Holiday Recipe Ideas for National Chocolate Day

It’s pretty easy to find an excuse to enjoy our favorite chocolate treat. How easy? Well, National Chocolate Day is on Friday, October 28th. That easy. There’s no better time to try out a new chocolate recipe. Leave the Halloween candy to the kids and bake one of these amazing chocolate recipes for yourself right now.

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Charming Chocolate Fudge
You know it’s holiday season when you start craving chocolate fudge. While there’s really no reason why a delicious creation like fudge has to be held ransom by a specific part of the calendar, the holidays are close enough. This chocolate fudge recipe simplifies the process and provides helpful additional tips for cleanup.


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Rich Chocolate Cookies
The chocolate chip cookie is king. The sugar cookies sneak onto the throne during the holidays. Something as simple as the chocolate cookie is often overlooked, but with the right recipe, like this one from The Food Network, you’ll never leave them off the holiday menu. Get cooking with these LTD kitchen cookie helpers.

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Simple Chocolate Brownies
Ahh, the brownie. Another simple recipe everyone seems to have lying around. It’s probably hard to think of anything you’d want to do to your brownie recipe to make it better. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your brownies for the holidays or just feel like baking with the kids, these brownie ideas are destined to please.


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Easy Chocolate Pudding
If you’ve been taking your chances with store-bought chocolate pudding kits, you might be missing out on a delicious addition to your monthly dessert menu. Putting a homemade spin on your chocolate pudding isn’t just fun to taste-test the difference. Impress holiday guests with this great recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

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Holiday Spirit: Product Picks for Games and Puzzles Week

games-chessIt’s time to get your game face on! Not only is it time to ramp up your holiday shopping, but it’s also Games and Puzzles Week! Games and puzzles make great stocking stuffers and family games, so we put together a list of our favorite games and puzzles to give you a little gift-giving inspiration.

Go Classic The 10-in-1 Classic Wood Game Center is a great way to enjoy quality time with your family and friends. A variety of traditional games inspire friendly competition. This attractive set has a chess and checker board on top, 2 reversible slide-out boards and a storage drawer at the bottom for game pieces. The storage drawer also doubles as another game board. 13″W x 12-3/4″D x 6-1/8″H. For ages 8 and up.games-car-puzzle

Go 3-D Build your favorite car with a 1:32 Licensed 3-D Car Puzzle, then play with it! Detailed model is fun to assemble, and it also encourages kids to develop problem-solving skills. Approx. 5-1/8″W x 2-1/2″D x 1-5/8″H. BMW, 60 pieces. Lamborghini and Mini Cooper, 64 pieces. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.games-find-it


Go Complex
 The whole family will have a blast playing with the Find It Brain Teaser Game. This activity will keep everyone happily preoccupied on a rainy day or long car trip. A list of 48 items on Kid’s World and 40 items on the other choices’ lids gives players specific objects to find in a mass of colored pellets. Participants can shake, twist and tap the cylinder to complete their task. Additional obstacles presented on cards, such as a time limit, are added to the game to complicate your mission. The first person to find all the necessary treasures wins the game. Plastic. For ages 6 and up.giftcard-mazes

Go Double-Duty Add a new twist to the way you give gift cards or cash! A Set of 3 Gift Card Mazes challenges the recipient to guide the ball through the 3-dimensional, 2-level maze to the proper position to open the door and be rewarded with the gift card. Can also be used to hold cash, checks and more. 3″W x 4-1/4″D x 5/8″H. Plastic.licensed-pop-up-games

Go Home Family game night will be full of character with a Licensed Pop-Up Game. The race is on as you try to be the first player to get your four movers from start to home. Includes 16 movers and a game board (10-1/8″ sq.) with dice popper built in. Plastic. For 2 to 4 players. For ages 4 and up.

