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Whiskey Sour Day 2020

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August 25th marks Whiskey Sour Day again this year. I posted about it four years ago but this year it dawned on me: how did a day in August become Whiskey Sour Day, anyway?

I searched the internet high and low and couldn't find a suitable answer. An article from Bourbonbanter.com published in 2013, though, suggests that the day was created basically for fun, but that the drink has origins circa the 1700s when British Navy sailors would add lime juice to their rum, both to preserve the juice and to keep the sailors free from scurvy (a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C.)

Big news!

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If your a friend or family member that follows me on Facebook or Instagram, then you already know what I'm going to say...

Dave and I are engaged!

Six steps to get started crafting a perfect cheeseboard

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I am a sucker for a good cheese plate.

Cheese is one of the few foods that even after all of these years I still feel would stop me from going 100% vegan. Meat, I can take or leave. As some of you know, I didn't eat meat for a decade or longer and still don't eat a lot of it today. But cheese? Vegan cheese is ok, I happen to like nut-based cheese, but it's just different... #TrueStory

A cheese plate is, of course, excellent as an appetizer, but as I learned recently it can also be nice to have after dinner instead of a dessert. I was used to seeing after-dinner cheese courses here in the U.S. on fancy or trendy restaurant menus, but in France, cheese was on nearly all restaurant menus—talk about heaven! A cheese plate can also be a nice choice to have as a leisurely lunch or dinner, especially when there's little time to cook. No matter the course, a cheese plate is never a bad choice.

Not sure where to start in building the cheese plate of your dreams? Let's begin with a few of the basics. Here are six things that I like to keep in mind when crafting the perfect plate.

Yogurt-marinated chicken

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I love using yogurt as a marinade for chicken. It works because the lactose in the dairy helps tenderize the meat but more importantly is a great carrier for flavorful spiceslike cumin, turmeric, and other Indian-inspired flavors. I used 0%, non-fat but you can use 2% or even whole milk yogurt for extra richness. Either way, the yogurt chars a little when cooking and develops little, crusty bits which I think are especially delicious.

I always make sure to set aside some of the marinade at the beginning to use as a sauce for serving at the end. As a reminder, it's never a good idea to reuse marinade after it has been in contact with raw meat.

To make the recipe extra easy and mess-free, you can go the tried-and-true route of combining all of the ingredients for the marinade and the chicken in a large, gallon sized plastic bag. Zip the bag and massage to combine. You still might want to place the bag in a bowl, glass or aluminum baking dish, or on a baking sheet pan to catch any dripsjust in case the bag has tiny holes that you otherwise aren't able to see.

I like the plastic bag option if I am going to be grilling elsewherelike at a friend or a family member's house or for a BBQ at the park or beachbecause it travels better and takes up less space if I am putting it into a cooler. If I am staying at home, though, I typically like to use my largest Pyrex glass bowl that has a nice, matching lidthere's no sense in using then tossing a plastic bag if I can avoid it.

The chicken is great by itself with a side of rice, couscous, or a vegetable but I especially love it served as a sandwich or a flatbread made with naan.

Happy 4th of July: Festive recipes to celebrate Independence Day

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This is not a sponsored post or endorsement made in coordination with or paid by any of the brands or individuals mentioned here—only offering a few suggestions based on things my family and I have tried and enjoyed.

July 4th in the United States celebrates Independence Day. On that date in 1776, the 13 original colonies claimed their independence from England, forming a new nation.

If your family is like mine, years past may have been celebrated with large BBQs complete with burgers and hot dogs, pasta and potato salads, corn on the cob, and assorted sodas and beers (for those of age to drink, of course.) When I was growing up, my grandparents had an above ground pool at their home, and at my house we had a community in-ground pool. I spent a lot of time at both of them so depending on where our summer feast took place and if it wasn't raining, taking a dip in the pool was absolutely in order while dinner was being made.

For dessert, we typically took a trip to get soft-serve ice cream or ate an American flag cake—which many of you probably know and have likely made or tasted at least once, if not many times: a rectangle-shaped poundcake or a boxed vanilla cake mix covered with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries arranged in the shape of a flag. Finally, a trip to see fireworks at a local park capped off the night, where we would sit on a blanket or folding chairs, or stand near the car, to watch the magical bursts of colors in the night sky.

This year will no doubt be very different. Maybe a large gathering you may have planned with your family and friends was downsized or turned into a virtual celebration with some of them instead. I have also seen some creative ways that communities are celebrating in the absence of being able to have large, in-person gatherings: drive-through fireworks, for example, are being planned at the Iron Pigs Minor League baseball team ballpark for the holiday weekend in the Lehigh Valley, PA.

No matter how you are celebrating this year, here are some festive food ideas that you can still hopefully try.