Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

Toast the Margarita: It’s National Margarita Day!

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Question: What’s the most common tequila-based drink made in the U.S. today?

Well based on the fact the title of this post includes the word “margarita” — twice — you know where I’m going with this.

The answer is the much beloved margarita. In fact, the drink is so popular, and so heavily consumed, it’s earned its very own national holiday.

That’s right, folks. It’s time to bust out the blender and lime juice. Today is National Margarita Day!

It’s no surprise numerous people over the course of the last 80 years have tried to claim themselves the mixing mastermind behind the margarita. But no one has been able to uncover the identity of the true creator, leaving it as one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Historians aren’t even sure what decade the tequila/triple sec/lime juice concoction originated in. Best guess: it was sometime between the mid-1930s and late-1940s.

Frozen margaritas, whether of the strawberry, mango — or my personal favorite, raspberry — variety, weren’t introduced until the 1970s. It was then when a genius bartender converted a soft-serve ice cream machine into a frozen margarita machine. And to the utter delightment of millions, the frozen margarita was born.

It’s only right the utmost love and respect be shown to the almighty margarita on this her national day of recognition. Whether you go the classic margarita-on-the-rocks route or mix her up into a frozen frenzy, or whether you add the tequila and triple sec or go the family-friendly, non-alcohol direction, everyone can commemorate National Margarita Day.

Here are top margarita must-haves to help you celebrate the scrumptious drink today and every day: Continue Reading »

Three Cheers for Chocolate Covered ANYTHING Day!

chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate covered berries, chocolate covered pretzels

Chocoholics, get excited. I mean really, really excited.

Although no U.S. president has officially (as of yet) proclaimed December 16th a national holiday, many food outlets continue to refer to this blessed day as “National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.” Yes, that’s right, this Sunday is a day when it’s not only okay to dip your breakfast waffles in a vat of chocolate — it’s actually encouraged.

No one can seem to find the origin of the holiday, but many speculate it was born from some sweet marketing strategy by a confectioner or candy company. But I couldn’t care less how this day came about. I’m just thrilled it’s here.

Now in honor of National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, I give you a list of the 5 most awesomely doused in chocolate foods ever created … according to me.

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
There’s no need for me to justify why this is the first item on the list. Chocolate covered espresso beans take the two greatest edibles known to humans, and transforms them into one superfood mash-up. It’s chocolate. It’s coffee. It’s enough said.

Chocolate Covered Berries
My two favorite fruits are blueberries and raspberries, so there’s a chance I’m biased when I add chocolate covered blueberries and chocolate covered raspberries to this list. Even if you’re not a big time berry fan, you can’t deny there’s something scrumptious and addictive about combining chocolatey sweetness with tarty fruits.
chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate covered berries, chocolate covered pretzels
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Most people would agree that chocolate covered pretzels are one of the greatest food creations ever developed. And I’m not talking chocolate-based foods here, I mean overall, in the grand scheme of anything edible. I think it’s the salty + sweet + crunchy recipe that makes one crave this delicious snack. It’s also this deadly recipe that, unfortunately, renders one completely incapable of eating just one … or a handful … or a bagful.

Chocolate Covered Nutter Butters
So this is one of those little bits of deliciousness you have to prepare. For whatever reason, the good people at Nabisco have yet to create, package, and sell chocolate covered Nutter Butters, so you have to invest a few minutes to whip ‘em up yourself. But you don’t need me to tell you how amazing anything with chocolate AND peanut butter is, so I doubt it’s going to take much to sell you on this one. Just melt your favorite chocolate on the stove, grab yourself a Nutter Butter, and go to dunk town.

Chocolate Covered Peanuts/Cashews
chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate covered berries, chocolate covered pretzels
Growing up, Goobers were the one and only treat I ever wanted to eat while at the movies. And I still love chocolate covered peanuts to this day. Some people prefer chocolate covered cashews, and I totally respect that, so I’ve included both on the list. Again, you can’t go wrong with the salty/sweet/crunchy combo. It’s an undeniable winner.

So now that I’ve given you plenty of options on how to celebrate National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, go get your sweet tooth on.

-nicole-
NextagNews Blogger

5 Ways to Celebrate Peanut Butter Lovers Month

peanut butter month, peanut butter, nutter butter

In my opinion, peanut butter is a food that should be celebrated daily. But, I’ll settle for a month-long peanut butter party.

Since 1995, November’s been given the gift of peanut butter, being anointed National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. It’s estimated that in the U.S. alone, 65 million tons of peanut butter will be consumed this month. Seems like a proper celebration to me!

