July 9th National Sugar Cookie Day

Something so simple but so rewarding, so comforting, so enjoyable. Who doesn’t like a sugar cookie? Okay, well there are some of you who don’t but most of us do. That and a glass of milk make for the perfect treat. They work for nearly every holiday, can come in any color, shape or size and nearly always bring a smile to one’s face. There is also nothing like walking into a house where sugar cookies are being baked, the scent fills the air and can change a sour mood into a good mood almost instantly. Maybe what the world needs now is a huge sugar cookie that everyone can enjoy.

How to celebrate – Bake some sugar cookies. Throw a sugar cookie party. Share some sugar cookies with your neighbors (keeping in mind social distancing, of course 😁)

April 22nd National Jelly Bean Day

Who doesn’t like jelly beans!?! Nearly everyone can find a flavor they like, altough there are some jelly beans specifically made for nobody to like these days. No one knows exactly where jelly beans came from, they just seem to have started to appear during the American Civil War as Union soldiers began receiving them, which would make one think they came from someone’s home. That would have been in the 1860’s and perhaps they were around before that as well, but if they were, we have no proof of it. Jelly beans are sort of like potato chips, it’s hard to eat just one!

How to celebrate – Have some jelly beans. Invent your own new flavor of jelly bean. Learn how to make your own jelly beans.

July 9th National Sugar Cookie Day

Don’t you love the smell of cookies baking in your home? And it seems that the easiest cookie to make is the sugar cookie. The sugar cookie has been with us for a long long time. It may be one of the oldest cookies known to mankind. Since we learned how to cookie dough and add sugar to it we have had the sugar cookie. And sometimes, the less complicated the better. Now we all realize the joy of cookies in the oven at Christmas time but why not have them during the summer as well? After-all, we celebrate Christmas in July so why not cookies in July as well! I think Julius Caesar would approve and after all, July is named for him so who would have more say?

How to celebrate – Bake some cookies today. Buy some sugar cookies. Celebrate Christmas in July.

July 21st National Junk Food Day

So with all the new trend of trying to eat healthy, we all need that occasional “fix” of junk food. There are only so many salads and stalks of vegetables one can eat before they reach out for something that satisfies that taste for… junk!

gingersnaps3

It’s hard to say when junk food began. People didn’t use to have access to tons of sugar and other items that weren’t good for them until fairly recently in mankind’s history. Naturally we made up for it fast though! We eat french fries and chips by the ton, knowing they aren’t good for us but still, we can’t resist them.

cupcakes

The thing is, when junk food did become a part of our diet, we began craving it. Eat salt and your body wants more, eat sugar and your body wants more. But it’s primarily mental, not as much physical.

Free-Fries-At-Del-Taco-With-2-For-5-Burritos-Purchase-On-April-5-2018-678x381

So we eat whatever it is we crave and then we feel guilty about it. But  not today. Today we can eat junk food because it’s Junk Food Day! And it’s National!

How to celebrate – Eat your favorite junk food! Try some junk food you have never tried before. Enjoy a good sugar rush!

July 9th National Sugar Cookie Day

There is perhaps nothing as simple, and yet satisfying, as the sugar cookie. I can actually say I do not know anyone who does not like a sugar cookie, though I am sure there are some out there. Since they re easy to make, you should bake some now!

84f38c9f-6f26-4358-b26d-450fd8b28ea6-660x410

If you want to make them even more tempting, use a little food coloring. The funny thing about that is that people will swear the blue one is better than the others. It’s not, food coloring has no taste, but still I really do like the red ones best!

3652107854_075e6226e5_o-600x450

It’s the same thing as making them into different shapes! It doesn’t make any difference what shape they are but somewhere, someone, is going to like the round one better than the square one, the rectangular one to the star shaped one.

blog

Now add a little frosting, which does have flavorings in most cases. and add some sprinkles (More sugar) and you have changed the sugar cookie to a masterpiece of sugar use!

the-daily-holiday

And they are good any time of year, any time of day and anytime you have people over.

How to celebrate – Bake a batch of sugar cookie today. Make some shapes that no one else has used. Try making your own flavor additive for your sugar cookies.

December 19th Hard Candy Day

Hard Candy has been with us for years, though originally it was only available to the wealthy and privileged. It is simple enough to make, simply put it is 100% sugar boiled at 320 degrees F and then poured into molds allowing it to dry into what ever shape the mold is made of, and adding whatever flavors and colors you want to add.

images

The very first known hard candies to be made were lemon drops, and they are still popular today. Obviously the original recipe called for sugar and lemon juice, and that was about it. Over the years we have learned to add all sorts of flavoring to candy making it available in nearly any flavor you can imagine.

striped-hard-candy-balls-13663426

Peppermint came next and has been a favorite particularly around the holidays in shapes of candy canes and peppermint fluff balls. Until the late 17th century, the candies were too expensive for the everyday person. As sugar became less expensive the price of the candy dropped, making it affordable to nearly anyone. It actually probably made life better for the nearly 400 companies that opened producing candy, expanding the industry by leaps and bounds.

