Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, Happy Halloween

Written by Lillian Tram on October 31st, 2014


As we celebrate Halloween today with family, friends and children, we bid farewell to the warm days of summer and greet the chilly winds of fall with hope and anticipation.



May all of your Halloween buckets be overflowing with candy by this time tomorrow! Happy Halloween!



Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn




Listen to the whisper
Autumns in the air
Summer waves goodbye
For she knows she has to share.




Each season has its time
With a beauty of its own
Though summer now has left us
Her beauty she has shown.




Now rich shades of autumn
Reds and browns and gold’s
Emerge across the land
As her carpet does unfold.




Summers sun still with us
Now joined by a tiny chill
As quietly autumn awakens
Over valleys pastures and hills.




Goodbye summer we’ll miss you
But until we meet once more
We’ll bask in each glorious season
As autumn now waits at our door.



Poem by Jesstay



As October turns to November and we head into the season of cooking, baking, sharing and caring, be sure that you have liked our Facebook page to stay abreast of all the latest happenings and stories. If you know someone who would enjoy our blog, please feel free to share our Facebook page.





My Pig Me Up is thankful for your continued support.

Many Blessings! 

October 30th is National Candy Corn Day

Written by Lillian Tram on October 30th, 2014

Have you ever wondered who created the delectable Halloween treat known by all as Candy Corn? If the answer is yes, you are in for a real treat. Because today is October 30th, National Candy Corn Day AND the day before Halloween, now seems like the perfect time to share the origin of this sugary sweet orange and white treat.


The Origin of Candy Corn



As Halloween draws near, adults and children are looking forward to munching down on some delicious Candy Corn. Many will hit the streets tomorrow night hoping to secure a hefty harvest of candy corn after a night of trick-or-treating. Those delectable yellow, orange, and white kernel shaped treats are iconic among Halloween candies,  with a legacy that dates back for more than a century.


It is believed that a man named George Renninger, a candymaker employed by the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, was the inventor of this revolutionary tri-colored candy, back in the 1880’s. Once distributed by the Goelitz Confectionery Company, yummy tasting Candy Corn is now provided to kids (and kids at heart) by the Jelly Belly Candy Company.


With the longest history of making candy corn, Jelly Belly has changed its cooking methods but not the delicious flavor and original recipe. As you can see in the image below, many products mimic the delicious flavor of Candy Corn for the holiday.



Do You Love Candy Corn?


Candy corn begins as a unique mixture of sugar, corn syrup, fondant, vanilla flavoring, and fluffy marshmallow creme, melted to create a liquid candy called slurry. Color is added before the candy is run through a cornstarch molding process that creates each tasty kernel. Wooden trays are used to mold these delightful candies, sealing all three layers. Colorful kernels of candy corn are then sifted from these wooden trays, polished in larger drum pans using edible wax, and a glaze is added for an attractive shine.


10 Great (and EASY!) Candy Corn Ideas for Halloween


Because Candy Corn is universally loved, and oh so colorful and festive, there are tons of great ideas for you to consider as you celebrate National Candy Corn Day and Halloween this year. Below, you will find a list of ten great (and EASY!) candy corn ideas to make your holiday amazingly special! Are you ready? Okay, pop at least one Candy Corn in your mouth and let’s get started!


#1o – Rice Crispy Treats with Candy Corn


Rice Krispie Treats are one of the easiest desserts you can possibly make, requiring only marshmallows, butter, Rice Krispies Cereal, and Candy Corn. Doesn’t this look so festive? You know the kids are going to love it, and seeing those happy faces makes it all worthwhile! You can find detailed instructions here.



# 9 – Candy Corn Banana Snacks


 If you would like something healthy to eat with your delightfully high fructose Candy Corn treat, consider making these adorable Corn on the Cob snacks, using a banana. How adorable is this? I bet the banana goes well with the flavor of Candy Corn. Here, you will find the detailed instructions.



 #8 – Candy Corn Vodka (for Adults, of Course!)


