Cheer Du Jour

A little cheer to forget your troubles, and better yet, to toast with a glass of bubbles!

June 14 – Flag Day

Flag of the United States of America

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday to our Stars and Stripes!

You can click here to learn all sorts of interesting facts about our nation’s flag from the Federal Citizen Information Center. The birth of our flag is described on the site:

The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.” (from “The History of the Stars and Stripes”)

Also included are guidelines to proper flag etiquette (definitely NOT for use as a table cloth, as HGTV mistakenly advised before correcting themselves).

Food Network has several patriotic-themed recipes to help celebrate the day (including a red, white and blue daquiri!).

Most importantly, let’s remember all those brave soldiers who have defended our flag in the past and those who do so now. There are many organizations that need help to spread the cheer to these heroes – you can do so in just a few minutes by simply writing a letter. Operation Gratitude is one of those organizations, offering several options for you to get involved.

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Pop Rocks…Candy of Legend (and now available from your own kitchen)

English: Strawberry-flavored Pop Rocks candy.Ah, Pop Rocks – sweet and sassy bursts of tongue-tingling joy that instantly make me wax nostalgic. They are the source of the long-lingering urban legend that insisted the actor who played Mikey (of Life Cereal fame) exploded when he drank soda with a packet of Pop Rocks (shocking fact – he didn’t).

Of course, that cautionary tale propelled countless kids to try the allegedly lethal combination for themselves. I count myself among them, starting with the tiniest speck of powder on my tongue, followed by a mere drop of Coke (long before the great schism known as the New Coke and Coke Classic debacle). No explosions. Quickly, I worked my way up to a full packet of watermelon nuggets washed down by a full bottle (yes, the old-fashioned type that required a bottle opener, and funded the purchase of more candy by collecting the deposits when returning the bottles). Still, no explosion – though definitely LOTS of popping action.

At some point in the early 80’s, darkness fell. Pop Rocks were gone. (How I often wondered what the combination of Jolt Cola and the candy would have produced.) Happily, I recently found these little treasures again at World Market. I brought a handful of packs (along with some other classic candies, like Twizzlers and Raisinets) to my friend’s house for a night of nostalgic Duran Duran video watching (and drinking, of course!). Poor Nick was ill, and the concert scheduled at Ravinia was cancelled. Instead, we watched a well-worn VHS copy of the Sing Blue Silver documentary. Somewhere along the way – maybe it was about the time the Fab Five discussed how great their sponsor (Coke) was as John confessed he preferred Pepsi – inspiration struck. What if I tried a mouthful of Pop Rocks, followed by a champagne chaser? It was a moment of genius – elevating the childhood thrill to a sophisticated adult experience (well, sort of).

Imagine my excitement when I saw this recipe posted by The Daily Meal today! Forget the fact that the site touts this as a healthier, cheaper option – this is a chance to bring the zing even if Pop Rocks pulls another disappearing act. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I will (once I find citric acid) – with a chilled bottle of bubbly on hand to accompany the taste test.

From The Daily Meal

Try making these candies at home for a healthier and cheaper option to your favorite treats. -The Daily Meal

Homemade Pop Rocks Recipe (Picture to the right):

INGREDIENTS:

-2 cups sugar

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon citric acid

-1/2 cup light corn syrup

-1/4 cup water

-1 teaspoon flavoring extract, flavor of your choice

-1-2 drops food coloring, color of your choice

-Pinch of cornstarch, for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly dust the back side of a baking sheet with cornstarch.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees when measured with a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and add the baking soda, ¼ cup of the citric acid, extract, and food coloring, and stir to combine.

Spread the mixture out onto the baking sheet (carefully so that it does not run over the edges), sprinkle with the teaspoon of citric acid, and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break the candy into pieces and add to a Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the candy into tiny little pieces so that it resembles Pop Rocks. Store in Ziploc bags.

via 6 Homemade Candy Recipes | Shine Food – Yahoo! Shine.

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June 16th – National Fudge Day

Vegan Chocolate Fudge.

