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Pepper Pot Day

It’s Pepper Pot Day, a celebration of a thick, spicy soup called pepper pot!

According to legend, pepper pot was first concocted during the Revolutionary War – December 29, 1777, to be exact. It was a cold, harsh winter for the Continental Army in Valley Forge. Food was scarce – farmers in the area sold their food to the British Army for pounds over the Continental Army’s weak currency. Thus, the troops created a soup that included all they could find.

And apparently all they could find were scraps of tripe (aka animal stomach), beef stock,  peppercorn and a few vegetables, as these are the main ingredients of pepper pot.

Though pepper pot may not sound like much to celebrate, the soup got the soldiers through the harsh winter, earning it the title “the soup that won the war.”

Celebrate Pepper Pot Day by making yourself a pot of pepper pot soup (recipe), but don’t eat it yet. Fill your bowl and head out into the cold outdoors to get the full effect of the soup’s warming powers.

By the way, we’ll totally understand if you substitute the tripe with chicken or beef. And if not, we’ll understand that, too.

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
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National Eggnog Day

EggnogNot only is today Christmas Eve but it’s also National Eggnog Day! Makes sense, since making a batch or two of eggnog is a common Christmas Eve tradition.

Eggnog is a popular holiday drink in the U.S. and Canada and is made with milk and/or cream, sugar, raw eggs (beaten), spices (particularly nutmeg) and (optionally) liquor, such as brandy or rum. It’s also very tasty…and very high in fat and sugar. Seriously. You might want to pass it up this year if you’re cutting back the calories. However, you can still enjoy eggnog without the high amount of fat and cholesterol by making or purchasing  eggnog with skimmed, low fat, soy or rice milk.

Celebrate National Eggnog Day by making eggnog for your family! (But we won’t be disappointed if you go with commercial eggnog.)

Eggnog drink recipes:

Eggnog

Eggnog Drinks from Allrecipes.com

Alcoholic/Non-alcoholic/Easy/Healthier Eggnog Recipes

If you want to go all out on National Eggnog Day, whip up one of these eggnog-based desserts:

Golden Eggnog Cupcakes

Easy Holiday Eggnog Muffins

Cranberry Eggnog Muffins

Eggnog Drink and Dessert Recipes

 

Note: Commercial eggnog does not contain raw eggs. However, when making homemade eggnog (which includes raw eggs), use pasteurized eggs. Some recipes may also instruct you on how to cook the eggs for additional safety.

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
Photo Source: Konstantin Ryabitsev, CC-BY-SA-2.O, via Wikimedia Commons
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National Sangria Day

sangria-3December 20 is National Sangria Day! Sangria is a fruity wine punch which typically consists of red wine, seasonal fruit, spirits, and simple syrup.

This beverage is usually enjoyed in the summertime in the United States, so why are we celebrating its intoxicating effects in the winter? To answer this question, we can turn to the origin of this widely popular concoction. “Sangria” is derived from the Spanish word “sangre” meaning blood, likely due to the beverage’s usual crimson color. In Spain and most other Spanish-speaking countries, where the beverage as we know it today first gained popularity, sangria is enjoyed year-round. The drink was first introduced to America in 1964 during the World’s Fair in New York.

The key to making a delicious sangria punch lies in the fruit. It’s important to use fruits that are in season, and to let the fruit marinate for several hours so your sangria will have an optimal flavor. The most commonly used spirit in sangria is brandy, but any of your favorite liquors may be substituted, depending on the flavor and how alcoholic you would like your sangria to be. Some sangria lovers opt for adding in soda water for carbonation. Sangria blanca is sangria made using white wine and complementing fruits rather than the standard red wine.

Since sangria involves many different ingredients and is often made in large batches meant for sharing, it’s a great drink to make for holiday parties or get-togethers with family and friends. Check out the following recipes we’ve found, and whip up a batch to enjoy with your loved ones!

Red Sangria

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 orange (ends cut off), thinly sliced
  • 1 red apple, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 bottles well-chilled dry red wine, such as Rioja or red Zinfandel
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice

In a large pitcher, stir together brandy, orange and apple slices. Let stand 15 minutes. Add wine, club soda, and orange juice. Serve over ice.

Christmas Sangria

  • 2 bottles Zinfandel
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 8 oz. Orange juice
  • 8 oz. Cranberry juice
  • 12 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 bottle Cava
  • Cranberries (optional)

Muddle fruit, then combine all ingredients except Cava. Mix in the Cava at the end and serve in a wine glass over ice, garnished with cranberries.

White Sangria

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 shots Calvados or other apple liquor
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
  • 3 ripe green apples seeded and cut into wedges
  • 1 bottle white Rioja Spanish wine or other dry white wine
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • Sparkling soda water, for topping off glasses of sangria at table

Combine sugar, Calvados, lime, lemon, peaches and apples in a large pitcher. Cover with 1 bottle of Rioja wine and chill sangria several hours. To serve, spoon fruits into glasses or goblets, adding a few fresh raspberries in each glass, pour wine over top of the fruit. Top glasses of sangria off with a splash of soda water and serve.

Sources: National Sangria Day, Examiner.com

 

 

 

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Bake Cookies Day

cookieDecember 18 is Bake Cookies Day!

In the midst of the holiday season, today is the perfect day to escape from your holiday stress and that winter weather, and spend your day in a warm kitchen baking sweet treats!

Though the origin of this day remains unknown, the origin of the cookie dates back to Persia in 7th century AD after the use of sugar became more prevalent. The cookie quickly spread through Europe and then to America because of the popularity of global travel, and the treat’s easy traveling capabilities.

