[FHCx361] National Candy Cane Day

CANDY CANE DAY IS TODAY AND NOT YESTERDAY FOR SOME REASON!

Before ironically becoming the go-to pseudonym inspiration for porn actresses everywhere, candy canes were meant as a call back to the good shepherds who hung out with Baby Jesus back in the day. Allegedly, they started in Germany like 400 years ago when a choirmaster needed some sort of sugary distraction to get noisy church kids to shut up. Who knew?

This probably isn’t how they did it in 17th-century Cologne, but check out this neat video on how candy canes are made:

 

The candy cane we acquired for today’s celebration broke immediately, as candy canes do. Then AK found a tiny one at work, plus we thought to use this as an excuse to eat a minty Hershey bar. Yay!

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Tomorrow is National Fruit Cake Day.

– SPAK

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[FHCx354] National Hard Candy Day/National Oatmeal Muffin Day

IT’S NATIONAL HARD CANDY DAY AND NATIONAL OATMEAL MUFFIN DAY!

As children, some of us are particular about the flavors we’ll deign to ingest. That includes me, AK, to the point that I didn’t eat non-chocolate candy unless it was grape flavored. Well, really, purple flavored. We all know grapes don’t taste like that.

For years, any time I accompanied AKma to the grocery store, I’d go home with a purple thumb lollipop… pending good behavior. Some days the automatic coupon dispensers were too alluring, and a purple thumb lollipop is not always worth more than the joy of running up and down the aisles taking coupons you don’t need.

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Are these still a thing anywhere?

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This seems to be the only internet evidence of the thumb pops. What an unfortunate mold shape, in retrospect.

ANYWAY — a while back, I bought a bag of Jolly Ranchers with the intent of making stained glass window cookies. Unsurprisingly I never got around to it, so we finally cracked the bag today!

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No soft candy here!

My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Whitton, frequently held candy counting contests. It wasn’t until I won a gallon jar filled with these fruity beauties that I began to understand the wonder of non-grape fruit-flavored candies. We nursed that jar of Jolly Ranchers for years.

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Green Apple is the best. Fight me.

On to the next! Finding oatmeal muffins was surprisingly difficult. Granted, we only looked in one grocery store… but THAT’S NOT THE POINT! We made some instead.

AKpa and AKma gave us a swanky new blender, so it seemed like a decent plan to use this recipe for Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins.

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Don’t you love it when a recipe calls for things you already have in your kitchen? The only change I made was substituting Greek yogurt with sour cream, mostly because I was too lazy to go buy yogurt (and not because I know anything about baking). Worked out okay. Also, you can use mix-ins such as chocolate chips or nuts. We left ours plain.

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Preheat the ol’ oven and grease some cups

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All the ingredients just go in the blender! Except for the mix-ins, if you’re doing those.

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Fill ’em up 3/4 of the way

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Bake for 15 minutes!

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Behold! Muffins!

These suckers came out super moist! So moist, in fact, that we decided to refrigerate them rather than leaving them on the cute dessert stand. P.S. how do you like the glass dome? It’s a mixing bowl, because I broke the dome that came with the stand just seconds after purchasing it. Slick.

Tomorrow is National Sangria Day.

– SPAK

[FHCx132] National Eat What You Want Day

Don’t you make me repeat it!

EAT WHAT YOU WANT! (DAY!)

AK, here. Today is a special food holiday in the sense that it’s the first time in 132 days that our beloved challenge has not mandated anything particular for us to eat/drink. We’ve gotten used to the challenge making our decisions for us, and the freedom was scary! So, naturally, we frantically searched for some other inspiration to tell us what to eat.

May 11th, let’s see… start of the Mexican-American War of 1846, apparently. A culinary duel between tacos and cheeseburgers? Sounds elaborate. Better not.

Hey, turns out today is also the 158th Anniversary of Minnesota’s admission into the Union! Maybe we should eat a distinctly Minnesotan food! Wild rice? Meh. Lutefisk? Hard meh. What else is there…

HOT DISH!

