Chocolate Covered Anything Day: Unusual Things Covered in Chocolate

ChocolateDecember 16 is Chocolate Covered Anything Day! Just about anything is better when it’s dipped in chocolate, but there are some chocolate lovers out there that take it to the extreme. Here are some of the more unusual things covered in chocolate you might find on world travels or right here at home.

Bugs Some people love a little texture to go with chocolate, but while we add texture with almonds or peanuts, in Thailand, some may opt for the crunch of a cricket with their chocolate. In general, bugs are a common snack in Thailand and you can find all sorts of chocolate-dipped insects — scorpions, super worms, grasshoppers — if it’s creepy and it’s crawly, it can probably be covered in chocolate.

chocolate-covered-potato-chips

Image Source: Scanna283 via Flicker

Spuds We love potatoes in all forms — crunchy chips, hot fries, boiled and mashed. There’s no shortage of delicious ways to eat potatoes, but someone out there decided to gild our potato lily by dousing it in chocolate.  The salty and sweet snack of chocolate covered potato chips made it to market last year for a limited run. In case you didn’t get your hands on any, you can mix your chocolate and potatoes at home — The Food Network has a recipe for Chocolate Covered Potato Eggs you can try.

chocolate-covered-bacon

Image Source: John via Flickr

Pork Two great tastes that taste great together: pork and chocolate! At Coor’s Field in Denver, the concessions stands serve chocolate covered bacon to go with your beer and ball game — a fan favorite. But you don’t have to go all the way to Mile High City to get your pork and chocolate fix; you can make your very own chocolate covered pork rinds to tide you over until you get a Rockies ticket.

chocolate-covered-squid

Image Source: Ryan McBride via Flickr

Seafood A lot of Americans are landlocked, so we may not be as adventurous with our seafood as some of our island friends who get pretty creative with their seafood snacks. In Japan you can find such delicacies as squid dipped in chocolate. Or, if you find yourself in South Korea, rather than getting your salty-sweet craving satisfied from chocolate covered potato chips, you might select something with a taste of the ocean like chocolate covered seaweed.

chocolate-covered-pretzelsVeggies Midwesterners love their state fairs and it’s become a favorite place for culinary adventures like the deep-fried Twinkie or Mars Bar. But in Minnesota, they see your fried food and raise you chocolate covered: fried pickles dipped in chocolate. In Wisconsin, where they’re known for the cheese, they fry cheese bites breaded with Cocoa Puffs served with a side of chocolate. Head east and you don’t have to wait for the state fair to try something exotic with your chocolate — in Philadelphia, you can sample the chocolate covered onion year-round.

You don’t have to dip any weird food in chocolate to celebrate Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Chocolate covered pretzels or even peanut cups keeps you in the spirit of the day.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Keeping warm in winter’s chill is on everybody’s mind, and LTD Commodities is full of things to keep you cozy or get you up and moving. Curl up in fleecy tights, or bundle up and head outdoors to play games and explore the season’s wonders. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Step out in style with a pair of Women's Faux-Fur Lined Wedge Boots.

Step out in style with a pair of Women’s Faux-Fur Lined Wedge Boots.

 

Our 3-Pair Assorted Fleece-Lined Tights are comfortable and fashionable.

Our 3-Pair Assorted Fleece-Lined Tights are comfortable and fashionable.

 

This 6-Pair Kids' Glove Set features vibrant designs your children are sure to love.

This 6-Pair Kids’ Glove Set features vibrant designs your children are sure to love.

Your kids will love this dual player Discovery Kids™ Spaceship Laser Tag shooting game!

Your kids will love this dual player Discovery Kids™ Spaceship Laser Tag shooting game!

 

7 Tips to Get Through the Holidays without Overeating

holiday-foodWe’re full of cheer from Thanksgiving until New Year’s day, but with all the parties and holiday dinners, we’re also full of food. From the office party to a friend’s cocktail party, it’s hard not to overindulge on rich desserts and caloric hors d’oeuvres and, by January, we’ve overextended our bellies. We don’t have to eat everything during the holidays — here are 7 tips to get through the holidays without overeating.

