Monthly Archives: February 2017

A group of mardi gras beads an mask with copy space

January 6 marks the start of loud music, bright colors, and celebration―making Mardi Gras an exciting time of year. These festivities continue for weeks, ending on Fat Tuesday. While there are many traditions throughout this time, we’d like to tell you a little more about a popular one that we find to be pretty sweet—the king cake!

 

The History of the King Cake

The tradition of the king cake has been around for centuries. It is believed to have made its first appearance in New Orleans in the 1870s. January 6 is known as Three Kings Day, or Epiphany.

It is believed to be the day when baby Jesus was presented to the three gift-bearing kings. Tradition says these cakes were made to honor those kings, thus resulting in the name “king cake.” In 1872, three colors were chosen to decorate these cakes—purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. These colors are still found today in many Mardi Gras decorations.

Festive Grouping of mardi gras, venetian or carnivale masks on a purple background

What’s With the Baby?

What makes these cakes even more unique? Each cake is stuffed with a tiny baby. Before you worry, it’s only a plastic figure shaped like a baby that is hidden in each cake. Why you may ask? The baby is there to represent  baby Jesus when he was first presented to the three kings. While our cakes are not baked with the figurine inside, we offer them so you can add them yourself. The fortunate person who discovers the baby in their piece of cake is believed to be rewarded with good luck and usually hosts the King Cake gathering for the next season.

 

King Cake Today

The ring-shaped confection is full of tradition 02_15_SW_King Cake_Image 3and taste! In its original recipe, these rings were a yeast bread frosted with powdered sugar. Nowadays, they come in all shapes and sizes. Many are made of a braided Danish pastry mixed with cinnamon. They’re often filled and stuffed with cream cheese, fruit, or candies.

The celebration of Mardi Gras has spread all over the world, with many countries and cultures adding their own twists on these celebratory cakes.
King cakes are popular during the Mardi Gras season. Much like any holiday, this is a time to bring friends and family together to celebrate. Making your own at home is easier than you think! You can find many unique recipes and tips on Pinterest. If you’re not the baking type, you can find ready-made king cakes at your local Publix Bakery as early as February 19!

 

We have no doubt that you will feel like a king after enjoying these yummy cakes.

Will you be joining the celebration this year?

02_10_SW_Fresh Roses_Header

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we thought it would be a perfect time to share a few tips to help extend the freshness of your flowers. Our floral experts shared some great advice to keep your blooms glowing.

 

Water

One of the most important ingredients to lasting flowers is water. Try these tips to keep your blooms vibrant.

Temperature: Place stems in room temperature water. Water that is too cold or hot can shock the flowers and cause them to wilt sooner.

Refilling: Replace water every other day. Stale water can cause bacteria to grow on the stems, shortening their life.

Quantity: Limit water to one-third of the vase. This provides enough water to avoid evaporation and covers the stem ends.

 

Feeding

Cut flowers are typically harvested before they’ve fully developed, removing their access to food. Feeding your flowers is simple – check it out!

Process: Before placing the stems in the vase, ensure that the contents of the food packet have fully dissolved.

Frequency: Multiple packets are not needed if the water is changed often. Just one can provide your arrangement with the extra boost it needs to fully bloom.

 

Placement

Environment: Since these flowers have already been cut, they survive best in cooler, dim areas. Direct sunlight causes the roses to mature faster. If you plan to be away for more than 24 hours, place the bouquet in the fridge to help preserve them.

 

Cutting

Stems: Use sharp utensils to cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. Using dull knives or hand pruners can crush the stem. It’s important to cut half of an inch off the bottom of the stem each time the water is changed. This exposes new tissue and provides the flower with a larger surface to uptake water, which can rejuvenate the flowers.

Leaves: Before placing flowers in the vase, remove all leaves and buds that will be submerged in the water. This will prevent them from deteriorating in the water, which can encourage bacterial growth.

 

Bonus Tip02_10_SW_Fresh Roses_Image 2

Vase: While the shape of the vase will not affect how long blooms will last, they do affect how they look. Choose the vase that best fits your arrangement. If you have only a few stems, choose a vase with a narrower mouth, whereas, if you have a grander bouquet with larger flowers,  select a vase with a wider neck.

 

No matter the occasion, roses are the perfect gesture to show you care. Keep these tips in mind when gifting your loved one, or yourself, with a beautiful bouquet.

 

Do you have additional tips and tricks to keep your flowers brighter longer? Let us know!

Popcorn in a bowl on wooden table

Whether you’re hosting a casual movie night with friends or a lavish wedding, we know you’re always looking for ways to make your events special. What’s one way to bring a unique atmosphere to life? Building your own popcorn bar!

Let’s face it — popcorn is a fan favorite for guests of all ages. So, grab your party planning hat and read on for ideas that will make your next event POP!

 

Presentation

First things first, you’ll want to set the mood with your popcorn bar presentation. From themed and detailed to kicked back and casual, this is your chance to dress up a classic snack in a fun way.

 

For the layout, you can simply line a folding table with a nice cloth that goes with your theme. If your event takes place outside, you may want to take this up a notch by using old barrels, a 02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 3trolley cart, or something else robust and festive.

