[FHCx84] National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

A respite from the double-duty days this week:

IT’S NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISIN DAY!

SP has always been a fan of raisins. Soft, chewy, sugary lumps of purple… But some people, like SPam and AK, are not so much fans. Across the world, even, people don’t like raisins. What gives?

Well that’s when companies like Nestle or Brach’s come along and say “HEY! We never shoulda fired George Newman! Let’s cover raisins with chocolate!” And there you have it. Add chocolate and suddenly we’re cool.

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Mmmmm.

Tomorrow is Waffle Day (thanks to Sweden, as the US Waffle Day is 8/24) and Lobster Newburg day!

-SPAK

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[FHCx83] National Chip and Dip Day/National Melba Toast Day

It’s a chip and dip!

TODAY IS NATIONAL CHIP AND DIP DAY AND NATIONAL MELBA TOAST DAY!

Oh boy are we excited for today! Chips are awesome. Dips are awesome. Let’s make a mash-up (and we’ll throw some Melba Toast in to help with the dip!).

We present: The SPAK Chip and Dip Experience, March 2016:

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Three dips represented: AK‘s Beautiful Bruschetta, SPad’s Excellent Eggplant Dip, and SPom’s Outstanding Onion Dip

Alright alright, here are the recipes…

AK‘s Beautiful Bruschetta:

  • 5 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 6 leaves basil, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Basically you just mix it all up once everything is chopped. It’s HEAVENLY. We could eat Bruschetta day in and day out, despite the fact that neither SP nor AK typically enjoy raw tomatoes! That’s the power of this dish.

SPad’s Excellent Eggplant Dip (made by SPad himself for the holiday, thanks SPad!):

  • 3 large eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

First you have to “overcook” the eggplants in the microwave after drizzling with oil. Make sure to cover it in wax paper first! Alternatively you can roast or grill them in foil. Once softened and fully cooked, scoop the flesh out of the skin and let it cool. Then you can finely chop/mince the flesh of the eggplant. Blend in the remaining ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator at least overnight.

This dish has been a hallmark of holiday hors d’oeuvres in the SPamily household. Thanksgiving, Passover, you name it, this eggplant dip is there. The recipe, handed down in SP‘s paternal family, will make you love the eggplant more than any other dish. Serve it with crackers or chips or melba toast. This dip is on point.

SPom’s Outstanding Onion Dip (made by SP for the holiday. Sorry SPom.):

  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 5.33 oz non-fat plain greek yogurt (We used Chobani)
  • Goodman’s Onion Soup Mix – alternatively, the Lipton one is also amazing because it has bigger onion bits in it.

This is the smallest recipe represented here today, but it’s the most popular dip for chips around these parts. Whenever there are cold cuts dinners, this dip is often found sitting next to some Old Dutch Rip-L chips. It’s really up to you how much of the onion soup mix you want to put in but in this house we like to lay it on there (AK, excitedly: “Whole thing! Whole thing! Whole thing!”). Make sure you’ve got some water on hand to help counteract the saltiness of the soup mix! This dip is creamy and flavorful and leaves the most amazing taste in your mouth. Stop reading this and go make some!!

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, much to AK‘s displeasure.

SPAK

[FHCx82] World Water Day/National Bavarian Crepes Day

Drink up!

WORLD WATER DAY AND NATIONAL BAVARIAN CREPE DAY ARE TODAY APPARENTLY!

If you do a Google image search of “Bavarian crepe day,” a slew of pictures come up (including one that is just a TV screen that says “DIABETES”…?) The internet sure does seem to insist that Bavarian crepes are a thing, but we had a hard time pinning down what exactly makes a crepe “Bavarian.” When AK asked the single Bavarian person she knows for tips, they had no idea what she was talking about. Wikipedia claims that palatschinken are “Austro-Bavarian,” so we drew some inspiration from that. Ultimately we took a bit of creative license and made a conglomeration of various internet sources.

