Monday, October 31, 2011

We're On A (Tootsie) Roll

Did you know that Halloween is the
2nd most commercially successful holiday?
(Christmas being the first)

Halloween is the largest candy-purchasing holiday in the U.S.

Today we pay tribute to one of the most beloved candies since 1896 when Leo Hirshfield, an Austrian immigrant, produced a candy in a small store in New York City. He ended up naming the candy after his five-year-old daughter Clara, whose nickname was "Tootsie."

Tootsie Roll Industries is located in Chicago IL and
produces 64 million Tootsie Rolls a day.

Leo’s recipe required the incorporation of the previous day’s Tootsie Rolls into each newly cooked confection, a graining process that Tootsie continues to this day. As such, there’s (theoretically) a bit of Leo’s very first Tootsie Roll in every one of the Tootsie Rolls that Tootsie produces each day.

Tootsie produces these other childhood (or grown-up) favorites:

Andes Candies
Charleston Chew
Double Bubble
Junior Mints
Nik-L-Nip (wax bottles)
Razzles (First it's candy, then it's gum!)
Sugar Daddy / Sugar Babies

All of their products are completely nut free, and most are gluten-free

 How many licks does it take
to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

For most, the urge to take a bite into the chewy center is too hard to resist.
Scientific studies remain inconclusive.

Since 1970, Tootsie has received more than 20,000 letters from children around the world who believe they have solved the mystery behind how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Not only do they respond to every letter,
they also send out a certificate called "The Clean Stick Award"
(A printable version is available online here.)

The Tootsie website also has factory tour videos,
classic commercials, and even recipes.

90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies
from their kids' Halloween stash. 

Admit it! We promise not to tell.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dryer Sheets: Not Just For The Dryer

One of my new favorite online newsletters is

Here's a recent article: New Uses For Dryer Sheets -- 
Which caught my eye, because I rarely use them in my dryer. 

remove saw dust

 Makes sense. Why didn't I think of that?!

book deodorizer

I have a few books that could use this.

drawer sachet

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

GB: Clean Up Trick

You know Rachel Ray... 
30 Minute Meals chic and my hero?

She uses and coins hip terms such as:
jonesing (craving)
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Now my kitchen isn't very big.
I couldn't imagine how a garbage bowl 
on my counter would speed up my process.
It would just take up valuable counter space. 

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
Not bending over to toss stuff into the trash 
can make a big difference!
I especially use it when chopping lots of veggies

What's your trick to make clean up easier?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunscreen and Mittens

I have a small trunk near my front door.

In it I keep summer items
like pool towels, sunscreen, bug spray,
goggles, pool toys, etc.

Except when it's winter. 
Then I keep gloves, scarves, hats,
and even an ice scraper in there.

The off-season items are stored in a bin in the basement.
Same bin for summer and winter. 
Just swap contents with the trunk when (sigh) summer is over and fall sets in.

What are your snow-gear storage ideas? 
How do you keep gloves paired and hats in reach?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dear Tyson, Will You Marry Me?

No, not him!

{DISCLAIMER: I was not reimbursed in any way for this review}

Tyson offers a line of fully cooked frozen chicken products. I love that they cook quickly and I don't have to wonder "Is the chicken done cooking?"

This one is a family favorite. 5 minutes to a hot tasty meal.

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips

I found this product just today. It is perfect for those recipes
that call for cubed chicken or shredded chicken.

Grilled & Ready Oven Roasted
Diced Chicken Breast

I will probably continue to boil my own large bag of frozen boneless thighs for a handy supply of cooked chicken for meals. It's just a more economical solution. But nothing wrong with keeping a bag of Grilled & Ready in the freezer for those desperate nights. 

Surprisingly, the Kroger brand was more expensive than the Tyson brand. AND, I found this coupon on Tyson's website. Sweet!

Have you ever tried Tyson's Grilled & Ready? I'm trying it this week in a recipe. I will follow up with a review!

Shepherd's Pie

There are likely as many versions as there are families. I'm not sure where I came across this particular recipe, but it's the first version I tried and we stuck with it. The secret, as they say, is in the sauce

1.  Dump browned ground beef into bottom of casserole dish. (I keep meal-sized portions in my freezer, already cooked and ready to go.) 

2.  Add steak sauce to taste, mix, and spread evenly. I forgot this step once, and EVERYONE noticed.  It adds a nice kick of flavor.

3.  Drain a can or two of corn and dump on top. Spread evenly.

4.  Spread mashed potatoes carefully on top of corn. (I use the kind that's kept in the frig and microwaved.)

5.  Bake until heated through. Probably 20 minutes @ 350*.  

6.  Add cheese to the top and stick back in for 5 minutes, if you'd like. As you can see, about 1/2 of us like.

7.  Let it rest for a few minutes, then scoop away.

The trick to making this a quick fix meal is using ready-to-heat mashed potatoes and having the meat already cooked and waiting patiently in the freezer.

Does your family have a different version of Shepherd's Pie?