71lvzouhx8l-_sy355_

For years Werther’s Originals led the list of candies as the most popular, and also earning the highest paycheck. In 2015, Jolly Rancher took the crown away from Werther’s. Other popular hard candies include, Dum Dums, Life Savers, Tootsie Roll Pops, and Charms Blow Pops. In Japan it is now very popular to put insects inside the hard candy giving you something to look at while enjoying the tasty treat.

download-1

How to celebrate – Find your favorite hard candy and enjoy it. Buy, or make, some molds and try making your own candy (be careful though as the boiling sugar is very sticky and can burn really, really badly). Make sure you leave a candy bowl out during the holidays.

July 21st National Junk Food Day

Junk food is often referred to as “Comfort food” because we normally turn to it when we are unhappy or sad about something. It probably does make us happy for the moment, that sweet taste or salty goodness tastes so good… it’s what happens afterwards that makes us even sadder and unhappy.

1409154391870_wps_2_image001_png

Sure that ice cream smooths things over for a few minutes, that bottle of beer (which by the way is junk food as well) makes the troubles disappear, and that bunch of french fries makes us forget about anything else while we are eating them. But whatever drove us to those comforts will come back shortly and haunts us, reminding us daily as we look at our stomachs, our thighs, and those frightening man boobs!

download (1)

The thing is, it’s not the junk foods fault! It’s ours! There’s nothing wrong with junk food, as long as we don’t get carried away. Diets don’t work because when we are on a diet, all we can think about is what we can’t have instead of what we can! Under normal circumstances given the choice between an apple or a candy bar we might actually choose the apple, but when we are denied the candy bar, that is what we crave.

junk-food-and-its-side-effects-3-638

Junk food does have a place in life today. It is convenient, it is fast, and it does taste good. Used when we don’t have time or other choices it serves a purpose. The problem is, in life today we find those conditions more the rule than the exception. A soda will cool you down, but it will also increase the sugar in your body which heats you back up! Diet sodas are known to mimic serious desease. Pizza really isn’t all that bad for you, as long as you don’t eat the whole thing by yourself. Hamburgers aren’t all that bad either, though red meat does have its drawbacks,  it’s more all the bread and condiments we add to it. And fries, well.. there isn’t really much good about them at all. There is nothing wrong with a potato but fry it in grease, add a lot of salt, and shove that in your mouth, it’s a different story.

junk-food-brain

Cereals are more often than not filled with sugar. Donuts, brownies, chips, and candy have little redeeming quality to them either. It’s not that eating them is so awful for you, its eating so many of them that causes the problems. But for today you can forget all of that as we celebrate junk food day. And tomorrow, we will pay the price for our celebration.

How to celebrate – visit a candy or chocolate factory. Maybe replace that candy bar with a piece of celery or that hamburger with a turkey sub (after today if course). Don’t worry about it and eat what you want which is probably what you are going to do anyway.

June 24th Pralines Day

Pralines are confections made from nuts, whole or crushed, and sugar syrup.   Most today have an added chocolate flavoring to them (particularly Belgian and French). In Europe, most pralines are made with almonds. In the US they generally use pecans. Really, any kind of nut can be used.

Pralines-Honey-Comb-Almond_large

In the 17th century, at Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte (France), Marshal du Plessis-Praslin (who lived from 1598 to 1675) inspired the first praline when he came up with a caramelized sugar poured over almonds. The idea caught on. In fact, any food that contains ground nuts and sugar syrup is considered a praline. The action of crushing the nuts and placing them in sugar is called pralin. So pralines exist in cakes and even ice cream.

Flavor_Enlarged_Prailines'ncream2

There are basically three types of pralines: Belgian, created with a hard chocolate shell and a soft or liquid inner core, French, made with almonds and caramelized sugar, and the American, made more like a fudge with any type of nut and the sugar made into a creamy or milky coating.

images (4)

When the French colonized Louisiana they brought their recipes with them.  Since nuts and sugar cane were readily available in the area it was only natural that they began producing pralines.  New Orleans chefs substituted the pecan since it was easier to find and they added cream to the mixture to make it richer.

Pralines-and-Cream-Fudge-750x500

How to celebrate: Go buy some pralines, they are readily available at nearly any grocery or candy shop. Enjoy some praline ice cream. Make your own pralines from the recipe above.