Create a Game Plan Plan your meals around your parties according to your party. If you’re the type of person who eats even if you’re full, eat smaller meals that will keep your metabolism going and eat at the party. If you don’t eat a lot when you’re full, try eating a filling healthy meal before you go to the party so you don’t feel a need to eat heavy foods.

Take it Slow When you get your party plate, pause between every action. Take a bite, chew it and pause. Drink a glass of water and pause before you start eating something new. Before you fill your plate again, pause. This will keep your brain and your stomach at the same pace. You’ll notice that you’re full before you eat everything at the party.

holiday-foodBe Picky When you get to the party, don’t eat just anything that’s on the buffet table. Pick out only the things you really want to try and skip all the things you might want to try. Treat yourself because it’s the holidays but don’t eat something just because it’s there.

Hydrate Drink plenty of water throughout the party. It will help you feel full and, with a full stomach, you may not want to eat as much.

Socialize If you’re at a party where you don’t know many people or you’re at a party with a large group, grab someone and start a conversation. It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, but it’s hard not to overeat to keep yourself busy. When you’re talking to someone, you’re likely not going to put something in your mouth while you’re telling a story.

Holiday-FoodFill Up on the Good Stuff Just like eating those bread sticks at restaurants and getting too full for the meal, you can fill your plate with fruits and veggies before you get to the saucy, cheesie, starchy appetizers. The more you fill your stomach with healthy food, the less room you’ll have for the fatty food.

Cut Yourself Some Slack Allow yourself some indulgences… with limits. For instance, if there are 15 desserts on the buffet, don’t tell yourself no, just declare a number of desserts you allow yourself to eat and stop when you hit that number. Or limit yourself to one trip to the buffet table.

Although the holidays are packed with fun fare for two solid months, they’re not as bad as you might think. According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, on average, Americans don’t gain a significant amount of weight during the holidays — we just feel like we do. But what you feel is what counts the most and if that means curbing your appetite during the holidays, it’s not a bad idea to restrict your holiday indulgences.

 

Favorite Holiday Gift Ideas For Cats

cat-tunnel-towerThe holidays are right around the corner, and there’s no better way to celebrate than showing your cat how much you love her! Thankfully, cats are easy to please—a few treats, the right toy, and a little attention from you makes for a happy holiday. Here are our favorite holiday gift ideas for cats.

Toys A busy kitty is a happy kitty! In addition to being fun, playing helps cats exercise. It gives them a way to let their inner predators out. Plus, playtime gives you the chance to bond. Work them into a frenzy with a Jaws Laser Collar Pet Toy. Interactive toys like Hide and Seek Pet Toys will keep them going for hours.

CAt-Holiday-Pet-HouseBed Or Pet Cave Winter weather makes kitties want to curl up with you, but they still need a nap spot all their own. Give their snoozing seasonal flair with a Holiday Pet House. You can turn any sofa or chair into their special snuggle area with a quilted pet throw. In addition to being soft, it will protect the furniture from fur and damage.

Cat-TowerScratching Post/Play Gym Even if your cats do not have claws, they instinctively feel the need to stretch and scratch. Give them a place to do that while they climb and explore with a play gym. In homes with more than one feline, the 4-Ft. Multilevel Cat Tower with Scratchers is essential. It ensures that every cat gets room to play and scratch. Give them three levels of fun with a Cat Tunnel Tower. A Complete Cat Play Gym has a sisal post and two dangling toys for them to swat at.

No matter what you decided to give your cat for the holidays, make sure to also include the present of your time. While your pet may seem very independent, even the coolest kitty likes a cozy lap to sit in from time to time. Give them some attention, and they will be purring in no time.

7 Holiday Cocktail Party Essentials

From now until January our schedules are sparkling with holiday activities — between the big dinners and gift shopping, it’s our duty to throw a holiday cocktail party. Anyone can throw a great cocktail party, but here are 7 Holiday Cocktail Party Essentials to make your party memorable.

