Your Welcome!!! – Hot Chocolate French Toast Recipe, plus learn a little Japanese in the process

Happy National Cashew Day!!! – Health Benefits of Cashews

Cashew Nuts

Here are seven health benefits of cashews.

Cancer Prevention
Cashews are ripe with proanthocyanidins, a class of flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce your colon cancer risk. Their high copper content also endows the seed with the power to eliminate free radicals and they are also good sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect us from heart disease and cancer.

Heart Health
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts and most of it is in the form of oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health by helping to reduce triglyceride levels, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Cashews are wonderfully cholesterol free and their high antioxidant content helps lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. The magnesium in cashews helps lower blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Hair and Skin Health
Cashews are rich in the mineral copper. An essential component of many enzymes, copper plays its part in a broad array of processes. One copper-containing enzyme, tyrosinase, converts tyrosine to melanin, which is the pigment that gives hair and skin its color. Without the copper cashews are so abundant in, these enzymes would not be able to do their jobs.

Bone Health
Cashews are particularly rich in magnesium. It’s a well-known fact that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but magnesium is as well. Most of the magnesium in the human body is in our bones. Some of it helps lend bones their physical structure, and the remainder is located on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to use as it needs. Copper found in cashews is vital for the function of enzymes involved in combining collagen and elastin, providing substance and flexibility in bones and joints.

Good for the Nerves By preventing calcium from rushing into nerve cells and activating them, magnesium keeps our nerves relaxed and thereby our blood vessels and muscles too. Too little magnesium means too much calcium can gain entrance to the nerve cell, causing it to send too many messages, and leading to too much contraction.

Insufficient magnesium leads to higher blood pressure, muscle tension, migraine headaches, soreness and fatigue. Not surprisingly, studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Prevent Gallstones
Data collected on 80,718 women from the Nurses’ Health Study demonstrates that women who eat at least an ounce of nuts each week, such as cashews, have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones.

Weight Loss
People who eat nuts twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who rarely eat nuts. Cashew nuts are indeed relatively high in fat, but it is considered “good fat.” This is attributable to the ideal fat ratio in the nut, 1:2:1 for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, respectively, which is recommended by scientists for tip-top health. Cashew nuts contain less fat than most other popular nuts, including peanuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts. They are dense in energy and high in dietary fiber, making them a very valuable snack for managing weight gain.

Photo Credit:

Credit: Health Diaries

Epic Fail of the Week – At least this isn’t your Family (Psycho Kid Ruins Thanksgiving)


Bacon, Onion and Rye Bread Stuffing Recipe




  1. One 9-inch-long loaf seeded rye bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, halved and thinly sliced
  4. 1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. 1 teaspoon chopped sage
  6. 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  7. 1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  8. 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  9. 1 egg
  10. 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the rye bread cubes for about 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
  • In a skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery; cook over moderate heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into the bowl with the bread.
  • Wipe out the skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the bowl with the bread. In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add the kosher salt and pepper. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until hot throughout. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.

Credit: Food & Wine

Happy Peanut Butter Day!!! – Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bars Recipe




  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine , melted
  2. 1-1/2 cups sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  7. 1/4 cup milk
  8. 1-1/4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts , divided
  9. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  10. 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips
  11. 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  12. 1/4 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2 baking pan.
  1. Combine melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl; beat well. Add flour, cocoa and milk; beat until blended. Stir in 1 cup nuts. Pour into prepared pan.
  1. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or just until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  1. Melt 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter chips in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Add sweetened condensed milk, stirring until smooth; pour over baked layer.
  1. Place chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 45 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred. Drizzle bars with melted chocolate; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Cut into bars. Cover; refrigerate leftover bars. Makes about 24 bars.

Credit: Hersheys

Happy Baklava Day!!! – Sweet Honey Baklava Recipe



This honey baklava is flaky, crisp and tender and I love that it isn’t overly sweet. It’s basically a party in your mouth. I am a huge fan of baklava and this is the BEST baklava recipe I have ever tried. Hands down. You will love the hint of mellow lemony flavor which offsets the sweetness and compliments the cinnamon. It’s truly delicious. Store-bought baklava has nothing on this and trust me, I’ve been around the block when shopping for baklava!

Any baklava is a little tedious to make, but I’ve shared all of my best tips and advise to ensure you are successful in making yours. You will love that this recipe can be made several days in advance of your shindig and keeps beautifully at room temperature for at least a week.

1 (16 oz) pkg phyllo dough; thawed according to package instructions
2 sticks (1/2 lb) melted unsalted Butter
1 lb (about 4 cups or 3 3/4 cups chopped) walnuts, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon?)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
Melted chocolate chips & chopped walnuts for garnish, optional.


1. Thaw phyllo dough according to package instructions (this is best done overnight in the fridge, then place it on the counter for 1 hour before starting your recipe to bring it to room temp).
2. Trim phyllo dough to fit your baking sheet. My phyllo dough package had 2 rolls with with a total of 40 sheets that measured 9×14 so I had to trim them slightly. You can trim one stack at a time then cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.
3. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 non-stick baking pan.

Check out the rest of the recipe at Nastaha’s Kitchen

Happy National Fast Food Day!!!- Tell us your favorite fast food?




National Fast Food Day is observed annually on November 16.  On this day each year people all across the country celebrate by going through the drive-thru, dining inside or ordering their fast food to go.

