Happy National Croissant Day!!! (Jan.30th) Parisian Steak and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches by Giada De Laurentiis

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It’s National Croissant Day! Although it is most likely just a myth, the history of the croissant is a colorful tale full of adventure. In 1683, the Turkish Empire laid siege on Vienna, Austria. The Turks made several attempts to enter the city by force, but were unsuccessful, so decided to dig an underground tunnel. The bakers of Vienna, who worked in the basement storerooms, heard the sound of digging and alerted the army.

The bakers received high honors and thanks for their assistance in outwitting the Turks. In celebration, they baked their bread in the shape of a crescent moon—the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. After the Turks were defeated, it became custom to serve morning coffee with the crescent-shaped pastry!

The legend goes on to say that over a hundred years later, Marie Antoinette (an Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI) introduced the pastry to the French who dubbed it a “croissant.”

Parisian Steak and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches by Giada De Laurentiis

Parisian Steak and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches

Ingredients

4 (4-ounce) beef fillet steaks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 croissants

6 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1/2-inch slices, at room temperature

2 cups arugula

1 cup (about 4 ounces) jarred roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced

Directions

Season the steaks with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks for about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Set aside for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice the steak, across the grain, into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a serrated knife, slice the croissants in half lengthwise. In 2 batches, place the croissant halves, cut side down in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until lightly toasted. Lay the Brie slices over the toasted croissant halves. Place about 1/4 cup of the arugula on the bottom halves of the croissants. Add the sliced steak. Arrange the red bell pepper on top of the steak. Top with the remaining arugula and add the top of the croissant. Serve immediately.

Credit: Punchbowl & Food Network

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Happy National Blueberry Pancakes!!! (Jan.28th) – Todd’s Famous Blueberry Pancakes

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Todd’s Famous Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 
1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 
1 1/4 teaspoons white sugar
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1 egg
  • 
1 cup milk
  • 
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 
1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed

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  • PREP
10 mins
  • COOK
15 mins
  • READY IN
1 hr 15 mins

Directions

  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat together egg and milk. Stir milk and egg into flour mixture. Mix in the butter and fold in the blueberries. Set aside for 1 hour.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

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Happy National Pistachio Day!!! (Jan. 26th) – Health Benefits of Pistachios

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Heart Health
 – Pistachios have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. High in antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, they fight inflammation, protecting blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease. Even a moderate intake of pistachios has been shown to increase levels of lutein, an antioxidant well known for protecting against oxidized LDL, reducing heart disease.

Diabetes Help
 – Eating pistachios may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes. 60 percent of the recommended daily value of the mineral phosphorous is contained in just one cup of pistachios. As well as breaking down proteins into amino acids, phosphorous aids glucose tolerance.

Healthy Blood
 – Pistachios are an incredibly rich source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is essential to make hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to cells, and is also shown to increase the amount of oxygen carried.

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Nervous System
 – The vitamin B6 so abundant in pistachios has wide-ranging effects on the nervous system. Messaging molecules called amines require amino acids to develop, which in turn rely on vitamin B6 for their creation. Furthermore, B6 plays a crucial role in the formation of myelin, the insulating sheath around nerve fibers that allows optimal messaging between nerves. Furthermore, vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an amino acid that calms the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.

Eye Health – 
Pistachios contain two carotenoids not found in most nuts. These carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals. They have been linked with a decrease in the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of visual impairments and acquired blindness in the United States.

Immune System – 
A healthy immune system requires adequate intake of vitamin B6, which pistachios abound in. A surfeit of vitamin B6 can retard brain activity as well as decrease the effectiveness of the immune system for fighting infections. Vitamin B6 found in pistachios also helps the body make healthy red blood cells, and helps maintain the health of lymphoid glands, such as the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes, ensuring the production of white blood cells that defend the body from infections.

Skin Health
 – Pistachios are a great source of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and often recommended for healthy and beautiful skin. Vitamin E does an excellent job protecting the skin from UV damage, providing daily defense against premature aging and skin cancer.

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Happy National Peanut Butter Day!!! – A History of Peanut Butter

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It’s National Peanut Butter Day! Peanut butter is a staple in over 90% of American households and the average person consumes more than six pounds of peanut products each year. Women and children prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men go for the chunky variety. 

George Bayle, a St. Louis snack food maker, started making peanut butter in the 1890s. For many years, manufacturers struggled with the oil separating from the grainy solids of the peaut butter. In 1923 Heinz became the first company to homogenize the peanuts into the spreadable butter we know and love today. Before long peanut butter was a classic American food.

