Wednesday, September 7, 2016

National Coffee Ice Cream Day

Was yesterday!! But I made some and it was wonderful. I am going to have some more tonight. Yay for National Coffee Ice Cream Day!

I don't know about you guys but the long weekend, the annual back to school shenanigans and the real life stuff going on has got me spinning. Many things are changing and falling into place over here but I need to get some things organized around here if I am going to keep up! Hopefully in a week or two things will calm down and get back to a routine. I'm working on it.

I have today and tomorrow off. Next up is National Wienerschnitzel Day on Friday. Um, yes!!! I can't wait to eat some! (drool)

Monday, September 5, 2016

National Cheese Pizza Day

It's Labor Day weekend. It's a Monday. It's the last night of summer break before the kids go back to school. A busy kind of weekend. Today also happens to be National Cheese Pizza Day. Yeah, I did it. I totally ordered cheese pizzas for lunch from Pizza Hut. I am not sorry to say this either.

It's real life in here folks! Sometimes this chef orders take out. The kids were pretty happy about it, too. A fun spontaneous surprise.

It is my personal opinion that cheese pizza is very boring to eat. Pizza is supposed to be a vessel for me to get lots of cheese, veggies and meat into my gullet in a very satisfying way. Something was definitely missing today. the spirit of this challenge I did it. Lol!

Side note: Pizza Hut is having a crazy good deal right now. I bought 2 medium cheese pizzas, 2 orders of boneless  wings and 4 20 oz bottles of soda for $30. Not bad. Mom for the win.

Tomorrow is National Coffee Ice Cream Day, which is pretty awesome. Maybe you'll come back and see?

National Macadamia Nut Day

Yesterday was National Macadamia Nut Day. I must say I baked the cupcakes and prepared the frosting the night before hand. I decided to wait and decorate them yesterday so I could take my pictures while they were fresh and beautiful. I threw the frosting in the fridge overnight because it contained milk. Took it out to soften around lunch time and it took many many hours for it to get back to whiping and spreading consistancy. Lesson learned, I guess. So that is why my post had been delayed. Anywho...

Yum and yay for cupcakes! I chose to bake some white chocolate chip, macadamia nut and Craisin cupcakes with a vanilla butter cream frosting. After all of the waiting to eat them they were delicious. I did send a box to the neighbor house though. Too many treats lately! Ha!

I used a basic chocolate chip cupcake recipe. Instead of 1 cup of chocolate chips I used 1 cup of an even mix of choclate chips, chopped macadamia nuts and Craisins. Easy stuff.

Thanks or reading. Next up is National Cheese Pizza Day! See you soon.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

National Welsh Rarebit Day

Today was one of my favorite food holidays to prepare so far. National Welsh Rarebit Day. When I first read about this dish a couple of months ago I was thinking, oh no rabbit! Eew! It's not rabbit. (whew!) Although Welsh Rabbit is another name for this dish. Maybe it was one of those missteps in translation that just stuck. Doesn't matter to me. I didn't have to make and eat rabbit, it involves homemade cheese sauce (yum) and it gave me a great excuse to make breakfast for dinner. That's always fun. Breakfast is my favorite. For serious. I actually had a morning wedding so that we could serve brunch at the reception. I.Friggin'.Love.Breakfast.

Welsh Rarebit is a creamy cheese sauce over toasted bread. I read a few different recipes and decided I would use them all loosely and make up my own. Some recipes used beer. Some didn't. There were different types of breads used. It seemed pretty up for interpretation so I tried it out. I am very pleased with how this turned out. Welsh Rarebit is typically a side dish. One recipe I read said it is good served over toast or poached eggs. Perfect. Breakfast it is. And I get to poach some eggs! Another fun first for me.