Since we still don’t have proper crepe-making apparatus, it was time again to turn to the pre-packaged crepe wrappers from our local produce section. We already had homemade jam on hand from some SPamily friends (the same ones we get our honey from! Thanks again, if you’re reading this!) so the only thing left was to make some “Bavarian” cream.

SPom kindly located for us a recipe from the Sprinkled With Jules blog, wherein the blogger admits that this recipe is kind of cheating:

                   “Normally bavarian cream is made with lots of eggs, and involves heating the mixture.                                       Who’s got time for that? No thanks!” – Blog lady who gets us

First, the cream!

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Beaten until stiff peaks form. MAD PROPZ TO LOYAL READER AND FRIEND OF AK, ALI, FOR THE HOUSEWARMING MIXER! Our house is now warm and our un-fatigued arms thank you.

It took several minutes on the highest speed, but it thickened up nicely. Then we added the sugar-free pudding mix and, subsequently, milk.

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The plot, and also the cream, thickens!

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Finished cream. Also pictured: various jams/jellies. This time, we stuck with the red currant.

And now, assembly! We had different philosophies on this one.

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SP put both jam and cream on the inside and wrapped it into a dessert burrito of sorts.

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AK spread only jam on the inside, rolled it up tightly, and dolloped some cream on top.

Rather delicious.

Oh yeah — it’s Water Day, too!

SP is experiencing stomach buggyness again, which undoubtedly means AK is next, so water is currently even more important to us than usual. Drink it plain, put tea in it, mix in your strange powders… whatever it takes! Just drink it!

Also, in the wake of the water problems in Flint, we are extra grateful to have access to potable water. Here’s an article detailing various ways you can help. Or, I suppose you can just donate to the Clean Water Initiative.

We’ll be here tomorrow to celebrate Chip and Dip/Melba Toast!

-SPAK

[FHCx81] California Strawberry Day/National French Bread Day

Two very geographic holidays…

IT’S CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY DAY AND NATIONAL FRENCH BREAD DAY!

Being in land-locked Minnesota means having little access to the greats of the world. To be fair, we have plenty to be produce to be proud of, such as the Honeycrisp apple which was developed at the University of Minnesota. But AK was missing home today when we had to observe California Strawberry Day without being in her home state.

At least Driscoll’s is based out of California…

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Look at ’em red beauties.

Apparently California Strawberries are quite a big thing. SP was led to believe that California was only king of dried grapes. A big festival is held in California every March in honor of their strawberry production. Pretty cool, huh?

Our other geographical mismatch today is French Bread Day. And that could mean all sorts of things: a delicious pain de chef from a bakery on Rue Mouffetard, a pain de campagne that beats any sourdough here, or, in our case, a classic baguette. Eat it plain, eat it with a bit of butter, however you’d like. Just make sure you give a hearty “oh-ho-ho” in your best beret-wearing striped-shirt Frenchy impression.

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Tomorrow is World Water Day as well as National Bavarian Crêpes Day!

SPAK

[FHCx80] National Bock Beer Day/National Ravioli Day

Beer ‘n pasta!

IT’S NATIONAL BOCK BEER DAY AND NATIONAL RAVIOLI DAY!

We aren’t beer connoisseurs. We have friends that are, and we have our lovely local Surdyk’s to recommend as well. Bock beer is a decidedly German kind of lager that is very malty, and a little less hoppy. We’re not quite in the camp of “Beer tastes like beer” but without an immediate comparison, it was hard to tell much about the beer. It was pretty good. We’ll probably use it to bake something. Or as part of a sauce. Hmmm.

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I’m pretty sure this is all just one word.

For ravioli day, we had grand plans to make our own pasta. And then Buca sent us a 50% off Ravioli coupon and we couldn’t resist. It’s been 2.5 months since our last trip to Buca!