Did you know that it takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Peanuts are cholesterol free and an excellent source of protein. In fact, it’s the high protein content that causes peanut butter to stick to the roof of your mouth.

To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, bake some peanut butter cookies, spread some tasty peanut butter on toast, or enjoy a spoonful right out of the jar!

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Happy National Pie Day!!! (Jan.23rd) – Tell us what’s your Favorite Pie?!!

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It’s National Pie Day! Pies have a long and illustrious history, but the sweet filled treats we enjoy today are a relatively recent innovation. The Greeks and Romans made some of the first pies in history. People filled pastry shells with different kinds of meat or seafood, flavored them with a variety of spices, and served them as part of the sweet course of the meal.

When the Pilgrims made their voyage to the New World in the late 1600s they arrived with English pie recipes for beef, lamb, duck, or pigeon. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the first sweet pies emerged. These featured the ingredients we’re accustomed to today, and by the 1940s, pie had become the iconic American dessert.

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Whether you prefer apple, berry, pumpkin, or sweet potato, bake your favorite pie recipe tonight in honor of National Pie Day!

Happy New England Clam Chowder Day!!! – Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 celery stalks (reserve tender leaves) trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice

1 cup heavy cream

2 bay leaves

1 pound Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pan Toasted Croutons:

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Pan Toasted Croutons:

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.

For the Pan Toasted Croutons:

Melt the butter in a large skillet and toss the bread cubes in the butter until browned and toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper.

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Happy National Popcorn Day!!! (Jan. 19th) – Tell us your favorite kinda of Popcorn

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National Popcorn Day 2013

Americans eat about 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year (about 51 quarts per person), which makes it one of the most popular snacks in the country. It is also one of the oldest.

Popcorn has been around for centuries.  Popcorn originated in Mexico, but eventually made its way north. In 1948, archaeologists in the state of New Mexico discovered ancient popcorn ears that were at least 5,600 years old! The Native Americans (in both North and South America) popped their corn by throwing it on hot stones over a fire.

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Today, we rely heavily on microwaveable popcorn, which was introduced in the 1980s. To celebrate National Popcorn Day, make your favorite kind of popcorn and enjoy it while watching a movie with your friends!

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Happy National Hot Pastrami Day!!! (Jan.14th) – A Sandwich History

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Pastrami lovers across the country eat lunch in celebration, having their favorite sandwich, each year on January 14 as they celebrate National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.

A very popular delicatessen meat, pastrami is usually made from beef however sometimes is made from pork, mutton or turkey.  Pastrami was originally created as a way to preserve meat before modern refrigeration and is made by the raw meat being brined, partially dried, seasoned with various herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed.

A wave of Romanian Jewish immigration introduced pastrami (pronounced  pastróme), a Romanian specialty, in the second half of the 19th century.  Early English references used the spelling “pastrama” before the modified “pastrami” spelling was used. 

New York kosher butcher, Sussman Volk is generally credited with producing the first pastrami sandwich in 1887, claiming to have gotten the recipe from a Romanian friend in exchange for storage of his luggage.  Due to the popularity of his sandwich, Volk converted his butcher shop into a restaurant to sell pastrami sandwiches.

  • Pastrami is typically sliced and served hot on rye bread, a classic New York deli sandwich (pastrami on rye), sometimes served with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
  • Pastrami and coleslaw are combined in a Rachel sandwich ( a variation of the Reuben sandwich using corned beef and sauerkraut)
  • In Los Angeles – The classic pastrami sandwich is served with hot pastrami right out of the steamer, sliced very thin and wet from the brine then layered on double-baked Jewish-style rye bread.  It is traditionally accompanied by yellow mustard and pickles.

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Happy National Milk Day!!! (Jan. 11th)

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Milk Day is observed annually every 11th day of January.

Purpose and Origin of the Milk Day:

The Milk Day celebrates the day when milk was first delivered in glass bottles.  This event occurred in January 11, 1878.  Due to this innovation, milk is kept fresh compared to previous packaging and delivery methods used.  The first glass milk bottle in America had a screwed cap lid and is called the Lester milk Jar patented in January 29, 1878. 

Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals.  It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food.  It is used in drinking and cooking.  Aside from cows, milk comes from soy, almonds and rice.  Soy milk lasts longer than cow milk but studies disclosed that a mother cow can produce up to eight gallons of milk each day!

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Happy National Whipped Cream Day!!!

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