Showing posts with label Wednesday Elf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wednesday Elf. Show all posts

Saturday, February 16, 2019

National Gumdrop Day Review


Image Source: Wikipedia (and Fotojet) 
There are over 1500 'unofficial' National Holidays throughout the year that enjoy recognition for one reason or another.  This one for February 15 ~ National Gumdrop Day ~ was begun to recognize this colorful, chewy, fruity or spicy, gelatin candy coated with sugar we call the Gumdrop. 


Who Invented the Gumdrop?


The gumdrop was invented by a chemist and candy maker named Percy S. Truesdell.  In 1915 he changed the texture of this sugar concoction.  By adding starch in a formula he developed at Ohio State University, he changed a hard candy into a smooth, chewy delight.  He later became known as the “Gumdrop King”


Uses for Gumdrops



Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Besides being a tasty candy, gumdrops are a popular addition to cookie recipes and as decoration for cakes and cupcakes.  No doubt the most well-known way gumdrops are used as decorations is on Gingerbread Houses. 





Crafty Gumdrops



Gumdrop Penguins
Gumdrops are also often used in crafts, such as these adorable gumdrop penguins by Linda on her fun and fascinating crafty blog called “Crafts a la mode”.  The blog is filled with her  sweet and simple delights in both crafts and recipes. 





DIY Gumdrops


Image Source: Mkreal on Flickr
You can also make gumdrops yourself. You'll need powdered fruit pectin and fruit juice, along with vegetable oil, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring.  Several recipes can be found at a selection of sites throughout the internet.  Click here.


Other Gumdrop Tidbits



Candy Land Game Available on Amazon


An interesting sidelight is the fact that the classic board game Candy Land features both a Gumdrop Pass and a Gumdrop Mountain.  





Then there is the song by Barney called "If All The Raindrops" (The Raindrop Song) with the line:


If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops, oh what a life I would lead. 


Gummie Bears Image Source: AMAZON

A more modern offshoot of the original gumdrop are today's popular 'gummies' in the form of gummy bears and gummy worms.   Kids seem to love these gelatin-based chewable sweets.






Summary


So, enjoy a gumdrop, or two or three, on National Gumdrop Day, February 15, or any day of the year this chewy treat appeals to you. 


Happy Gumdrop Day!










(c) Gumdrop Holiday Review by Wednesday Elf written on 2/15/2019





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Review of Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. (Source: Wikipedia)
Cafe Du Monde is a famous coffee shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  It was opened in 1862 and is famous for it's chicory-blend coffee and Beignets.  It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for Christmas Day (and the occasional hurricane).  Luckily, this famous cafe suffered only minor damage during Hurricane Katrina.

I've visited Cafe Du Monde twice on visits to New Orleans.  It has a charming atmosphere and the Beignets are the most delectable pastry you will ever taste.  I do have to admit, though, that I personally find the famous chicory coffee 'undrinkable'.  I do not like the taste of chicory and I dislike strong coffee.  But if you love chicory coffee or Vietnamese-style iced coffee, you will love the Cafe Du Monde coffee, particularly their Cafe au lait. 


Cafe au Lait




Cafe au Lait  (Image Source)

Cafe au lait is coffee with hot milk added.  This is different from coffee known as 'white coffee', which has cold milk or other whitener added.  Cafe au Lait simply means “coffee with milk”. 


Beignet




Beignets (Image Source)

Beignet is a French pastry that is deep fried and served topped with powdered sugar.  It is so light and flaky and irresistible! 

The allrecipes site has a recipe for you to make your own Beignets at home if you are not able to visit Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. 



Beignet Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions:


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
  2. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
  3. Shake confectioners' sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm.


There are also box mixes of Beignets available if you do not care to go to the (delicious) trouble of starting from scratch. 

The word Beignet, of course, means donut.


Visit Cafe Du Monde




The original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand is located at 800 Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1985 a second cafe was opened and today there are 8 Cafe Du Monde locations in the New Orleans Metropolitan area.  

The Cafe Du Monde coffee stand is a 'must-see' and very tasty attraction for any New Orleans Visit. The literal translation of Cafe Du Monde means “Coffee of the World”

Related Links:













(c) 2/2/2019. Article by Wednesday Elf




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Saturday, January 19, 2019

National Popcorn Day Review

Popcorn Image Source: Pixabay
National Popcorn Day is held each year on January 19, although there is some debate about the date.  Some say it is celebrated on the 'Big Game' day (Superbowl Sunday).  No one knows the origin of this fun holiday, but whoever began the tradition obviously had good taste.


