe but it’s a recipe to a satisfied tummy!

  24. Charlotte Scott says:

    We love to make shish kabobs on the grill, beef or chicken with LOTs of fresh veggies, onion, cherry tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms. YUM. We also like to cook asparagus, corn, onions and anything else you can eat on the grill. We have also done pizzas on the grill.

    For lunches, I try to keep it fun but it does seem monotonous day after day. I like to put veggies and dip or some peanut butter with some apples for dipping. My favorite thing to pack is a little love note, sometimes even written on the napkin. 🙂

  25. Elizabeth says:

    The most interesting thing is probably homemade freezer burritos for my hubby’s lunch. It’s either leftovers, canned soup or something from the freezer for him.

  26. I like to marinate a brisket in Claude’s and then cook it slowly on the smoker. Right before it’s done I add some corn still in the husk to smoke along with the brisket.

  27. we make our own barbecue sauce & love to use it on many things, chicken, ribs, hamburgers….YUM!

  28. anything on the grill is my favorite because it means hubby is cooking and not me! 🙂

    and my lunches are boring – my kids don’t like traditional sandwiches, so most of the time I pack soups, pasta and sauce, yogurt, or fruit salad and crackers or a roll. I usually include a small hersey kiss or some other small chocolate as a little sweet treat.

  29. The most interesting thing I pack in a lunch is steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce. Quicker than making a sandwich since I rinse the frozen shrimp in water and then pop in the microwave. Fast and yummy… beats a sandwich any day!

  30. My most interesting lunch…probably a kiwi cut in half and scoop it out with a spoon. I eat frozen peas also…frozen. I like the crunch 🙂

  31. jennifer bubolz-miller says:

    my son loves cottage cheese sandwiches

  32. Lauren H says:

    Recently, the most interesting lunch item has been tomato-basil mozzarella string cheese!

  33. One of my favorite lunch combos is pretty basic, but good every time. I love eating pretzels and slices of cheddar cheese (or a string cheese). It’s just so good! 🙂

  34. Caesar salad is in high demand right now.

  35. I don’t find my lunches all that interesting because they are leftovers. However, my co-workers do because I am one of the few people at my work who cooks regularly.

  36. The most interesting thing I pack in my lunch is Skyr. I love Icelandic yogurt! It reminds me of my favorite place in the whole world. 🙂

  37. Hmm, our lunches are not interesting & I don’t barbecue. I love leftovers for lunch, but that does not happen frequently with 6 sons. I love chips, cheese & salsa.

  38. My daughter needs to bring an avocado every time I pack her lunch 🙂

  39. Marinade anything (chicken, beef, pork) in soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, onions and a little ginger.

  40. I love Trader’s! We have one within walking distance, I buy as much as I can there. However some items they sell I have no clue but would love to get recipes to know how. Well my son I sometimes pack the air popped chips bbq that they sell from TJ’s. My boyfriend and I usually eat left over dinners. Even though when it gets scarce in the house I kind of just make things up like one time I had green beans with salsa because that’s all we had left before I could go shopping. I never tried it before that and wasn’t too sure but it turned out to be very yummy!!!

  41. Melissa McDowell says:

    I am always looking for new ways and meats to barbeque. The most challenging meat was alligator steaks (from the tail), many years ago when it was a (legal) novelty. Lots of tomato sauce, lemon, and tabasco for the base, with a shot or two of sherry and basil (the secret ingredient). Marinated it first, then grilled it. Tasty–sort of between chicken and pork loin.

    That was probably the most interesting thing I ever put in a lunch bag, too. Although on occasion I have packed for myself some white chocolate macadamia nut torte. These days, when I need to bag a lunch, it’s more often than not some chicken salad and cheese from Trader Joe’s just down the street, along with some of its more interesting pita crackers or bread.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win the cookbook and spices. Bon appetit!

  42. Tortilla rolled up with peanut butter and bananas. So yummy!

  43. Lucy Kohnen says:

    I love these cookbooks! I pack lots of chopped vegis ~ my workmates always think it’s weird that I munch on raw zucchini. My daughter gets cut up hotdogs w/ ketchup for dipping. 🙂

  44. My favorite BBQ is pulled pork with Rudy’s (Austin, TX) rub and served with Rudy’s sauce. My husband makes it in the smoker. The funny thing is I’m not even a pork fan, but there is something about the pulled pork that is different!

  45. Wow, nice cookbook.
    good luck to everyone.

  46. I always pack the leftovers for the next day lunch. The funniest one was when my son took risotto with shrimp to school and the other first graders thought they were bugs ;o)

  47. My favorite interesting lunch was making a tupperware tub of caprese salad with TJ’s small fresh mozzerella, etc., and brought along pitas for stuffing at lunch time. Also had TJ’s lemonade!

  48. Today I am having the Trader Joe’s hearts of palm salad and a cooked Trader Joe’s artichoke (they’re on sale at an AWESOME price) – am working the Trader Joe’s this week (and every week) – LOVE, LOVE the variety of lunchbox possibilities with TJ’s! Endless LOVE!

  49. One of my favorite new snacks are frozen grapes. I’ve recently started placing crushed ice inside a ziploc bag and then placing a handful of grapes, along with the bag in a container and then by lunch my grapes are still frozen.

  50. Heather J. says:

    Over the weekend we did a ‘grilled thai chicken satay with peanut sauce’. It was SOOOO good! Definitely a new favorite!