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Archive for Labor Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Ice Cream

Red White & Blue Ice Cream
[1] Mix in sprinkles for holiday-themed ice cream, like this patriotic flavor from OddFellows Ice Cream.

Red White & Blue Ice Cream Cones

[2] Make matching cones. Here’s the recipe from Sweet Estelle.

 

You can create special ice cream for any special occasion, using store-bought vanilla ice cream and mix-ins in holiday colors.

The easiest way is to buy sprinkles, confetti and confetti shapes (hearts, pumpkins, stars, etc.—photo #2).

For example:

  • July 4th, Labor Day & Memorial Day: red and blue sprinkles.
  • Halloween: orange and black sprinkles.
  • Thanksgiving: orange, red and yellow sprinkles.
  • Christmas: red and green sprinkles.
  • Valentine’s Day: red and pink sprinkles.
  • St. Patrick’s Day: dark and light green sprinkles.
  • Easter: pastel sprinkles.
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    Preparation

    1. SET the container on the counter until the ice cream is soft enough to mix in the decorations.

    2. RETURN to the freezer until ready to serve.

    TIPS: It’s easier to mix two separate pints than a quart or larger container. And it’s even easier than that to dip the edges of ice cream sandwiches into the sprinkles.
     
     
    JULY 4TH TRIVIA

  • The first independence Day. The Declaration of Independence was formalized on July 2, 1776, when Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved, and the document was published. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. While John Adams wanted it to be July 2nd, Congress agreed on July 4th for the holiday.
  • The term “Independence Day” was not used until 1791.
  • The first description of how the holiday would be celebrated was in a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail, on July 3, 1776. He described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States.
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  • If July 4th falls on a weekend, the celebration is moved: to Friday, if the date falls on a Saturday; to Monday, if it falls on a Sunday. The date was maneuvered to provide federal employees (and subsequently, most of us) with a three-day weekend.
  • The Liberty Bell, housed in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, hasn’t rung in 171 years. Instead, it is tapped 13 times every July 4 by descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was ordered from England by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly (part of the state’s colonial government) to hang in its new State House (later known as Independence Hall). In arrived in 1751 and cracked at its first ringing—as had two prior bells tested in England. In 1846, when Philadelphia’s mayor requested that it be rung on George Washington’s birthday, attempts were made to repair an existing fracture and the bell reportedly tolled loud and clear at first, but then cracked beyond repair.
  • Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, was born on July 4th, and three presidents died on it. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of the holiday, in 1829; James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.
  • The annual July 4th hot dog eating contest, sponsored by Nathan’s Famous, began as a disagreement among four immigrants at Coney Island, Brooklyn, on July 4th, 1916. The fight was over who was more patriotic. They were overheard by Nathan Handwerker, an immigrant with a hot dog cart, who offered them a challenge: Whomever could devour the most hot dogs would win the argument. The winner was an Irish immigrant named Jim Mullen who consumed 13 hot dogs in 12 minutes (it is not noted whether Nathan donated the hot dog or if the challengers paid the going rate, five cents apiece). In 2016, Joey Chestnut devoured 70 hot dogs and rolls in 10 minutes—–watched by some 30,000 fans at Coney Island and millions around the world on ESPN.
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    JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Greek Yogurt Pops & New Chobani Smooth Yogurt

    Why buy yogurt pops when it’s so easy to make these (photo #1), with a recipe from Chobani?

    You can use any berries you like, plus nonfat/0% fat Greek yogurt (photo #2). Blueberries and strawberries are brighter in color for red, white and blue pops.

    But vary the berries or use stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums, etc.) and enjoy your favorite fruits, frozen on a stick, all summer long.

    RECIPE: BERRY-GREEK YOGURT POPS

  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups plain 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt
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    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a food processor or blender. Transfer into a small bowl.

    2. RINSE the bowl of the food processor/blender and add the yogurt and the other tablespoon sugar. Blend and pour the yogurt mixture into the ice pop molds, filling them halfway. Add the strawberry slices and top off with the blueberry mixture. Repeat.

    3. Place the molds in freezer to harden; consume within 2 days. Running molds under warm water can help release the pops from the molds.
     
     
    NEW FROM CHOBANI: NON-GREEK CHOBANI SMOOTH

    Chobani, the nation’s top Greek yogurt maker, has just launched Chobani Smooth, a blended, 1% milkfat yogurt in five flavors:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Peach
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
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    red-white-blue-yogurt-pops-chobani--230

    Chobani Plain 32 Ounce Container

    [1] and [2] Make red, white and blue yogurt pops with Chobani’s plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt (photos courtesy Chobani).

