Nuts for Nachos

Today I thought that with many schools around the US being off for teacher related stuff this coming week and the kids being home more that it would be good to share something to do during those extra hours, like making nachos together.  So today I’ve got some nacho recipes plus recipes for nacho components to try out.

Nacho Recipes:

Individual nachos

Picadillo nachos

Chicken chili nachos

Pita nachos

Chicken and black bean nachos

Spicy sausage, bean and cheese nachos

Triple pepper nachos

Tequila shrimp nachos

Seafood nachos

Mediterranean nachos

Chorizon nachos

Mole nachos

Pulled pork nachos

Greek pita nachos

Loaded sweet potato nachos

Breakfast nachos

Nacho turkey casserole

Nacho potato skins

Chocolate nachos

Make it Special:

Nacho cheese sauce

Guacamole

Charred tomatillo salsa

Tortilla cups

Tortilla chips

What do you like putting on your nachos?

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Candy Craving

Today I thought it would be fun to take a look at a little candy history. There are tons of great facts around the web so you can do your own research on your favorite candy, but here are some fun facts to get you started.

65% of candy bars were introduced more than 50 years ago including candy corn (1880’s), Reese’s peanut butter cups (1922), Milky Way (1923), Heath Bar (1928), Snickers (1930), M&M’s (1941), Mounds (1947), Dum Dums (1924), Life Savers (1912) and more!

Tootsie rolls:
-created in 1896
-named after the creator’s daughter’s nickname: “tootsie”
-Tootsie pops were created in 1931
-it might take 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
-Solders in WW2 had lots of Tootsie rolls in their packs because of their ability to survive lots of challenging weather

Hershey’s
-kisses came around in 1906-7
-kisses were given colorful wrappers in 1962
-chocolate bar started in 1900
-almonds added in 1908 to the candy bar
-miniature bars added in 1939
-the theme park comes around in 1973 and decides to offer nutritional information on the wrappers

Even more candy fun:
-Life Savers started as just peppermint savers
-President Nixon used to eat a Milky Way for breakfast
-Heath Bars were originally offered only by delivery, sold by dairy delivery men
-Snickers were named after the Mars family’s beloved horse
-M&M’s went into space in 1981
-in 1949 Smarties were created, and nicknamed “candy pills”
-the first Valentine’s Day was in 1868, started by Cadbury (not by greeting card companies!)
-yellow Peeps are most popular
-it used to take 27 hours to make a Peep, now it takes 6 minutes
-75% of Americans eat the ears before anything else on their chocolate Easter bunnies
-Christmas, Easter and Halloween are the big candy days, with Christmas being the biggest
-both Sourpatch kids and skittles started outside of the USA and came to the US in the 1980’s.
-the word Pez is actually from the German word for peppermint (Pfefferminz)

What is your favorite candy?

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

This month one of the topics we’ll be talking a lot about is patience.  Sometimes it’s good and necessary to be patient, other times we should move quicker and/or let go of things quicker than we do.  Today though I want to focus on that classic saying about patience: slow and steady wins the race.  We’re all in a big hurry to get somewhere, get something done, meet someone or even be someone.  It’s not a bad thing to have a goal that you’re working towards and be really excited about getting there. In fact, that’s a good thing.  But sometimes when you’re excited about reaching the finish line you skip over essential steps in the journey, maybe even jeopardizing the end result you were hoping for.

Slow and steady means that first and foremost you’re taking your time to create and follow a checklist or list of steps.  It means that you’re making sure you’re doing things right so that the end result is what you were hoping for.  Cooking is a great example of the importance of slow and steady.  If you do any cooking you’ve probably tried to rush a few recipes, maybe by throwing in a “splash” of milk instead of measuring the exact amount the recipe (or box) calls for.  As a result you may end up watering down the recipe which could alter the other flavors you’ve added, causing you to either suffer through a not-great recipe, or try to fix it by adding other ingredients.  Your additions may help the recipe turn out great, or not so great, but if you had only taken a couple of extra seconds to do the measuring it would have turned out as expected and no fixing would be required.

