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Spiked Watermelon Pops makes for a cool treat in honor of National Watermelon Day

This easy spiked watermelon pop recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis makes 16 pops and takes about 5 minutes prep time and about 10 hours freeze time.


1/2 (3 pounds) large watermelon, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup watermelon flavored 70 proof vodka (recommended: Smirnoff Twist of Watermelon)* see Cook's Note

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Special equipment: 16 (1/4 cup) ice pop molds, 16 wooden pop sticks or wooden coffee stirrers at least 2-inches longer than the molds.


In a blender, combine the watermelon, sugar, and vodka. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the mint and pulse once to combine. Pour the mixture into the pop molds. Insert the wooden sticks all the way down the inside the molds. Freeze for at least 10 hours or preferably overnight.

To unfreeze the ice pops, insert the molds in hot water for 5 to 10 seconds. Serve immediately.

*Cook's Note: For nonalcoholic Watermelon Pops, substitute 3/4 cup orange juice for the vodka.


Spiked Watermelon Pops by Giada DeLaurentiis

Source:  Food Network

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day with a twist on the traditional

Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!  Ice cream sandwiches are frozen desserts composed of a layer of ice cream of any variety "sandwiched" between two cookies or slices of cake.  In the United States, an ice cream sandwich is a slice of ice cream, commonly vanilla although other flavors are often used, sandwiched between two rectangular wafers, usually chocolate.  Alternatives to wafers are often used, such as chocolate chip cookies.  For a twist on the traditional ice cream sandwich, put a flavor other than vanilla (like orange spice) between two shortcake biscuits.
Ice cream sandwich orange spice zoom out
Ice cream sandwich chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chips
Ice cream sandwich traditional
Ice cream sandwich brownies

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Best Mustards according to Every Day with Rachael Ray

Every Day with Rachael Ray has researched mustards and listed the following as the best mustards in a variety of categories:

BEST ODDBALL: Inglehoffer Creamy Dill Mustard with Capers.  Fragrant, with herbal hints (thanks to dill) as well as pickled capers and lemon, this silky mustard "hit the tangy spot." Tasters said they'd use it to add zing to potato salad or balance rich smoked salmon. ($1.69 for 4 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST HOT: Silver Spring Beer'n Brat Horseradish Mustard.  If juicy brats and spicy mustard are best friends, this "addictively spicy" mustard makes them BFFs. Capable of cutting through the fattiest meats, it screams with "clean, fresh horseradish" grated straight from the root. ($2.79 for 9.5 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST DELI: Hellmann's Deli Mustard.  Some mustards confuse "grainy" with "gritty." Not Hellman's. This hearty deli brown "has just enough texture to satisfy," said one taster. Our panel also raved about the slightly sweet and mildly spicy flavor combo, courtesy of horseradish and mustard seeds. ($2.50 for 9.5 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST BALLPARK: Raye's Mustard Top Dog.  Raye's Mustard Mill in Eastport, Maine, hit a home run with this "grown-up" winner. Unlike its too-vinegary competitors, Raye's uses an old-school cold-grinding technique that preserves the intense flavor. A "complex kick" of chili powder earned it even more fans. ($4.50 for 9 ounces, at select grocery stores)

BEST HONEY: Honeycup Uniquely Sharp Mustard.
 At first sight, this looks a helluva lot like caramel. Glossy, goopy and golden-brown, it opens with a "molasseslike sweetness" and "finishes with a kick" from cider vinegar. Try it as a dip for soft pretzels, with salty country ham, or straight out of the jar. ($4.59 for 8 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST DIJON: Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard.  Grey Poupon turns out gourmet mustard that, one taster noted, would "class up a boring turkey sandwich." Almost custardlike, this smooth mix of mustard seeds, white wine and vinegar, inspired by the original recipe from Dijon, France, has a well-balanced taste. ($3.19 for 8 ounces, at grocery stores)

Best mustards by Every Day with Rachael Ray

Posted by Amanda, in General.

