Happy Truffle Day!!! – Easy OREO Truffles Recipe

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Ingredients 

36

 OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided

1

pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

4

pkg.  (4 oz. each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, broken into pieces, melted

make it

RESERVE 1/4 cup cookie crumbs. Mix cream cheese and remaining cookie crumbs until blended.

SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

kraft kitchens tips

HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE

Place chocolate in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.

HOW TO EASILY DIP TRUFFLES

To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place truffles on prepared baking sheet; let stand until firm.

HOW TO STORE

Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Credit: Kraft Recipes

Happy Chocolate Parfait Day!!! – DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUDDING PARFAIT

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, divided, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate (no more than 54% cacao if marked), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

PREPARATION

Whisk together cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and a pinch of salt in a heavy medium saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter until melted. Transfer pudding to a metal bowl and quick-chill by setting in an ice bath and stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat cream with vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cocoa until it just holds stiff peaks. Layer pudding and cream in 8-ounce glasses. Serve dusted with cocoa.

Credit: Epicurious

Photo Credit: Foodimentary

Twisted Colossus — the World’s Longest Hybrid Coaster Opening May 23rd (Would you ride it?)

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I grew up in the valley near Magic Mountain which I went to every weekend my friends and I would go to Magic Mountain to ride and play games all day long. Eventually, I got one of my first jobs there as a ride operator. Colossus was my first ride that I got to the chance to operate, which I thought it was a boring ride but then when I heard last year they were going to get rid of it, a piece of my childhood memory died but then I heard about Twisted Colossus, the next generation of the beloved wooden roller coaster that thrilled millions of guests in its 36-year reign at the park, will be a unique technological marvel combining an iconic wooden structure with state-of-the-art Iron Horse Track.

Old School Colossus

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The advanced technology, available exclusively at Six Flags, provides ride experiences never before possible on wooden coasters, such as over-banked turns and inversions. Twisted Colossus will feature numerous exciting components including a “Top Gun” element, the western hemisphere’s first “High Five” element, and a Zero G Roll.

With its unique construction, Twisted Colossus will feature:

  • “Top Gun Stall” – an inversion where the train slows down upside down
  • Western Hemisphere’s first “High Five” – where two trains pass through an overbanked turn facing each other with the illusion that you can reach out and “high five” other riders
  • Zero G Roll where track twists 360 degrees
  • A staggering 116-foot drop at an amazing 80-degrees
  • 18 airtime hills
  • Two lift hills
  • Four minutes of thrills on nearly 5,000 feet of track – longest hybrid coaster in the world

Twisted Colossus will be the focal point of the newly themed area where you can expect the unexpected through whimsical experiences in entertainment, food and retail. The original Colossus wooden coaster opened on June 29, 1978 and offered its farewell run on August 17, 2014.

Twisted Colossus — the World’s Longest Hybrid Coaster

  • Opening Date: Spring 2015
  • Height Restriction: Must be at least 48” tall
  • Location: Twisted Colossus will be the focal point of the newly themed area where guests can expect the unexpected through whimsical experiences in entertainment, food and retail.

Credit: Six Flags

Thankful Thursdays – It takes a second to be Kind

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Happy National Raisin Day!!! – Health Benefits of Raisins

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Health Benefits of Raisins

Constipation: When ingested, raisins swell because the fiber present in has shrunk in a raisin’s dried form, but it will begin to swell due to the body’s natural fluids. This adds bulk to the food moving through the intestinal tract and ultimately helps provide relief from constipation. The type of fiber in raisins is considered insoluble fiber, because it takes in water and gains volume in that way. Besides reducing constipation, raisins can also help to stop loose stools, again by absorbing the liquid of loose stools and reducing the frequency and unpredictability of diarrhea.

Weight Gain: Raisins, like all dried fruits, are very good tools for gaining weight in a healthy way, since they are full of fructose and glucose and contain a lot of potential energy. Raisins form an ideal part of a diet for athletes or body builders who need powerful boosts of energy or for those who want to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. Their role as a healthy addition to the diet is further boosted because of the many vitamins, amino acids and minerals in raisins, such as selenium and phosphorus, which facilitate absorption of other nutrients and proteins in the body.

Cancer Prevention: Raisins have high levels of catechins, which are polyphenolic antioxidants in the blood. Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals that float around the body and wreak havoc on the organ systems and cells.  Free radicals are one of the primary, underlying factors that lead to the spontaneous growth of cancer cells, as well as the substance that can spur on metastasis. Therefore, by including raisins in your diet and increasing the level of these powerful antioxidants in your system, you can prevent cancer from forming, or slow down its progress if you have already developed a number of forms of that deadly disease.

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Hypertension: For many years, some people have believed that raisins have the power to reduce blood pressure and protect the integrity of heart health, but it was only recently that experts began intensive studies on these claims. The findings, although still not absolutely definitive on how raisins reduced blood pressure, did show a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and consumption of raisins. Many of the nutrients packed into raisins are beneficial, but experts believe that it is the high level of potassium in raisins that helps with this condition. Potassium is a well-researched way to reduce the tension of blood vessels and decrease blood pressure, and the dietary fiber in raisins is also thought to affect the biochemistry of blood vessels and reduce their stiffness, which also reduces hypertension.

