On May 15th, we recognize a morsel of a thing. It’s National Chocolate Chip Day!
Have you ever wondered if an ingredient would work in a recipe? It is hard to imagine where we would be without the invention of chocolate chips.
Nestle initially included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars. Starting in 1941, Nestle and other competitors started selling the chocolate in chip or morsel form.
Semi-sweet was the original flavor of chocolate chips. Today the chocolates come in bittersweet, semi-sweet, mint, white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white and dark swirled.
If you haven’t tried them yet we made batches at Christmas with Bailey’s chips… This is one you don’t want to miss.Jennifer L
The imagination is the only thing limiting what recipes chocolate can be used. Today chocolate chips are used in a variety of baking methods from sweet to savory. Had Ruth Graves Wakefield never wondered what a few chopped up chunks of chocolate would be like in her baking, we wouldn’t even have chocolate chip cookies.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #ChocolateChipDay to post on social media.
Yield: Makes 5 Dozen
Time: About 30 minutes
We’ve been making this recipe for years. We have to make at least 4 batches for Christmas alone. Last year Mom found out about the variety of baking chips available. So we made regular, Andes mint, Bailey’s, Ghiradelli Dark, Butterscotch, and Cinnamon chips. (These are great in Bisquick scones too!)
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups/12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Heat oven to 375.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
- Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
- Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. (I use silicone baking mats for easy clean-ups.)
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Love to bake? These classics are timeless and you can alter the basic recipe with everything from chocolate chunks, and flavored baking chips to adding extra cocoa powder and sugar for a double or triple dose of chocolate.
Did you know there was a scientific study done that says chocolate can contribute to your physical and emotional health? It’s true it’s based on the numbers but chocolate can even affect the pleasure center of your brain.
On May 9th raise your glass and toast National Moscato Day. Moscato, or Muscat in Italian, is one of the oldest known variety of grapes grown in the world.
The grape can be white to almost black and the flavor from sweet to dry. Because of this, it is quite versatile and is used to make everything from sparkling and dessert wines to dry and floral wines. Where one Moscato may pair well with a steak, another will go well with fresh fruit and a sharp cheese plate.
In February of 2012, it was reported that Moscato wine became the third most popular white wine consumed within the United States.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalMoscatoDay
Prepare a nice plate of fresh cheeses and fruit. Grab a bottle of your favorite Moscato and pour a glass to enjoy the day. (Remember always to drink responsibly and never to drink and drive.)
Use #MoscatoDay and #NationalMoscatoDay to share on social media. A great way to enjoy some of that quarantine time.
NATIONAL MOSCATO DAY HISTORY
In 2012, the Gallo Family Vineyards created National Moscato Day. The Gallo Family Vineyards is a family-owned business that has been in operation since 1933.
NATIONAL BIRTH MOTHER’S DAY
Lots of people around the world will be observing Easter very differently this year. It seems strange with no grandchildren running through the house. We didn’t color eggs, make easter baskets, or plan a big family Easter dinner.
The only plans we have are to make an easy attempt at “What’s for dinner?”. So here it is our Easter menu this year. We’re skipping brunch and egg hunts. Due to Coronavirus,we’ve had our fill of ham. So I’m doing a fruit salad, steamed asparagus, and my oven-roasted pork. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll add Lemon Greek potatoes too. Check back for these recipes. Check out our Recipe page for more great meals to share with those you care about.
For starters I did all my shopping through pick-ups or delivery. We have health issues that would make even minor exposure very bad. We have stayed out of stores, pharmacies, and any public places. If you haven’t tried any of these it’s well worth the time.
Walmart pick up. Sadly we do not yet have delivery here yet. Fingers crossed they will soon. So we vie for limited pick up spaces. I find late nights to be a good time to sneak in. You can shop mast items to your cart before a time becomes available.
I start adding items to my cart days before I am anticipating an opening. Even a small amount in your cart can lock in your slot. Check out even if full shopping not done. I use a credit card because I know I can add items after I check out to a certain time. People loose their slots by waiting until full order is done to reserve a time and check out.
Instacart and Shipt. Here in northwest Florida we don’t have places like Whole Foods Market by Amazon. So a separate service does the shopping. Instacart gives us access to Publix. I have used them previously and was really happy when some alternatives arrived. I’m sure my experience was not the norm as I know quite a few who love their service.
We started using Shipt in addition to our Walmart pickups. This service has been phenomenal. They give us access to Winn Dixie, Target, and even pick up prescriptions from big name pharmacies.
Things are crazy so I know I need to order early. Don’t wait until you’re out. Low stock, hoarding, and traffic at stores means, what you need may not be in stock. It took me three orders to get bread and some non-perishable items like soup.
Your shopper has nothing to do with stock available for you. As these people are braving, crowds, iverworks grocery employees, and the health risks associated with a store.
I have the most flexibility in my schedule so I check on items and opportunities often. I finally found an online place that has both toilet paper and paper towels. I’ve been using Boxed for a few years now. We love the ability to purchase bulk items without the membership fees. If we had a Costco, it might be different. We haven’t tried BJ’s yet as they opened here after the pandemic started.
What ever your plans may be I hope that 2020 has taught us all to cherish the time and memories with those special to you. If you learn nothing else from Coronavirus, know that nothing in the future is guaranteed.
Have a safe, healthy, and Happy Easter. Don’t forget those CDC guidelines during egg hunts.
