Hey Shorty, It’s Your Day!

Next to any day celebrating any form of chocolate (which should be everyday), I would have to say that today is one of my favorite new days to celebrate! Today is National Shortbread Day! Horray! I have loved shortbread since I was a young thing – that buttery taste of bliss – there’s not much that compares to shortbread!

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And when I want shortbread I am going to be reaching for the closest tin or box of Shortbread House of Edinburgh that I can grab! And sadly, I have to say, it’s something that goes quickly in my house, if I have it! Between myself and my sons, shortbread doesn’t stand a chance of having a long shelf life in my cupboards! There is good reason why for that – it’s because we can’t get enough of this delectable edible!

When I was first introduced to Shortbread House of Edinburgh, I was able to try some from a box of the Sicilian Lemon flavored shortbread.

 

Then soon after came the tin… with an even bigger piece of shortbread than the box! I found a tin of shortbread biscuits made with Warming Stem Ginger, and YES! Soooo good! So good with a cup of tea! Or just on its own! There are pieces of ginger in the shortbread and it’s just a perfect ratio of deliciousness! You can even see the ginger pieces in the photos below! I must have been good this past year because Santa had a tin of these in my Christmas stocking!

 

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I can’t even hide these from my kids anymore, my youngest is in love with the Original Recipe biscuits and he keeps asking for more “of those little cookies that taste really good”. Hey, what can I say? I try to make sure my kids get a taste of gourmet luxury when they let me! The Original Recipe is great for any beverage and kids also love the buttery flavor. These biscuits are handmade and you can tell, it’s easy to see and to taste the quality.

 

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So there you have it, Shorty! It’s your day! National Shortbread Day! Enjoy it! Embrace it! And if you can get your hands on it, get yourself a box or tin of Shortbread House of Edinburgh! Now, I need to get my hands on the Cinnamon & Demerara and the Aromatic Lavender, and then I may just be floating up in the clouds in pure delight!

Getting Saucy.

What better way to celebrate National Spaghetti Day than to introduce to you all a recipe for some homemade pasta sauce? I am getting tired of the same old watered down, store-bought, flavorless pasta sauces. Making your own homemade sauce is the most simple thing to do and it’s not very time-consuming at all. I have to admit, when I did pull this recipe, I didn’t realize that the sauce DOES need to simmer for about 2 hours, but it turned out fine – my husband and I weren’t quite hungry at the time I was making the sauce, and the kids wanted something else besides spaghetti, so we fed them and patiently waited for our sauce to simmer. And it was WELL. WORTH. THE. WAIT!

The following recipe was taken from AllRecipes.com and I have adapted it just a bit. I used Italian sausage instead of using ground beef. I figure, go big or go home. Spice up your life a little bit! And I’d like to introduce to you Oro Di Parma Tomato Paste. I used this tomato paste with the recipe below.

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This tomato paste comes four different ways: triple concentrated, seasoned with vegetables, seaonsed with basil and spicy hot. I also used Oro Di Parma Chopped Tomatoes for my chopped tomatoes required for the recipe. So without further delay, I will provide the following recipe with my changes!

Easy Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 1/2 cups Oro Di Parma Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 1/3 cans (6 ounces) Oro Di Parma Tomato Paste (these tubes are 7.02 ounces, it’s triple concentrated, so I used about 4 ounces, just over half a tube)
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms (I actually used a full 8 ounce can!)

Directions:

  1. Brown Italian sausage over medium heat. Drain off fat.
  2. In a large pot, combine Italian sausage, salt, sugar, oregano, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and mushrooms. Simmer at a low heat setting for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cook pasta accordingly to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over spaghetti.
  4. Enjoy and Happy National spaghetti Day!

 

As with all sauces, at least when it comes to pasta dishes, the longer it sits, the better it tastes. I made this the other night and I had leftovers and the sauce was even better the next day! Use this sauce for making lasagna as well! And as with all sauces, it will take time to tweak it and make it your own. While this tomato sauce came out excellent, there are a few things I’d maybe change-up for next time. I might add some fresh chopped garlic, more fresh items and what not, but delicious!

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Christmas Markets of the United States.

Christmas Markets have become a popular place to visit during the Christmas season. What does a Christmas Market entail? And when did it begin? Widely popular all throughout Europe, Christmas Markets have had a long tradition of being an important aspect of the season. Taking a look back at some history, Vienna, Austria, was first to have “December Market” in 1298. As for the Christmas Markets opening in Germany, there have been different answers: Munich 1310, Bauzen 1384 and Frankfurt 1393. From there the Christmas Markets spread across Europe and beyond. Below is a photo from the Christmas Market in Nuremberg.

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Christmas Markets are also known as Christkindlmarkts, otherwise known as Christ Child Markets. This dates back to the days of Martin Luther where he wanted to take focus away from the Saints Nicholas and Martin. Before the 1530s, gifts were exchanged on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) or November 11 (St. Martins Day). Martin Luther’s children received gifts on the 24th of December, from Christkindl or Christ Child, and as that continued some of the Christmas Markets called themselves Christkindlmarkts.

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I’d like to make sure we give credit to German Girl In America for a lot of the data and information that I shared here with you all.