Diabetes: In a number of studies, raisins have been shown to lower the postprandial insulin response, which means that after eating a meal, raisins can help the spikes or plunges in insulin levels that can be so dangerous to patients with diabetes. It modulates the sugar absorption by the body, making it more even and stable, reducing the chance of health complications or emergencies for those suffering from both major types of diabetes. Raisins also help to regulate the release of leptin and ghrelin, which are the hormones responsible for telling the body when it is hungry or full. By keeping these hormones in check, people who eat raisins can improve their chances of maintaining a healthy diet and prevent overeating, which further improves chances of living comfortably with diabetes!

Anemia: Raisins contain a considerable amount of iron which directly helps in the treatment of anemia. It also contains many members of the vitamin-B complex that are essential for the formation of new blood. The high copper content in raisins also helps the formation of red blood cells.

Fever: Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties, are abundantly present in raisins and can help cure fevers by fighting viral and bacterial infections.

Eye Care: Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties.  These phytonutrients are very good for ocular health, as they protect eyes from the damage caused by free radicals (oxidants), in the form of macular degeneration, age-related weakening of vision, and cataracts. In addition to their antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin-A, A-Beta Carotene and A-Carotenoid, all of which are essential for good ocular health.

Sexual Dysfunction: Raisins have long been  known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal, primarily due to the presence of an amino acid called Arginine, which is beneficial in treating erectile dysfunctions. Arginine also increases the levels of sperm motility, which can increase the chances of conception when engaging in sexual intercourse.  It is a common practice in India to make the bride and the groom drink a glass of milk each, boiled with raisins and added with a pinch of saffron on their wedding night. It is also recommended for those suffering from issues of sexual endurance to consume raisins regularly, and whatever beneficial sexual effects you experience will be further aided by the immediate energy boost that raisins often provide.

Credit: Organic Facts

Wisdom Wednesdays – Stay in the Moment, Watch your Words & Let it Go!!!

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Happy Shrimp Scampi Day!!! – Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

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Ingredients

Vegetable oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons

3/4 pound linguine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/2 lemon, zest grated

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds

1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Directions

Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Credit: Food Network

Happy National Blueberry Pie Day!!! – Classic Blueberry Pie Recipe

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Ingredients

Pastry

2

cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

1

teaspoon salt

2/3

cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening

4

to 6 tablespoons cold water

Filling

3/4

cup sugar

1/2

cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

1/2

teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired

6

cups blueberries

1

tablespoon lemon juice

1

tablespoon butter or margarine, if desired

Directions

  • 
In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and the salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
  • 
Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half; shape into 2 flattened rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
  • Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll one round into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.
  • 
In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/2 cup flour and the cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over blueberries. Cover with top pastry that has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.
  • Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours.

Credit: Betty Crocker

Happy National Prime Rib Day!!! – Slow-Roasted Prime Rib au Jus

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Instructions

For the prime rib:

 
Rinse the roast under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and place on a cutting board. Following the line of the bones, cut the meat away from the bones in 1 piece.

  • Season the meat and the bones all over with the salt and pepper. Rub the meat and bones all over with the garlic.

Fit the meat back onto the bones, making sure to match the meat and bones up where they were cut apart, and tie together between each bone with butcher’s twine.

  • Remove the roast from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°F and arrange a rack in the lower third.
  • 
Place the roast fat-side up (the bones will be on the bottom) on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan.

For the jus:

  • 
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan; set aside. Season the beef bones with salt and pepper.
  • 
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the bones and sear until golden brown on all sides, adjusting the heat as needed so the bottom of the pan does not burn, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove the bones to a large plate and repeat with the remaining bones.
  • 
Add the wine and simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 
Return the bones and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the beef broth, measured salt, and measured pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the jus is deeply flavored, about 15 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the bones. Pour the jus through the strainer and discard the contents of the strainer. Let the jus sit until the fat rises to the surface, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, skim off and discard the fat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate tightly covered until ready to serve. To reheat, bring to a simmer over medium heat.

To finish roasting the meat:

  • 
Place the roasting pan on a wire rack, tent the roast loosely with foil, and set aside in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 450°F and keep the rack in the lower third.
  • 
When the roast is done resting, remove the foil and crumple it into a ball. Place the ball of foil under the bones of the roast to prop up the less exposed area of fat.

Credit: Chow

Happy National Pretzel Day!!! – What type of Pretzel do you like to munch on?

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It’s National Pretzel Day! Centuries ago, Catholic monks created the first pretzels from scraps of leftover dough. The unique knot shape represented the Holy Trinity, but the significance of this symbol has evolved over the course of history. During the 17th century, pretzels symbolized the bond of marriage. This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated! Today, traditional soft pretzels are popular at sporting events, carnivals, and festivals.

Hard pretzels are a fairly new invention compared to the original soft pretzels. According to legend, in the late 1600s a Pennsylvania baker forgot a batch of pretzels in the oven. The over-baked treats were dark and hard, but the baker sampled one anyway. He was pleasantly surprised by the crunchy deliciousness. Hard pretzels are now one of the most popular snack foods.

What type of Pretzel do you to munch on?