The three recipes I narrowed it down to can be found at the following links:

Alton Brown
Pioneer Woman
Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (red & white checked one)

I chose French Brioche bread. I had never had it before but it looked and sounded perfect for toasting. The subtle hint of sweetness in the bread was pretty damned perfect smothered in a savory sauce! I lightly buttered both sides and browned them in an electric skillet.

For the cheese sauce I used half shredded cheddar and half American cheese. I used half and half creamer instead of beer. I did use the Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard and the dash of cayenne pepper. Since I decided not to use beer I added a decent sized splash of white cooking wine to give it a little nudge towards the "fancier" versions.

Bacon, poached eggs and orange slices seemed the appropriate choices to turn this side into a full on breakfast dish. I had never poached an egg before or even tasted one. This task has been on my long mental cooking to-do list so what the hay? Come to find out I can totally poach an egg and I even enjoyed eating it.

I am also pleased to report that the kids and my hubby loved this one, too. I am one happy mama tonight! Thanks for reading. Tomorrow is National Macadamia Nut Day and I have already begun preparing a tasty treat. You'll see!

Friday, September 2, 2016

National Blueberry Popsicle Day

Happy Friday! It's National Blueberry Popsicle Day! And thanks to last weeks cherry Popsicle day, I already had the Popsicle molds!

These taste pretty good. Not as sweet as I was hoping for. I was going for a cremosa beverage type thing. Next time I will choose a flavored creamer as opposed to the half and half I used this time. Maybe french vanilla or hazelnut.

I used approximately half blueberry flavored sparkling water and half creamer, leaving room to drop in six fresh blueberries in each mold. I froze them until solid and that's it. A nice cold treat for a Summer day.

Enjoy! Come back tomorrow for National Welsh Rarebit Day. It's not rabbit! Don't worry. I was. Lol!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

National Cherry Popover Day

Today is National Cherry Popover Day! First time making these. I found an online recipe and just went for it. These treats are not sweet but turned out chewy, fluffy and mostly good.

You can find the recipe that I used today right HERE. The only change I made was to use the cherries from the cherry pie filling I had left over from the other day instead of fresh pitted cherries. I hate to waste ingredients and do like how they turned out. I just dropped each cherry individually into the popover batter and stirred them in gently for a little marbling effect.

As for the baking time and temp, I will need to play with that a bit if I use this recipe again. The recipe says to bake them at 450° for 20 minutes and then at 350° for 10-15 minutes more. I did this but mine were slightly over done after only 8 minutes at the 350°. Also, it stated to preheat the greased muffin pan, which I did but the grease started smoking pretty badly so I had to take it out early. They still tasted pretty good, though.

So there it is for today. Tomorrow is National Blueberry Popsicle Day. I have my Popsicle molds all ready to go. See you then!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

National Trail Mix Day

Thank goodness for an easy national food holiday today. This mama is super tired! Last night was my eldest son's 18th birthday (eek!) and I think I went to bed around two in the morning. I played chauffeur for him and his pals to the casino. Actually had to get up and go to work in an office today. Whew! It was a blast last night but oh tired.

I made a very basic trail mix. Typically it would be M&Ms, peanuts and raisins. I like mine a tiny step up from that (in my opinion). I used M&Ms, cashews and Craisins! Mmm!  I like it much better. And I honestly should have used dark chocolate M&Ms instead....that would have been the best for me personally.

Hope your Wednesday is going swell. Come on back tomorrow for National Cherry Popover Day. I have never made them and truly have no idea what I am going to do. Busy week. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

National Toasted Marshmallow Day

It's a beautiful Tuesday morning and National Toasted Marshmallow Day!

So, my backyard fire pit is completely soaked due to all of the rain we've had here lately. Meaning, a bonfire and toasted marshmallows made the good old fashioned way was out of the question. Leaving me standing in the kitchen wondering what to do and really wishing I owned a culinary food torch. That would be fun! I should get me one of those.