Some of you might be thinking something along the lines of “Hot dish? What, did they take it out of the dishwasher while it was still in dry mode?” No no, dear chap. Hot dish is a Minnesotan casserole thingy, often made with tater tots. So Minnesotan that, for a few years, our airport had a restaurant centered around it (RIP). It’s kind of in the same class as funeral potatoes. Here’s some lady talking about it on Youtube:


Long ago, before I knew it would be useful, I found this amusing book at a thrift store:

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Being that this was my first hot dish experience, both in the cooking and eating of them, SP and I thought it best to keep it classic and go with a basic/entry-level hot dish.

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Instead of using the 1/2 cup minced equivalent of one small onion, we used half of a giant onion. There was probably more onion than meat and that is okay.

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Ground beef into the mix. Gotta get it all broken up while ya brown it. As a Hamburger Helper enthusiast, I had this part down pat. 

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Onionmeat goes into the casserole dish, followed by your frozen and hopefully listeria-free vegetable of choice. We went with corn.

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Cream of mushroom soup and milk join the party!

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Lots of people just kind of chuck the tater tots in there, but we laid them gingerly like little potato bricks.

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Bake it for an hour, et voila!

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Goopy meaty Upper Midwestern fare, fit for any Sven or Helga.

It was pretty good. Hearty, classic. Lowbrow? You be the judge.

Tomorrow is Nutty Fudge Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx6] Shortbread Day/Beans Day

Hopefully no one’s disappointed, but we didn’t eat any bean/shortbread sandwiches today. Heck, we didn’t even really eat any beans! In any case:

BEANS DAY AND SHORTBREAD DAY!

None of the food we had on hand for dinner would have been very good with beans, so we decided to be a little creative. Okay, it might be a bit of a stretch. Sure did taste good, though.

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Mochi! Filled with red bean paste! Close enough, right?

If you’ve never had mochi, we definitely recommend it. Don’t let the soft squishy texture unnerve you. Since it’s sweet but not crazy rich like a lot of American treats can be, it’s a good one for people who can’t usually handle the overly saccharine. If you’re too scared of the bean paste for whatever reason, you can find mochi with different filling flavors such as chocolate or PB&J (although some would argue whether that’s “authentic” mochi). All in all, yummy stuff.

The other day at Target (same day we found the cherry cordials) we came across another Christmas clearance item, which happened to be a snowflake-design Nordic Ware shortbread pan (accidentally local again!). Just in time for Shortbread Day! We especially had to get it because it came with shortbread instructions and we still don’t know what we’re doing. It ended up being easy enough!

First, cream up some butta (and suga)

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Add the floua

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Knead tha dough

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Put it in the thing

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Fork up some holes (and then sing “Fork up some holes” to the tune of Turn Down For What)

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Bake it for a while

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Et voilá!

 

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Goes great with fruit and the whipped cream you made yesterday!

Apologies to any tall breads that may have felt marginalized by today. That means you, baguette.

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SPAK

 

[FHCx5] Whipped Cream Day

IT’S WHIPPED CREAM DAY!

A fairly common dessert for us at home is some fruit (typically banana slices and some sort of berries) topped with fat free Reddi Wip and perhaps some fat free caramel or sugar free chocolate syrup drizzled over the top. It’s suuuuper low points on Weight Watchers while still being pretty satisfying when sweetness is desired. So, we almost always have whipped cream in our fridge.

But, today is Whipped Cream Day. It’s a special day — one that inspires the words “Hey wait… what if we just made our own?”

WELL that may sound easy to some of you, but neither of us know what we’re doing most of the time. Upon googling, we were relieved to learn that it’s pretty much just heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. We put a metal bowl and a whisk in the freezer for a little while, combined the sugar and cream, and went to town on the whipping.

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We used Land O’ Lakes! Keeping it local, mostly by accident.

So much whipping. We had to whip in shifts because our whipping arms grew weary, and it seemed like it had been liquid for a million years until it finally started looking like whipped cream. Fluffy, sexy whipped cream.

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And then, the fruiting commenced.

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SP has an idea.

 

It’s all well and good to keep your whip contained in a dessert bowl, but we had to have a little fun with it because WHIPPED CREAM DAY!

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Tomorrow will be all about beans and shortbread. One of them will be another DIY… BUT WHICH ONE?! Stay tuned.

SPAK