Obviously, there are some adults that just can’t get enough of the delicious taste of Candy Corn. Candy Corn flavored vodka is simple to make. Just purchase a cheap bottle of clear unflavored vodka and dump some Candy Corn inside. After a specific amount of time, the candy dissolves and you are left with some yummy and festive liquor! Check out the instructions here.



#7 – Candy Corn Marshmallow Guys


Aren’t these ideas just amazing? The creativity just blows me away. Just look at these cute Candy Corn Marshmallow Guys, made from this festive candy, melted white chocolate and food coloring. Nothing could be easier to make and the kids will love these guys… they kind of remind me of Minions. I bet with some more yellow food coloring, you could alter the recipe and create little yellow Minions.



#6 – Candy Corn and Peanuts


By October, you probably have your candy dishes on display; after all, it’s that time of year. Some of you may even have super-cool Halloween inspired candy dishes, complete with scary motion activated hand and spooky sounds- too cool! If you are wondering what to put in your festive dishes, look no more! Check out this cool combination that’s uper-simple to throw together, found here. Yes! It is as simple as it looks!



#5 – Candy Corn Popcorn

If you’re a popcorn lover, watch out! This treat has your name on it! Easy to make and looks delightfully seasonal, this Candy Corn Popcorn is made with the simplest of ingredients: popcorn, Candy Corn, Halloween sprinkles and vanilla candiquick. Check out the step by step instructions and have a blast with this popcorn recipe.



#4 – Candy Corn Almond Bark


If you like quick and easy recipes, and love the taste of white chocolate and Candy Corn, you’re going to flip over this new recipe! Made with salty and sweet ingredients such as pretzels and Candy Corn for a flavor explosion, this festive almond bark will be hard to walk away from. While it takes only minutes, your guests may beg for the recipe, thinking you’ve been creative in the kitchen all day!



#3 – Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs


Are you noticing how great salty treats seem to pair up with delicious Candy Corn? Here is another example, coming to you in the form of Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs. Made with pretzels, Hershey’s Kisses, and Candy Corn, these add a delightful pop of color for your table. Check the instructions out here and have fun making these adorable treats for your trick-or-treaters!



#2 – Halloween Candy Corn Muddy Buddies Mix


Why buy your party mixes and snacks when you can have this delicious Halloween Candy Corn snack mix? Simple to make and quick to disappear, this Muddy Buddies recipe is slightly different from other Chex brand, as it includes the colorful and sweet flavor of Candy Corn. I can almost taste this Muddy Buddies mix now!



#1 – Candy Corn Popcorn Balls


Popcorn balls and Halloween are almost as traditional  as Jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treaters, and with this simple recipe, you can easily see why! Don’t stop with Candy Corn unless you just want to! Some other items that would go great with popcorn balls include Oreo cookies, peanuts and cashews, M&Ms, pretzel sticks, and many other great tasting treats!



How’s that for a fast fall line-up?

It’s Plush Animal Lovers Day!

Written by Lillian Tram on October 28th, 2014

By now you’ve probably noticed how much fun it is to report all these wild and wacky holidays. Today is Plush Animal Lovers Day, a day chosen in celebration of your favorite stuffed toy. Give your special plush an extra special squeeze today as I tell you how this day became nationally recognized.


What is Plush Animal Lovers Day?


No one is one hundred percent sure how the Plush Animal Lovers Day came to be recognized but we have a pretty good idea. An confirmed Urban Legend states that a collectibles dealer named Royal Selangor wanted to celebrate a Teddy Bears Picnic Day, back in the late eighties. It is rumored that the other stuffed toys (especially the pigs!) became jealous. After all, why should only Teddy Bears be adored on this day?


The Plush Animal Lovers Day quickly gained popularity, replacing the Teddy Bears Picnic Day, and it’s only fair, right? Today, Plush Animal Lovers Day is an opportunity to share your love of stuffed and plush toys with the rest of the world. Take one to work or school or throw a tea party for your plush animals.


