Archive for the ‘entertain’ Category

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, many of us are dragging our feet, knowing that it is a final bid goodbye to summer. Even though summer doesn’t officially end until later in September, Labor Day signifies the closing door on summer time fun and the beginning of fall routines and responsibilities.

Go wring all the fun you can out of these final days of summer time bliss.

10. Blow Bubbles. Doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, go blow a few bubbles and see if a few worries and cares don’t float away with the soapy orbs.

9. Go on a Picnic. It doesn’t matter if you make something elaborate, run by the deli or grab take-out, pack a blanket and your loved ones and head for a park or picnic area you haven’t visited this summer.

8. Host a bonfire. Make sure you follow local ordinances and keep a hose handy. And don’t forget to have plenty of S’mores supplies on hand.

7. Eat a popsicle. It’s cold and sweet and perfectly delightful. Indulge and enjoy. Have a contest to see who can make theirs last the longest.

6. Pick fresh fruit. Scan the classified ads or ask around for the best “U-pick” fruit location and then go pick something. You’ll be glad you did when you bite into that fresh off-the-tree fruit!

5. Take a hike or a bike ride. Go somewhere off the beaten path and really look around you. Take in the scenery, the smells, the sounds. It won’t be long until fall paints an entirely  different canvas.

4.Take photos. Although the moments won’t last, the photos and memories will. Take photos of your family and friends enjoying the last days of summer in all their joy and silliness.

3. Eat watermelon. Take it outside and let the kids munch to their heart’s content, with juice running down their chins and onto their toes. I dare you to join them! There is summer sweetness packed in every juicy sweet bite.

2. Make homemade ice cream. There is nothing like making your own ice cream and enjoying each cool, creamy bite of frozen confection. You can find tips on hosting an ice cream social here and a recipe for great chocolate ice cream here.

1. Enjoy a sunset. There is nothing quite as spectacular as watching the summer sun sink into the west. The pinks, oranges and golds that fill the sky can be breathtaking. Go sit outside and watch nature’s beauty descend. If you are of a mind to keep up the gazing, throw down a blanket and watch the stars.

Take time to really enjoy these last days of summer. You’ll be so glad you did.

Happy Entertaining!


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It is NOT Chocolate

When I was 11, my mother decided to bring my world crashing down around my ears and declared I had an allergy to chocolate. Since I was plagued by a variety of food allergies I didn’t question the decision. I wasn’t able to in my traumatized state.

The problem was that I was genetically programmed to crave chocolate. Several members of my dad’s side of the family have the same affliction. We crave chocolate. We love chocolate. We are chocolate addicts. We need chocolate. Chocolate is a key ingredient in our happy existence. This goes beyond the normal really liking chocolate. I mean we honest-to-goodness need chocolate.

So with much crying and whining, I spent the next 12 years without chocolate. Trying to make it up to me, my mother attempted multiple times to convince me that carob was just as good, if not even better than chocolate. She was so wrong.

A great definition I found of carob is this:

“Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder, but does not have the same flavor and texture of chocolate.”

Okay, so you read that part about it not having the same flavor or texture of chocolate. That is putting it mildly! Carob, in my opinion, has a similar flavor and texture to that of cardboard being finely shredded  and then dusted with a generic brand of cocoa powder.  It is NOT a substitute for chocolate.

My mother got creative with her attempts at helping me find peace with carob. There were carob-chip cookies (blech!), carob-covered peanuts (double blech!), and carob cake (I won’t even try to describe that one). She finally gave up. I was forever grateful and accepted my chocolate-less existence.

Then I met and married Most Wonderful Hubby. One day he casually asked why I was allergic to chocolate. I didn’t know. My mother said it was so, and so it was. He gave me half of his chocolate candy bar and I ate it. Then we both waited for me to break out in hives, collapse in a heap and in general do something that required a trip to the emergency room. When nothing happened, I think I heard a chorus singing hallelujah.

Suddenly the world was a happy place again, one filled with chocolate. Do you know how many new kinds of chocolate things are developed in a 12-year period? A lot! And I’m pretty sure I tasted every single one of them. I’m still on a quest to make sure no chocolate is left untasted. After all, I’ve got the rest of my life to make up for those 12 lost years.

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Last week I had the opportunity to have a booth at a Taste of Home Cooking School. Because these events are so much fun and offer attendees a wealth of information as well as a great evening, they are the focus of my Wednesday Shout-Out.

Attendees get to come early, sample great food, receive discount coupons, interact with vendors and then enjoy a couple of hours of exciting recipes and on-stage cooking demonstrations. Did I mention the prizes? There are a lot of great prizes that are given away throughout the evening as well.

If you have the opportunity to attend a Taste of Home Cooking School, I highly recommend it. If nothing else, you’ll come home with some great new recipes to try!

Here is my booth in all it’s lime green and hot pink glory.

The cooking school crowd, enthralled with the presentation.

To find out more about Taste of Home Cooking Schools in your area, click here.

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