Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1 = Apple Gifting Day and Bloody Mary Day

January is: Bread Machine Baking Month, National Egg Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Meat Month, National Soup Month, National Wheat bread Month, National Oatmeal Month, and Prune Breakfast Month.  Phew!  That’s a lot of things, January!  Eight, really, which is a good number to touch on each subject about once a week.  In addition to the daily food-day topic, I’ll touch on one of the monthly theme.

The Meredith calendar labels January as National Candy Month, but also lists June as National Candy Month.  I love sweets, but I think it’s unfair to all those other delicious foods and most of my resources list June as National Candy Month, I’m not counting January as National Candy Month.  Having two months in a year?  Candy is just greedy.
In non-food month assignments, January is also Get Organized Month.  Makes sense, this being the time of year most people are coming up with resolutions for the new year.  I can only imagine that a lot of people decide to be clean and organized for the year…and that includes the kitchen!  Occasionally this month, I’ll feature a tool, technique, or whatever I think of that is related to organizing your kitchen for optimum use.
Let’s get started!

January 1 = Apple Gifting Day/Bloody Mary Day
In a lot of cartoons and old TV shows, it seems like there is always a teacher with an apple, presumably from a student.  I’ve never given any of my teachers an apple and I don’t know of anyone who has.  Have you ever given an instructor an apple?

Well, even if you aren’t in a structured school now, give an apple to someone in your life today.  Surely there is someone who taught you something, right?  And if not, why not just give an apple to your neighbor?  Or even a basket of apples?  Here are some ideas for celebrating Apple Gifting Day:
  • Give a basket filled with a variety of apples.  Include a note describing each apple and what it is best for.
  • Bake it.  Why stick with just a whole apple?  Why not bake an apple cobbler for the lady across the street?  Or a brown betty for someone older than you?  Or cookies for extended family?  Or a quick bread?
  • Make and can some applesauce.  Canned goods look really good with a ribbon and bow. 
  • Go crafty!  Give an apple-themed craft, maybe some jewelry or a nicely written and framed apple recipe?
  • Think drink.  Give a jug of apple cider with a packet of mulling spices attached with a ribbon.  For the 21+ crowd: If you like to imbibe, or if your recipient does, try giving hard apple cider, apple wine or apple brandy.  Cost Plus World Market has a pretty tasting mulling spices mix.

Bloody Marys, the alcoholic V8

Ok, so I’m probably the only person who thinks of Bloody Marys as “the alcoholic V8,” but really… aren’t they?  Some people count Bloody Marys as their vegetables for the day.  (I think this is the only way my friend Jared will consume tomatoes!) Due to currently not consuming alcohol, I won’t be testing any recipes out, but here’s a round-up of some useful and interesting websites about Bloody Marys.
  • Wikipedia? Wikipedia!  The website that most people hit up first has a pretty nice page about Bloody Marys.  I am most amused about the history and how multiple people lay claim to creating it.
  • My Big Fat Bloody Mary has a nice round up of Bloody Mary recipes. You can even submit your own.
  • Hash House A Go Go is one of my favorite places to eat in San Diego and they make an award-winning Bloody Mary.  This site reportedly has the recipe for Hash House A Go Go’s Bloody Mary.
Some of my friends swear that Bloody Marys are the best cure for a hangover.  I’m not familiar with any scientific papers proving this, but to each his or her own hangover cure. 

January is Bread Machine Baking Month
If you like to eat a lot of bread, bread machines can be a really nice addition to your kitchen.  If you like to bake your bread in the oven, you can use the bread machine to do all the kneading, saving your energy.  Bread machines can be used to make pizza dough.

Don’t rush out to buy a bread machine right away, though.  If you are absolutely certain you’ll use your machine on a regular basis, go ahead and do the research and pick a machine with all the bells and whistles you want.  (This site might be helpful for those looking for fancy bread machines.)   But, for so many people, the bread machine gets used a couple of times (if it’s even taken out of the box!) and then it languishes on the counter or hidden away in a cabinet.  If you’re not certain about how often you’ll use a bread machine, check out the local thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist.  Multiple times, I’ve seen in-box, brand new bread machines at thrift stores for really cheap.   If you use a rice cooker a lot, you could consider a rice cooker with bread baking capabilities.  Remember, it just becomes a waste of money if you don’t use it.

Speaking of money and bread machine, the money blog Get Rich Slowly has an article about saving money by making your own bread.  Check it out!

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