Hoping for the best, I decided to pull out a bag of mini marshmallows and my aim-and-flame to see what would happen. It worked! These bite sized itty bity toasted marshmallows are cute and tasty. So yay! Half-assed S'mores! I am sure they'll be all the rage soon. Tee hee.

Have a great night and swing back tomorrow for National Trail Mix Day!

Monday, August 29, 2016

National Chop Suey Day

Happy Monday and it's National Chop Suey Day! Now, again, I have heard of chop suey before, never eaten it or ordered it, never prepared it or served it. Always just assumed it was some sort of Chinese food dish. It also always makes me think of the movie Lady and the Tramp. You know, when poor Jim Dear has to go out in the middle of snow stormy night to get miss Darling her midnight pregnancy cravings? She wants watermelon...and some chop suey, too! Adorable.

I am more than happy with how the Chop Suey turned out. Tons of veggies all pretty and colorful. I would make this again but will remember that it is a time consuming dish to prepare. You can find the recipe that I used right HERE. I followed it almost exactly. Most of the vegetables are recommended to be cut in specific ways. They also need to be kept separated and cooked separately until near the end of the recipe. So, this takes some time, uses up lots of bowls, but all-in-all a yummy dinner. I actually served this at a family potluck last night and it went over very well with the adults. And believe it or not...someone even brought watermelon! Ha!

This was my first time cooking with bok choy and an oyster sauce, so I can stick those ingredients under my proverbial belt now. Kind of exciting to me. Learning lots and having fun. Hope you are, too. Thanks for coming over for a little read and I'll see you again tomorrow for National Toasted Marshmallow Day!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

National Cherry Turnover Day

Good morning and Happy National Cherry Turnover Day! These are super easy to make and delicious. Like tiny cherry pies!

You can find the recipe that I used HERE. This link includes recipes for the pastry crust, the cherry filling and the icing. I only used the crust and icing recipes this time and purchased a can of cherry filling instead. If you really want this to be even easier to make, you can always purchase ready-made pastry crusts, usually in the freezer section of the grocery store. I rarely buy them because from scratch is almost always cheaper and I have become quite comfortable making crusts in the last few years. The ready-mades are very fast and do come in very handy at times.

My turnovers turned out yummy. They did not get as golden brown on top as I expected so I may try an egg wash next time around. The kids enjoyed today's special treat and I had fun in the kitchen. My happy place. A perfect rainy day stuck inside.

Hope you are having a great weekend! Swing by tomorrow for yet another first for me...National Chop Suey Day. I have never purchased or worked with bok choy or oyster sauce before. Should be fun!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

National Pots de Creme Day

Today is National Pots de Creme Day! Another first for little 'ol me. Pots de Creme is a traditional French custard and today's flavor choice is chocolate! I am on day 13 of my year long challenge now and I can tell you with confidence that when this project is all done and behind me that I will be a better chef for it. I am learning so much!

I found a recipe online that sounded very good and you can find it by clicking HERE. I followed the directions exactly but did cut the recipe in half. This national holidays "menu" has been quite sugary treat heavy and I didn't need more desserts than absolutely necessary laying around for me to eat. Ha!

The best word I can think of to describe these little bowls of choclatey heaven is luscious. They truly are. I haven't decided if I am going to share any with the family yet today. We'll see...we'll just see.

I hope you have enjoyed this foodie project so far. Tomorrow is National Cherry Turnover Day. I already have my pasty dough chilling in the fridge. Come on back tomorrow and see how they turn out. (Ya'll see what I did there, right?)

Friday, August 26, 2016

National Cherry Popsicle Day

It's National Cherry Popsicle Day! Gave me an excuse to go pick up some new Popsicle molds. Oh darn!

I decided that a Shirley Temple angle would be my best bet for a good cherry Popsicle. Supposedly the well-known Shirley Temple beverage was created for the sweet little actress by a friendly bartender who wanted her to have something fun to drink while she was hanging out with all of the grown ups.