Now to suitably arm each and every one of you with some ideas on how to get your peanut butter fix this month, here’s a list of five yummy-to-your-PB-lovin’-tummy foods jam packed with peanut butter goodness. Continue Reading »

Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip day

If you polled the sweet tooth population, asking what the single most important ingredient in all of baking is, one answer would undoubtedly be given more than any other — the simple yet magnificent, chocolate chip.

After all, what food isn’t made better by adding chocolate chips?

Mint ice cream is fine and dandy, but mix it up with some sweet chocolate chips and you’ve got yourself an ice cream flavor favorite.

And nobody loves blueberry pancakes more than me. But every once in a while I switch out those blueberries with, you guessed it, less healthy, but equally delicious, chocolate chips. And I never regret my decision to do so.

Then there’s THE cookie. There’s just no debating it. The chocolate chip cookie is a classic and one of, if not the, most popular cookie around. It’s estimated that about 25% of all cookies baked in the U.S. every year are good ole chocolate chip cookies.

Fun fact about chocolate chip cookies: In 1930, Ruth Graves Wakefield was the divine creator of the chocolate chip cookie. But she did it completely by accident. After running out of ingredients while making chocolate cookies, she broke off some chocolate bits and tossed them into the batter thinking they’d melt. But thankfully they never did and the scrumptious chocolate chip cookie was born! Wakefield later sold her recipe to Nestlé, not for money, but rather in exchange for a lifetime supply of … chocolate chips.

Here are three yummy, chocolate chip-filled goodies to celebrate today’s holiday with:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yep! If you’re looking to devour some warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, here are a few chocolate chip cookie mixes to help you achieve your goal. If you wanna skip the baking and just jump right into an already-made bag of cookies, you can’t go wrong with Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies. That’s a fact. chocolate chips, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip day

Chocolate Chip Muffins
The same goes for yummy chocolate chip muffins. If you wanna bake ‘em yourself, here are some chocolate chip muffin mixes to try. But if you want to skip the hassle, ditch the prep time and effort, and just have the food delivered right to your doorstep, these banana chocolate chip muffins from Abe’s Market are amazing. Plus they’re organic, vegan, and gluten-free, so you can eat more, with less guilt.

Chocolate Chips
Hey, why not go directly to the source? I’m completely on board with this idea. Honestly, what better way to celebrate a day dedicated to chocolate chips, than by diving hand-first into a bag of chocolate chips? Go for it! And if you want to mix it up and get all crazy, opt for white chocolate chips instead.

Enjoy!

-nicole-
Nextag Blog

Happy National Butterscotch Brownie Day!

brownies, blondies, butterscotch brownies, food holidays

Do you love rich, gooey brownies, but maybe you’re – gasp – not a fan of chocolate and instead pine for dessert treats featuring non-cocoa bases? Or perhaps regular ole chocolate brownies just aren’t quite sweet enough for your sugar-loving palette?

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then today was created with your little sugar tooth in mind. Today, dear friends, is National Butterscotch Brownie Day!

For those of you not in the foodie nickname know, butterscotch brownies are often referred to as “blondies.” Recipes for said blondies swap out the chocolatey goodness of everyday ho-hum brownies, in favor of dominant, mouth-wateringly sweet brown sugar that delivers itself as a lovely butterscotch/vanilla flavor.

Now as crazy as this may sound, I’ve never had a butterscotch brownie. But that’s likely due to the fact that if a food item doesn’t contain some sort of chocolate, in my mind, it doesn’t qualify as a true dessert. But I’ll be the bigger person in this case and toss my bias to the side. After all, the blondie’s “sweet” promise of pure sugary deliciousness has truly piqued my interest. Continue Reading »

Happy Blueberry Pie Day!

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National Blueberry Pie Day really does exist. Yes, it does.

And the day dedicated to nothing but scrumdiddlyumptious blueberry pie just so happens to be … TODAY!

Congratulations to everyone, as we’ve all been given the green light to completely gorge ourselves on blueberry pie as a result of this glorious holiday — totally guilt-free. In fact, it’s practically a requirement. I mean, ignoring such a day would be a big ole slap in the face to blueberry blossoms everywhere.

And no one wants to see blueberries dissed. Blueberries are awesome.

Here are some fun blueberry facts:

Ο Blueberries are one of only a handful of foods cool enough to be naturally blue in color. Seriously, it’s an incredibly exclusive list to be a part of.

