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!

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!

 

5 Ideas to Get Your Bedroom Cozy for Winter

Cozy-BedroomIt seems like the whole country got an early blast of winter this week. We may not be mentally prepared for the arctic chill, but we can get our bedrooms ready for the cold nights ahead. Here are 5 ideas to get your bedroom cozy for winter.

Make Your Bed Every Day According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who make their beds every day are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep. Your body needs extra energy to keep you warm in the winter. Using all that energy wears us out and if we’re not sleeping well, we can’t perform at our optimal level during waking hours. In addition to great sleep, a bed that’s made looks nice and it’s more inviting after a surviving a cold day than a pile of sheets.

blanketsLayering isn’t Just for Tank Tops If you’re not quite ready to trade in your comforter but you want a little more warmth, rather than turning up the heat, add another blanket. Find a nice fleece or plush blanket to layer between your top sheet and your comforter to add a little bit of weight and insulation for your winter slumbers.

Suitable Surfaces Textures can have a big impact on how you see your room and how you feel in it. Soft and dark textures absorb light and make it warmer. Adding a curtain panel to your ceiling, pile a few plush pillows in dark colors on your bed bed or add a cushy throw rug on the floor to visually and physically warm up the bedroom. Save the smooth and shiny surfaces for summer — they reflect light to make a room cooler.

mattress-padExtra Padding While our mattresses last about seven years, we can give them a boost to make them cozy as they approach their expiration date. A new mattress pad or a feather bed can refresh your bed to make it more comfortable and cushioned when you crawl into your cocoon for the night.

Mood Lighting During warmer months, there isn’t as much demand for mood lighting, but it can be soothing in the bedroom during frigid winters. According to a study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, participants reported feeling warmer in a dimly lit room than they felt in a bright room even though the rooms were the same temperature. Even if your thermostat is at the lowest temperature you can handle, having a few LED candles scattered around your room might trick your brain into thinking it’s warmer than it actually is.

Warming up your bedroom for the winter is easy — and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make it welcoming even on the coldest of evenings. With just a few ideas and adjustments, winter nights won’t be so bad.

 

8 Games and Puzzle Gift Ideas

The cold weather has set in and it looks like we’re going to have a long winter. While we’re stuck inside, we’re going to need activities to keep us busy. In honor of Games and Puzzles Week, we have 8 games and puzzle gift ideas to get you, your friends and family through the winter.

games-Farkel-DiceRoll with It The Farkel Game Set with Dice Rolling Tray is a great game to get people together for game night! Farkel is a high point-scoring dice game that has kept players entertained and challenged all night long. For ages 8 and up.

games-disney-scrabbleDisney Has it Covered Disney Jr. Scrabble is the word game that grows with your child’s vocabulary! It’s just like classic Scrabble, but it uses Disney-themed words to build vocabulary. When children develop stronger reading and spelling skills, they can flip the double-sided game board to the other side and play the regular version of Scrabble Jr. For ages 3 and up.

games-nostalgic-puzzlesPuzzles of Yore Go back in time and spend hours piecing together cereal boxes, games or treats we enjoyed as kids with Nostalgic Puzzles. Each puzzles comes with 1,000 pieces that features a collage of familiar favorites from the past. It’s a delightful, calm yet mind-sharpening activity for cold winter days.

Games-Elvis-Puzzle-ShapesTwist on Puzzles Break away from the traditional jigsaw puzzle with a Licensed Shaped Puzzle with Fun Shapes. Each 500-pc. puzzle forms a distinctive shape when completed. Adding to the fun are several pieces that are specially shaped to look like objects related to the larger image.

games-sequence-dice-gameLuck and Strategy Sequence Dice Game is an exciting dice game of luck and strategy for the whole family! The goal is to be the first player or team to make a sequence of 5 chips in a row…up, down, across or diagonally! This entertaining game for friends and family can be played by 2-4 players making it a challenge for couples’ night or family night. For ages 7 and up.

Games-shuffleboardGames of Leisure This 3-In-1 Tabletop Game is all you need for family game night. Play shuffleboard, curling or bowling all on your tabletop! You don’t need to go on a cruise or brave the cold and go to the bowling alley to enjoy a life of leisure games with this set. For ages 5 and up.

games-thomas-kincadePuzzled Movie Scenes A Thomas Kinkade Movie Puzzle lets you piece together memories of The Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind. Created by one of the nation’s greatest artists, this puzzle forms a beautiful piece of art you’ll want to frame when you’re finished. For ages 12 and up.

games-dartsThe Pub Comes to You Licensed Magnetic Dartboard has all the fun of this classic game of skill, without the pub and without the danger! These darts don’t have sharp points, so just about anyone can take a shot at the bullseye. For game night with your adult friends or a night in with the kids, the magnetic dart board promises hours of fun! For ages 3 and up.

It’s not winter yet, but with the temperatures already cold and destined to go down, Games and Puzzles Week couldn’t have come at a better time! You’ll need plenty of indoor activities to survive this winter.