Once the table is covered, start with the basics. What will you put your popcorn in? You may choose country-themed snack bags, large glass jars and containers with ribbons, beautifully woven baskets, or (for the more casual event) just your nearest large serving bowls. Whatever you choose, make sure you have 2-3 good “starting” bowls that are large enough to fill with popcorn for your guests. And if you can score an old popcorn machine to hold it all? Even better! You’ll also want to find several medium-sized bowls or jars to hold your “extras”, which we’ll touch on later.

Next, you’ll want to provide your guests with their personal carrier. Whether you choose paper bags, small bowls, glass jars, or something else, make sure you find a size that’s small enough to carry in one hand yet not too small that guests will have to refill often. You can even take your guests’ personal popcorn holder to the next level by adding a fun saying with a sticker, marker, or personalized vinyl adhesive. For instance, “Life is salty, but love is sweet” for a wedding, “All because he popped the question” for a bridal shower, or “Let’s get this party poppin’” for an everyday get together or special occasion!

 

Once you’ve got the table lined and the containers ready, make sure your guests have clear directions on what to do. You can use a chalkboard sign to write it out or simply line up the table in a way that guides them, for instance, their individual containers at the far left of the table, then the large popcorn bowls, then add ins, etc.

02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 4Now all that’s left is to put your own personal flair on the setting! Grab a few LED letter lights to spell out “BAR” or use twine and flowers to decorate with a country style in mind. If it’s a fun movie night for the kids, you can line the table with blinking bulbs and play up the red, white, and black theme of a classic movie popcorn bar. This is your chance to add your unique touch, so go crazy!

 

The Base

Your table is set, so now it’s time to choose the ingredients your guests will use to make their tasty treats come to life. Up first? Well, popcorn, of course!

We recommend having at least two or three “starter” popcorns for your guests. For instance, you may choose salted, unsalted, and buttered popcorn for your large bowls. Or, if you’d rather give them flavor options, you could do butter, white cheddar, and caramel to start.

The important thing to remember is that this is your guests’ chance to make their own magical creation, so don’t go too crazy giving them a ton of popcorn choices. The simpler the better, as it’s the seasonings and add-ins that will amplify the flavor later.

You can always start with our famous Deli Popcorn. Easy peasy!

 

Flavors

Now that your guests are armed and ready with their containers of popcorn, it’s time to let them jazz it up.

The idea here is to offer fun flavors they can shake over top. You might want to start them off with a light coating of melted, salted butter so that whatever seasoning they add sticks to their popcorn.

Next, simply fill regular salt and pepper shakers with custom seasonings and salts. Don’t forget to label them so your guests know what they’re getting. You’ll find a lot of these already pre-made at your local Publix, but you can also mix and match your favorite herbs and spices to make unique flavors of your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

  • Cheddar
  • White Cheddar
  • Caramel
  • Truffle Parmesan
  • Butter (powder or liquid form)
  • Kettle Corn02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 5
  • Curry
  • Smoked Paprika, Saffron & Garlic
  • Garlic
  • Barbecue
  • Sriracha-Tandoori
  • Bacon-Maple
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Italian Herb
  • Spicy Jalapeno Cheddar

Now that the popcorn is dusted, time to kick up the flavor with some special add-ins.

 

Extras

Remember those medium-sized containers we laid out on the table earlier? Here’s where you’ll put them to use. Give your guest the option to add more than just seasoning to their popcorn. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas:

  • Taffy
  • Chocolate (think M&Ms, Milk Duds, Reese’s Pieces, etc.)
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc.)
  • Marshmallows
  • Pretzels

Again, this is your chance to really add pizazz. Have fun with your add-ins!

 

Finishing Touch

 

02_03_KS_Aprons_Popcorn_Image 5.1Wow, you did it! Your popcorn bar is an absolute masterpiece. But now, your guests have a salty-sweet snack that’s sure to leave them thirsty. So, for your finishing touch, offer the perfect complementary drink.

There are so many options for drinks to pair with popcorn. You can go simple with water (after all, they’ll be wanting that quench!) but you can also add in some extra flavor.

For instance, what about a soda bar? Line another table with regular cola as well as flavored syrups. Let guests fill their personalized jars/cups with cola and flavor to their liking, then finish with a themed straw and voilà! Ice cream is an added bonus for floats!

For the adult entertainment, you can pick the perfect wines and beers to pair with their snack creation. Our Aprons Meals Tech Specialist, Patrick Walley, says there are many pairing options. For instance, Pinot Grigio would pair well with the Truffle Parmesan while a nice India Pale Ale will complement the Sriracha-Tandoori.

Whether you choose simple or decadent for this last touch, your guests will appreciate the thirst-quenchers.

 

There you have it! Everything you need to know to put your popcorn bar together. For an added bonus, let your guests “vote” on the movie (if  it’s a movie night) or have them enter a competition for the best name of YOUR love story movie (for a wedding).

With so many ways to add your own unique touch, we know your next special event will have the whole town poppin’.

 

Have more ideas for a unique popcorn bar? Drop them in the comments below!