LED-Plate

Add glitz to your holiday table with an LED Charger Plate. The elegant metallic plate has 16 gleaming LED lights decorating the rim. Set a centerpiece, wrapped treats or nuts on this plate to brighten your snack table!

Buffet Caddy frees up space on the serving table by keeping all of your dinnerware in one spot. The top section organizes your flatware in 4 round baskets, the center section holds napkins, and the bottom section keeps dinner plates easily accessible. The metal frame has a scrolled design and durable balled feet to keep the caddy in place on any surface.

Party-ServerMultifunction Server with Lid is a 6-in-1 hosting essential! The clear server looks like a cake stand with a dome cover, but the cover can be turned over and set in the stand for use as a bowl. The center section also serves as a dip bowl. From snacks to salads, appetizers and desserts, this versatile server makes hosting a holiday party simple with elegance.

These Humorous Wine Accents display witty sayings that get the holiday cocktail party conversation started! The Set of 3 Bottle Stoppers look great on your favorite bottles of wine and provide a laugh each time your guests go for a drink.

Wine-Bottle-CharmThe Get Jingly Wine Bottle Jewelry turns any wine bottle into a part of your holiday decor! The charm loop — with 9 red and green bells — fits over the neck of the bottle for a little twinkle and a lot of jingle! A silvertone plaque is inscribed with a jolly message for the festive season.

Buffet Iced Serving Collection takes the work out of hosting a cocktail party! You don’t have to worry about keeping the cold food cold  – each piece has a tray at the bottom for holding ice! Serve dip or sauce in the stainless steel Dip Bowl, which nests inside its plastic ice holder. The plastic 8-Pc. Serving Bowl Set can be used for anything from a veggie snacks to salad. 4 Servers clip to the side of the bowl to hold garnishes. The Egg & Appetizer Tray has a stainless steel insert that holds 24 deviled egg halves over ice. The plastic tray can also be used alone as a 4-section serving platter for appetizers.

Cocktail-Party-essentials7The Holiday Wine Bottle & Glass Holder is an adorable way to dress up a bottle of wine for your cocktail party! A finely detailed, cheerful face tops a spiral body that fits around a standard wine bottle while two arms hold your wine glasses.

We’re all bubbly with cheer for the holidays, but there’s no reason we can’t add a few more accents to our cocktail party — no one ever complained about having too much joy! Shop LTD Commodities for more entertaining and holiday gift ideas to make your holidays brighter!

Cranberry-Apple Fritters

Cranberry-Apple FrittersWe’re making fritters here at LTD! In case you don’t know what a fritter is, it’s delicious. It’s basically little bits of food battered and fried to make a sort of biscuit (savory) or donut (sweet) — either way, it’s irresistible! Our favorite at LTD is the apple fritter, but since we’re knee-deep in the holidays, we’re sharing our recipe for cranberry-apple fritters. They’re fairly easy to make — and worth the time and effort to make a festive breakfast treat. Here is how to make cranberry-apple fritters at home:

Cranberry-Apple FrittersCranberry-Apple Fritters

  • 1 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated ugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TB melted butter
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • vegetable oil for frying (amount depends on the size of the pan you are using, but make sure you have a few cups)

Cranberry-Apple FrittersGlaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • splash vanilla
  • 2 TB milk

Cranberry-Apple-FrittersInstructions:

For the Batter:

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients with a fork. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg and add the remaining ingredients except the apples and cranberries.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir together until everything is just combined. Do not over-mix — it should be lumpy. Fold in diced apples and cranberries.

In a heavy bottomed pot or a deep skillet, heat about two inches of oil over medium heat to about 350℉. To test if it’s ready, drop a pinch of the batter in the oil. If it spits and spatters, it’s ready.

Cranberry-Apple-FrittersFor the Glaze:

While you’re waiting for the oil to heat, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to make the glaze. Set aside.

