Weekend Inspiration – “If today were the last day of my life” (Steve Jobs)

Happy National Animal Crackers Day – Which is your favorite Animal Cracker?

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These fun little crackers are usually in the shape of circus or zoo animals such as elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys.

Animal-shaped crackers were first brought to the United States during the late 1800’s. The demand for these treats skyrocketed so bakers began to produce them domestically.

Stauffer’s Biscuit Company was the first company to produce animal crackers in 1871 in York, Pennsylvania. Other local bakeries soon came together under the National Biscuit Company, or “Nabisco Brands.” It was not until 1902 though that the animal cracker’s box débuted its “Barnum’s Animals” circus theme.

Did you know that since their start in 1903, there have been 37 different animals included in Barnum’s Animal Crackers? Today more than 40 million packages of animal crackers are sold each year around the world. To celebrate National Animal Crackers Day, enjoy a box (or two) of some delicious Barnum’s Animal Crackers!

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Which is your favorite Animal Cracker?

Day of the Mushroom – Fettuccine in Creamy Mushroom and Sage Sauce Recipe

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Ingredients

8 ounces spinach fettuccine pasta

  • 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 
1 shallot, chopped
  • 
1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 
4 ounces chopped fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 
1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 
salt and pepper to taste

 PREP
10 mins

  • COOK
20 mins
  • READY IN
30 mins

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Directions

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
  • Heat olive oil a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook shallots and garlic until transparent. Stir in mushrooms, and cook until tender. Mix in heavy cream and sage. Cook and stir until thickened. Toss sauce with cooked fettucine, and season with salt and pepper to serve.

Credit: All Recipes

Thankful Thursdays – Read then Stop your Complaining (Repost)

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National Eggs Benedict Day!!! – How do you like your Eggs Benedict?

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It’s National Eggs Benedict Day! Eggs Benedict is a breakfast dish made with two toasted English muffin halves topped with poached eggs, bacon or ham, and tangy Hollandaise sauce.

Many people claim that they invented Eggs Benedict. According to one story, in 1894 a Wall Street broker named Lemuel Benedict went to the Waldorf Hotel to find a cure for his hangover. At the hotel restaurant he ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and Hollandaise. The restaurant chef Oscar Tschirky loved the dish so much that he added it to the menu and named it after Mr. Benedict.

Another account comes from a man named Edward P. Montgomery. In 1967 he wrote a letter to The New York Times Magazine claiming that he’d discovered the true inventor of Eggs Benedict. Montgomery’s note contained a recipe created by Commodore E.C. Benedict before his death in 1920. Montgomery received the recipe from his mother who was an acquaintance of the Commodore.

Picture Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org

Credit: Punchbowl

Wisdom Wednesdays – Enjoy the Journey

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Animals are Better than Humans – They are Better Healers

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National Glazed Spiral Ham Day!!! – Tangerine-Glazed Easter Ham With Baby Carrots

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Ingredients

1 (8 to 10-pound) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in chunks

2 tangerines, sliced thin, seeds removed

2 cups tangerine juice

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

11/2 pounds carrots, peeled

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 2-inches apart and 1/2-inch deep. Cut diagonally down the slashes to form a diamond pattern; season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Chop about 8 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl; mix with the oil to make a paste. Rub the sage-oil all over the ham, being sure to get the flavor into all the slits. Bake the ham for 2 hours. Now there is plenty of time to bang-out the tangerine glaze.

For the glaze: Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chunks of butter, tangerines, tangerine juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Slowly cook the liquid down to a syrupy glaze; this should take about 30 to 40 minutes.

After the ham has been going for a couple of hours, pour the tangerine glaze all over it, with the pieces of fruit and all. Scatter the remaining sage leaves on top and stick the ham back in the oven and continue to cook for 11/2 hours, basting with the juices every 30 minutes.

Scatter the carrots around the ham and coat in the tangerine glaze. Stick the ham once again back in the oven and cook for a final 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and the whole thing is glistening with a sugary glaze.

Set the ham on a cutting board to rest before carving. Serve the carrots and tangerine glaze on the side.

Credit: Food Network

The Truth Hurts – Come as you are

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National Pecan Day!!! – Bacon and Cane Syrup Pecan Pie Recipe

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For the pie dough

  • 7-1/2 oz. (1-2/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 5 to 7 Tbs. ice water

For the filling

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup cane syrup, such as Steen’s or Lyle’s
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon (3 or 4 strips)

Make the pie dough

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the largest pieces are about the size of corn kernels, 8 to 12 one-second pulses. Drizzle 5 Tbs. of the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture becomes a moist, crumbly-looking dough that holds together when squeezed in your hand, 4 to 6 pulses. If the dough is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of ice water and test again.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Gently gather and press the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Let the dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly (it should be firm but not rock hard), 5 to 20 minutes, depending on how long it was chilled. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s about 13 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Roll from the center of the dough to the edges and try to use as few passes as possible to avoid overworking the dough. After every few passes, run an offset spatula or a bench knife under the dough to be sure it isn’t sticking, and give the dough a quarter turn. Reflour the work surface and rolling pin only as needed—excess flour makes the crust tough.

Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it into the plate. You can also fold the dough in half and unfold it into the plate. To fit the dough into the plate, gently lift the edges to create enough slack to line the sides without stretching the dough. Trim off all but 3/4 inch of the overhang. Roll the dough under itself to build up the edge of the crust. Crimp the edge of the crust with your fingers. With the tines of a fork, prick the crust all over. Chill for up to 1 hour in the refrigerator or about 30 minutes in the freezer.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line the piecrust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the bottom looks dry and the edges are golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and put a large, rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack.

Make the filling

Put the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl set on a kitchen towel and add the vanilla. Combine the sugar, butter, cane syrup, cream, and salt in a 1-quart sauce-pan. Heat over medium heat just until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisking vigorously and constantly, very slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the yolks. Strain through a fine strainer set over a 1-quart measuring cup.

Fill and bake the pie

TIP:

Pour the filling over the pecans in a slow, spiral motion; if you go too fast, the pecans may move, leaving gaps in the finished pie.

Spread the pecans evenly in the piecrust. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon evenly over the pecans. Slowly pour the filling over the pecans. Put the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the center of the pie is slightly firm to the touch and the filling doesn’t wobble when the pie is nudged, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Make Ahead Tips

The pie dough may be made up to 1 month ahead; wrap it well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze it. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out. The pie can be made up to 1 day ahead (store covered with plastic at room temperature), but it’s best eaten warm.

Credit: Fine Cooking