Three ingredients total: mandarin orange flavored carbonated water, one wild cherry juice pouch and a small jar of maraschino cherries. I made eight Popsicles. First, I divided the juice pouch evenly into each mold. Then I dropped in three cherries each and topped them all off with the bubbly water. Put them in the freezer and waited. They turned out great and taste just like the bubbly beverage I remember so well from my childhood. Yay!

Thank for stopping by! See you tomorrow for National Pots de Creme Day!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

National Banana Split Day

Did you get to enjoy a Banana Split today? It is National Banana Split Day after all!!

Today was a very special treat for me and my three littles. Our hometown ice cream shoppe Two Scoops was kind enough to let us swing by today for a little tasting to celebrate! Ice cream for lunch?! Yes please! A huge thank you to Cherie and Rick, the owners, for making me the coolest mommy of the day!

The lovely Lisa was on duty today and built us our delightfully sweet treat scoop by scoop. So fun for the kids to watch.

It was very tasty and the kiddos enjoyed every last bite. Plenty for everyone!

Two Scoops offers 20 fun flavors at all times and they rotate through over 130 flavors! There is always something new to taste and fall in love with during each visit.

If you are ever looking for a yummy gift to give, there is plenty of colorful sweets to choose from!

Go ahead and splurge for the hand-dipped and sprinkled waffle cone. So good!

If you live in or near Anoka, MN then you already know about this cute little shop. You have already met the owners, so friendly and welcoming. A couple who loves to support their community whenever they can. But if you aren't and plan on visiting anytime soon, you simply must make Two Scoops a stop along the way. Old town charm and fresh new flavors. Simply the best.

Thanks again for a great day!

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Here are some links so you can plan your visit them soon!



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

National Peach Pie Day & National Waffle Day!

It's my first double whammy day! Wahoo! Today is both National Peach Pie Day AND National Waffle Day! I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a dish that represents both delicious treats. I imagine they will go very well together. Am I, right?

What I created is a combination of both a crispy waffle "crust" bowl filled with peach pie filling. And a little dollop of cool whip never hurt anybody!

What do you think?

My Peach & Waffles Pie!

If you are making this and serving it right away, just make the waffles, make the filling, assemble it all and serve immediately. If you are like me, and prepared it the night before, make the waffles and the peach pie filling and then refrigerate until morning. Assemble in a pie dish in the morning and heat in a 350° oven for 7-10 minutes until heated through and the waffles are crisp again.

When my little ones woke up and saw that THIS is what mommy made for breakfast today...well, excited probably isn't the most accurate word choice. Scrumptious!

You can find the waffle recipe that I used HERE. And the peach pie filling recipe HERE. I would definitely use both of these again!

Hope you enjoyed this fun dish today. Make sure to come back tomorrow. The kiddos and I are going to visit Two Scoops in Anoka for a tour and tasting to celebrate National Banana Split Day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

National Sponge Cake Day

Good morning and welcome to National Sponge Cake Day! Yet again a food holiday with a dish that I had never prepared before. For someone who cooks so so much, makes a partial living from doing so, enters cooking contests, sends meals to others and more...I have apparently been quite sheltered in the kitchen! Totally loving this food holidays challenge so far! I am just begining week two of this year long journey and I can't wait to see where it takes me.

So, sponge cake. Easy peasy. I found a recipe online that only requires three ingredients!  You can find it by clicking HERE. These are staple ingredients that most of you will have around the kitchen already. Need ideas for a quick treat for a potluck or an after dinner surprise? Go for the sponge cake. I decided to add 1 tsp. of lemon extract to mine for a little light citrus flavor, so technically 4 ingredients.

Beautiful. I whipped up some whipped cream to make it all pretty and stuff. (pun intended) And a few gold sprinkles...why not?! Set a plate like this down in front of a loved one and they'll think you spent all day in the kitchen just for them. It'll be our little secret!