Holiday Spirit: Black Friday Shopping Tips

holiday-pajamasWhile turkey takes precedence this week, there’s no way to resist the temptation for a good deal on holiday gifts! Black Friday and Cyber Monday promise deals we can’t find any other days of the year. But there are tricks to making your Black Friday shopping experience simple. Here are 5 Black Friday Shopping tips you can’t ignore.

Avoid the Crowds Millions of shoppers are pumped to line up for good deals at 3am to get that must-have toy truck or that adorable doll, but not everyone is that committed to navigating the crowds so early in the morning. Lucky for those shoppers, retailers offer hot deals starting before Thanksgiving and expanding sales to cover days after Cyber Monday. So if you want to save time, energy and money, start looking on the off days of the sales to get discounts just as deep as the ones on Black Friday.

Get Social Start scanning your Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and Pinterest boards for sales and discounts from your favorite retailers. If you’re looking at just the right time, you may score on a gift you never would have thought of or stumbled on a coupon that pushes your savings to the max to keep you within your holiday budget. Tablet, phone or desktop, the deals come at you faster if you’re looking for them!

Straight & Narrochristmas-treeYou have to put your shopping blinders on for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure to stick to your holiday list. It’s easy to get off track when you have deals coming at you from all angles. When you see a good price on something you don’t need, it’s easy to justify buying it, but if you’re there for holiday presents, focus on those first and bend to your impulses when every item on your list is checked off.

Black Friday Fallout Before you start your shopping, know the return policies for your favorite shopping spots. It’s easy to put something in the cart when it’s marked 75% off, but no money is saved if you don’t actually need the item. Buyer’s remorse is part of the Black Friday phenomenon — knowing the return policy could be the difference between regret and relief this season.

presentsA Shopper’s Work Is Never Done The deals don’t end when the clock strikes midnight on Black Friday — there may be more discounts and deals waiting for you on the other side of the weekend. So if you didn’t get the right gift at the right price, you may be able to find it later in the week when shoppers aren’t so fierce about finding good deals.

You can find a good deal any day of the year at LTD Commodities. Whether you’re looking on Black Friday or on January 28, we always have a good discount on items you didn’t know you needed at LTD.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for Kids

my-girl-wheelchair-dollThough we haven’t even carved the turkey, the kids are already counting down the days until they can dump their stockings on the floor and tear through gifts under the Christmas tree. Even if you’ve already bought the big gifts, there are still all sorts of little items to surprise your kids with, so we picked out a few of our favorite items to give you ideas. Here are today’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for Kids.

Playing Doctor My Girl Wheelchair & Crutch Set has everything an 18″ girl doll needs to make a speedy recovery from a broken leg, ankle or arm. Each piece is designed to look like the real thing. The collapsible wheelchair has wheels that really turn and working brakes. The crutches are sized to fit an 18″ doll. Plastic. For ages 8 and up.build-a-fort

Playing Architect  Kids can build their very own fort with this complete Build a Fort Kit. Use the fabric panels (equipped with loops for stringing), rope, clips and suction cups to make a private playland. Once it’s built, kids can use the light wands to illuminate the area inside the fort for hours of imaginative fun! Kit also includes a handy storage bag. Adult supervision suggested during assembly. For ages 3 and up.workman-tool-playset

Playing Handy Man The tools of this Workman Tool Play Set are perfect for your future contractor. The Tool Belt with Helmet has all the needed tools and proper protection, and everything fits neatly on the belt. The Realistic Sound Power Chainsaw (14-1/2″W x 4-5/8″D x 7″H) has a realistic rotating chain action. Requires 3 “AA” batteries. Plastic. For ages 3 and up.

ball-petsPlaying Ball Roly-poly Ball Pets are plush balls with a surprise–they pop open to become a huggable furry friend. Roll it closed and it’s a ball ready to toss and catch. Open it up for a plush pet you’ll love to cuddle. Each character features a heart design on its stomach. Take it anywhere to play with open or closed. 5″ dia., closed. 5″W x 2-1/2″D x 8-1/2″H, open. Polyester. Imported.

