August 31st National Trail Mix Day

Wow, it seems like everything this summer is about food. Sort of lets you know what people are thinking! However, this one is at least healthy, or at least most of it. We should be eating healthier over the summer as we burn more calories in the heat so you need to replenish what you’ve lost but you don;t do that with soda and ice cream. Water is a must and if you are going to snack, it ought to be something like trail mix.

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The original trail mix was really nothing more than peanuts and raisins.  The credit for this invention is given to 2 surfer dudes in California in 1968. But hold on! A novel, “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerovac written in 1958 has 2 main characters that eat the exact same thing as they hike across America (I think, I am not sure). Either way, it started out simple and provided the protein to keep either hikers or surfers full and moving. (Perhaps in more ways than one!)

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Since then we have learned we can add in all sorts of other flavors. A variety of nuts can be included, sunflower seeds (Which technically are nuts), dried fruits of all kinds, cranberries (Which may or may not be considered a fruit depending on who you talk to), M&M’s, Skittles, mini-marshmallows, chocolate drops… well you get the idea, just about anything you want to add to it can be added. (Though I don’t recommend honey, it makes it really sticky).

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Some have even turned the mixture into a breakfast cereal. Sort of like Grape Nuts but with a flair! Which also adds items that you can put in your mix. Rice cereals and wheat cereals work really well whether they are used in cereal or regular trail mix.  The point to trail mix is exactly what it says, something you can munch on while on the trail.  Meaning on the move!

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Now I am not sure exactly what the mixture above is. It sort of looks good, but I am a bit hesitant about the prunes. I am not sure prunes are a good thing while on the trail.  It conjures up some rather ugly images.

How to celebrate – Make up your own sort of trail mix. Maybe you can find something no one else as ever thought of! (Though I think that could be difficult) Make sure you use the snack for which it is intended, munching while on the move doing something.

August 30th Toasted Marshmallow Day

What beats a toasted marshmallow on a warm summer evening? Well, if you are in Florida maybe anything since it is like 100 degrees outside, even at night!  However, I still enjoy a toasted marshmallow, although I do like them nearly burnt.

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It is possible, if you have a gas stove, to toast your marshmallow over the burner inside where it’s air conditioned.  It’s not all that safe and not quite the same but it works if you are desperate.

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And of course you can add chocolate and graham crackers, but that’s making a s’more and we already covered that earlier this month.

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And you can bake the marshmallow in the oven adding a brownie underneath it just because (Which was also a holiday day earlier this month.). This works out well if you are moving and don’t have the time to toast your own marshmallow, like I am so this posting will be brief!

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Or if your even in more of a hurry you can drink your toasted marshmallow meaning you don’t need a fire, a stove or an oven.  You just go to your local coffee shop and nearly everyone of them has a toasted marshmallow drink. However, in closing, there is nothing like roasting that marshmallow over an open fire. Just don’t burn your neighbors house down doing it!

How to celebrate – Build a safe fire tonight and buy a bag of marshmallows and have some fun! Try a toasted marshmallow drink if you haven’t had one yet. Make up your own new recipe for a toasted marshmallow.  Maybe adding fruit… though getting that piece of fruit on a stick could be a good trick!

August 29th National Chop Suey Day

The term ‘Chop Suey’ actually means “Assorted Pieces”. Your first question should be, what’s assorted pieces? It is supposed to be made with chicken or beef, fish, prawns, or pork. Mixed in are eggs, cabbage, celery, and sprouts. It is normally served over rice and considered a complete meal. Of course, it always has those little ears of corn that must come from some sort of Bonsai plant.

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The problem with chop suey is that no one knows exactly where it came from. Though it is believed to actually be an American dish, made by Chinese in America, there is some mention of it in the Taishan Guangdong province in China, according to E.D. Anderson, an anthropologist. It was in Taishan that the first of the Chinese immigrants to America came over from.

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Chop Suey may have come about because of the Chinese helping build the railroad across America in the mid 1800’s. It would make sense since supplies were generally hard to come by and a creative improvisation for something that tasted good was a must. Bits and pieces from this and that would go a long way all mixed together.

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Another legend says that chop suey came from San Fransico when a Chinese chef had to come up with a dish to feed some hungry miners in the 1860’s who had been drinking a bit too much. It had to be good or else! Since we heard nothing “else” the miners must have enjoyed their meal.

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And then there was Premier Li Hangzhang’s, of the Qing Dynasty, visit to the U.S. in 1896 and the chef who could find nothing to serve him worth his status. In order to show the Premier that relations between America and China were good, the chef decided to prepare a meal that offered the best of both worlds. It must have worked since we did not hear anything about heads rolling during the Premier’s trip.

Whatever the source, in 1903, Liang Oichao, from Guangdong, traveled across the U.S. finding chop suey being served nearly everywhere he went. It was the only Chinese dish being served that he had never heard of in China.

How to celebrate – Have some chop suey for supper tonight. Create your own chop suey dish. Check your family recipes and see if you can find a recipe for chop suey that might precede 1860.

