toostsie_popsOne of the most popular candy commercials of all time asks: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? There have been several experiments trying to nail down this sweet mystery. A group of engineering students at Purdue University made a licking machine that measured it took 364 licks, however, student volunteers only took 252. Meanwhile, students at the University of Michigan measured 411 licks on their licking machine. So the jury is still out on this question.


Shealthy_herbsalt and pepper are not the only ones that can add taste and flavor to what we eat. More than determining whether or not our meals can taste good, herbs and spices have various benefits that aid in overall health. All of these come from plants and their parts, including flowers, fruits, seeds and leaves, so it makes sense that they are packed with both flavor and antioxidants.

Many herbs and spices contain antibacterial and antiviral properties, and are often high in certain nutrients. Some are also shown to aid in weight loss and appetite control or even satisfy sweet tooth without calories. Whether store-bought and organic or grown in-house, Wellness Mama has shared the following herbs and spices that will add health benefits to your meals:

Read the rest of this entry »


chickenwingsChicken wings are not a dish you make at home for one. The presence of chicken wings means there’s a family gathering, football game, or neighborhood cookout. The smell of chicken wings is a sign that good times are ahead. When you order chicken wings in a restaurant, they’re simply accompanied by carrots and celery. But what do you serve with chicken wings when you’re hosting at home? I’ve got your back.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Do Dogs Chase Cats?

Posted: June 25, 2020 in Did you know?
Tags:

dogs_catsIt’s a relationship that you probably just think of as the natural order of things, established in everything from books to cartoons: Dogs chase cats, and cats and dogs hate each other. It’s somewhat of a given of the animal kingdom…or is it? After all, there are plenty of multi-pet households that have a dog and a cat that get along, not to mention all of these adorable photos of dogs and cats being best friends. So what’s the story here? Why do dogs chase cats? Is it because of dogs’ natural instincts, and, if so, how can you prevent it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Blackberry Jam Cake Recipe

Posted: June 22, 2020 in Recipes
Tags:

The caramel cream cheese frosting is slightly savory to balance out the sweetness of this three-layer cake.

blackberry_jam_cake

Ingredients

CAKE LAYERS

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups seedless blackberry jam or preserves
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or black walnuts
  • 1 cup golden raisins

FROSTING

  • 3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup jarred caramel topping
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

GARNISHES

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped pecans or black walnuts
  • Fresh blackberries

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with parchment paper.

Step 2

Prepare the Cake Layers: Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.

Step 3

Place sugar and eggs in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment; beat on medium speed until thick and smooth, 3 minutes. Change to paddle attachment. Add oil, jam, and vanilla extract; beat until combined, 1 minute.

Step 4

Add half of the flour mixture to jam mixture; beat on low speed until just combined, 20 to 45 seconds. Add buttermilk; beat on low speed until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture; beat on low speed until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds. Fold in nuts and raisins; divide evenly among prepared pans.

Step 5

Bake in preheated oven until edges of Cake Layers are just starting to pull from sides of pans and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pans from top to bottom rack halfway through baking. Press gently on top of layers to flatten any doming; cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely, about 1 hour.

Step 6

Prepare the Frosting: Place cream cheese and sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment; beat on medium-low speed until combined. Add caramel topping; beat until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly pour in cream and add salt. Beat on medium speed until thick and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. (Mixture will look runny at first but will thicken as the cream is whipped.)

Step 7

Transfer about two-thirds of the Frosting to a piping bag. Place 1 Cake Layer on a serving plate. Pipe Frosting on top of layer, using a circular motion and starting from the outside and gradually moving to the center. Repeat process with remaining layers. Cover sides with remaining Frosting. (Drag the back of a spoon in a side-to-side motion across the Frosting for a textured look.) Garnish cake with nuts
and blackberries.


biscuitsFirst, there was a wave of quarantine baking, so intense that you couldn’t (and maybe still can’t!) find bread flour anywhere. Now, it seems like our Instagram feeds are seeing something new and comfort-foody: butter swim biscuits.

What are butter swim biscuits?

They’re delicious homemade biscuits (easy dough, I promise!) cooked in a pool of butter. Quick and easy to put together, the taste and tender crumb makes you want to have breakfast for dinner. So, let’s stop all this chatter and get on with the show.

Read the rest of this entry »


pickleveggiesI’ve never met a pickle I didn’t like. But there’s a lot more to sink your teeth into than just cucumbers, you can pickle anything from onions to carrots to Brussels sprouts. Ready to try it out at home? Here’s how to pickle vegetables.

What Are Quick-Pickled Vegetables?

The most mouth-puckering homemade pickles are left to marinate in brine for a few days to maximize their flavor. But you can still pickle and eat certain veggies in the same hour if you don’t have a lot of marinating time, depending on their size and how they’re cut. Enter quick-pickled veggies. For instance, whole cucumbers need at least 48 hours to turn acidic, but sliced onions can soak up homemade brine in just 15 minutes if that’s all the time you have. The longer the veggies can soak, the more pickled they’ll be but don’t sweat it if you need them pronto.

Read the rest of this entry »


ojuiceOrange juice is the most popular fruit juice sold in the US and has been advertised as a staple in a healthy diet. Some experts warn, however, that orange juice doesn’t live up to marketers’ claims and may actually be bad for your health. Here’s what you need to know about whether or not orange juice is a healthy addition to your diet.

Read the rest of this entry »


drinks_in_futureWhen you order a vodka sprite or gin and tonic, you probably expect it to come with a lime wedge. The same goes for a slice of a pineapple with a piña colada, cherries in a shirley temple and a lemon slice for water or a Diet Coke. Fruit garnishes are a part of drink culture, but after the coronavirus outbreak, establiments might opt to have them served upon request only, on the side or not at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make the Best Lobster Bisque

Posted: June 17, 2020 in Recipes
Tags:

lobsterbisqueA well-made lobster bisque is nothing short of incredible: velvety smooth, rich and packed full of seafood flavor. The secret to getting there is to make the broth from scratch. The broth is unique as it uses lobster shells and a touch of tomato paste to create deep, complex flavors that are perfectly rounded out when you add a splash of heavy cream. Finish it off by studding the creamy soup with chunks of buttery lobster meat, and you have a date-night dinner winner.

Read the rest of this entry »