Tag Archives: winter

14 Tasty and Easy Desserts for 2

Happy early Valentine’s Day (and Galentine’s Day!)!  If you pride yourself on the last-minute hunt for Valentine’s Day gifts, then you’re in luck…because these 14 Tasty and Easy Desserts for Two make the perfect gift for your sweetie (or your group of gals!).

Whether you’re craving cookies, cakes, or brownies, these yummy desserts are sure to hit the sweet spot…and best of all, most of these recipes only make 2-4 servings…so waste not, want not!

So this year, forget the cheesy gifts…impress your Valentine with a tasty dessert you can split and share!

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14 Tasty and Easy Desserts for 2

Tasty Biegnets for 2
dessertfor2.com

desserts-for-2-1

Chocolate Fondue
foxandbriar.com

desserts-for-2-3

Cinnamon Apple Dessert Chimichangas
muchtaste.com

desserts-for-2-6

Fluffy S’mores Dip
homemadehooplah.com

desserts-for-2-4

Small Batch Brownies
dessertfor2.com

desserts-for-2-2

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Recipe
crazyforcrust.com

desserts-for-2-5

Berry Crisps for Two
reciperunner.com

desserts-for-2-10

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for Two
bakingmischief.com

desserts-for-2-7

Pink Raspberry Vanilla Cakes
livforcake.com

desserts-for-2-8

Cherry Chocolate Mug Cake
lifemadesweeter.com

desserts-for-2-9

Mini Pear Cranberry Crisps
wholeandheavenlyoven.com

desserts-for-2-11

Single Serve Chocolate Chip Cookies
number-2-pencil.com

desserts-for-2-12

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Cups
cookinglsl.com

desserts-for-2-13

Chocolate Cupcakes for 2
crunchycreamysweet.com

desserts-for-2-14

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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33 Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day

Whether you love it or ya hate it, Valentine’s Day is coming nonetheless.

cartoons & comics peanuts charlie brown valentine valentines day

A holiday with a very confusing and questioned history, Valentine’s Day is supposedly named after St. Valentine, who performed secret marriages and was executed for his crime on February 14th.

Now both celebrated and loathed by people all over the world, Valentine’s Day is a $17 billion a year industry and is easily the lifeblood for companies such as American Greetings, Hallmark, Hersheys, and – believe it or not – a WIDE assortment of home pregnancy test companies.

So, whether you indulge in flowers and chocolates or you hide under a blanket and wait for all the ooy gooy stuff to end, here are 33 Fun Facts (you’re sure to LOVE!) About Valentine’s Day!

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33 Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day