5 Tips for Selecting a Christmas Tree

Christmas-TreeThe temperatures are dropping and even though we’re dreading cold weather, we’re excited for the holidays! We’re putting up all of of our holiday decor, but there’s just one thing missing: the Christmas tree. While we’re getting ready to put one up, we thought we’d share 5 tips for selecting a Christmas tree.

Pick a Spot Before you gather the family to pick out a tree, consider where you are going to put the tree and what kind of help you’ll be getting when you take it home. This will determine the size you want to buy. Standard ceilings are 8 ft high, so you want to select a tree that’s 7 ft or smaller. If you have high or vaulted ceilings, you are open to select taller trees, just remember the taller they are, the heavier they are and an average tree can weigh about 80lbs. Quick tip: Remember when you’re choosing a spot for your tree, make sure it’s away from heating vents so they don’t dry out and become a fire hazard.

Pick a Type There are different varieties of evergreen trees with different characteristics you can choose from:

Fir: Typically triangular, dense with branches, dark green needles, and has a prominent spire — Fraser Fir and Douglas Fir are most popular for Christmas trees

Evergreen-TreePine: Bright green, stiff branches — Scots Pine and Virginia Pine are most popular for Christmas trees

Spruce: Waxy, grey-green, triangular shape — Colorado Blue Spruce and White Spruce are most popular for Christmas trees

Inspect It When you’ve decided on the size of the tree you want and you get to the lot, inspect each of the trees you want:

  • Look for insects
  • Make sure the needles are green and flexible — if they are brittle, the tree is dry
  • The base of the tree should have sap on it

Shake It Off Before you leave the tree lot, shake the tree — with a lot of effort — to get rid of the needles that need to be shed. This will save you some aggravation of having a trail of needles to clean up as you carry the tree through your house that you’ll have to clean up as you prepare for the guests to arrive.

Christmas-TreeAvoid Shock After you shake off the needles, store the tree in a shed or garage if you have one. Trees live outside in temperatures much lower than what you have in your home. Keeping them inside spots with cool temperatures will ease them into the warmth of a festive home, and prevent needles from falling off prematurely. Quick tip: water your tree daily to keep it from drying out and the needles from falling off.

Fresh Christmas trees are a lot of work and maintenance. If you don’t have the time or energy for a real Christmas tree, artificial trees are an easy and practical alternative. Either way, start planning now so you have plenty of time to enjoy your tree this holiday season.

3 Books to Spice Things Up for Cook Something Bold Day

bold-foodWhen you are trying to cook something delicious and healthy every day, it is easy to find yourself in a flavor rut. Cook Something Bold Day marks November 8 as a day to shake things up with zesty ingredients like garlic, hot peppers and saffron. Get started on your culinary journey with these 3 books to spice things up for Cook Something Bold Day.

choppedThe Chopped Cookbook Sometimes cooking something new can be intimidating because it requires exotic ingredients. The Chopped Cookbook shows you ways to unleash the hidden flavors in the food already in your refrigerator and pantry. Transform leftovers into chilled peanut chicken noodle salad. Shake up your taste buds with eggs fried in hot sauce, or a try an American staple with new Louisiana soul with Cajun-spiced burgers. Since this book focuses on common ingredients, you may be able to get cooking without an extra trip to the store.

diners-drive-ins-and-divesDiners, Drive-Ins and Dives On his hit Food Network show, Guy Fieri travels America looking for the most unusual and bold flavors. Bring a bit of his “Flavortown” to your home with the nearly 70 recipes in the all-new Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives cookbook. In addition to fun behind-the-scenes stories from the show, it has lively dishes like braised brisket spiced with coffee and ancho chili powder, green chili stew, and more.

pioneer-womanThe Pioneer Woman Cooks Ree Drummond’s irresistible recipes and wit has made her an Internet superstar and best-selling author. Her up-to-date versions of country favorites include a lot of spicy and savory fare. The Pioneer Woman Cooks features entrees like spicy pulled pork and white chicken enchiladas. If you are just looking for a side or snack, try grilled corn guacamole to add zest to chips.

When you’re trying new recipes, don’t be afraid to add your own spices. Remember that you know how things are supposed to taste and just about every flavor can be adjusted with salt or sugar. Experimenting and being bold is half what makes cooking fun!

National Peanut Butter Month: How to Make Buckeyes

BuckeyesNovember is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month — and it is certainly loved. You can find peanut butter in just about any edible form — cookies, cupcakes, chicken chili, Thai noodles –but since LTD Commodities is in the Midwest, our favorite way to serve peanut butter is as a buckeyes.

BuckeyesIf you don’t know what a buckeye is, it’s a tree. It’s native to the Midwest, but Ohio adopted it as its state tree and The Ohio State University claims it as its mascot (but we don’t have any collegiate allegiances at LTD Commodities). We refer to its seeds as buckeyes — which are very similar to chestnuts, but they’re highly toxic. Buckeye Balls — which are made with peanut butter and chocolate to look like buckeye seeds — are, however, certainly edible and absolutely addictive.