Cranberry-Apple-FrittersTo Par Bake:

To make the fritters the way you might find them at a donut shop, you par bake them — if you don’t, you’re limited to making a lumpy donut hole. Par baking them lets you make them big and flat. To do this, pre-heat your oven to 350℉. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop about ¼ cup of the batter and plop it on the cookie sheet — this makes six piles of batter on the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

The fritters should be baked just enough that you can slide a spatula underneath them and lower them in the hot oil — one at a time.  Fry for one minute on each side until they’re golden brown. Scoop them out with the spatula or slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined platter to drain for a minute. 

Place your hot fritters on a cooling rack (with a pan or parchment paper underneath to catch oil or glaze). Spoon the glaze over the fritters. This recipe makes just enough glaze for this method, but you can double the amount of ingredients for the glaze if you want to dip the fritters in the glaze.

Apple fritters are delightful, but cranberry-apple fritters are divine and December is a perfect time celebrate this as a dessert or a rich breakfast. Happy holidays!

 Cranberry-Apple Fritters

Pinteresting Picks for November

Now that the Thanksgiving dishes are washed, it finally is time to fill our homes with the lights and magic of Christmas. LTD’s Pinterest followers already are looking forward to creating unique centerpieces with glowing orbs, then filling the table with down-home cooking. Don’t forget to use safety seals on extension cords and get plenty of specially sized gift bags and packages for everything under the tree. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for November.

Use this Set of 3 Lighted Glass Balls to create ambiance in a room or shed a little light on a specific area.

Use this Set of 3 Lighted Glass Balls to create ambiance in a room or shed a little light on a specific area.

Accidental country girl and cooking star Ree Drummond is back with her latest mouth-watering collection, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.

Accidental country girl and cooking star Ree Drummond is back with her latest mouth-watering collection, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.

Set of 6 Felt Gift Card Holder Tags offers an easy way to wrap gift cards and cash presents.

Set of 6 Felt Gift Card Holder Tags offers an easy way to wrap gift cards and cash presents.

 

Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals.

Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals.

6 Personalized Gifts to Add to Your Holiday List

It’s time to start ticking off names on your holiday gift lists, but where to begin is challenging when you want to make each gift personal and thoughtful. We have some ideas to get you started! Here are 6 personalized gifts to add to your holiday list.

LTD-Personalized-sleeping-bagsPersonal Bedtime You don’t have to worry about sleeping bag mix-ups at slumber parties when kids bring their own Personalized Sleeping Bag! Comfortable and cozy, each child’s name is stitched into the top of the sleeping bag.

LTD-Personalized-dog-welcome-matsPersonal Pups For dog owners, show your love through their pets with a Personalized Dog Breed Doormat. Choose your pup’s breed and put his or her name across the bone on the dog’s collar. Rubber backing keeps it in place indoors or in a covered area outdoors.

LTD-Personalized-phone-casesPersonal Talk Snapping selfies has never been so personal with a Picture Frame Personalized Phone Case. Your loved one can easily swap and change pictures whenever he or she wants making it a one-of-a-kind smartphone case. The outer shell protects the phone from damage, and the inner picture frame adds a personal touch.

LTD-Personalized-PendantsPersonal Charm The Personalized Name Drop Pendant is more than an accessory, it’s jewelry that tells your loved one’s story. For a mom with her children’s names or a grandmother with her grandchildren’s names, the necklace is customized with up to 5 pendants, each with a name up to 9 letters long. The necklace comes on an adjustable 18″ chain with a lobster claw clasp.

LTD-Personalized-Pub-PrintPersonal Victories This is the man-cave must-have for the season: Personalized Framed Sports Pub Print. The framed sign features a favorite NFL team along with your loved one’s own printed customization. Pub marquee features the pub name of your choosing and the proprietor section can be personalized as well.