     

    Chobani Smooth Strawberry Cup

    Chobani Smooth Cartons

    [3] and [4] Meet Chobani Smooth, “American-style” yogurt in five flavors (photos courtesy Chobani).

     

    Each cup (photo #3) has about 11 grams of protein and 120 calories. A two-pack of 5.3-ounce cups (photo #4) retails for a SRP of $1.79.

    Chobani calls their new Smooth Yogurt line, “American-style,” but it’s actually European style. See our Yogurt Glossary for the different types of yogurt, including Australia-style, custard style (a.k.a. French style and Swiss style), Greek-style (a.k.a. strained yogurt) and sundae style.

    The majority of blended yogurts in the U.S. are made with artificial ingredients, says the company. Those that aren’t are the more expensive “premium” brands.

    The mission of Chobani Smooth is to offer the other segment of consumers—those who don’t like the tanginess of Greek yogurt—an option that has:

  • No artificial ingredients (plus no GMOs and no rBST).
  • Twice the protein of tradition yogurts and 25% less sugar.
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    CHOBANI GREEK VS. CHOBANI SMOOTH

    If Chobani became the #2 yogurt seller in the U.S. by selling Greek yogurt, why enter the European-style space?

    To attract the other half of the market!

    Greek yogurt is made like regular yogurt, but the liquid whey is strained out. The result is thicker and tangier, with more protein and fewer carbohydrates.

     
    Chobani Smooth is more fluid than Greek yogurt, and not tangy. It is a blended-style yogurt with the fruit blended into a smooth “custard.” Chobani further adds some small pieces of fruit for texture and eye appeal.

    Finally, Chobani Greek is available in 0%, 2% and 5% (whole milk) milkfat. The Chobani Smooth line is 1%.

    Greek yogurt accounts for about half of all cup and carton sales of yogurt. Given that Chobani is America’s largest Greek-style yogurt maker, will Chobani Smooth propel the company to become the largest yogurt maker, period?

    That’s the plan!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Martini

    Mashed Potato Bar

    [1] Who can resist a mashed potato bar (photo courtesy Betty Crocker)? [2] Use whatever dishes you have for the toppings. They don’t have to match (photo courtesy Hormel Foods).[3] If your guests can cope with glass, use your Margarita and Martini glasses (photo courtesy Hormel Foods). [4] Keep the potatoes warm in a slow cooker (photo courtesy Tip Hero).

     

    Whether you like to grill for Father’s Day or prepare everything in the kitchen, a fun, interactive addition to the festivities is a mashed potato bar.

    Our dad loved our cold green bean salad. With a bowl of that, and a cucumber salad or a special slaw, the only other side you need is the mashed potato bar.

    It’s a treat for guests to customize their toppings. For you, everything can be prepared ahead of time, including the potatoes, which are kept warm in a slow cooker or other device.

    Don’t want potatoes? Substitute mashed cauliflower.

    PREPPING THE MASHED POTATOES

    Make the mashed potatoes with or without skin, using your choice of red, white or golden potatoes.

  • Use a tried-and-true recipe.
  • If you like to load up the groaning board, offer mashed sweet potatoes as well.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker to keep the potatoes warm, use aluminum foil pans with steam warmers underneath. For a fancier event, use chafing dishes. If you don’t have any of these, see what you can borrow.
     
    MASHED POTATO BAR TOPPINGS

    DAIRY

  • Butter
  • Cheeses: blue, cheddar goat, parmesan; crumbled, grated or shredded
  • Sour cream, plain Greek yogurt
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    PROTEINS*

  • Bacon
  • BBQ pulled pork
  • Chili
  • Sausage, sliced mini pepperoni or crumbled whole sausage
  • Anything else you like
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    SEASONINGS

  • Prepared seasonings
  • Salt and flavored salts
  • Heat: dried chipotle, hot sauce, red chili flakes, peppermill
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    VEGETABLES

  • Onions: caramelized, onion rings, sliced scallions
  • Mushrooms, sautéed
  • Steamed medley: broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc.
  • Tomatoes: diced fresh tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped sundried tomatoes
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    TOPPINGS

  • Cheese sauce (if you can keep it warm)
  • Corn chips
  • Fresh herbs: chives, dill, shredded basil, parsley
  • Gravy
  • Olives
  • Sliced jalapeños
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    PARTY ON!
     