Tomorrow will be the first time I take two same-day national food holidays and turn them into one recipe! I won't give away the surprise yet but come on back tomorrow and see for yourself!

Monday, August 22, 2016

National Pecan Torte Day

I had heard the word "torte" before but never knew exactly what it was. A baked good of some sort? Maybe something like a tart? Well, thanks to National Pecan Torte Day I learned something new today. Yay for knowledge!

A torte by definition is: a rich cake, especially one containing little or no flour, usually made with eggs and ground nuts or bread crumbs.

Got it. Lots of eggs + ground up nuts = deliciousness on a plate.

We held our monthly cooking session for my charity called Food With Love (see page tab above for more details) and we always send a dessert along with the foods we prepare. Now that this national food holidays project is underway, it sure does make it a lot easier to decide which treats to bake! Pecan Tortes it is! And how much fun to share a food holiday project with one of my besties who cooks with me?! Debbie totally nailed it with the torte making and baking. I mostly did the decorating. Fun!

We decided to make them into cute little individual sized tortes. The recipe is written for one 8" cake round but we divided the batter into five 4" spring form pans instead. The spring form pans worked alright but they did leak a little bit into the bottom of the oven for the first couple minutes of baking. Not a huge problem but I would maybe try some souffle dishes instead next time and only make four individual treats total.

You can find the recipe we used HERE. A chocolate pecan torte. I had a little of the almond caramel sauce left over from National Ice Cream Pie Day a few days ago so we went ahead and drizzled a little of that and decorated them with pecan halves. These turned out pretty darn good. I would put less melted chocolate on the top next time around but other than that I was super satisfied. They are really fluffy and spongy from all of the egg whites, not as sweet as cake. A nice change.

Here is the box we are sending to our current "adopted" family for Food With Love. A fun little surprise.

Hope you have a wonderful Monday! Thanks for stopping by #GinnyBites and I'll see you back here tomorrow!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

National Spumoni Day

Hello and Happy National Spumoni Day! Now, Spumoni is traditionally an Italian ice cream dessert but I decided to give it a little twist today. Mostly for fun...but also because I couldn't squeeze three days of ice cream making into the schedule this week AND couldn't find any Spumoni at the couple grocery stores that I frequent. A Spumoni typically has three layers of ice cream; chocolate, cherry almond and pistachio. I did these flavors but created some beautiful Spumoni Cake Truffles instead. Yummy!

I was hoping to share an awesome recipe here but being my first time ever making these babies, I still need to tweak it a bit. I have made many cakepops before but never tried a multiple flavor or layering technique. I will give you the just for now.

I baked one 13x9 cherry chip cake and then crumbled it up and divided it evenly into three separate bowls. One third of the cake I mixed with chocolate frosting, one third I mixed with vanilla frosting and almond extract and then the last third I mixed with some pistachio pudding powder and vanilla frosting. I gently layered a teaspoon of each flavor and rolled into a ball. Then, I dipped each ball into melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and sprinkled with chopped pistachios, setting in the fridge to set. Voila! Spumoni Cake Truffles.

Hope you enjoy what you see here. If you get a chance to make some, please share. I would love to know! Don't forget that sharing is caring. Ginny Bites has lots more fun to come!

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Did you see the blog post where I announce my winning a spot into the World Food Championships this coming November in Orange Beach, Alabama?! Scroll on down and check out all of the fun foods posted earlier this week!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

It's National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day today! Now, I love pecan pie. One of my all time favorites so far. Especially around Thanksgiving time. Mmm! I never even knew there was chocolate version. How can you possibly make something you love so much even better?! Add chocolate, pecans and bourbon, of course!

Here is a link to the recipe I chose: Chocolate Pecan Pie by Betty Crocker. I followed this recipe exactly.

Super easy! And my house smells totally amazing right now! Here she is...

Ain't she a beauty? This pie is truly spectacular inside and out. I hope you get a chance to make one soon. Thanks for swinging by! And see you back here tomorrow for National Spumoni Day.