National Mustard Day is today and is celebrated every year on the first Saturday in August

National Mustard Day celebrates the "King of the Condiments." When it comes to condiments, mustard is among the most popular. Mustard has been in use to spice up meals for thousands of years and it is a must have for hot dogs, sausages, and a wide range of sandwiches as well as an important ingredient in many recipes. This special day was created by the National Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin and has been an annual event in 1991.

You won't believe how easy it is to make homemade mustard, both, as a condiment, and ground up. Unless you are growing your own plants, the hardest part may be the task for finding the seeds to use.

Ground Mustard

Use dried mustard seeds. Place them in a coffee grinder, or food processor. Grind them until they are a very fine, powdery consistency. Store in a baggie, or a small jar along with your other spices.

Mustard Condiment

Use dried mustard seeds. There are a variety of seeds. White, or yellow seeds make a yellow mustard. Brown seeds make a stronger, more pungent brown mustard. Place seeds and a small amount of water or vinegar into a blender. Avoid using too much liquid, or it will be runny. You can also use almost any liquid, including wine or even beer. Run blender until the mixture is smooth. Store mustard in the refrigerator.

Tip: Experiment and create your own mustard flavor. Add tiny amounts of other spices before processing. Salt, black pepper, and honey are popular choices. For some zip, add a very small amount of jalapeno peppers.

Ground mustard seeds

Continue reading "National Mustard Day is today and is celebrated every year on the first Saturday in August" »

Posted by Amanda, in General.

Delicious cotton candy cake and cupcakes in celebration of National Cotton Candy Day

If you've ever been to a carnival, circus, amusement park, fair or any other type of large outdoor event with vendors selling a variety of trinkets, you've most likely had the chance to sample an odd yet delicious candy known as cotton candy.  Today is National Cotton Candy Day in celebration of the delicious, sugary treat!

Originally called "Fairy Floss", the process of making Cotton Candy was invented by four men: Thomas Patton, Josef Delarose Lascaux, John C. Wharton, and William Morrison. In 1899, Morrison and Wharton were able to patent the first electric cotton candy machine, which used centrifugal force to spin and melt sugar through small holes. In 1904, these two Nashville candy makers introduced their invention of how to make cotton candy to the St. Louis World's Fair. Due to fair goers' curiosity, these inventors sold approximately 68,655 boxes of cotton candy for 25 cents a box for a total of $17,163.75!

In 1900, Patton obtained a patent for his invention of making cotton candy. Using a gas-fired rotating plate to spin caramelizing sugar, he was able to form threads of cotton candy with a fork. In addition, he introduced his invention to the public at the Ringley Bros. Circus. Boy was it a hit! Even though he never received a patent, dentist Josef Lascaux introduced this popular candy to his Louisiana dental office. About 50 years later, in 1949, Gold Medal Products launched a cotton candy machine that had a spring base. Like any other invention, this cotton candy maker was more dependable than the past machines due to the help of new knowledge on how to create a better machine.

Cotton candy doesn't contain all that much sugar - merely as much sugar as one would get drinking a can of an average soft drink. In fact, in a normal serving of cotton candy (about a 1 oz. cone) there are only about 100 calories - compared to anywhere from 130-170 calories in a can of non-diet soft drink.

This fluffy and delightful candy is a novelty to children as well as adults. The process by which cotton candy is made has been around for over 100 years so chances are you could ask your grandparents about their first encounter with cotton candy and they'll tell you at great length how much it cost and how neat it was back in the day.

This absolutely adorable cotton candy cupcake is by The Sweet Tooth Fairy!

Cotton candy cupcake by The Sweet Tooth Fairy

Cotton candy cake (Rachael Ray)

Cotton candy cake by Rachael Ray

Continue reading "Delicious cotton candy cake and cupcakes in celebration of National Cotton Candy Day" »

Posted by Amanda, in General.

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