Source: Pixabay
Having recently moved to Iowa where I can drive about 5 miles in any direction and be  surrounded by fields of corn, I became interested in learning more about Popcorn Day. 





What is Popcorn?



Source: Pixabay

Popcorn is a seed that does something nifty when heated.


Corny Facts



There are four kinds of corn. The sweet corn we all love in summertime, dent corn (field corn) that is grown mainly for livestock feed and some food products, Flint corn (best known as Indian corn) used mostly for decoration around harvest time, and popcorn, which is a type of flint corn but has it's own unique characteristics.  Popcorn is grown specifically for popping. You cannot pop sweet corn, for instance, and you wouldn't want to eat field corn. 


History of Popcorn



Popcorn dates back thousands of years.  An interesting bit of history can be found on the website Popcorn . org.

Today, Americans consume over 13 billion quarts of popcorn each year, which translates to about 42 quarts per person.  


Image Source: Pixabay
It is one of the most popular snack foods, and an absolute necessity at a movie theater.  Just wouldn't be the same going to a movie without having popcorn! 

Popcorn is also a favorite around holidays, especially Christmas, as a food, as gifts and as decorations.  Who hasn't strung popcorn as a kid to put on the Christmas tree? 


Cute and Clever Popcorn Gifts


Crocheted Popcorn Playfood


Popcorn Playfood on Etsy
This red and white striped popcorn bag with individual kernels of popcorn  hand sewn to the top is a  fun gift to add to your child's collection of playfood for 'pretend' movie time or snack times.  

Hand crocheted by Kyra of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, it can be found in her Etsy Shop called "The Bossy Princess"






Popcorn Socks



Popcorn Socks on Etsy

These popcorn socks make for the perfect gift for any Popcorn Lover!

Socks are 95% Polyester blend and are one size fits most. They are the creation of Carlee of California and are available in her Etsy Shop Palmzy



Popcorn Recipes



The Popcorn website has a large variety of popcorn recipes to suit any occasion.  Some delicious-looking recipes are available on the Popcorn website under Recipe Portal.


A Super Bowl Popcorn Snack  


Caramel Pretzel Nut Popcorn


Caramel Pretzel Nut Popcorn Image Source: AllRecipes


This tasty favorite from AllRecipes would be perfect for the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday or for a weekend of watching any favorite televised sport. 

Ingredients:

8 cups broken salted pretzels
20 cups popped popcorn
4 cups dry roasted peanuts
3 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup

1 1/2 cups butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:


  1. Place the pretzels, popcorn and peanuts into a large paper bag or, if you have one, a very large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Cook, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar, until the mixture comes to a boil. Once the mixture is at a full boil, continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the salt, vanilla, and baking soda. The mixture will foam up when you add the soda, so use a long spoon to stir. Immediately pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn and pretzels in the bag. Shake until evenly coated. For a crispier treat, boil the sugar mixture longer, or bake the finished mix in the oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 10 minutes.

*Prep Time: 15 m, Cook Time: 20 m Servings: 32.  Calories per serving: 378


Preparing Perfect Popcorn


Stovetop Popcorn Tips:


  • Step 1: Pour enough vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of a pan, turn on medium high heat.  Allow pan to warm. The best popping temperature is between 400 and 460 degrees F. Oil burns at 500 degrees. If your oil starts to smoke, it's too hot.
  • Step 2: Add enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan single layer, shake to coat the kernels with oil, and cover with lid (too many kernels will “blow” the lid).
  • Step 3: Corn will begin to pop within 3 minutes. When the popping slows, listen until you can count 2 seconds between pops. Turn off heat and remove pan from stove-top.  Lift the lid to allow steam to escape away from your face.  Steam may burn and remaining kernels may continue to pop.
  • Step 4: Add additional flavors, herbs, or spices and enjoy.


*If you prefer microwave popcorn for a quickie snack, simply follow the directions on the package.



More Times to Celebrate Popcorn


Plush Popcorn Plush Toys - Etsy


October is known as National Popcorn Month





(c) Written by Wednesday  Elf on 1/19/2019




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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Yummy, Gooey, Chocolate, Vanilla, Delicious Dessert - Recipe Review

Reviewing a Delicious Dessert 

I imagine that this dessert has an official name in a cookbook or an online cooking or recipe website somewhere.  But when I first acquired the recipe from a co-worker who had brought the dessert to work to share, she called it 'yummy, gooey, chocolate, vanilla delicious dessert'.  And that's how it has been known in our household ever since! We have made it many times and always enjoy it immensely.  