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If you are enjoying this national food holidays challenge so far, please like, follow, share and more! I am only on Day 6 of 365! So much more fun to come!

You can find Ginny Bites on Facebook at

On Instagram at ... @virginialouden

On Twitter at ... @virginialouden

On Pinterest at

Friday, August 19, 2016

National Potato Day

Today marks National Potato Day! I love potatoes. I decided to celebrate the day by sharing my favorite potato recipe that I created in January when I entered a Food Network contest called The Ordinary Extraordinary Potato Recipe Contest. I did not win but was very proud of how my entry turned out. Here are my Loaded Potato Stacks!

My version of a loaded baked potato but more potato parfait style. That's a thing, right?

Loaded Potato Stacks Recipe


2-3    large red potatoes
4       slices bacon – cooked and crumbled
¼ C  green onion – diced
2 T   olive oil
8 oz  cream cheese – softened
¼ C  sour cream
¼ C  shredded cheddar – chopped small
3 T   Dijon mustard
         salt and pepper


1. Wash potatoes and remove any eyes and blemishes. Cut off the ends of each potato. Slice the rest of the potatoes into 1/2” thick slices, You will need 12 slices total.

2. In a bowl, toss the 12 potato slices with the olive oil, salt and pepper, coating well. Place the prepared potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 30 minutes, turning over once during cooking time.

3. In a standing mixer whip together the cream cheese, sour cream, Dijon mustard and chopped cheddar until smooth and creamy. Place cheese mixture into a piping bag.

4. To assemble the potato stacks, start with one potato slice topped with 2 T of the cream cheese mixture. Add another potato slice and top with 2 T of the cream cheese mixture. Add the last potato slice and top with 1 T cream cheese mixture. Garnish with the crumbled bacon and green onions. Repeat for all 4 servings. Serve immediately.

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You really should try these. Adds some unexpected flair to a common potato side dish. Thank for stopping by and see you tomorrow for National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. Yup! You heard me. It's sure to be delicious!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

National Ice Cream Pie Day

Are you kidding me?! National Ice Cream Pie Day? Never even heard of it. What a genius idea! A great excuse to break out my Hamilton Beach ice cream maker that I bought a few months back on clearance for only fifteen dollars. What? Score.

I decided to choose an ice cream flavor using mostly what I already had on hand for ingredients. I had a couple frozen bags of sliced Washington peaches left from my son's high school band fundraiser so peaches and cream ice cream it is!

I found a recipe on the Hamilton Beach website. You can find it by clicking HERE. The only change I made was to add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Yum!

I prepared a basic graham cracker crust by crushing 1 sleeve of graham crackers in a zip lock bag, tossing them with 4 Tbsp melted butter and then pressing them evenly into the bottom of a pie dish. I set the prepared crust in the freezer while I waited for the ice cream maker to finish churning.

When the ice cream was ready I poured it into the crust and spread it out evenly and then returned it to the freezer to firm.

I also prepared an easy homemade caramel sauce to drizzle over the top. You can find the recipe HERE. The only change I made to this recipe was substituting almond extract for the vanilla extract. I really like how the flavor turned out. The hint of almond is a nice change.

And because I had some, I decided at the last minute to roast some cashews in the oven with a coating of cinnamon and sugar. I am so glad I did!

So, here is. My Peaches & Cream Ice Cream Pie with caramel sauce and candied cashews! What a treat!

If you decide to make the pie I would love to hear about it. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @virginialouden. Tomorrow is National Potato Day and I can't wait to share a fun recipe I made up a while back that takes the loaded baked potato to a whole new level! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

National Vanilla Custard Day

Before this I had never made a custard. I know. Crazy, right? It honestly just never came up. In all my 26 years of cooking (Eek!) I never had a reason to make something so simple as a custard. This is one of the many things I am looking forward to the most during this year long national food holidays project. A great opportunity to try out some new things, not only by tasting them but by adding them to my cooking abilities, as well.