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Christmas Markets have spread all across the United States and have gained popularity among larger cities. Just take a moment on Google and you can search the many markets across the States. I’ll list a few here:

Note that all the Christmas Markets have different operating dates, times and such. Do check out their websites prior to visiting and research what is available and open during certain times of the holiday season.

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These Christmas Markets offer a variety of seasonal treats, foods, candies and an assortment of gifts, festivities and fun for families and friends to enjoy. Have you been to a Christmas Market? If you have, what are your favorite things to do, to see, or to buy?

If you are searching for a Christmas Market near you, try looking at ChristmasMarkets.com to help you with your search!

The photos that are seen throughout this post are all under Creative Commons CC0 and were obtained by Pixabay.

 

Curious About What An Instant Pot Can Do?

Do you have an Instant Pot, known as the “electric pressure cooker”? An Instant Pot can cook food that would normally take a long time and cut that time in half or even less! My husband bought an Instant Pot maybe over a year ago or so and he loves it. It’s awesome when you’re cooking rice – we use it as a rice cooker. But wait! There’s more! We’ve even slow cooked ribs, made a pot roast and cooked some chicken. This post comes at a perfect time because today is National Comfort Food Day!

The other night I wanted to make a casserole or a homemade “burger helper” type meal, you know a type of comfort food, and I had the Bechtle Broad Egg Noodles on hand for such a meal. When my husband came home, he had different plans and made beef stroganoff instead! (Beef stroganoff is up there on my comfort food lists!)

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So I we are sharing the following recipe he found online for Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff. We want to make sure we properly give credit to Ashley of www.idonthavetimeforthat.com for this recipe that is quick and easy to prepare!

The recipe does state for you to start with the beef on the sauté setting on the Instant Pot, which my husband did start with, but then he also put the beef on a pan on the stove as he was getting other things prepped. I also think he wanted to make sure the beef was cooked evenly, as it was a little difficult with the Instant Pot, but maybe his settings were to high or not hot enough, he likes to manage how the beef is cooked from the start. Later it was all added back into the Instant Pot.

Check out the steam rising from the Instant Pot as onions and garlic are added to the mix! You can see the Instant Pot has a lot of depth to it, so I think this is another reason why my husband choose to cook a bit of the beef in another pan for the time being.

Our advice is to wait as long as you can before cooking your Bechtle Broad Egg Noodles, that way they are fresh from the boiling water and drained and ready for the stroganoff topping! So cook your noodles last-minute and then prepare to enjoy this meal!

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And here is the final product! So delicious and super quick and easy. It tastes really great as leftovers the next day as well!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all our friends and family that follow us here at Gourmet Nibbles a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving weekend! We are thankful to have you all here along for our gourmet journey and we are glad to be a part of your journey as well! A very HAPPY THANKSGIVING from us and of course Gourmet International! Be merry, enjoy your time with loved ones and share with us some of your Thanksgiving traditions!

Now, go NIBBLE on that turkey and stuffing…!!

The History of the Advent Calendar.

Christmas is right around the corner, and many are preparing to get their Advent calendars for all the anxious youngsters. There are plenty of Advent calendars to go around and various different kinds! From chocolate to Lego for the children, to wine and beauty products for adults, Advent has come a long way!

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I recall growing up and being given an Advent calendar as a kiddo. I used to enjoy opening up each day and getting my little special piece of chocolate from behind the cardboard door! It was like a special little treat that I was able to open up in the morning – CANDY in the morning! Now that I have children of my own, they seem to be excited about the prospect of getting little chocolate treats everyday with their own Advent calendar.

Keep an eye out for Wawi Advent calendars. They come in a variety of different holiday scenes sure to please anyone!

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Here’s some history of Advent and how the calendars began, this information was from WhyChristmas?com.

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas (or sometimes from the 1st December to Christmas Day!). Advent means ‘Coming’ in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.

There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK and USA are made of paper or card with 24 or 25 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath.

In the 19th Century, German protestant Christians counted down to Christmas by marking 24 chalk lines on a door and rubbing one off every day in December.

Paper calendars were first popular in Germany in the early 1900s, although people made their own ones from the 1850s. There’s a debate about exactly where and when the first mass-produced calendar was printed – but it was certainly in Germany in the early 1900s! During World War II, the production of Advent calendars stopped due to a shortage of cardboard.

When they were first made, scenes from the Christmas Story and other Christmas images were used, such as snowmen and robins, but now many calendars are made in the themes of toys, television programmes and sports clubs. Some of these types of calendar even have chocolate under each window, to make every day in December that little bit better! I used to like those when I was a little boy (and still do now!!!)! The first calendar with chocolate in it was made in 1958, although they only became really popular in the 1980s.

Source: WhyChristmas?com

If you haven’t gotten your Advent calendar yet, you still have time to do so! Check out your local stores and pick them up – either for yourself, a loved one or those kiddos! Share with us your traditions or things you remember from your childhood! We’d love to read comments and/or see some pictures of how you prepare for the upcoming holiday season!

 

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Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow for us in the United States, stick around and read up on some Thanksgiving holiday traditions. Stay close! More food and gourmet nibbles to be had!