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Ravioli in Meat Sauce

It was so creamy and smooth, with that amazing ricotta and parmesan combination. The meat sauce was on point, too. We often have to ask for extra sauce with their spaghetti, but the meat made this sauce thick and delicious. Oh, Buca, we never doubted you.

Tomorrow is California Strawberry Day and National French Bread Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx79] National Poultry Day/Maple Syrup Saturday/National Chocolate Caramel Day/National Corn Dog Day

HOW CAN THERE BE FOUR ON ONE DAY

IT’S NATIONAL POULTRY DAY AND MAPLE SYRUP SATURDAY AND NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CARAMEL DAY AND NATIONAL CORN DOG DAY, ALL AT ONCE!!

Well we combined at least two of these together. When I heard that poultry day aligned with the 3rd Saturday of March – Maple Syrup Saturday – my first thought was obvious:

Chicken and Waffles.

Specifically, the best Chicken and Waffles (hate all you want) that they serve over at Bulldog Northeast. They make these amazing sourdough waffles… but the magic is in the syrup and the chicken. The syrup is thyme-infused, which gives it a bit of that herby aftertaste that meshes well with the chicken. The chicken itself is crispy and delicious, and carries out the most important function of frying chicken which is to preserve moisture of the meat.

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As long as you’re at the Bulldog, do yourself a favor and order some Togarashi tots.

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Ughghhghhhhh

We walked away in a stupor trying to think of how the rest of the day could possibly match up. Well for our chocolate caramel fix, we ended up with Grandma Edna’s.

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Chocolate and caramel

It’s one of the best sweets combinations that we know. Like peanut butter and jelly is to sandwiches, chocolate and caramel are to the dessert world. We need more people like Grandma Edna!

Lastly, we had to celebrate Corn Dog Day. National Corn Dog Day takes place on the first Saturday of the NCAA tournament. We opted for a different direction than State Fair style, and got some corn dogs from Morningstar Farms, our favorite meatless product company.

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We did it! And now for the coma.

Tomorrow is Bock Beer Day (though you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays in MN) and Ravioli Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx78] National Sloppy Joes Day/National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

Sloppy Joe, sloppy sloppy Joe.

TODAY IS NATIONAL SLOPPY JOES DAY AND NATIONAL LACY OATMEAL COOKIE DAY!

Oh the sloppy Joe. Such an amazing food. For when you have ground beef but you’re just to lazy to shape it into something and you don’t have a box of some sort of Helper to make any major changes. Our recipe comes from this magical condiment called Ketchipotle, that we modify by adding a bit of Famous Dave’s sauce.

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Our other venture today was making Lacy Oatmeal Cookies. We weren’t sure from the outset what made an oatmeal cookie particularly “lacy.” We researched and found that while a regular oatmeal cookie may be doughy and soft, a lacy oatmeal cookie is prepared with a very wet batter and ends up making very thin wafer cookies.

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1 cup quick cook oats, 1/4 cup white flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 0.5 tsp salt

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3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter, beaten until fluffy. Add 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla.

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Mix the flour stuff with the wet stuff.

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Scoop out by the teaspoonful onto a sprayed cookie sheet. Make sure they’re far enough apart!

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They expand and become very thin.

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Mmmm

They are SUPER good. Normally SPAK likes softer, chewier cookies. Gooey chocolate chip kinds of things. But these, which are meant to be crispy, work perfectly. We got them while they were fresh, too, which made them leaps and bounds better. Plus, with a major reduction in sugar and butter from the recipe we found online, and using a teaspoon measure to make 36 cookies, each one was a nice low calorie especially for how big they were.

But part of saving on the calories means not eating all of them. We gave a whole bunch to our neighbor (SP‘s coworker) and his daughter. She did an impression for us in order to earn the cookies. It was adorable.

Tomorrow is our first four-holiday day. Tomorrow we celebrate: Maple Syrup Day, Poultry Day, Chocolate Caramel Day, and Corn Dog Day (the first Saturday of the NCAA tournament). Yikes.

SPAK