  1. There are several theories as to how Valentine’s Day started, the most popular being that when Roman Emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, he forbade young men to marry (apparently single men make better soldiers). In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages.  He was imprisoned for his actions and was executed on February 14th.
  2. Supposedly while St. Valentine was in jail, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote her a love letter before his execution. He signed it, “from your Valentine”.
  3. Adding to the confusion is that there have been approximately eight St. Valentines throughout history. The two most likely to have inspired Valentine’s Day are Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome, though some scholars speculate that they are actually the same person.
  4. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned to their sleeves for one week for everyone to see.  This is supposedly the origin of the expression, “to wear your heart on your sleeve”.
  5. According to several sources, it was Henry VIII – the same man who would behead all his wives for not giving him sons – who officially declared February 14th the holiday of St. Valentine in 1537.
  6. Apparently girls have been playing love games around Valentine’s Day since the holiday’s inception! In England around 1700, girls would pin four bay leaves to their pillows and eat a hard-boiled egg, including the shell, the night before Valentine’s Day.  If she dreamed of a boy that night, she would soon marry him.
  7. Girls would also write boys’ names on small pieces of paper and cover them with clay. They’d drop them in the water and, when the clay broke, the papers would float to the top.  The first name the girl could read would predict who she would marry.
  8. Based on retail statistics, about 3% of pet owners (or at least 9 million people) will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
  9. About 15% of US women will send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
    tv reactions tina fey single valentine
  10. On average, about 196 million red roses are produced for Valentine’s Day each year.
    celebrities norman reedus valentines day happy valentines day
  11. Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800’s.
  12. Today, over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day…and more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day.
    heart valentines day te amo steve urkel happy valentines day
  13. The first recorded Valentine card sent was in February 1415 by the English Duke of Orleans. He sent a love letter to his wife from his jail cell in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt.  The letter is currently on display in The British Museum.
  14. Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, and pets.
  15. About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year around February 14th. This makes Valentine’s Day the second-largest card holiday behind Christmas.
    television heart peanuts charlie brown valentine
  16. In totality, Valentine’s Day is a $17.4 billion holiday.
  17. Hallmark produced its first Valentine card in 1913.
  18. Lace is often used on Valentine’s Day decorations. The word ‘lace’ comes from the Latin laques, meaning “to snare or net”, or to catch a person’s heart.
  19. Some of the oldest handmade Valentine cards are rebuses, or a puzzle or riddle using pictures. For example, a picture of a bee and a picture of a gold mine would indicate the sentiment, “Be Mine”.
  20. Esther Howland was the first person to create Valentines to sell in the US. She patented a lacy Valentine in 1844 – making well over $100,000 by 1860.
  21. On average, about 11,000 children are conceived on Valentine’s Day each year.
  22. So, not surprisingly, more at-home pregnancy tests are sold in March than any other month of the year.
  23. Penicillin, a popular treatment for venereal diseases such as syphilis, was introduced to the world on February 14, 1929.
  24. February 14th is also V-Day, a day meant to help raise awareness to end violence against women and girls. It started as a benefit back in 1998 inspired by the work of Eve Ensler, the playwright and activist behind The Vagina Monologues.
  25. There are about 8 billion candy hearts made each year…enough to stretch from Valentine, Arizona to Rome, Italy about 20 times back and forth.
    Salih! love art heart candy
  26. Nearly 10 new candy heart sayings are introduced each year. Recent additions have included “Yeah Right”, “Puppy Love”, and “Call Home”.
    funny cartoons & comics heart charlie brown valentines day
  27. Those little conversation hearts also have a shelf life of about 5 years.
  28. In terms of gifts, about 65% of the US will receive at least one greeting card. Other popular gifts include date nights (44%), candy (38%), flowers (32%), gift cards (29%), and plush toys (21%).
  29. The average consumer spends about $100 on Valentine’s Day gifts, meals, and entertainment.
    eating dating relationship dinner hamster
  30. Roughly 63% of men and 69% of women think it’s cliché to get engaged or married on Valentine’s Day.
  31. However, roughly 4 million Americans expect to propose or to be proposed to over Valentine’s Day.
  32. In the 1900’s, the Chicago Post Office refused to deliver about 25,000 Valentine postcards because the messages were not nice. These cards came to be known as “vinegar Valentines”.
  33. Valentine Writers were booklets written in 1823 to help those who couldn’t think up Valentine verses on their own.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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5 Beautiful Winter Salads

Oh salad…how I love and hate you.

parks and recreation parks and rec ron swanson salad vegetables

I know they’re health and all that, but seriously…WHERE’S THE FLAVOR??  Salads often come drenched in dressing and are packed with veggies that are bland and water-logged.  No. Thanks.

If I’m gonna jump aboard the salad train, I’m making it myself…and these five stunningly beautiful winter salads are just the ticket!

Packed with flavor, color, and nutrients, these salads make great lunches or dinners…or could even be served alongside a chicken breast or pork chop.

The great thing about these winter salads is that they’re packed with seasonal ingredients…no where will you find meely tomatoes and soggy cucumbers that are all out of season…these salads feature bright and juicy pomegranate seeds, seasonal nuts and berries, Brussels sprouts, kale, and a whole slew of other vegetables that you can easily find at the store during these cold winter months.

So keep in mind that not all salad is created alike.  You CAN have a healthy salad that actually tastes GOOD with these tasty and easy winter salad recipes!

winter-salads

Warm Brussels Sprouts and Pear Saladsalad1

Holiday Honeycrisp Salad
salad2

Butternut Squash and Bacon Salad
salad3

Mandarin Pomegranate Spinach Saladsalad4

Pomegranate Pecan Salad with Cinnamon Applessalad5

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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10 Winter Cocktails to Warm Your Soul

Chicago has already seen some freezing cold days…and going into February, I’m sure it’s only going to get worse…

But there’s one thing that can easily help when it’s too cold to play outside…BOOZE.  Whether you like warm drinks or cold ones, these 10 Winter Cocktails to Warm Your Soul are sure to get you in a better mood when the blistery winds blow.

Enjoy these tasty beverages with friends and family around the fireplace, or make your own virgin batch so you can enjoy it with the kids!  Spicy, bold and bursting with winter flavors, these cocktails will have you falling in love with winter all over again.

winter-cocktails

  1. Spiced Irish Coffee
  2. Crock Pot Mulled Wine
  3. Cranberry Orange Margaritas
  4. Apple Cider Margaritas
  5. Boozy Mexican Hot Chocolate
  6. S’more Martini
  7. Apple Pie Sangria
  8. Pear and Ginger Champagne Cocktails
  9. Kahlua Hot Chocolate
  10. Maple Bourbon Chai Tea

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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10 Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Ideas

AHH!!!  Christmas has already come and gone and we’re only a couple days away from kicking 2016 out the door and welcoming in a new year.