So, I went online to try and find a good vanilla custard recipe to use. I was immediately drawn to one claiming to be the "ultimate" vanilla custard recipe. I mean, come on. The ultimate has got to be good. But once I started reading the recipe and information I decided that it was a little too fancy and complicated to use as a beginner recipe. I am not impervious to failures in the kitchen and decided a basic vanilla custard would be a more realistic starting point.

Here is the link to the recipe I chose: Basic Vanilla Custard Recipe

It turned out creamy and delicious. My three youngest children really enjoyed eating it. I think they are starting to realize, just a few days in, that mommy's new "adventure" is going to be fun for them, too. I even added some sprinkles on top for a little visual appeal. Because let's face it, plain 'ol vanilla custard is really kind of boring to look at.

This was so easy to make. Looking back, I probably could have gone for the "ultimate" custard. I will definitely play around with custard in the future, though. The only change I made to their recipe was substituting the 2 Tbsp of cornstarch with 5 Tbsp of flour. I accidentally used up the last of my cornstarch on our previous family dinner, forgetting that I needed it for this particular recipe. It turned out good anyway. (Thank goodness!) Next time I may try using a different flavor extract for a tasty twist. Maybe orange or almond. Mmm!

Thanks for stopping by and come on back tomorrow for National Ice Cream Pie Day. I won't give away the flavor yet but I am pretty excited to break out my ice cream maker. My kids are gonna freak!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

National Rum Day

Why is the rum always gone?! A common problem in my world. And don't tell me that you didn't read that in your head with your inner Johnny Depp as Captain Black Sparrow voice.

It's National Rum Day today! I do love me some rum. Especially the spiced kind. Captain Morgan is usually the rum of choice around here, happened to have a bottle on-hand. What better reason to create a fun rum cocktail recipe to share with you all today. A celebratory cocktail even. Because this girl just found out yesterday she got into the World Food Championships this November in Orange Beach, Alabama!!! I qualified for a spot during the World Food Championships 2016 #TasteofAmericaChallenge. I was the winner for Minnesota in this qualifier event and am competing in the sandwich category at WFC. So very pumped right now!

On with the rum, though! I am calling this little cocktail A Pirate's Life.

Now, I really wanted this to be in a martini glass but I went to the store and two different neighbors' houses last night to find one with no such luck. It would be so much prettier as a martini. But, whatcha' gonna do? It was tasty anyway.

A Pirate's Life Recipe

2 oz spiced rum
3 oz pineapple juice
splash of french vanilla creamer

Shake well with ice
Strain into a martini glass with a cinnamon and sugar rim (don't skimp)

sprinkle with 1 tsp toasted coconut

And there you have it, folks. Something sweet and fun to sip on. Enjoy and I'll see you back here tomorrow for Vanilla Custard Day! Mmm!

Monday, August 15, 2016

National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

It's here! It's finally here! Today is the big day and the beginning of my year long national food holidays journey. I will be cooking, baking, eating, drinking and blogging my way through a whole year of food holidays! This is a BIG project for me and I am excited for and up to the challenge. Not only will this be a whole lot of delicious fun but it will also be a great way to spread the word about my personal chef business and my local food related charity. I can not wait to see where this food adventure takes me! Super glad you are along for the ride.

August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day! This excites me because I am very picky about my pies. I prefer pies without large chunks of fruit in them. So, a cool and creamy lemon meringue is right up my alley. What a fun and tart summer treat!

For this pie I chose the recipe from the tried and true Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. You know, the old red and white checkered one your grandma used to have? Maybe your mom? Well, that's where I got mine anyway and I use it quite often. It's old, beat up and it should be!