Buy someone you love a special stuffed animal and enjoy their reaction. Personally, I recommend choosing a ping piggy plush but hey – to each their own, right? Remember, a plush, or stuffed, toy is not just for Christmas – it needs love and affection all year long! For those of you who embrace all things piggy, here are some wonderful plush choices for you!


See Our Plush Pig Parade!


Aurora Plush 12″ Piggolo Flopsie


Found on Amazon for approximately $9.99 to $12.30 and available with the gift-wrapping option, this little piggy is ready for some snuggle time. Numerous reviews have given this little pink barnyard dweller an average score of 4.5! Do you know someone who would give this special pink baby a loving home?



Pauline the Plush Spotted Pig by Douglas


Available on Stuffed Safari, this little guy has an adorable spotted feature that makes you instantly want to say aww! That little pink nose and equally adorable ears are sure to win your heart almost instantly! Pauline the Plush Spotted Pig retails for $22.49, and there are several personalization options to choose from on their site.



Webkinz Pot Bellied Pig


This sweet Webkinz Pot Bellied Pig, priced at $39.98, comes with an activation code so you can play online games, interacting with a virtual version of this plush animal. Choose whether this darling pig is a girl or boy, and after adoption, you can decorate, buy furniture, clothes and food for your pet’s bedroom. Basic requirements such as health and hunger can be monitored, and each pig comes with a special food and belonging, available at Amazon.



Minecraft 7 inch Animal Plush – Baby Pig

Do you know someone who loves pigs and Minecraft? If so, this may be the perfect gift! This seven inch plush baby pig is soft and cuddly with a luxurious pink plush exterior. Available for $17.99 at the NZ Game Shop, you’re sure to make someone smile with this exceptionally crafted stuffed pig!



Fruit Ninja Jumbo Truffles the Pig Plush Toy


Amazon offers another great stuffed animal, the  Fruit Ninja Jumbo ‘Truffles the Pig’ plush toy, available for $49.95. This adorable little fruit ninja is on the 2014 Holiday Toy List so you better grab your own Truffles the pig while he’s still available! At 20 inches by 8 inches by 16 inches, he’s kind of a big deal!



McDull Pig Plush Toy Large


For only $39.99, you can own this large and in charge pig from Greekk, lovingly named McDull Pig. This stuffed pig has a large pink snout and a round midsection that’s just begging to be squeezed! Need a special gift that says I love you in a grand way? Choose the McDull Pig Plush Toy and you can’t go wrong!


Pig Plush Key Chain – Cute Accessory


Each of our Kawaii Pig key chains are made from soft felt , measuring approximately 4 inches tall and filled with stuffing. The tiny details are carefully and securely stitched by hand for a unique key chain that is 100% handmade. Because no machine is used to sew these sweet little pigs, there may be small differences in the designs.


Do you plan to celebrate National Plush Animal Lovers Day?

Enjoy this Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Written by Lillian Tram on October 24th, 2014

On October 21st, we celebrated National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day and in honor of that wonderful dessert, I would like to share a recipe that I adapted from one found on A Family Feast.

Cheesecake is awesome any time of year, but add some delicious pumpkin and voila! You have an exceptional and festive treat! Best of all, these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes do not have to be baked in the oven – which is great if it’s still hot and humid in your neck of the woods.


Ready for some Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes?



Gosh, I am! But first, have you ever wondered how pumpkins became a part of our fall festivities?


You may be surprised to learn where the tradition of carving pumpkins came from! Originally, the people of Ireland and Scotland used hollowed-out turnips, placing embers or candles inside. This quickly became a popular Halloween decoration, as tradition suggested that the jack-o-lanterns would ward off evil spirits. These carved out pumpkins were also intended to represent the souls of the dead.


It was the Irish who brought this tradition to America, replacing the turnips with pumpkins which were easier to carve and more plentiful in the new world. Eventually, people began carving scary faces and other holiday designs on their jack-o’-lanterns.