 

bubble-stormPlaying Whimsically Delight kids with this Light-Up Motorized Bubble Storm. It comes with 2 different attachments, one for giant bubbles and one for tons of little bubbles. Easy to use–just dip the blaster into the tray of solution. A button on the handle controls fan movement and light-up designs. Comes with a jar of bubble solution to get you started. Includes 3 “AAA” batteries. Plastic. For ages 3 and up.

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

The countdown to Thanksgiving isn’t nearly as exciting as the countdown to Christmas, but it does require a lot of prep work — which you can never start on too early! Gadgets and serveware help us make the meal perfect, so we came up with a list of items we think will help you make your meal a success! Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Thanksgiving.mini-loaf-pans

Make It Personal The Set of 3 Mini Loaf Pans makes it easy to share baked goods with loved ones. These affordable, pastel colored dishes feature an inspirational phrase on the side. Make a variety of small-portioned treats for holidays, birthdays or office parties. They can also be used as serving dishes. 6-1/8″W x 3-1/8″D x 2-1/4″H. 14oz., each. Stoneware. Dishwasher, microwave and oven safe.

harvest-leavesMake It Cute Harvest Leaves Table Decor decorates your tablescape with shades of orange, red and green. The Set of 4 Tapestry Placemats (19″W x 13″L, each) and Table Runner (13″W x 72″L) feature a tree design. Organize your cutlery with the colorful accent of the 4-Pc. Utensil Holder Set (approx. 3-7/8″W x 5″L, each). Polyester. Placemats and runner, cotton and polyester. Imported.buffet-caddy

Make It Compact 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. Metal frame has a scrolled design and durable balled feet to keep the caddy in place on any surface. 18-1/8″ x 12-1/2″ x 8-1/2″.handled-bakers

Make It Practical Go from oven to tabletop with this Set of 3 Handled Bakers. This 3-pc. set features half-loop handles on each side for easy lifting and nests for storage. Scalloped sides make them a beautiful way to create and serve roasts, casseroles, veggie side dishes and more. Stoneware. Dishwasher and microwave safe. Oven safe.woven-kitchen towels

Make It Colorful Add a pop of color to your kitchen with this 14-Pc. Woven Kitchen Towel Set. Perfect for drying dishes, cleaning and more. Each towel is ultra absorbent with either a waffle weave or flat texture. The fun, bold colors add to your kitchen decor and show off your style. Cotton. Machine care. Imported.

Halloween: Curious Facts About Candy Corn

candy-cornOur first big holiday of the season is here! Halloween brings with it so many traditions — carving pumpkins, dressing up as ghosts and goblins, and — every kid’s favorite part — candy! While most of the candy we enjoy is made up of chocolate, candy corn is the one candy that’s solely associated with Halloween. It’s an interesting way for sugar to take shape with a unique texture you don’t find in other candy. So we did a little research on these little nuggets of sugar to give you these curious facts about candy corn.

Farm Fowl Food Candy corn was first produced in the late 1800s, but it wasn’t always known as “candy corn.” The original name it was marketed with was “Chicken Feed.” On the farm, chicken feed sometimes contains corn kernels, so it wasn’t far off the mark where naming is concerned, but it might not be the most appetizing of titles for the general population. But farmers were into it and the original packaging included a rooster in the logo to help it sell. 

Pastry Particulars Aside from the shape and sugar, what draws people to candy corn is the texture. It’s not quite hard but it’s not quite soft and it has a creamy quality to it. We owe all that to fondant — it’s sugar and water heated together until the mixture is moldable. Fondant is used by pastry chefs to make elaborate cakes that look like sculptures — things you can’t do with regular buttercream frosting.

candy-cornSecret Ingredient Like the name suggests, candy corn is typically made from corn syrup. However, Brach’s Candy is the biggest producer of candy corn and it’s not corn syrup that makes it sweet and chewy, rather, it’s honey.