Spend the day baking cookies and trying new recipes. Better yet, host a cookie exchange with your friends. A cookie exchange is a great way to find new recipes (and indulge in even more new delicious sweets).

Looking for new cookie recipes? Browse through the recipes below!

Or, be healthy and make over your cookies!

Sources: holidayinsights.com, Wikipedia, Examiner.com

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National Bouillabaisse Day

Flickr - cyclonebill - Bouillabaisse med rouilleHappy National Bouillabaisse Day!

Celebrating Bouillabaisse Day, Part I: Learn about bouillabaisse

1. Bouillabaisse = fish stew/seafood soup/fish soup.

2.  Bouillabaisse contains various types of cooked fish and shellfish (at least five kinds) and vegetables, such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. It’s flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron.

3. Bouillabaisse originated in Marseilles, France around 600 B.C. but was referred to as “kakavia,” which is Greek because the people living in Marseilles at the time were Phoceans (aka Ancient Greek people), not French people. The Phoceans founded Marseilles in 600 B.C.

4. Bouillabaisse is rarely made for less than 10 people. More people = more fish = yummier bouillabaisse.

Celebrating National Bouillabaisse Day, Part II: Now that you know a little more about bouillabaisse, make enough bouillabaisse for at least 10 people…

Summer Tomato Bouillabaisse with Basil Rouille (by Bon Appetit)
Bouillabaisse (by Food & Wine)
Bouillabaisse (by Simply Recipes)

Celebrating National Bouillabaisse Day, Part III: Find 10 people to eat it…

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
Photo Source: cyclonebill, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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National Pastry Day

bakingDecember 9 is National Pastry Day! Pastries are delicious fluffy baked products usually made with the following ingredients: flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder, and eggs. Pastries include anything making use of flaky pastry bread from pies to cream puffs to more savory dishes like quiche. Pastries are different from regular bread due to their higher fat content which allows them to have a more crumbly and flaky texture.

Pastries can be traced all the way back to ancient Mediterranean times with the making of thin-doughed filo and multi-layer baklava. Several centuries ago, Crusaders brought the practice of pastry making back to Northern Europe. European Renaissance chefs in Italy and France created the magnificent choux pastries and puff pastries we still indulge in today, and the 17th and 18th saw the creation of eclairs, brioche, and other perfect pastry treats. French chef Antonin Carême is credited with turning pastry making into an art form.

You can celebrate pastry day by visiting your favorite local bakery, or trying out one of these delectable pastry recipes!

Happy Pastry Day!

Sources: Wikipedia, World’s Special Days

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National Cotton Candy Day

Rosa Zuckerwatte pink Cotton candyHappy National Cotton Candy Day!

National Cotton Candy Day celebrates the sweet, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth treat you’ll always find at amusement parks, carnivals, fairs, circuses and sports venues.

Although machine-spun cotton candy was invented in1897 by William Morrison and John C. Warton, the two men did not introduce the treat to a wide audience until 1904 at St. Louis World’s Fair, where it was introduced as “fairy floss.” The inventors sold their “fairy floss” for 25 cents per box, selling 68,000 boxes during the fair’s six-month run.

In the 1920s, “fairy floss” was renamed as cotton candy.

Read more about the history of cotton candy by clicking here.

Celebrate National Cotton Candy Day by making your own cotton candy!

 

Sources: holidayinsights, punchbowl.comfoodservicewarehouse.com, wikipedia.org
Photo Source:  By Usien (Own work),  CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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National Fritters Day

Maruya (Banana Fritters)Happy National Fritters Day!

Fritters are fried cakes or dough containing a primary ingredient of meat, fruit or veggies, such as crab, apples, potatoes or zucchini. This versatile dish can be served as a snack, side dish, dessert or main course. Learn more about fritters and different cultures’ take on the fritter here.

Celebrate National Fritters Day by trying one of the recipes below!

Zucchini Fritters

Apple Fritters

Pumpkin Fritters

Gourmet Pumpkin Fritters

Banana Fritters

Crab Fritters

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
Photo Source: Shubert Ciencia from Nueva Ecija, Philippines, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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National Parfait Day

FreshFruitParfaitNovember 25 is National Parfait Day! Literally meaning “perfect” in French, parfaits are the perfect way to make any sour day a little more sweet.

Parfaits originated as a frozen dessert in France in 1894, and were traditionally made with sugar syrup, cream, and eggs. Parfaits in the United States differ slightly, but many different takes on the parfait have been created. You can go with a more desert like parfait that layers ice cream, parfait cream, Jell-O, and whipped cream or the slightly healthier option of yogurt layered with granola, nuts, and fruit! Just as long as you create a sweet and creamy concoction in a tall glass, your parfait can include pretty much anything.

Here are some of the most scrumptious parfait recipes we could find – celebrate by trying one out!

Sources: Punchbowl, National Whatever Day, CNN Eatocracy

 

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Eat a Cranberry Day

cranberryNovember 23 is Eat a Cranberry Day! Cranberries are small deep red-colored fruits that commonly grow on shrubs or vines in bogs in the Northern Hemisphere.

Cranberries might be small, but their long list of health benefits earn the cranberry “superfruit” status. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that inhibit bacteria related to UTIs, gum disease and stomach ulcers and are loaded with antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may fight off heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Cranberry came from the word “craneberry” which is what European settlers first called the fruit because the long stem and flowers on cranberry bushels resembled the head of a crane.

Celebrate by eating as many cranberries as you can and by reading up on this superfruit’s health benefits. Follow these links to learn more:

Also, be sure to try out some of these various cranberry themed recipes!

Sources: Wikipedia, National Whatever Day

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