[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

[FHCx77] National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day

Not our usual corned beef…

IT’S NATIONAL CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE DAY!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, a feast day for the saint made in the 17th century by the Catholic church. Like most things religious, the day has been twisted – especially in the United States. Now it stereotypes everything Irish, from how 10% of Irish people have red hair (so anyone who has red hair must be Irish, right?!) to how Ireland is the 4th highest in the OECD region for alcohol consumption. Some jokester decided that today should also be a national (i.e., United States of America) food holiday traditionally thought to be Irish, but some argue otherwise.

We made ours in the slow cooker!

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Carrots, potatoes, cabbage, 2.5 lbs of brisket, water, beer, spices

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It was good! Typically we associated corned beef with deli meats, so going for the slow cooked hunk o’ meat was a little different for us. Still, the vegetables were tender and tasty, and the brisket was choice. Good stuff.

Tomorrow is Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day and Sloppy Joe Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx76] National Artichoke Hearts Day!

Eat your heart out!

IT’S NATIONAL ARTICHOKE HEARTS DAY!

SPAK are often asked where we get our sources for these food holidays. Since we are a good couple and can cite our sources, here’s a few of the places we’ve gotten them:

http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/

http://www.tfdutch.com/foodh.htm

http://bfy.tw/4n7Y

Between the many online sources, it took a lot of cross-referencing to confirm dates. For example, this Friday is Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day, not to be confused with Oatmeal Cookie Day that happens later in the year. But some sources just don’t read carefully enough to post the nuances like that.

One of our print sources comes from Steff Deschenes and her book, Eat the Year (2014). Though sometimes she’ll write about one of the days while we celebrate both, it’s fun to see what tidbits she picks up! Today we learned about mafioso Ciro Terranova, a.k.a., The Artichoke King. Apparently this guy bought up all of the artichokes being shipped from the west coast to NYC, and then sold them at a huge profit margin. He used violence to coerce producers into being a part of his scheme. Fiendish!

While we thought about making entire artichokes to celebrate today, we instead took the opportunity to make some homemade pizza with artichoke hearts.

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These Green Mill pizza crusts are amazing. And super low calorie. A definite do-again for homemade pizza.

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All the bits that will go on our pizza!

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Mmmmm

If you haven’t had artichoke hearts on pizza, let today be the day you try it! Again, homemade strikes again for healthier option. This should be essentially the same as your average 12″ pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut. But you could literally eat two of these pizzas that we made, and it would still be fewer calories than your regular chain pizza. Go SPAK!

Tomorrow is National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day! I think there’s some sort of Catholic holiday that goes along with that…….

SPAK

[FHCx75] National Pears Hélène Day

IT’S NATIONAL PEARS HELENE DAY!

We just cannot get enough of Auguste Escoffier, it seems. Whoever designed the food holiday calendar definitely had this guy in mind, considering that we’ve had 3 holidays in 3 months – and there’s another next week – of dishes he invented!

This time around, Escoffier put together a dessert to celebrate an operetta by Offenbach, “La Belle Hélène,” about Helen of Troy and Paris. You know, face launching ships and all. But the key to Offenbach’s style was satire/parody, which I guess appealed to our french Chef of the day. He just couldn’t stop naming dishes after things that he liked, but I would imagine that his wife probably wouldn’t like him naming so many things after other ladies…

Anyway, poire belle hélène is very, very similar to Peach Melba. You poach some fruit in vanilla-y syrup and then serve over ice cream. Only this time, the fruit is pears, and the sauce is chocolate.

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SP is a fan of the Anjou pear

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This ice cream is less than half of the calories/points of others and is still really tasty. It’s still full-fat, just not with added sugar.

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Et voila

They were pretty good. We think we like the raspberry sauce on peaches better than chocolate on pears. And maybe SP‘s poaching left something to be desired, but it just didn’t achieve the level of awesome that we expected. I guess we’ll just have to travel to France and have a descendant of Escoffier make some stuff for us.

Tomorrow is National Artichoke Hearts Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx74] National Potato Chip Day/National Pi Day

TODAY IS NATIONAL POTATO CHIP DAY AND ALSO PI DAY!