Here’s how to make Buckeyes:buckeye-blanket

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate chips (60% cacao or more)

In a bowl fitted with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or using a hand-mixer , beat together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla on low speed. When the mixture is smooth, start adding the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Scoop out about 1¼ TB of the mixture and form a ball with your hands. Set it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Buckeyes

Melt the chocolate using a water bath: on high heat bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce the heat to low and keep the water simmering. Place a kitchen towel over the pan and place a heat-proof bowl on top of the towel. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl to melt. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Buckeyes

Using a toothpick, spear a chilled peanut butter ball and dip it in the melted chocolate leaving a little bit of the peanut butter exposed — this is what makes them look like buckeyes. Return the peanut butter ball (now covered in chocolate) to the cookie sheet and repeat the process with the remaining peanut butter balls. Refrigerate for 15 or 20 minutes.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. This recipe makes about 25 peanut butter balls but it can be doubled, tripled or even cut in half.  Buckeyes also travel well for parties and they can be made ahead and frozen.

You don’t have to be from the Ohio or even the Midwest to enjoy a buckeye ball. They’re easy to make, perfect for the holidays and delicious — even a Michigan Wolverine would enjoy a good buckeye ball.

Sandwich Day: 4 Sandwich Ideas for Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey-Sandwich

November 3rd is National Sandwich Day — it is a day to honor one of America’s favorite meals. Everyone loves a good sandwich, but since it’s also November, we thought we’d give you a few sandwich ideas for leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Here are 4 fun turkey sandwiches to get you excited about Thanksgiving.

For leftover Thanksgiving turkey, your slow cooker will be your best friend. Our Gooseberry Patch Slow-Cooker cookbooks have a few ideas you can adapt to make your leftovers exciting.

Turkey French Dip

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 to 4 whole peppercorns
  • 16 slices of Provolone cheese (or mild white cheese of your choice)
  • 8 French rolls, split

Place the sliced onion on the bottom of the slow-cooker. Add turkey followed by rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, bay leaf, peppercorns, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for one hour. Discard the bay leaf. Using tongs, place the turkey and onions on the rolls. Top the turkey with cheese. Use the leftover broth for dipping. southern-barbecue

Southern Barbecue

  • 1 ½ lbs roasted turkey, shredded
  • 1 18 oz bottle of barbecue sauce
  • 2 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TB hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns, split

Place all of the ingredients in the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for one hour. Serve on buns with or without cole slaw.midwest-turkey-sandwich

Midwest Turkey Sandwich 

  • 3 lbs roasted turkey, shredded
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup (can be substituted with cream of celery or chicken soup)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 24 sandwich buns
  • Pickle slices

Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Top with cream of mushroom soup. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Spoon turkey on to buns and garnish with pickle slices.

EZ Pocket Turkey Sandwich

Ingredients:ez-pocket

  • 2 cans refrigerator biscuit dough
  • Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey
  • Leftover Thanksgiving sides

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out one can refrigerator biscuit dough together to fit and fit into EZ Pocket pans.  Fill the pockets with turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole and gravy — or whatever leftovers you want to add. Roll out second can of dough and top the filling. Seal the edges of the dough with the crimper. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

At LTD Commodities, we’re excited about Sandwich Day, but we’re more excited about the holidays!  Whether you need kitchen gadgets to put together the perfect Thanksgiving dinner or you’re looking for Christmas gifts, we have everything you need at the best prices.

 

Deviled Egg Day: How to Make Basic Deviled Eggs

Deviled_EggsNovember 2nd is the day we set aside to honor the deviled egg — that delightful finger food we see during holiday parties and potlucks. According to history.com they’ve been gracing tables as far back as the first century and recipes for them have been appearing in cookbooks since the 13th centruy with a version claimed by just about every culture. People continue to try to reinvent the deviled egg, but if you’ve never made deviled eggs, you might want to start with a standard American recipe. Here is how to make basic deviled eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • (Paprika for serving)

Deviled_EggsDirections:

Place your eggs in a sauce pan. Fill it with water until the eggs are just covered. Over high heat, bring the water to rolling boil. Turn off the and cover the pan. Let it sit for about nine minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan using a slotted spoon. Gently crack each egg and place them in a bowl of ice water. Let them sit until they’ve cooled completely — at least a half-hour. If you follow these directions, your yolks will be perfectly yellow (no green!) and the shells should peel off nicely without leaving any craters in the whites.

Deviled_EggsCut the eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the yolks by popping them out of the white the way you would pop a piece of gum out of a blister pack. Place the yolks in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mash together and stir (vigorously) until it’s smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Taste the yolks.  If it needs salt, add a pinch and mix well. If it’s too salty, you can adjust the flavor by adding a ¼ teaspoon of granulated sugar.

Deviled_EggsPlace the yolk mixture in a plastic bag. Squeeze out all the air, seal and snip the end with kitchen shears. You will use this to neatly put the yolks back into the egg. With your strong hand, squeeze the top and use your weak hand to guide the bag. Squeeze about 1 TB of yolk mixture into each egg half with a swirl motion. Sprinkle paprika on top. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve the eggs, but they should be consumed within 24 hours.

If you’re looking for an easy make-ahead appetizer for your holiday party or you need to bring something to serve for Thanksgiving, this is a no-fail recipe — it’s hard to mess up for even the worst cooks! Happy Deviled Egg Day!

Deviled_Eggs