Meat Eaters Only Vegans steer clear of our favorite corn confection from Brach’s because of the honey which is not a vegan food. But vegans and vegetarians won’t find another candy corn brand to bend to their dietary restrictions because it contains marshmallow. Marshmallow is made with gelatin which is, basically, boiled down animal cartilage. Don’t get too grossed out — it’s in a lot of processed foods we eat every day, but it’s on the list of things vegans and vegetarians consider off-limits.

Bug Luster Most candy corn has a sheen to it — and that sheen allegedly comes from shellac. Shellac is what you think it is, it’s a resin mixed with alcohol to make wood finish and finger polish shimmer. What you might not know is that it’s secreted from a bug found in India and Thailand. It’s actually used in a lot of glazes we eat and things use every day. But if you’re vegan, this is another reason you can’t eat Halloween’s most popular candy.candy-corn

Mixing It Up If you’re a candy corn enthusiast, you’ve had it in just about every shape and color like pumpkins and hay for Halloween or bunnies and chicks for Easter. But it Canada, you might find candy corn in colors and flavors you wouldn’t expect! Imagine candy corn in purple with the flavor of a blackberry cobbler. Yep, that’s how they do candy corn in Canada.

At LTD Commodities, we’re excited about all the treats ahead of us! From bags of candy corn for Halloween to holiday cookies between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we can’t wait for all the holiday excitement!

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

covered-casserole-dishesYou have just over a month before your family digs into a plateful of turkey, stuffing and pie! Right now you have plenty of time to plan your Thanksgiving dinner — but don’t let that time get away from you! Thanksgiving requires a lot of work and a lot of tools to make the meal perfect. To make it easy for you, we put together a list of items you might need. Here are this week’s Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Keep It Covered Make a meal for a party, a few friends or just the two of you with this Set of 3 Covered Casseroles. The set comes in graduated sizes to fit the number of portions you wish to cook. Each stoneware piece has handles for easy carrying and comes with a matching lid. Stoneware. Dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe.

non-stick-linerKeep It Clean Eliminate hours of scrubbing when you position a reusable , nonstick liner inside your oven. It catches all those messy drips, and because it’s made of specially coated nonstick fiberglass, it easily wipes clean with a cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Unlike aluminum foil, it won’t affect cooking time or browning. Works on gas, electric and toaster ovens and can be cut to size if needed. Lasts for years. 23″ x 16-1/4″.monogram-food-carrier

 

Keep It Warm Always be ready to share your favorite dishes with the Monogram Food Carrier and the Extra-Large Gel Pack. The Monogram Food Carrier (18-1/2″ x 11″ x 8″, fully expanded) has two insulated, expandable sections that let you pack a hot dish on the mylar-lined bottom (18-1/4″ x 10-3/4″ x 3-1/2″) and a cold dish on top. The wipe-clean polyester exterior sports a stylish monogram that identifies you as the chef responsible for the tasty treats. The 6-1/2″ double handles make it easy to carry, while the double-zipper closure makes it simple to take the food in and out. The dual-use Extra-Large Gel Pack can be used to keep food at the proper serving temperature. Put it in the food carrier to keep dishes hot or cold when you travel. Large, slim design doesn’t take up too much space. Easy-to-follow instructions are printed on the vinyl cover. Microwave and freezer safe. 10-1/2″ x 7-1/2″.

gourmet-kitchen-setKeep It Tasty Unleash your inner chef with the Gourmet Kitchen Gift Sets. The 5-Pc. Bread Dipping Set includes 4 decorated saucers and a 4-compartment plastic jar packed with seasonings. All you add is a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of olive oil for a delicious treat everyone will love. Each saucer (4″ dia.) features an olive branch design and raised edges to keep your oil from spilling. The seasoning jar includes Sicilian, Parmesan, Tuscany and Rosa Maria blends (0.6 oz., each). Plates, melamine. Dishwasher safe. Use a 4-Pc. Gourmet Set to spice up your favorite meal, as a marinade, or to add a creative twist to your cooking. Just mix the flavors in! Sea Salts, approx. 1.8 oz, each. Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oils, approx. 1.7 oz., each.