Potato chips used to be a lunch staple, as we mentioned on Almond Day. When it was decided that something else would be healthier, they lost their place in the regular rotation. That doesn’t mean that we don’t love potato chips. Quite the contrary, bags disappear very quickly in this house, even of not great flavors. There’s something about constantly putting a food in your mouth and having an extended period of flavor and texture.

And no other food measures up for that kind of crisp. People at WW meetings will talk about using celery instead, but we all know it’s not the same. But that’s when it’s important to say, “You know what? It’s ok if I have some chips. But just some. Not all.”

Today we selected some Kettle Brand Sriracha chips. They’re great.

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It’s wise to portion chips out by weighing them in grams. You can maximize how much you get that way!

More importantly, today is Pi Day. Though not celebrated as a food holiday, we sure will treat it like one. Pi Day started in the 1980s at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Those were people who celebrated things like Pi Day way before it was cool. In fact, likely at a time when it was decidedly uncool. (Maybe they even ate their pies before they were cool? Don’t burn your mouth.) Nowadays, hipsters who cherish “nerd culture” love to cling on to anything that makes them sound smart. So Pi Day for everyone, I guess!

At SP‘s school, as is tradition, the math department comes together with several pies and invites the staff to come celebrate.

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Clockwise from top left: Blueberry, dutch apple, pumpkin, oatmeal cream, chocolate cream, banana cream, cinnamon apple, pecan, Hostess

We had an irrationally good time. For fun, here’s a site where you can search pi for certain digits like where your phone number or birthday appears: http://www.angio.net/pi/

Speaking of eating pie and also trying to lose weight, here’s a relevant cartoon from Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal.

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Tomorrow is National Pears Helene Day! We’re going to have Melba flashbacks.

-SPAK

[FHCx73] National Coconut Torte Day

Tortle power!

TODAY IS NATIONAL COCONUT TORTE DAY!

Raise your hand if you don’t like coconut. Okay, you look silly, put it down. Most people’s objections mirror that of Tallahassee from Zombieland:

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But it’s amazing! Think of how much we had to work, as a species, to uncover what coconut had in store for us. Who would have thought some gigantic, impenetrable, rock-shaped fruit could have had both sweet milk and tasty, funky-textured flesh? You might get annoyed with it stuck in your teeth, but that’s no reason to get mad. It’s reason to get braces. Or something.

In any case, this isn’t just about coconut. It’s about torte. It’s about SPom baking us this amazing coconut torte. What makes a cake a torte? Some people will tell you it’s about how the cake is made, or how the cake is layered, but honestly, we think it’s just people trying to be fancy.

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Three beautiful layers for our torte

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A frosting made from coconut, light sour cream, sugar, and pecans

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Magnificent. A super moist cake (AK: “I think I like the cake more than the frosting!”) with some amazing coconut goodness spread throughout (SP: “mMmrrhmmmfmfmmMMmm”). Thanks, SPom!

Tomorrow we celebrate National Potato Chip Day as well as π (Pi) Day.

SPAK

[FHCx72] National Baked Scallops Day

Sea creatures!

TODAY IS NATIONAL BAKED SCALLOPS DAY!

We’ve had a few seafood holidays so far. Being in the middle of a landlocked state, despite all of our lakes, the seafood challenges are often the more tough to plan. We thought about the possibility of making our own baked scallops, but wanted to consult the internet first. Googling “baked scallops twin cities” brought us to the menu of the now defunct, but formerly super-good, Kikugawa in St. Anthony Village. And then it dawned on SP that the former owners of Kikugawa are the current owners of Suishin, where the menu is mostly the same! Plus, SP‘s friend Alex works there, so that’s a plus.

Our dish for the night was the Dynamite. No, not a dynamite roll. This thing is described on the menu as, “Baked scallops with mushrooms and special sauce.” And let us tell you, it is a special sauce. It’s awesome.

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It’s this kind of saucy, buttery crust that makes this baked dish so awesome.

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Scallops and mushrooms! Mmmmm!

It’s really good. You ought to try it sometime soon!

WEIGH IN DAY RESULTS!

SP: -2.6 pounds, total lost: 88.4

AK: -3.8 pounds, total lost: 27.8

Tomorrow is National Coconut Torte Day, and SPom whipped up something really special!

SPAK