Patience, and the concept of slow and steady, doesn’t mean that you have to stop.  It is more about being more intentional about the steps you take and how you do them than waiting and not doing anything.  If you’re waiting around patiently for things to happen, make sure that you’re not supposed to be doing things at a slow and steady pace, or that there aren’t other things you could be doing.  For example if you’re patiently waiting for a job (and filling out applications on a daily basis whenever possible and going on interviews), there are probably lots of things that you’ve been putting off doing around your home or in your life like balancing your checkbook, cleaning and organizing or exercising or hobbies, or even super relevant activities like learning things that can boost your resume.  So in between patiently doing and waiting for applications and interviews, get going on those other things because you’ll feel better about yourself and better care for yourself, and won’t feel as frustrated about not working because you’ll be using your time well.

Let’s take this month one day at a time!

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah begins next week and with focusing on Christmas on my other blog I thought I’d share some Hanukkah inspirations here this week.

Crafts:

Glitter menorah card

Star of David paper ornament

DIY menorah

Hanukkah yarn ball wreath

Dreidel gift card holders

Hanukkah star and dreidel cards

Star punched paper hurricanes

Modern wood block menorah

Hanukkah scrapbook pages

Paper dreidel garland

Star of David craft

Hanukkah party favors

Dreidel gift box

Hanukkah mantle scarf

Invitation for Hanukkah gathering

Stripes and stars Hanukkah card

Layered star Hanukkah card

Recipes:

Chicken escarole soup

Honeyed carrots

Noodle kugel

Potato latkes

Potato and carrot latkes

Challah crowns

Whole wheat challah

Short ribs with root vegetables

Juki’s short ribs

Braised brisket with root vegetables

Roast chicken with wild rice dressing

Slow roasted salmon with sage and parsley pistou

Spiced apple pear sauce

Blueberry blintzes

Apricot gelt

Rugelach pinwheels

Glittered Sufganiyot

Chocolate marshmallow dreidels

Zalabia

How will you be celebrating Hanukkah?

Celebrating with Cookies

The holidays are officially here, and to celebrate the Christmas type I’m sharing a post a day on my creativity blog. For those who celebrate Hanukkah I’ll be sharing some ideas next Friday right here. Whether we’re talking winter, spring, summer or fall, just about every get-together involves people, food and fun. I love how the holidays bring people together and give us a chance to enjoy special treats and share those treats with each other.

That’s really what I love about holidays, sharing different foods that we’ve discovered over the last year, bringing back foods that we haven’t had for a year, making foods that remind us of family and friends who aren’t with us anymore and food is usually a safe way to bring us all together without fighting over what’s on TV, where we’re going or who is hosting. Yes, all of those things come up, but the pleasure of the whole experience is getting the chance to sit down and enjoy and share food together.

One of the foods I love the most (but aren’t eating this year with my new diet unfortunately) are cookies. I think they’re one of the best foods because they’re so universal, they’re small, they’re easy to share, you can create a big variety and everyone can have a favorite without offending anyone else. That’s not something you can say about too many other foods or gifts, right?

Of course, those same reasons that I love cookies are a really good reminder of what the holidays show us: that we may all be people, but we’re not all the same and that’s to be celebrated. Celebrate your differences this holidays season, rather than fighting over them.

“I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know? They’re incredibly popular. But everybody thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies. A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays.” Bobby Flay

Giving Thanks

Just a few days remain between us and the celebration of Thanksgiving. I’m already working on my list of things I’m thankful for, and I am so thankful that the list is so long! I know that there are many people around the world who cannot claim that, so that makes me extra grateful. In thinking about Thanksgiving this week and the topic of being thankful over the past month I’ve shared that thanksgiving is about receiving and giving thanks. What I’ve found is that those who are most grateful aren’t those who have things like being alive (without relationship to serious illnesses), having a job (which they hate), or having people in their lives (who they can’t stand) on their thankful lists. No, those who are truly able to experience the fullness of Thanksgiving are those who have worked hard to achieve the victories they’re celebrating this Thanksgiving.

It’s true that most good things take work to achieve or attain. The shallow victories and accomplishments that some chalk up as great can’t deliver the feelings of pride and satisfaction that those who worked very hard to make happen experience. Knowing that you worked with your bare hands to create that amazing project or contribute to someone’s life in that way is rewarding in and of itself.

But as I said before, Thanksgiving, much like Christmas, is an action-oriented celebration. Thanksgiving is about giving (expressing) thanks for all you’ve been blessed with and about blessing (giving) others with even just a little of what you’ve received, often through an invitation to join you for Thanksgiving dinner, a Box of Love or donation to a charity.

