Tag

holidays

Browsing

Why conversation hearts will be missing this Valentine’s Day

This year you might have to find another way to ask your sweetie to “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me.” Valentine’s Day’s most popular candy, SweetHearts, those tiny heart-shaped confections printed with terms of endearment, won’t be produced. New England Confectionary Company (Necco) annually made more than eight billion (13 million pounds) of the tiny hearts in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, but despite a great effort to save the oldest continually operating candy company in the country, NECCO was shut down in 2018. With Necco dead, so too are SweetHearts — for now anyway. Competing brands offer rival ripoffs of the iconic heart candies, but SweetHearts is the original, most recognized and favored brand. SweetHearts’ hold strong sentimental value for many people in the U.S. and their sales were the strongest — by a long shot. Any SweetHearts products you find online or in stores this year…

Here is the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in every state

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to love, romance, and of course, candy. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend about $1.8 billion on candy this year as part of their Feb. 14 celebrations. As far as holiday indulgences go, candy is relatively inexpensive, so for couples looking to not break the bank, exchanging favorite sweets is a popular activity. Candy isn’t just for couples, however — 42% of people said they would buy themselves a box of chocolates this year. It’s clear that everyone loves candy, but where you live is likely to influence what you buy and give. Using sales data from the past 11 years, bulk candy company CandyStore.com determined each state’s favorite candy. Here’s what people are ordering where you’re from: Source: CandyStore.com. Alabama: Candy necklaces Alaska: Heart-shaped box of chocolates Arizona: Conversation hearts Arkansas: Hershey Kisses California: Conversation hearts Colorado: Conversation hearts Connecticut:…

This is the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk

Sometimes two foods are so similar we mistake them for one another — yams and sweet potatoes, baking powder and baking soda, and cilantro and parsley, to name a few. They’re all different foods that could never be used interchangeably. The other day I ran into another example as I was baking a pie that required condensed milk, but in a hurry, I had purchased evaporated milk. Yikes! I wondered if I had to go back to the store, or could I substitute one for the other? They both contain a shelf-stable concentrated canned milk substance, but in my research, I learned that there are clear differences. Let’s explore. Condensed milk Condensed milk is often referred to as sweetened condensed milk, and the name gives a hint at what makes it different. This shelf-stable milk concentrate has had about 60 percent of its water removed and loads of sugar added…

America’s favorite seasonal hot beverages

Nothing says winter weather quite like cuddling up on the couch in your flannel and fuzzy socks and a mug full of your favorite warm beverage. But, give the choice, what do you like to fill that mug with? Of course coffee and tea are welcomed any day of the year, but what seasonal drink do you go for around the holidays? An online poll recently asked Americans to share their favorite seasonal drink, and these were the top eight favorite drinks. So, do you agree? What drink would you add to the list, and which ones have you already crossed off the list this holiday season? 8. Mulled wine On a cold day, spiced wine is the perfect way to warm up. Make your own in a crock pot with bold red wine, spices, fresh fruits and some cognac. 7. Hot Buttered Rum This decadent drink will help you…

What is the difference between spearmint and peppermint?

With the holidays here you can be sure of one thing — mint, mint, mint, and more mint. Peppermint is practically the poster child for the entire winter season, with candy canes, peppermint patties, peppermint bark, and peppermint flavored hot chocolate. Peppermint might steal the show, but actually, there are over 15 types of mint including orange mint, apple mint, and of course, spearmint. Peppermint and spearmint are, by far, the most popular. Peppermint vs. Spearmint So, are the two interchangeable? Well, all mints are not the same. You’re likely to notice right away if someone switches the spearmint in your mojito with peppermint or if your barista were to replace the peppermint in your mocha with spearmint. That’s not saying they wouldn’t be good — just noticeably different. Both have square stems and spear-shaped leaves, and both are great for cooking, but the two have distinct difference in terms…