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to get so wrapped up in Christmas that I’m almost constantly shocked at how fast New Year’s Eve follows…and it’s not like it’s a surprise…I mean, it’s the same thing every year…but it just never fails to spring up on me!

Thankfully, there are tons of easy, fast, and budget-friendly ways to welcome in 2017 with your friends and family…and they’ll think you’ve been planning for months!  With this collection of 10 Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Ideas, you’ll learn how to create tasty treats and classy decorations that will make your hub THE PLACE for welcoming in a new year!

new-years-eve-ideas

So don’t put those Christmas decorations away quite yet…here are 10 easy and fast last-minute NYE decorations that will up your party game in no time!

10 Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Ideas

Before you pack up all your Christmas ornaments, sort out those silver and gold bobbles…they’ll come in handy for your New Year’s decor!  Hang them from the ceiling or gather them in a bowl or apothecary jar for a festive decoration that will liven up your home.

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Turn a corner of your home into a fun photo booth!  Use leftover ribbons or cheap streamers to create a fun backdrop and cut NYE letters out of posterboard.  Decorate with balloons and you’ve got a fun photo area your guests will love!

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Jell-O shots have gotten an upgrade!  With these classy Champagne Jell-O Cups, you and your adult friends can enjoy a delicious and tasty start to 2017.

champagne-jello

No NYE party is complete without poppers!  But don’t go out and buy them…you can use leftover toilet paper rolls and any remaining Christmas gift wrap to create your own!  Fill with confetti, candy, or wishes for a great new year.

diy-confetti-poppers

Forget those cheap paper party hats…you can craft your own sparkly glitter hats using paper mache cones and fine glitter and tinsel.  Attach your hat to a headband so you don’t have to worry about those uncomfortable elastic strings.

festive-party-hat

Whether you make your own or you decorate some store-bought cookies, these glittery fortune cookies are sure to delight.  If you make your own, don’t forget to fill them with good fortunes for your guests!

fortune-cookies

Not everyone has a date on NYE…and for some, that’s A-O-KAY!  But everyone deserves a little midnight kiss when 2017 makes its official appearance!

midnight-kisses

These free clock printables are great for attaching to goodie bags, hats, cupcake toppers, and more!  Print out your own clocks from nobiggie.net.

printable-clocks

If you’re having friends over throughout the day on NYE, it can be a loooong time until midnight.  To help pass the time, print out some cards and get to know your guests and their hopes and wishes for the new year.  You can print out your own set here.

printable-party-game

Here’s another cute way to use any leftover gift wrapping supplies.  Wrap bamboo sticks with gold pipe cleaners and top with a cute pom pom for a celebratory drink stirrer.

sparkly-sippers

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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9 Tasty Molasses Recipes

Well, another Christmas come and gone! The cookies are done, the baking is done, and finally kitchens across the world can breathe a sigh of relief!

Though you may be done with baking all your holiday treats, chances are you still have a ton of ingredients left over taking up space in your cabinets…at least I do! I have stuff I only use around this time of year…and now my leftover corn syrup, molasses, and bags and bags of chocolate are taking up space where I SHOULD have actual adult food.  Boo to adult food.

tasty-molassas-recipes

While most of this stuff will actually keep for quite a while, I still don’t like having it around when I could be using that space for something else…so, time to purge!

I’m starting with molasses. I use molasses only for gingerbread cookies, but I don’t need that much per batch, so I’m left with a good amount at the end of my baking. Since I’m so burnt out on cookies, I’m looking to use it on something else…maybe even some savory dishes??

So I did some Googling and found nine excellent ideas for using up that leftover molasses. From side dishes to treats for Fido, these recipes are a great solution to helping you clean out your baking cabinet for the new year!

9 Tasty Molasses Recipes

Brown Molasses Bread
itsalwaysautumn.com
molasses-bread

Molasses Spice Energy Bites
veggieprimer.com
molasses-energy-bites

Homemade BBQ Sauce
chef-in-training.com
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Ginger Molasses Carrots
thecompletesavorist.com
molasses-carrots

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Barbecue Beans
momontimeout.com
molasses-sausage-and-bean-chili

Gingersnap Pecans
taketwotapas.com
molasses-pecans

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Ham
sweetcsdesigns.com
molasses-ham

Pumpkin and Molasses Homemade Dog Treats
betsylife.com
molasses-dog-treats

Molasses Scones with Candied Ginger
thekitchenpaper.com
molasses-scones

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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24 Fun Facts About A Christmas Story

Let’s face facts…by now you’ve probably seen A Christmas Story at least 100 times.  It’s on a continual loop around the holiday season and almost every Christmas-loving family owns a copy of this cult classic…but I bet there are at least a few things you may NOT know about this movie we’ve all seen a bijillion times.