Below is the link to the current version of this recipe from the official BHG website, including the lemon filling, meringue topping and flaky pastry crust. The only difference between this recipe and the one from my old book are the meringue ingredients. Online it states to add 1 tsp lemon juice to the egg whites and sugar. In the book it states to use a 1/2 tsp vanilla and a 1/4 tsp cream of tartar instead. That latter is what I did.

BHG Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Pastry crust and lemon filling

Meringue is amazing, by the way! Many years ago I found it rather intimidating to make but now that I know what I am doing and feel confident, I will not substitute. It is just too yummy! If you are scared to make a meringue topping and choose the cool whip method instead, no big deal. Still very good. But, there is something to be said about a nice fluffy, sticky, perfectly golden meringue topping that really brings authenticity to a homemade pie. Totally worth the extra few minutes. Just go for it! I also like to use a spatula to make designs in the meringue before baking. Gives it some dimension once it is cooked and golden.

Meringue before baking

So, there it is. The first of many days to come! Come on back tomorrow for National Rum Day. I am mixing up an original recipe for it even...and am going to go eat some pie now!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Getting Ready!

Hello out there! Now that my crazy National Food Holidays project is in motion, I have been planning and preparing as best I can. Only 16 more days until my launch date of 8/15/16 and I can't wait! I would have started it sooner but am headed to Jamberry conference in Florida next month and decided it would be best to wait until the day after I come home to begin. Figured I wouldn't have access to a kitchen out there so, yeah. Kinda need that. 8/15 it is.

I have been busy! Blog is all set and ready. I also created a public Google calendar that you can find by scrolling down to the bottom of this blog page. Just in case you want to follow along. I have mapped out the food holidays I plan to cover each day from 8/15/16 through mid-April 2017 so far and will finish it up soon. There are very few days without a food to prepare. Some days even have 2 or more to choose from. If I have more than 1 item listed on a specific date, then I plan to try and make them both or incorporate them into something together. Sounds like fun to me...but, I'm crazy like that. In a good way, right? Don't answer that.

I have some extra fun things planned along the way, too. I wanted to find ways to highlight some local businesses that I admire. So far, 10K Brewing has invited me over for a tour and tasting on National Beer Lover's Day 9/7/16. I am not a beer drinker, more of a hard liquor kinda girl, and am excited to branch out and try some local brews. And, Two Scoops has invited me and my kiddos to swing by on Banana Split Day 8/25/16 for a tour and tasting, as well. Um, yum! I have a couple more local businesses on the line too but will wait to mention them until it's all set in stone. I am looking forward to sharing these places with you and will be sure to take lots of pictures!

Now, when I was researching this as something I possibly wanted to do, I could not find anyone that had taken on this project before. I thought it was an original idea. Ha ha ha. Scha! As if! (Imagine that said like I were Wayne & Garth) Anyway, yesterday, I came across a fellow blogger who did this starting back in 2014. I immediately reached out and am glad I did. She is so nice and gave me some great advice. If you have the time, swing on over to Jen's blog The Foodie Patootie. An awesome Miami based food blog! Jen made ALL of the national food holidays, which is like 400 or so. I so respect her ambition. My journey will be a little different and I am glad to have her in my corner.

If you are wondering how I chose the food holidays to cover, I used a combination of AND the Wikipedia List of Food Days. I am sticking to holidays "observed" in the US. I only say observed because most of these are not "official" but are just public knowledge and fun. If there were any discrepancies between these 2 sites, I Googled the holiday and made sure it was a real thing, that the dates matched up and that multiple other sources agreed on it. Pretty time consuming, to be honest. But I am learning a bunch and looking forward to trying lots of new things! Hoping my kiddos get a kick out of it, too. Many days sound down-right delicious...but there are a few days that I am so glad I have time to mentally prepare myself for. Ha! Just you wait and see.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Testing Testing 123...

Test blog post. Working on layout, needed an example. Thanks for stopping by, though. Are you as excited as I am!?

Coming soon!