If you are looking for a non-fattening dessert, you won't find it here among the cream cheese, powdered sugar, Cool Whip, butter, puddings and milk. Not to mention the walnuts and Hershey Bar. But for a delicious dessert, it is unparalleled in taste!


Recipe for Delicious Dessert 



CRUST:


  • 1-1/2 stick of margarine or butter – melt
  • 1-1/2 c. chopped walnuts (pecans)
  • 1-1/2 c. flour



Mix & press into bottom of oblong pan.  Bake at 350◦ for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

LET COOL COMPLETELY

FILLING #1


  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. Cool Whip (buy 9 oz carton – more goes on top)



Spread on cooled crust.

FILLING #2







TOPPING:


  • Spread remaining Cool Whip.

  • Shave Hershey bar over the top.


CHILL

SERVE


SUMMARY NOTES



The most interesting part of this dessert (which makes a WHOLE lot, filling the 12 x 10 x 2 inch pan I use as seen in these photos) is that it KEEPS really well and tastes even better the longer it is kept chilled in the refrigerator. Of course you could make a smaller batch, but we most often make it for a larger gathering or a party occasion. And this yummy dessert seldom lasts long enough to store more than one or two days around us! 








(c) Wednesday Elf 1/5/2019

#All images are personal photos by (c) Wednesday Elf


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Saturday, December 22, 2018

River Street Sweets – Savannah Candy Store Review

(c) Wednesday Elf

The Sweet Taste of Savannah!

On historic River Street in Savannah, Georgia you will find a candy store that has been renowned for their world famous pralines for 44 years.  Everyone who walks into River Street Sweets will be enticed to try a sample of the pralines or fudge or other candies on display. 


A simple taste of these delicious handmade candies will also find you purchasing a bit of this, a little of that…. and of course a few pralines. So many sweet treats to choose from.  One whole wall is filled with every flavor of saltwater taffy you can imagine.  I have yet to go into the store without leaving with at least a few tasty tidbits. 



Oh Fudge – How River Street Sweets Came About


Chocolate Fudge - River Street Sweets
Stan & Pam Strickland had a gift shop on River Street called The Cotton Bale where they sold knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments.  In 1978 they were at a gift market trade show in Atlanta with their daughter Jennifer and son Tim looking for new items for their store .  Tim, age 11, found a fudge pot and begged his parents to put it in the store.  

They finally agreed and a week later, on St. Patrick's Day, the first batch of chocolate mint fudge was made. It sold like crazy and soon it became obvious that candy was much more popular than the gifts they had been featuring.  Within six months, River Street Sweets became a full-fledged candy store.

Today, they are known worldwide for their gourmet southern sweets. On a visit to River Street Sweets you can watch candy makers dip pralines onto a giant marble slab Stan bought from a gravestone company. You can also see them stir glazed pecans in  huge copper kettles and see the 100-year-old saltwater taffy machine in action. They make their sweets in the stores and also ship them out around the world.




Come on a video tour of Savannah Street Sweets




The Savannah store is run today by grown-up Jennifer and Tim, while just down the street Stan "The Candy Man" operates Savannah's Candy Kitchen, the largest candy store in the south since 1990. 


If you cannot make it to Savannah, other River Street Sweets stores can be found in the Mall of Georgia in North Atlanta, in two places in Charleston, SC, and in Myrtle Beach, SC, as well as Key West and Lancaster Maryland. New locations will soon be coming to Texas, New Jersey and South Carolina.  You can also order them online from Amazon or through their catalog or website.  



Holiday and Gift Baskets



Office Party Basket - River Street Sweets
The wicker gift baskets are popular with tourists for taking home to friends & family.  They are irresistibly filled with delights such as pralines, bear claws, glazed pecans, hand-stretched peanut brittle, nougat log rolls and creamy chocolate fudge. Or grab a box of your favorite sweets (mine is fudge with walnuts). 

All candies sold by River Street Sweets are made using their own family recipes to make the finest and freshest handmade Southern candies around.  Not surprising, their best sellers are the glazed pecans, their bear claws and the oh-so-delicious pecan pralines.




How the Pralines are Made





A Sweet Treat you'll love. 









(c) Travel Review written by Wednesday Elf (12/22/2018)




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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Advice from the Ocean T-Shirt Review

 Advice From Nature Products

(c) Elf. Ryan's New Beach-Themed T-Shirt
I recently moved from the Georgia Coast to the Midwest to be near family. Before I left Georgia, I wanted to gather together a few beach-related mementos to give to my family members who had all visited me in Georgia at one time or another.  I thought the items would be a nice memory of our time spent together in the South. 