Oh Fudddggge!!!! Ralphie’s classic line always comes to mind when I think of fudge (click here to hear it for yourself). I also think of the dream job championed by the Cheermeister – Fudge Judge. Then, there are the endless batches of fudge to be made for gifts (and Santa, of course, to go with the cookies). Sensing a holiday theme here?

So, it seemed a bit odd to me that National Fudge Day is in June. Then, I remembered all the fudge shops to be found in any given summer tourist spot. You can’t walk down a boardwalk without seeing fudge, t-shirts and “special” tourist info booths hawking time-share demos in exchange for “free tickets to the hottest attractions”. Oh, and of course there is always lots of taffy too, but we missed Taffy Day (May 23rd).

In case you gobbled down said fudge on the way back from your holiday (maybe it was starting to melt?). There is no shortage of fudge recipes available. Click here to see ten drool-worthy fudge recipes on examiner.com – how about bourbon fudge, or peanut butter fudge, or FUDGE ICE CREAM! A friend of mine swears by the Carnation Fudge Recipe, but cautions you must bring the ingredients to a rolling boil and cook (stirring constantly) for the full 4-5 minutes (in other words, follow the recipe). Foodnetwork.com even has a recipe for fudge pie, from who else but Paula Deen?

So, load yourself up with this delicious confection and have a fudgetastic holiday!

Fudge

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June 8 – Best Friend Day

Time to celebrate your best friend! This may be your friend from childhood, your confidant, your spouse/partner, your sibling (or other family member), your furry (or feathered, finned, etc) friend, yourself, etc., etc. In times of great stress, it may even be chocolate! Take time today to relax and enjoy your friendship. Send a free friendship e-card at Care2.com. If you’re feeling crafty, click on this video to learn how to make a friendship bracelet. The title promises it’s “super easy”. I have my reservations…after several aggravating attempts recently to follow “beginner’s origami” demos (and a basket full of crumpled paper and the sting of a paper cut for my efforts). Still, if all else fails, you can twist the yarn (or thread) and make a pretty loop. Coupled with a bottle of wine, your friend will praise your efforts (it’s the thought that counts, right?).

You might also want to spend the day watching an Ab Fab marathon – two besties that never cease to entertain with their hilarious hijinks. Season 2 includes “New Best Friend”, where the unthinkable happens – Patsy and Eddie seek other best friends (spoiler alert – all is well at the end). To celebrate their friendship, watch this clip.

Absolutely Fabulous letters - BBC

Reach out globally later this summer – International Friendship Day is August 4th this year.

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June 7 – Free Doughnut for National Doughnut Day at Krispy Kreme

Homer Simpson just fainted…it’s true – Krispy Kreme promises a free doughnut Friday 6/7! Now that’s what I call a HOLIDAY!! Dunkin Donuts is also celebrating, with a free donut with purchase of coffee on 6/7.
Or, if you want to celebrate at home, Real Simple has posted a recipe for quick and easy doughnuts:
via Yahoo! Shine

Serves 8 | Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 15m

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 8-count package large refrigerated biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat ½ cup of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.

2. Place the biscuits on a cutting board. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter or shot glass, cut a hole in the center of each biscuit, reserving the extra dough for “holes.”

3. Test the heat of the oil by dipping the edge of a doughnut in the pan. When the oil is hot enough, the edge will bubble. Place 4 of the doughnuts and holes in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel–lined plate to drain. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, reheat, and cook the remaining doughnuts and holes.

4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss the warm doughnuts in the mixture a few at a time. Serve warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes 8 doughnuts, plus holes.

Lastly, food.com has a recipe for a cronut-type recipe that looks delish! If you want to learn about the cronut fad, ABC has a news video featuring the cronuts craze.
from krispykreme.com…

Celebrate National Doughnut Day! Visit Krispy Kreme on June 7 at participating US and Canadian locations (scroll below) for a FREE doughnut of any variety. No purchase necessary. Excludes CT and Puerto Rico

Join in the fun and conversation by liking us on Facebook, following on Twitter (@KrispyKreme), follow us on Instagram and pin us on Pinterest. Join the conversation below by using #NationalDoughnutDay2013 or #NationalDoughnutDay. Your tweets, images, and pics may appear here.

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