     
    MORE DIY FOOD BARS

  • DIY Bacon Bar
  • DIY Bloody Mary Bar
  • DIY Breakfast & Brunch Bar
  • DIY Dessert Bar
  • DIY Jambalaya Bar
  • DIY Stuffed Avocado Bar
  • DIY Taco & Wing Bar
  • DIY Wedge Salad Bar
  • 20 More Food Bars
    ________________

    *Assumes beef and chicken are main courses from the grill.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bruschetta From The Grill

    Firing up the grill this weekend? Make bruschetta (pronounced broo-SKEH-tuh).

    We love a DIY bruschetta bar. Just rub the bread with garlic, brush it with extra virgin olive oil, grill, and place the slices on a platter along with all the fixings.

    Even easier, brush the bread with garlic olive oil! You can buy it, or infuse your own in advance by dropping halved garlic cloves into a cup of olive oil (or however much you think you’ll need). Any leftover oil can go right into a vinaigrette.

    Bruschetta originated in the Tuscany region of Italy, where it is commonly served as a snack or appetizer. It may have been the original garlic bread.

    Plus, we have our own invention dessert bruschetta, below.

    BRUSCHETTA VS. CROSTINI: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    There are two factors:

  • The size of the bread slice.
  • The cooking technique: grilling versus toasting.
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    Bruschetta slices are larger, three or four inches in diameter) and grilled. Crostini, cut from a ficelle, a thinner baguette about two inches wide (the word is French for “string”).

    You can use bread of a different diameter; but if it isn’t grilled, it isn’t bruschetta.

    Here’s how to remember the difference:

  • The verb bruscare is Roman dialect meaning “to roast over coals.” But there’s something simpler.
  • Think of crostini as crust or crouton (which is its literal meaning). Toast has a crust. That’s how we taught ourself to recognize the difference.
  • While Italians serve bruschetta as a snack, the smaller crostini can be served plain with soup and salad, like the original melba toast.
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    Note that some American manufacturers and others in the food industry misuse the term, selling jars of “bruschetta.” To be accurate, it should be labeled bruschetta topping). Bruschetta is the grilled bread, not the topping.

    RECIPE: DIY BRUSCHETTA BAR

    The simplest bruschetta topping is salt and pepper (i.e., seasoned garlic bread), but that’s for a bread basket.

    Almost any cheese, fruit, meat, spread or vegetable can be a topping. Toppings can be cooked, marinated, pickled, raw or smoked.

    For a DIY bar, offer at least three different toppings. We like everything, so tend to go overboard: Our toppings look like a buffet. Regarding bread, we prefer a crusty sourdough or rustic loaf.

  • Be sure the loaf will give you slices of a workable size.
  • If you’re not familiar with the particular loaf, ask to ensure that it doesn’t have holes for the toppings to fall through.
  • We have the loaves sliced at the store, then we cut the slices in half.
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    Along with the bread, make sure you have fresh garlic and check your olive oil for freshness.

    Ingredients

  • Baguette or other loaves of bread
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper and peeled, halved garlic cloves
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    For The Toppings

  • Avocado, mashed and seasoned (garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, etc.)
  • Caprese: quartered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, balsamic glaze
  • Charcuterie: pâté, prosciutto, salume, etc.
  • Cheeses: ricotta, ricotta salata, soft goat cheese
  • Fresh basil, julienned/shredded
  • Fruit: sliced figs
  • Garnishes: capers, chopped herbs, chopped mixed olives
  • Greens: baby arugula or watercress
  • Heat: raw jalapeños slices, grilled chile peppers
  • Marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)
  • Mushrooms, marinated
  • Onions: caramelized, chives, chopped green onions (scallions)
  • Peppadews, sliced
  • Pimento, chopped or sliced
  • Raw and cooked veggies of choice: asparagus, grilled vegetables, sliced radishes, etc.
  • Spreads: bean, hummus, pimento cheese, tapenade
  • Tomatoes: sliced plain or marinated in oil and vinegar
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    More options: shredded mozzarella or other cheese such as thinly-sliced Brie, fish (we have a passion for anchovies and herring salad on bruschetta), other marinated vegetables, mostarda.

    We also like eggplant caponata, pesto and sautéed mushrooms, but tend to use them more in cooler weather.

     

    Bruschetta Bar

    Rustic Loaf

    Rustic Loaf

    Bruschetta Bar

    Strawberry Bruschetta

    [1] Who needs a burger? We’re heading for the bruschetta bar (photo courtesy What’s Gaby Cooking).[2] Buy bread that has a pretty solid crumb (photo courtesy The Stone Soup). [3] This loaf is beautiful, but not for holding toppings (photo courtesy Bake Street). [4] A bruschetta bar from Countryside Cravings. [5] Dessert bruschetta, here with goat cheese (the recipe from Emily Bites). We use mascarpone.

