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spring

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This is why we eat ham on Easter

Holidays are chock-full of timeless traditions, perhaps in no category more steadfastly than food. What’s Thanksgiving without turkey? Halloween without candy? New Year’s without some bubbly? And of course, what would Easter dinner even be without a briny, salty ham? But aside from simply tradition, how did pigs come to play such an important role in our annual spring feast? It really just has to do with practical considerations and timing. Traditionally, pigs were slaughtered in the fall as temperatures cooled. This would allow the meat to stay fresher for much longer. Before refrigeration, farmers would set aside any unsold meat to be cured, or preserved, as to not waste food or income. That cured meat was finally ready to eat each year right around Easter. Also read, Why do eat chocolate bunnies on Easter? These days, slaughtering schedules don’t play an important of a part as simply our preference. While…

Cadbury Bunny Tryouts are back for 2020

Your pet has a shot at 15 minutes of fame this Easter. The Cadbury bunny has been the company’s mascot for years, but because “everybody wants to be the Cadbury Bunny”—as the iconic commercial declares—recently they’ve opened the casting call to more than just regular old rabbits. Last year, Cadbury hosted a tryout for the position and invited any species of animal to don a pair of fuzzy ears and see if they had what it took to be the next face of its festive chocolate Easter egg candies. A bulldog named Henri took top honors in 2019, but now the company is once looking for a fresh adorable face for 2020. Cadbury is encouraging all pet owners to enter to become the official Cadbury Bunny, and they’ve made the process simple. Visit the Cadbury website and submit a cute photo of your pet wearing bunny ears. No bunny eats…

Strawberry oatmeal muffins

This time of year, I just can’t get enough fruit. I like eating it fresh most of all, but I also find it impossible to pass on delicious, fruity baked goods. Last week, I came across a killer deal on strawberries at the market, so I was inspired to use some of my stash to make this super summery strawberry muffin recipe. These strawberry oatmeal muffins have tons of texture thanks to the quick-cook oatmeal. And the brown sugar gives just enough sweetness. You’ll love these for breakfast, brunch, or an anytime snack. Since strawberries can sink to the bottom of batter, coating them in flour first will help them float throughout. It also helps distribute their moisture throughout the muffin leaving you with something tender and tasty. Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins Ingredients 1 cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1 cup Greek yogurt 1/3 cup vegetable oil…

How to freeze asparagus

Asparagus is one of the first official signs of spring and a promise that more homegrown produce is right on its heels. All winter long we wait for those green spears to show in the garden, but just like that, warm weather hits and the season is over. If you’re getting into June and you still have an abundance of asparagus in the ground, don’t fret. Freezing it means you’ll have asparagus spears available for the whole year to come. 1. Go homegrown Only bother freezing locally grown asparagus while it’s in season for your area. Asparagus that has been shipped from other states, or even internationally, will almost always be less tender and have less flavor — not a good place to start. 2. Size matters The spears you select for freezing should be at least as thick as a pencil. Thinner spears don’t hold up very well in…

Thunderstorm? Here’s why you should skip washing those dishes

Every grade school kid knows to seek shelter during a thunderstorm, but did you know that washing dishes or taking a shower can be dangerous during a storm? It turns out that lightning can still shock you through the pipes in your house. According to John Jensenius, a lightening safety specialist for the National Weather Service, during a storm, you need to stay away from anything that conducts electricity. That includes both wires and plumbing. “Certainly showers would be dangerous. It would be dangerous to be washing your hands or washing dishes,” Jensenius said. “Just avoid those any time you hear thunder.” Anything that plugs into a wall is also dangerous. That means avoid using dishwashers and washing machines, too. If you have plastic pipes in your home, you’re still at risk. Impurities in tap water can also conduct electricity. “Water can conduct electricity as well,” Jensenius said. “We see that on the outside…

How to freeze rhubarb for use all year long

Rhubarb. It’s the stuff spring dessert dreams are made of. It’s one of the first veggies to appear in the spring, bringing its bright pink color and wonderfully tart taste to compotes, cakes, pies, and crumbles. But just like that, fresh rhubarb bolts when the summer heat turns up, leaving us longing for more. The solution? Freezing it, of course! If you’re lucky to have extra rhubarb — or just didn’t get around to baking as much as you would have liked this spring — it’s worth noting that rhubarb freezes very well and will stay good for up to a year. The easiest way to freeze rhubarb is to cut cleaned stalks into 1-inch pieces, then lay them flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze about 3 to 4 hours or until firm. Then, transfer to freezer bags and label. You can use frozen rhubarb the…

Boozy Margarita cupcakes are a perfect, festive treat

Margarita cupcakes. What could be more perfect for spring and summer (and of course Cinco de Mayo!)? You’ll find all kinds of reasons to make these fun, tequila-infused cupcakes. I mean, who doesn’t love a little spiked dessert? This recipe makes a deliciously moist cake with a light lime and tequila flavor — just like your favorite drink to sip during the summer months. They’re topped with thick and creamy buttercream that’s infused with more delicious lime and tequila flavor. You can have lots of fun decorating them, too. I used green sprinkles and a tiny lime wedge, but you top them with more lime zest, a section of paper straw, a drink umbrella, or a candied lime wedge. You might even go crazy for a party and top with an upended mini bottle of tequila. As for the tequila in these Margarita cupcakes, I usually stick with one that’s…

Where to find Cinco de Mayo margarita specials and more

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War on May 5, 1862. The holiday is a fairly minor one in Mexican culture (it’s not a federal holiday, so banks, offices and stores go about business as usual), but in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved to commemorate Mexican heritage and culture — especially in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday in 2019, so get ready for restaurant deals lasting all weekend long. If you’re looking for a spot to join in on the fiesta, check out these deals and events for Cinco de Mayo 2019: And check back soon. We’ll update as more restaurants release their Cinco specials. Bahama Breeze Pretend you’re in the tropics at this island-themed chain. Bahama Breeze is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a weeklong “Fiesta Like There’s…

What’s in season in May? A guide to spring produce

The list of in season fruits and vegetables starts to lengthen in May as weather turns warmer for even the northernmost states. Citrus is on its way out, along with cool weather crops, but most of the country can now enjoy spring icons like asparagus and rhubarb. Southern and western states start to welcome summer produce like berries and cherries. Asparagus We really only get good asparagus for about two months of the year, so enjoy it all the time now, while you can. Try this asparagus tart with strawberry salsa for the ultimate spring brunch. Or go back to the basics with 4 ways to cook asparagus. Cabbage Cabbage comes back in season this month. This hearty vegetable can handle frost, but not heat. So even if we get a late-season frost, the cabbage crop still stays strong, but cabbage heads (which are mostly water) will expand and split…

Springtime pea tabouli salad

Spring salads can be so so good! Think of yourself eating whole, fresh ingredients and feeling happy, healthy, and full. This springy Mediterranean-inspired dish will deliver on all three. Springtime pea tabouli salad is filling thanks to the high-fiber peas and protein-packed quinoa (about 8 grams of protein per 1 cup cooked quinoa). It’s also loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals thanks to a bounty of beautiful spring herbs. Bring this main or side dish to the next family gathering or potluck. It’s vegan so everyone can enjoy it care-free. It’s also absent of easily-spoiled ingredients, so pea tabouli salad does well sitting out at picnics for extended periods of time. SPRINGTIME PEA TABOULI SALAD Ingredients 1 cup dry quinoa (will make about 3 cups cooked) 1/4 tsp salt 2 cups water 1 cup snow peas, sliced 1 cup snap peas, sliced 1 bunch parsley, chopped ~10 springs mint,…