National Unicorn Day on April 9th each year celebrates the mythical horse-like creature with a single, pointed horn growing from the center of its forehead.
Unicorns have been a popular mythical creature since the Ancient Greek times when people believed they lived in exotic India. While they were once considered to be fierce, powerful animals, many now see them as a symbol of love, purity, enchantment, and magic. They also appear in many movies and cartoons as magical creatures. Both adults and children find a fascination with unicorns. They also continue to find their way into fantasy novels alongside other mythical creatures.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalUnicornDay
There are serval ways to celebrate this fun day. Try these fun ideas:
- Make some brightly colored pancakes or cupcakes. Decorate them with multicolored sprinkles or glitter.
- Bake cookies in the shape of unicorns.
- Watch a favorite movie including unicorns.
- Draw a picture of a unicorn or write a story about one.
- Read your favorite fantasy novel featuring unicorns.
Post photos on social media using #NationalUnicornDay
The perfect follow up to National Tartan Day.
February 23rd annually recognizes a well-known food holiday, National Banana Bread Day.
A moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread, banana bread is made with fully ripe, mashed bananas. Some recipes call for yeast, and then the finished banana bread is sliced, toasted and spread with butter.
With the popularization of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s banana bread first became a standard feature of American cookbooks. It appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook, too. Banana bread later gained further acceptance with the release of the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950.
Despite the banana’s arrival in the United States in the 1870s, it took a while before they appeared as an ingredient in desserts.
Early Banana Bread
One early recipe came from The Vienna Model Bakery. It advertised banana bread as something new in the April 21, 1893, edition of St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A new restaurant/bakery chain owned by Gaff, Fleischmann & Company, The Viena Model Bakery was known for its baked goods and was likely one of the first to produce banana bread in the United States. The recipe was made with banana flour, which is made by drying strips of the fruit, then grinding it to a powder. This process had long been used in the West Indies.
In Hawaii during World War I, a surplus of bananas resulted from very few ships available to export the fruit. To prevent waste, alternative uses for bananas were developed. For example, bakeries started incorporating the fruit into their bread.
This recipe was printed in The Maui News on April 12, 1918, for banana bread:
Yeast, coconut milk or water
There was also rationing of staple food items such as flour. Banana flour was a suggested substitute. It was touted as a health food and recommended for a vegetarian diet.
This, of course, is not the quick bread we know today. A recipe submitted by Mrs. Dean in the February 18, 1918, issue of The Garden Island paper for a banana muffin might more closely resemble the quick bread we think of today.
1 cup cornmeal
3-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 sifted banana
3/4 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon Crisco
Mix dry ingredients, add banana, milk and egg and Crisco.
Quick Bread and Muffin
The difference between a quick bread and a muffin in baking has a lot to do with the type of fat and how it is mixed creating a different crumb or texture to the bread.
In 1927, Unifruit (a wholesale produce company) offered a free cookbook called From the Tropics to Your Table. The book offered recipes full of bananas as ingredients including banana muffins and breads. This little cookbook would have been handy during the Great Depression which was just around the corner. At the time, families utilized every scrap of food, including overripe bananas. They cooked overripe bananas, as well as other fruits and vegetables, into breads, stews and other dishes when flavor and texture were not as appealing raw.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalBananaBreadDay
Bake your favorite version of banana bread to celebrate. With so many varieties to try – banana nut, chocolate banana and more – you can make more than one! Invite someone to join you or give a loaf or two away. The celebration is just too good not to share! We like ours warm from the oven with butter!
Use #NationalBananaBreadDay to post on social media.
Recognized by the US National Confectioners Association, National Chocolate Mint Day is observed annually across the nation on February 19th. This holiday has been set aside for all the chocolate mint lovers to eat their favorite treats all day long.
The Aztecs and Mayans are given much credit for their ways with chocolate. And while chocolate was brought back to Europeans, they were not fond of the dark, bitter bean, so they used more for medicinal purposes.
As it was mostly consumed as a hot beverage, Europeans mixed mint, cinnamon and other spices to make it more palatable. Over time, they added sugar, and the combination of chocolate and mint became fashionable.
Fast forward to the mid-1800s when inventions and improvements in processes made it possible for confectioners to begin mass-producing chocolates. Even then, small candy shops served a local public. Advertisements for mint chocolates, or chocolate mints, did not start showing up in newspapers until the turn of the century.
The International Dairy Foods Association states that mint chocolate chip is the 10th most popular flavor of ice cream.
One of the earliest mass-producers of chocolate mints was Huyler’s in New York. Their chain of stores spread across the country.
We find mint chocolate in everything from ice cream to brownies, cookies and candies, liquors and sauces. Girl Scouts first sold Thin Mint cookies in 1953 and are still their most popular cookie. Mint chocolate is also the name of an herb with edible leaves that tastes like chocolate and mint.
HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateMintDay
Below is a favorite frosting recipe for chocolate cake. It looks great decorated with chocolate mint candies, a perfect way to celebrate National Chocolate Mint Day!
Mint Frosting for Chocolate Cake
1 package cream cheese (8 0z), softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon mint extract
Green food coloring
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in mint extract, 2 to 3 drops of green food coloring and 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Store frosted cake in refrigerator.
Use #ChocolateMintDay to post on social media. Combine with National Vet Girls rock day, and give to as many female veterans as you can find.