    Preparation

    1. SET out the toppings and teaspoons for serving. We use ramekins; you can use any bowls you have.

    2. SLICE the bread from 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. Rub each side with cut garlic clove and brush each side with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill to your desired toastiness.

    3. PLACE the bread on a platter next to the toppings and watch people create their appetizers.
     
     
    DESSERT BRUSCHETTA

    Most people won’t have seen dessert bruschetta. We don’t know if we invented it, but our sweet tooth gave us the idea years ago.

    Start with a loaf of bread with dried fruit, such as cherries or raisins. For toppings:

  • Artisan preserves
  • Flavored peanut butter (chocolate, cinnamon, maple, etc.)
  • Fruits: berries; sliced dates, figs, grapes and stone fruits
  • Honey
  • Mascarpone or sweetened sour cream
  • Nutella
  • Garnishes: chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, etc.
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    TIP FOR MEMORIAL DAY (OR JULY 4th) WEEKEND: Red, White & Blue Recipes

    Red, white and blue colors are not just for July 4th. Memorial Day is an equally patriotic holiday.

    Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

    Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War (1861 to 1865), which saw the largest loss of life of any American war. An estimated 620,000 soldiers died in the conflict—roughly 2% of the U.S. population, in addition to countless civilians.

    By the late 1860s, Americans in various communities had begun holding springtime tributes to the fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

    In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. It first celebrated Memorial Day on May 5, 1866, and was selected because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

    Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971. Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of silent remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m., local time. [source]
     
     
    MEMORIAL DAY RECIPES

    Even if you’re spending a quiet weekend at home, you can celebrate Memorial Day with a patriotic bite or two. Here’s a group of recipes to bite into.

    Some are so easy that all you have to do is put the ingredients together: no cooking.

    You can use the same red, white and blue recipes for Independence Day and Labor Day, which honors the contributions that American workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.
     
     
    MEMORIAL DAY BREAKFAST RECIPES

  • Red Velvet Pancakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blueberry Muffins (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs or Egg White Omelet With A Side Of Red & Blue Berries
  • Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast (recipe)
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    MEMORIAL DAY SIDE & MAIN DISH RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Cole Slaw (recipe)
  • Blue Cheese & Red Vegetables (recipes)
  • Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberries(recipe)
  • Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese (recipe)
  • Patriotic Cheeseburger (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers (recipe)
  • Tomato & Mozzarella Skewers (recipe)
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    MEMORIAL DAY SNACK RECIPES

  • American Flag Crudité Plate (recipe)
  • American Flag Fruit Skewers (photo)
  • Bacon Flag Pizza (recipe)
  • Cheese American Flag (recipe)
  • Marshmallow Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Popcorn (recipe)
  • Stuffed Celery (recipe)
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    Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

    Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

    Patriotic Sangria

    Patriotic Drink

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Yogurt plus berries. For fun, cut star-shaped toast with cookie cutters (photo courtesy Smuckers). [2] American Flag fruit skewers (photo courtesy [the former] Stix Mediterranean Grill | NYC). [3] Layer white sangria or pink lemonade in a pitcher with berries. You can find the recipe on the Svedka website). [4] Cocktails or mocktails, from Cosmos and Pomtinis to pomegranate juice mocktails (photo courtesy The Clean Dish).

     

    Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

    Patriotic Dessert

    Patriotic Naked Cake

    WHO WANTS DESSERT? [5] Add a simple cupcake garnish (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter). [6] Ice cream with sauces, berries, even a blue macaron serving as the top and bottom of an ice cream sandwich (photo courtesy Vandal | NYC). [7] Just bake the layers, and top with red, white and blue (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    MEMORIAL DAY BEVERAGE RECIPES & PRODUCTS

  • American Amber Ale
  • Chandon July 4th Limited Edition Sparkling Wine
  • Any sparkling wine with a splash of red liqueur, such as Alizé Red Passion or Remy Martin Red Berry Infusion (first the liqueur, then top with the wine).
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Cocktail (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sangria With Cocktail Option (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Shooter (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Lemonade & Hard Lemonade (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Limited Edition vodka bottles, like this one from Svedka.
  • Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tequila Shooters (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Spicy Hot Lemonade
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    MEMORIAL DAY DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2,
    recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Starfruit
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
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    MORE MEMORIAL DAY RECIPE IDEAS

  • More Recipes 1
  • More recipes 2
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