This Thanksgiving I would encourage you to not wait for the good stuff to find you, but to go out there and bless others and give them a reason to be thankful.

Satisfying Seafood

October is National Seafood Month, so I thought I’d share some recipes that you can try to spice up your date night, or try with your family!

Seafood dip

Hot shrimp dip

Red chile seafood soup

Shrimp bisque

Savannah seafood gumbo

Spicy shrimp and bok choy noodle bowl

Spaghetti with pinot grigio and seafood

Scampi on couscous

Seafood mac and cheese

Seafood risotto

Sicilian rice salad with seared tuna

Asian broth poached shrimp, scallops and soba noodles

Quinoa and curried shrimp

Crab ravioli with citrus shrimp

Bucatini with shrimp and spicy cherry tomato pan sauce

Sea bass alla fiorentina

Shrimp boil with clams and lemon

Grilled seafood salad

Spicy seafood potpie

Grilled fish tacos

Scallops with orange and honey

What are your favorite seafood recipes?

Trying New Things

I am not the type of person to go out there and try new things if I don’t think I’ll like them, or if I’ve had something similar and didn’t like that. But I usually will try it, especially if it comes in a small enough package or portion for me to try without buying a ton. I tried a new hummus this week and I was definitely not a fan. So I’ve portioned it out to add to soup that I make over the winter rather than eat it with carrots or celery. So as I was thinking about this and it being Columbus Day this past Monday, it got me thinking about what it means to try new things, and why it’s so challenging for us.

All parents have the challenge of getting their kids to eat something different, something other than what feels like the same 4 dishes and snacks, when you’d really like to cook or make something else, not just for your sake but because just eating the same 4 dishes can’t be balanced nutrition. I know that cooking things differently and seasoning them differently, not to mention correctly, can make a big difference to liking or disliking something. So don’t be afraid to try some different versions.

Unfortunately, we are all different with different palates and different preferences. What tastes good to you won’t taste good to someone else. If they try it and don’t like it you can’t blame them. But don’t let their fears of trying something new stop them from trying. All of the stories of Columbus tell us that he had a really hard time convincing people of his beliefs on the true nature of the world and that there was more land to be found. Columbus didn’t give up just because others had tried and failed, he kept trying.

So this weekend, don’t be afraid to try something new for dinner, go with your partner on a different date than you usually do, pick out different clothes the next time you go shopping, or try a different approach for handling things at work. As Columbus discovered trying new things can have great results.

Plans with Popcorn

Today I’m sharing lots of popcorn recipes to get you ready for the World Series, scary Halloween movies, or just a yummy afternoon snack.

Chili Lime

Cheesy garlic

Mexican chocolate

Sage

Chocolate almond

Sweet and spicy crunch

Macadamia butter crunch

Kettle corn

Sweet and nutty

Sesame ginger

Aztec chocolate and caramel

Cranberry orange caramel

Herbs de Provence and asiago cheese

Carmel apple monster munch

Slacker jacks

Grandma Paul’s caramel corn

Theater style butter

More Treat Ideas

Chewy caramel popcorn and pretzel bars

Golden popcorn squares

Toffee almond popcorn balls

Gooey Halloween popcorn balls

Candy corn popcorn balls

What toppings have you tried and enjoyed with popcorn?

Awesome Apples

Today we’re celebrating a delicious fall food: the apple!

Breads:

Cinnamon apple twist bread

Cinnamon apple pull apart bread

Apple muffins

Apple cranberry spice muffins

Apple dumpling slices

Fresh apple cinnamon scones

Apple cinnamon pull apart rolls

Cinnamon apple flat bread

Apple cranberry toasted bread pudding

Double apple walnut bread

Cake:

Old fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting

Apple upside down cake

Apple skillet cake

Fresh apple cake from Georgia

Caramel apple cheesecake

Apple coffee cake with crumble topping and brown sugar glaze

Pie:

Classic apple crisp

Cranberry and apple crumble

Crusty apple pie

Flat apple pie with perfect pie crust

Treats:

Apple tortilla bake

Slow cooker apple butter

Apple strudel

Apple phyllo triangles

What are your favorite apple recipes?