One family member is my grandson, Ryan.  At age 16, it's harder to choose a gift he'd enjoy as teenagers have set preferences. When I saw this T-shirt with an ocean theme found in the Tybee island, Georgia Marine Science Center, I thought “this is the perfect gift”. Ryan loves the beach and the times he spent at the Atlantic Ocean. 





Earth Sun Moon Trading Company


The T-shirt is the product of Earth, Sun and Moon Trading Company, located in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  The themes of their t-shirts reflect the company's mission to be “Good to the Earth”. You can read about their commitment here.



(c) Elf. Advice from Nature

Earth, Sun & Moon's “Advice” nature themes have scenes with a large number of animals, birds and insects we share our earth with (i.e. Advice from a Buffalo, Advice from a Bear, Advice from a Cardinal), as well as places such as this one “Advice from the Beach”. Each design is expertly printed in beautiful colors and features words of advice presented in a funny and delightful way.


Advice from the Beach Slogan


For instance, the words for this 'Advice from the Beach' T-shirt state:





Be shore of yourself | Come out of your shell | Take time to relax and coast | Avoid pier pressure | Sea life's beauty | Don't get tide down | Make waves!

As you can see in the intro photo, Ryan enjoyed receiving this reminder from Grandma of his visits to the Georgia Coast, beach and ocean.


Summary


So if you are shopping for a nature lover, you will find the choices from Earth Sun Moon to be unique and fun for both the gift giver and the recipient. The company has been creating their T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more since 1996, all with original designs. Therefore, there is sure to be a design of an animal or outdoor theme that perfectly fits any occasion, like this ocean theme for Ryan did for me. 









(c) Wednesday Elf Product Review written 12/8/2018






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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Wired by Julie Garwood – Book Review



Wired by Julie Garwood
Author Julie Garwood is well known for her romantic suspense novels, particularly those featuring her continuing and recurring characters in the Buchanan family. Her latest in the series is Wired where a beautiful computer hacker (Allison Trent) has to collaborate reluctantly with a sexy hotshot FBI agent (Liam Scott).


Synosis 


Allison has a brilliant mind for computers.  She loves to write code and has secretly been known to 'hack' into computers.  Before you condemn her for this behavior, you have to realize that she has only done it occasionally to help others who have been cheated by unscrupulous scammers and to 'right the wrong'. 


Source: Pixabay
FBI agent Liam Scott has discovered a serious problem ~ a deep leak within his own department leaking information about ongoing investigations. He needs a top-notch hacker unknown in his field to secretly break into the FBI computers and find the traitor. 

Allison is friends with Jordan (Buchanan) Clayborne, a genius in the technology field, whose husband and brother are both FBI agents and friends with Liam. With Jordan's help, Liam arranges to meet Allison and asks her to take on the job.  There is only one problem – Allison wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down.

Liam doesn't know that Allison is hiding her hacking secrets that she doesn't want the FBI to uncover.  She knows what she has done would be considered illegal by the FBI, even though she never benefited from her hacking and only helped others. 

How Allison's refusal to help is resolved, how she discovers the traitor and how romance blooms between her and Liam make for a very delightful story. 


Author Julie Garwood



Author Julie Garwood
Julie Garwood was born in Kansas City and today lives in Leawood, Kansas. She married young and had three children. Julie was always interested in writing, but waited until her youngest child was in school before she began writing full time.  She has written many best-selling novels.  

One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production. 

Ms. Garwood has written 27 novels of romance since 1985, either in the historical fiction field or that of suspense.  Her suspense novels usually involve one or more FBI agents.  In each of  her books you will find a recurring theme based on family, loyalty and honor. Her romantic scenes are done in good taste. Her humor and poignancy keep readers coming back for more. 

Julie states her goals as:


“I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterwards to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.” 


More Romantic Suspense by Garwood



Pixabay

Wired is Julie Garwood's most recent book (published 2017) involving one or more of the Buchanan family.  The family consists of the mom & dad (who is a judge), six brothers and two sisters, all of whom are involved in either the technology field or law enforcement, most particularly the FBI. I've always enjoyed reading series with continuing characters and Garwood's books are among my favorites. 

So, if you read and enjoy Wired, be sure and seek out some of the other Julie Garwood stories involving the Buchanan family


For more book reviews, check out the list at:
ReviewThisBooks.com


(c) Wednesday Elf, November 24, 2018








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