First popularized in the United States in the 1950’s, fast food is considered any meal with low preparation time and served to a customer in a packaged form for quick dine-in, take-out or take-away and typically with a drive-thru.

Following World War I, automobiles became popular and more affordable.  At that time drive-in restaurants were introduced.  In 1921,  White Castle, an American company founded by Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson in Wichita, Kansas, opened, selling hamburgers for five cents each.  Anderson had opened the first White Castle in 1916 as a limited menu, high-volume, low-cost, high-speed hamburger restaurant.

The United States has the largest fast food industry in the world.  There are American fast food restaurants that are located in over 100 countries.

Common fast food menu items include hamburgers and other sandwiches, fish, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, tacos, pizza, hot dogs, french fries, onion rings, breakfast biscuits, coffee and ice cream. 

The term fast food was first recognized in the dictionary by Merriam-Webster in 1951.

Credit National Calendar



Happy National Pickle Day!!! – Benefits of Eating Pickles


pickle dancing gif cute

National Pickle Day is observed annually on November 14. It may be a Dill, Gherkin, Cornichon, Brined, Kosher Dill, Polish, Hungarian, Lime, Bread and Butter, Swedish and Danish, or Kool-Aid Pickle. Whichever is your choice, eat them all day long.

The term pickle comes from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine.  In the United States, the word pickle typically refers to a pickled cucumber.

Health Benefits of Pickles

Free radical scavenging from antioxidants: Pickles can be good source of antioxidants, especially Decalepis hamiltonii or Swallow root. As the vegetables or unripe fruits are stored fresh without cooking, the antioxidants present in those vegetables or unripe fruits are preserved as it is. Antioxidants are those micronutrients that help in protecting our body against the attacks of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemicals that are produced during cellular metabolism. These unstable chemicals react with our cells and damage our DNA to become unstable and in the process, create more and more free radicals. We can protect ourselves from free radical attacks by consuming food with high antioxidants. A lot of emphasis these days is put on antioxidants by dieticians and doctors.

Supply of probiotic or gut-friendly bacteria: Probiotic bacteria are those friendly bacteria that are present in our digestive system. These bacteria actually help us in the digestion of food. Sometimes, due to the use of antibiotics, along with invading bacteria, these friendly bacteria are also killed. The fall in their numbers can cause digestive problems that can be solved by eating pickles made without the use of vinegar. Naturally fermented salt pickles encourage the growth of these friendly bacteria, which will replenish the numbers in our digestive system and restore our health.

Supply of essential minerals and vitamins: Fresh pickles, dips or chutneys are made from leafy vegetables or herbs such as coriander, curry leaves, spinach, parsley, and amaranth. These fresh pickles are interesting and appetizing ways of making children eat their share of leafy vegetables and herbs, which are otherwise boring for children. Eating freshly made pickles not only tastes good, but they also supply essential vitamins such as vitamin C, A, K, folate and minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. Vitamins and minerals are vital micronutrients which protect us from diseases, help us build immunity, bone strengthening, vision protection, curing anemia, and various other functions.

Diabetes Control: Studies have shown that consuming vinegar based pickles improves hemoglobin levels in diabetic patients, which in turn helps in controlling diabetes. The acetic acid present in vinegar has been noted to be responsible for this phenomenon. However, care must be taken to avoid the consumption of salted pickles as excess salt increases blood pressure.

Improves Digestion: In India, Indian gooseberry or amla (phyllanthus emblica) is one of the favourite fruits that are pickled. This fruit is believed to possess several health benefits according to Ayurveda treatments and moreover, since amla is a seasonal fruit, unripe amla pickles are prepared. It is customary practice in some Indian families to have amla pickle as the first course or an appetizer as it is believed that amla pickle improves digestion.

Credit: Organic Facts

Happy National Sundae Day!!! – Beer and Bacon Toffee Sundaes recipe





1/2 cup diced bacon (about 4 slices)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup stout beer (I like Founders Breakfast Stout)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pints good-quality vanilla ice cream

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Sea salt, for sprinkling


Put the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until very crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserving the fat in the pan.

Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, beer, butter, heavy cream and a pinch each of kosher salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Scoop the ice cream into bowls and spoon the toffee sauce on top. Garnish with the crispy bacon bits, toasted pecans and sea salt.

You know what’s good with Donut Homer? A Cappuccino – Happy Cappuccino Day!!!



National Cappuccino Day is observed annually on November 8.

Traditionally prepared with espresso, hot milk and steamed-milk foam, a cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink.

The word cappuccino comes from the Capuchin friars and is the diminutive form of cappuccio in Italian, meaning hood or something that covers the head.   This popular coffee beverage got it’s name not from the hood on their habits but from the color of the hooded robes that the friars wore.  (The Capuchin friars is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans.)


  • In 1945 Achille Gaggia invented the modern espresso machine which further popularized the cappuccino.
  • Mid 1990′s – Cappuccino was made more widely available to North Americans as upscale coffee houses sprang up.
  • Late 1990′s to Early 2000′s – Cappuccinos became popular in the United States concurrent with the boom in the American coffee industry.
  • Start of 21st Century – A modified short-cut version of the cappuccino started being served at fast-food chains.
  • While steaming the milk you must pay close attention to attain the correct ratio of foam, thus making the cappuccino one of the most difficult espresso-based beverages to make properly.
  • A skilled barista may create artistic shapes while he/she is pouring milk on top of the espresso coffee.

Credit: National Calendar Day