LTD-Personalized-Family-pajamasPersonal Holidays Christmas morning is one of the more personal family days of the year —  matching Personalized Snowman Pajamas! Each set comes with 39 iron-on letters you can use to personalize the long-sleeved top. Long flannel pants have an all-over snowman print and an elastic waistband for a comfortable fit. These pajamas are perfect for lounging by the fire or opening presents.

We have presents for everyone on your gift list. Whether you want to put your loved one’s name on it or you’re looking for a gag gift, LTD Commodities has hundreds of products for you to choose from this holiday season.

6 Tips to Keep Your Christmas Tree Beautiful

Christmas-TreeWe have just one month until Christmas Eve — it’s time to put your Christmas tree up! You put so much work into making it look joyful with all the tinsel and ornaments, you want it to stay pretty as long as you can. Here are 6 tips to keep your Christmas tree beautiful until the New Year!

Make a Fresh Cut When you go shopping for your tree, keep in mind that the trees at your lot were cut down a few weeks ago and where your tree was cut may be a bit dull and hard for the tree to absorb water. After you haul your tree home saw off a few inches of the trunk before you put it in the tree stand. This helps keep the needles moist and green.

Christmas-TreeWater Immediately Trees are thirsty! A Christmas tree can absorb a gallon of water a day so letting it have that first sip after a week on the tree lot is important to bringing life back to the tree. There’s no need to drill any other hole in the base of the tree to help with water absorption; the outer layer of the tree is very efficient in transporting the water from the trunk to the top branches.

Keep it Cool Keeping the tree away from heat sources is key to keeping it hydrated, but also consider lowering the temperature in the room where you keep your tree to help make it last longer. Keeping it cool will slow down the drying process because the water absorbed by the tree won’t evaporate as quickly. In addition, turning the tree lights off at night and when you’re not at home will keep the temperature around the tree down. 

Keep the Water Pure There’s nothing you can add to water to keep your tree greener or make it last longer. Good, clean water is all it needs.

Christmas-Tree-ornamentsWater Daily Make sure the tree’s trunk is always immersed in water. They drink a lot and they drink fast, so keeping an eye on the water level is important to keeping your tree green through Christmas and into the new year.

Give it Some Sun Think of your Christmas tree as your new house plant. House plants need sunlight to survive and so do Christmas trees! If your tree is in a room where there’s a window, keep the windows open during the day so it can soak up the sun.

Of course you can take the easy way out of caring for a Christmas tree by getting an artificial tree. Whether it’s real or fake, tree trimming is the kickoff to the holiday season; make your decor a delight with LTD Commodities!

 

4 Ways To Say Hello

HelloNovember 21 is World Hello Day. It is a day to celebrate the idea of resolving conflicts should be settled with communication. Since 1973, World Hello Day has been celebrated in 180 countries to encourage people to greet at least 10 other people during the day. While a friendly, face-to-face greeting is the best kind, there are other ways to reach out and say “hello” today. Here are 4 ways to say hello on World Hello Day.

Get Back In Touch An unfortunate thing about our busy lives is that it is so easy to lose touch with the people who are important to us. Thankfully, the Internet makes reaching out to long-lost friends and family simple. Search for old pals and classmates on social media and send them a message to say “hello.” You may be able to start a few friendships all over again!

StationeryWrite A Note While it is thoughtful to send someone an email, a handwritten note is something charming and unexpected. Very few people take the time to create a handwritten letter today, and that gives the rare note even more value. Make them feel special with a personalized greeting on beautiful stationery.

Share A Smile With A Stranger
One of the goals of World Hello Day is for participants to greet at least 10 people. Why not say “hello” to a few people you do not know? They can be people you see on the jogging path every day, the person who mans the tollbooth you drive through, or even a dog. Reach out and witness the power of kindness.

182180717Go International The world has hundreds of languages, and each one has a unique way of saying “hello”. Greet friends with a hearty “guten tag” from Germany or a Polish “dzien dobry”. You also can learn how to say “hello” in sign language.

LTD Commodities has a variety of gifts and mementos to help you say “hello” to everyone in your life. With our incredible values, you can embrace the world while staying within your budget!