Filmed mainly in Cleveland and Toronto, A Christmas Story opened on November 18, 1983 and starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker, and Darren McGavin as Mr. Parker.  Based on the book, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story tells the tale of a little boy who will stop at nothing to get his Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Air Rifle with a Compass in the Stock and this Thing Which Tells Time!

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Filled with memorable scenes, quotes, and characters, A Christmas Story has become a holiday favorite and can be seen airing on TV for 24 hours the day before Christmas.  You may know the lines…you may know the scenes…hell, you may have even visited the museum (if you haven’t, you must!  A truly amazing experience for any fan!), but there are lots of other fun facts that you may not have known about this holiday classic!

To help get you in the Christmas spirit (and to help you impress your friends and family with movie trivia as you watch this flick for the 100th time), here are 24 Fun Facts about A Christmas Story!

Curious where the cast ended up?  Check out A Christmas Story: Where Are They Now? for an update!

24 Fun Facts about A Christmas Story

Jack Nicholson was originally interested in the role of The Old Man, but the film’s budget was too small to afford him.

jack nicholson the shining

Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie, was the first child to audition for the part.  Director Bob Clark didn’t want to cast the first kid he saw, so he auditioned thousands more before deciding to cast Billingsley anyway.

Image result for peter billingsley, a christmas story

One of the actors who auditioned for Ralphie was a young Sean Astin, who would go on to star in The Goonies.

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A Christmas Story is based on Jean Shepherd’s 1966 book, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.  The book started as a series of short stories published in Playboy magazine.

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Author Jean Shepherd was also the narrator of the film and made a brief cameo in the movie as the man who told Ralphie and Randy where the back of the line was while visiting Santa.  The woman in the photo is also his wife.

Image result for Jean Shepherd, a christmas story

In the scene when Ralphie is shooting bandits outside his window chewing tobacco, he actually is chewing tobacco.  Billingsley said he started getting dizzy and his lips started burning.

a christmas story

Jon Favreau had Billingsley sign a Red Ryder BB Gun for him when they worked together on the set of Swingers.

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In 2004, a man named Brian Jones bought the house in Cleveland where A Christmas Story was filmed for $150,000 on eBay.  He then spent $240,000 restoring the house into a near exact copy of the movie set.  It’s now a museum you can visit and explore!

Image result for christmas story house

In the scene when Flick freezes his tongue to the flagpole, the actor originally just put his tongue through a small hole in the pole; however, actor Scott Schwartz was such a prankster on set that the director decided to get back at him by adding a suction tube inside the pole to really make his tongue stick.  Schwartz freaked out and his reaction made it to the final cut of the film!

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Actor Scott Schwartz has also appeared in several adult films under the name Scotty Schwartz.

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Three iconic leg lamps were made for filming, and all three were broken during production.

a christmas story

Billingsley owns the iconic pink bunny suit and BB gun, and the glasses that get broken after he “shoots his eye out” were also his own.

bunny costume a christmas story

The boy in the goggles who is waiting next to Ralphie in line to see Santa is not an actor.  He was a real kid in the department store and the director decided to use him in the scene.

Image result for a christmas story, boy with goggles

The snow in the movie was made using mashed potato flakes.

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Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the movie.

movie christmas a christmas story

The Wonder Years was semi-inspired by A Christmas Story.  In fact, Peter Billingsley appears as one of Kevin Arnold’s roommates in one of the last few episodes of The Wonder Years.

Image result for peter billingsley on the wonder years

Special versions of the BB gun had to be made for the film.  The Red Ryder BB Gun did exist at the time and was first made in 1938; however it lacked the compass and sundial that the movie version mentioned.

Image result for red ryder bb gun

Though it takes place in Indiana, the movie split its filming between locations in Cleveland and Toronto.

Image result for a christmas story, toronto

None of the actors get royalty payments when A Christmas Story airs on TV, making it basically free to show continually for 24 hours.

a christmas story

The villain, Scott Farkus, is meant to be a wolf, of sorts.  Farkus means “wolf” in Hungarian and his ‘theme song’ is Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

a christmas story

The leg lamp was inspired by an old soda pop ad for Nehi soda.

Image result for nehi soda, leg

Ralphie’s rant when he’s beating up Farkus was actually scripted word for word.

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Similarly, the rants made by the Old Man were also scripted.

Image result for old man, a christmas story

The popular Chinese dinner scene was also unscripted.  Melinda Dillon had no idea they were going to chop off the head of the duck, inspiring this candid reaction!

a christmas story

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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