Smoked salmon crostini bites with mustard butter and dill

This elegant appetizer is easy enough to prepare, you’ll whip it up party after party. Pour your guests some Chardonnay and snack on these salmon bites to get the engagement going! Notes: Substitute Italian bread if that’s what you have on hand. Also, you can use goat cheese instead of butter, or chives or capers instead of dill — all delicious alternatives. Smoked salmon crostini bites with mustard butter and dill Ingredients 1 stick butter, softened  1 tbsp stone ground mustard 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp lemon zest 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill + 1 tbsp chopped dill for garnish 1/8 tsp salt Freshly ground pepper 1 long, thin French baguette, sliced about 1/4-inch thick About 10 ounces of best quality smoked salmon, thinly sliced and cut into 1-to 2-inch pieces Lemon wedges (for serving) Directions Preheat oven to 375ºF. Position baguette slices in a…

10 things you never knew about eggnog

It’s that time of year when people all over the world get a hankering for holiday eggnog. You already know it’s delicious, but did you know it was responsible for a riot at West Point? Or that it was prescribed as medicine by doctors in the 1800s? Read on to learn more about everyone’s favorite way to imbibe during the holidays. 1. Americans love of eggnog adds to its waistline. According to Indiana University, Americans consume over 135 million pounds of eggnog every year — almost all of that between Thanksgiving and New Years. Recipes will vary, but a one cup serving of eggnog has approximately 210 calories and 11 grams of fat. Some eggnog brands can cram as many as 450 calories and 58 grams of sugar into a single serving. Add rum and whipped cream and you’re basically drinking dinner. 2. George Washington left us his favorite eggnog recipe.…

Winter white hot chocolate with cinnamon

Living in Pittsburgh, it seems hot chocolate is everywhere — and that, in my opinion, isn’t always a good thing. Those watered-down styrofoam cups at freezing cold football games or the overly sweet stuff handed out after cold weather 5Ks, are really consumed out of a need to stay warm, more so than for the enjoyment. It had been a long time since I had a cup ‘o chocolate that I actually enjoyed. But I was feeling a bit Christmassy decorating the house, so I thought I’d whip up something warm and delicious to sip on as we watch holiday movies on repeat. This Winter White Hot Chocolate has a dash of cinnamon to give the cup some complexity. You can add more or less, if you like. Even some nutmeg would taste pretty good. The best part of making drinks like this is always the extras, so if you’re going…

8 Best Subscription Gift Boxes for food lovers

Subscription boxes are so much more than just Jelly-of-the-Month-Club nowadays. If you’re not sure what to get that hard-to-buy-for someone, why not leave it to the pros? Each of these subscription boxes is curated by a team of experts in the category, to deliver just what your snack-loving sister or healthy-eater husband need. So give everyone with a big question mark next to their name one of these gifts and have them be thankful for you all year long. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb923u_jXp7/ For the coffee obsessed: Mistobox Cost: $20 per month What you get: When you sign up for Mistobox, you’ll tell the company your coffee preferences and an expert coffee curator will get to work selecting the coffees that best match your tastes from over 300 fresh-roasted blends. Then, every 30 days you’ll get to open a new 12-ounce bag of whole beans. More info here: Mistobox.com https://www.instagram.com/p/BjpiLq7HXWI/ For the snacker:…

3 fun napkin folding ideas for your Christmas table

The holidays are the perfect time to kick your table decorating game up a notch. You’ve spent hours scouring Pinterest to help you create the perfect holiday menu. You’ve dropped serious dough on extra serving platters, and you’ve cleaned corners of your house you never knew needed cleaning. Now is no time for holding back. Folding napkins is such a festive way to add some extra fun to the party. It’s quick, easy, and can make you feel like you really have it all together. If you need some inspiration, here are three holiday napkin folding ideas that will impress your guests — even if you’re drinking out of plastic champagne flutes. We can’t win them all, but you can have cute napkins! Christmas Tree Will work with either cloth or paper napkins. This fold works best for sit-down dinners.  1. Fold your square napkin in half. Then fold it in…