August 27th National Just Because Day

August 27th is Just Because Day. It was created by Joseph J. Goodwin from Los Gatos, CA in the late 1950’s, just because he could. It’s a great day for doing those things you never seem to get around to, or always wanted to do, but have never done. This year, since it’s a Saturday, you have a good chance of actually getting it done! Nothing is excluded, so long as it’s not illegal.

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You could make your own mini-movie! It doesn’t have to be good, after all you, and your family and friends, are probably the only ones that will ever see it. The funnier the better! You can even launch it to YouTube for others to share. You don’t have to have fancy equipment or even a plot, after all most of the movies don’t have much thought to them anymore anyway!

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You could pay it forward. Buy someone you don’t know breakfast or lunch, leave someone a card just because, or even help a neighbor with a project they have been meaning to get done. You certainly will surprise anyone by going out of your way to do something for them without expecting anything in return.

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You could go into a recording studio and record a song, your own, or one already made into a hit. So long as you don’t try to release it, it doesn’t matter. Who knows, maybe you will create the next big hit, or a new style of music no one has ever thought of before (good luck with that). Again, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or not, it’s just something you don’t normally do, which is the whole point of Just Because Day!

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Or instead of talking today, why not sing everything!?! You certainly will surprise everyone.

It’s all up to you because this is Just Because Day! Be inventive, creative and most of all, have fun doing it! You might not only make your day, but that of everyone you come in contact with.

How to celebrate – Well, I’ve already given you a few things to ponder but here are three more. Go bungee jumping. Splurge on a loved one. Pay a total stranger a compliment.

August 26th National Dog Day

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Dogs truly are man’s best friend. They live for their people and love them unconditionally.

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Sure, cats make good pets but they aren’t like a dog. They miss you when you are away, and welcome you home like you’ve been gone for a year when it’s only been five minutes.

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They don’t care if you are dirty, have a defect, or if no one else likes you. They will love you to the end of their days, which far too often comes way too soon. National Dog Day was founded by Collen Paige, August 26th, 2004.

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How to celebrate: Take your dog to a dog park and let them make new friends.  Take your dog to the beach. Take your dog out to dinner with you. Adopt a dog!

August 25th National Banana Split Day

Continuing on with eating our way through the summer, the next day up is “Banana Split Day”. It all started back in 1904 when an apprentice pharmacist created the first banana split at Tassel’s pharmacy in Latrobe, Pa. He cut a banana in two halves and placed them in a long bowl, filling the center of the bowl in with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream. He covered the strawberry ice cream with a pineapple topping, the vanilla with chocolate flavoring, and the chocolate with strawberry topping. All of that was covered in whipped cream, to which crushed nuts and maraschino cherries, wete added. It cost a dime.

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Today we make a number of variations including those that add fresh fruit to the recipe and maybe use different flavors of ice cream. Of course back in 1904 there weren’t that many varieties of ice cream to choose from. In fact, you can use any flavor of ice cream you choose, any fruit that’s in season (which is practically all of them since it is summer), and you can use heavy, regular, or light whip cream. And nuts have become optional since so many are now allergic to them.

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You don’t even have to use the bowl any more. You can put all the fixings in a ice cream cone and carry it with you where ever you go.

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You can also make it into a cake, using the same ingredients, or those of your choice, and turn it into a party. You can still use ice cream if you like, or a flavored batter, that will taste like the Split, but is lactose free.

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Or you can make the best of both worlds and turn your banana split into a pie and meet the ice cream half way!

Anyway you choose to have a banana split is totally acceptable, so long as you accept the calories that go along with it.

This year, 2016, the US Post Office came up with a stamp celebrating the banana split. It sells for 47 cents. More than the original Split, but less than any single item in the split would cost you by itself.

How to celebrate – Have a banana split. Make your own banana split cake or pie. Make up your own banana split recipe -as long as you include the banana, anything goes!

August 24th National Peach Pie Day

It seems appropriate that as the summer winds down it should do so with a treat that comes from the south and somehow reminds us of a balmy summer evening sitting by a river and watching the sun set. Naturally the peach is most commonly found in “The Peach State”, Georgia. If you go to Atlanta, try and find a road that isn’t name Peach Tree!

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No matter how you make it, a good peach pie appeals to practically everybody. Served warm with ice cream or cold by itself, it is sweet, gooey, and fun to eat. Each peach (medium sized), contains 30 calories, 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 140 mg of potassium, and 8% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C.

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Of course, when you put the peach in a pie with other ingredients, many of those numbers will go up. Or you can be healthy and add things like blueberries. The peach is strong enough to challenge any other flavor of fruit it may be mixed with. A peach by itself does not need sugar added, though in a pie you will probably add sugar. You needn’t peel it, as you would an apple, since the skin is soft and adds to the flavor.

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By mixing it with whipped cream, along with other ingredients, youcan make it into a light dessert – a chiffon. Peaches and cream also go well together (though that makes it a little heavier). Add a little mint to spice it up, or maybe some key-lime, that’s a typical southern thing to do!

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You can make it as Chantilly by layering in other fruits to make every bite a new and different experience. Or try a recipe of your own.

How to celebrate – Make a peach pie for your family. Go to a peach orchard and pick your own peaches. Peaches are generally picked between June and the end of August. Read or watch James and the Giant Peach. Have a peachy keen day!