Ο Native Americans named blueberries “star berries” because of their five point blossoms. Native Americans also used blueberry juice as medicine to treat a number of illnesses.

Ο Native Americans were definitely onto something in thinking blueberries hold healing capabilities. Out of 40 fresh fruits and veggies, blueberries rank numero uno in antioxidant superpowers. They’re also high in potassium and dietary fiber, plus aid in reducing naughty cholesterol.

Ο Maine produces 25% of all low bush blueberries in the US, making it the largest producer of blueberries in the world. And as a result, numerous Maine towns have dubbed themselves “The Blueberry Capital.”

Ο Blueberries are my favorite food of all time. And I’ve been known to, on more than one occasion, pack away an entire carton in one sitting. Pretty much anything jam packed with blueberry goodness is high on my “to devour” list.

So if National Blueberry Pie Day has you feeling ambitious and you’re now jonesin’ to whip up a fancy blueberry pie of your own, here’s a blueberry pie turnover kit to help guide the way.

Hooray for blueberries. And pie.

-nicole-
Nextag Blog

Everything You Didn’t Know About Easter Candy

Did you know Easter is the second most popular candy holiday? According to the National Confectioner’s Association, Americans consumed 7 billion pounds of candy in 2011. From jellybeans to chocolate, Americans are infatuated with these sugary treats.

Check out these interesting tidbits of information, brought to you by comparison shopping site, Nextag.com:

The Symbolic Chocolate Bunny

Amazingly, 90 million chocolate bunnies are “birthed” each year. And there’s a very specific way in which you should eat them. According to 79 percent of Americans, bunnies should be eaten ears-first. Only 5 percent of respondents said you should start with the feet. While bunnies come in two breeds, milk and dark chocolate, 65 percent of adults prefer milk chocolate compared to 27 percent who prefer dark.

Marshmallows Galore

Every Easter, Americans buy more than 700 million fluffy Marshmallow Peeps, Marshmallow Bunnies, and delicious Marshmallow Eggs.  They are by far the most popular non-chocolate candy for Easter.

Approximately 4.2 million of these gooey confections are made each day. In 1953, it took about 27 hours to produce one Marshmallow Peep.

Today, it takes less than six minutes to create the fluffy masterpiece. Continue Reading »

5 Reasons to Buy Your Wine Online


As much as I love perusing the grocery store liquor aisles, I’m a huge fan of shopping for my wine from my couch. In my pajamas. At whatever time I want.

See that’s the beauty of buying your wine online– the wine store never closes. And by wine store, I mean Nextag. It’s glorious.

Still not convinced? Well, let’s see if these top 5 reasons to buy your wine online will convince you!

Continue Reading »

Sweet Tooths Rejoice: March is Maple Sugar Month!

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It makes perfect sense March is designated as Maple Sugar Month. Due to their cold days and even colder nights, February and March are typically the top two months for tapping up trees and collecting sap used to make that deliciously sweet maple syrup.

But sadly, due to an unseasonably warm winter in the northeast (the U.S.’s hot spot for maple sugar farms), this year has been a bust for many farmers. Some saw their trees’ sap production cut in half. Others didn’t even bother tapping their trees because sap sugar levels were so low.

Although a number of farmers were able to salvage their season by tapping their trees ahead of schedule, the fact remains this was one of the worst maple sugar seasons some have ever seen.

So for the sake of all maple sugar farmers, and barren pancakes everywhere, let’s hope Old Man Winter makes a more seasonable return next year.

In the meantime, to help properly celebrate this month’s tasty holiday, here are four “sweet” foods made from maple sugarContinue Reading »

Chocolate + Caramel = Worth Celebrating!

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My excitement level is so high right now, I can barely type.

Today, people, is National Chocolate Caramel Day. That’s right, a day set aside solely to celebrate one of the strongest, most stable food relationships since peanut butter met jelly. Dare I say, a tandem that’s even greater than PB & J?!

The structured sweetness of chocolate mixed with the melt-in-your-mouth, sugary smoothness of caramel is just a downright heavenly combination.

Thankfully, there are so many, many wonderful and delicious ways to commemorate this here National Chocolate Caramel Day. For me, I kicked the daylong celebration off with a caramel soy mocha. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to start any day, regardless of the holiday assigned to it.

But this blessed event should truly be respected and, like I said, celebrated all day long. To help you observe the day, here are 5 delectable foods packing that amazing 1-2, chocolate-caramel punch. Enjoy!  Continue Reading »