1-second-slicerKeep It Easy The 1 Second Slicer(TM) is an all-in-one food prep station. From fruits and vegetables to meats and fish, now you can cut everything with one handy gadget. Get professional results in a flash and then serve, seal, stack and store all in one compact container. The chop function even features 1-button cleaning. Plastic and stainless steel. Dishwasher safe.

 

7 Things You Can Do Today to Plan for Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingHalloween is next week and that means you can start your holiday planning right now! If you don’t want to run around frazzled, trying to get things done at the last minute, that is, but some of us do work better under pressure. For those of us who like to take it easy, here are 7 things you can do today to plan for Thanksgiving dinner.

Decor You don’t have to put your Thanksgiving decor up as soon as the Halloween decor comes down, but at least have it planned. Make sure you have your gourds, candles, leaves, and wreaths together so you can make your home warm and festive long before the guests arrive.

Guest List Send out any invites to people you want at your dinner. They may bring companions or family members — try to get a rough estimate of how many people you will be entertaining so you can accommodate everyone and then some.Thanksgiving

Seating Arrangements Think about how many guests you are expecting and how many places at the table you can accommodate. If there are more people than seats, you can start planning on the extra seating now rather than Tuesday before the big dinner.


Sleeping Arrangements 
If you have guests coming from out of town, now is the time to plan where they will sleep. Think about whether you have enough bed linens for the adults and sleeping bags for the children. If there’s not enough space, now is a good time to book hotel rooms to make sure your guests are comfortable.

Menu Make your list of items to serve for the big dinner along with all the ingredients. Keep this list so you can buy items little by little and tick them off as you go. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you won’t have to make a big trip for food when everyone else is doing it.

Special Requests Now is the time to get any special requests for your dinner. Whether guests have dietary restrictions or they can’t live without one particular dish, knowing what you need to do to adjust your menu now makes planning much easier than if you get the request a week or a day before the holiday.thanksgiving-decor

Kitchen Tools Not everyone has a fully equipped kitchen for big holidays. There’s always something a dish needs that you may not have. Go through all your recipes and make sure you have all the gadgets and platters you need to pull of the perfect Thanksgiving; the stores will be packed with procrastinators looking for the same things you need the week of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at LTD Commodities! We have ideas and products to make this Thanksgiving your best Thanksgiving.  

Autumn Elegance: Crafts to Do with Leaves

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It took a while, but it looks like the leaves are starting to fall! It is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it never sticks around long enough. The most enjoyable way to preserve its elegance … Continue reading

Fall Quotes to Help You Appreciate the Season

Fall-QuotesWe are well into fall — in two weeks we’ll be draped in all things scary for Halloween and in six weeks, we’ll be clearing the table for a Thanksgiving turkey. But we don’t want to wish away fall for the fun things ahead! We want to enjoy as much as we can while it’s here. In honor of the season, here are a few fall quotes to help you appreciate this time of year.

“Corn wind in the fall, come off the black lands, come off the whisper of the silk hangers, the lap of the flat spear leaves.” Carl Sandburg

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” L.M. Montgomery

Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground.” Andrea Gibson

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” William Cullen Bryant

“The stripped and shapely maple grieves the ghosts of her departed leaves. The ground is hard, as hard as stone. The year is old, the birds are flown.” John Updike

Fall-Quotes“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” Emily Brontë

“Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We’ll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure.” Thomas Wolfe

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

“When everything that ticked has stopped, and space stares, all around, or grisly frosts, first autumn morns, repeal the beating ground.” Emily Dickinson

“From the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” Jane Austen

“Autumn is as joyful and sweet as an untimely end.” Rémy de Gourmont

“Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.” Carol Bishop Hipps

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, as I have seen in one autumnal face.” John Donne

Fall-Quotes“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.” Sir Francis Bacon

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” Rainer Maria Rilke