 Easy No-Cook Pumpkin Recipe 


First of all, I adore the little glasses shown in the pictures but wouldn’t these be exceptional in some miniature hollowed out pumpkins? Adorable! If I get around to making some, I will be sure to post some pictures for you here! For now, raid the china cabinet or the pantry and choose some interesting glassware for your festive pumpkin treats.


Adapted from A Family Feast


Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

(makes approximately 100 ounces)

Crust Ingredients:

  • One package of honey graham crackers
  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • Two tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • Two tablespoons of light brown sugar (dark brown if you desire a richer flavor)

Filling Ingredients:

  • One 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • One 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • Two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • One 1-ounce package of sugar free cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix (or 1/3 of any regular instant pudding)
  • One 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • One 12-ounce container of frozen whipped topping or Cool Whip, (you can buy a little extra to use as a garnish, if you like)
  • Cinnamon Sticks, for garnish

Directions for Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes:
Grind the graham crackers in a food processor until blended into fine crumbs, adding the melted butter and sugars, pulsing until combined.

Put a heaping spoonful of crumbs into each cup and placein the refrigerator while you preparing the filling.

Using a stand mixer equipped with a paddle, beat the cream cheese until creamy and light.

Add pumpkin, spice blend and pudding mix, beating until well-mixed.

Add the condensed milk and mix again.

Using the wire whisk that attaches to your stand mixer, add the tub of whipped topping. Blend well.

Place in the refrigerator for one hour, allowing the mixture to set.

With a large pastry bag and tip, cover the graham cracker crust in each glass with the whipped pumpkin mixture. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve these mini treats.

Before serving, garnish with additional Cool Whip, Cinnamon sticks, and/or Cinnamon sprinkles.


Miss Piggy’s High Calorie Breakfast Foods to Avoid

Written by Lillian Tram on October 21st, 2014

If breakfast is presumed to be the most important meal of the day, why on earth would you want to fill up on empty calories? Most Americans today struggle between the need for quick convenient meals and the desire to eat healthy, feeling as if they cannot have the best of both words. While on your search for the healthiest breakfast foods, here are some that you (and Miss Piggy) may want to avoid.


Avoid Sweet High Calorie Breakfast Foods


A good breakfast includes the following key ingredients: healthy protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Choose a breakfast that doesn’t maximize your sugar levels so your body will be satisfied with the meal. Not only will your body be missing out on important nutrients but when the sugar supply begins to fall, you’re going to feel tired and sluggish. There are numerous high calorie, high fat and sugary sweet breakfast foods available on the market today, but you would be wise to avoid them. Filled with empty calories and a short term feel-good effect, the following foods should be stricken from your diet for optimal health and weight control.



The sugar-starch combination of doughnuts can be hard on your body, raising blood sugar levels and often sabotages your diet with binge eating and sugar crashes. The high levels of fat in doughnuts will lead to drowsiness, robbing you of energy and slowing your metabolism. Finally, while no one considers donuts healthy, you may not realize exactly how many calories and how much fat are in just one. For example, an apple fritter has approximately 450 calories and 17 grams of fat, most of which is saturated.   Try having a breakfast that includes protein, such as some granola and Greek yogurt. The energy and staying power you will get from eating a breakfast that has protein in it will make you wish you realized this sooner.


Breakfast Cereal for Children

Breakfast cereal may seem like a healthy option but those marketed for children are often loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. These sugary sweet cereals lead to an elevated blood sugar that will quickly bottom out, leaving you feeling tired and probably ready for a nap. A nap at the beginning of your day will sabotage your work schedule and to do list, so it is better to avoid children’s cereal brands. Instead, opt for those cereals that offer high fiber, high protein and low sugar options for your first meal of the day. Increase your cereal’s nutrition levels by adding ground flaxseed, bananas, strawberries, blueberries or walnuts for more protein, fiber and other health benefits.



Store Bought Frozen Pancakes and Artificial Maple Syrup

Natural maple syrup is considered to be a healthy sweetener, but there are other artificial types of maple syrup available on the market today that are made with staggering amounts of high fructose corn syrup. This unhealthy sweetener, derived from corn kernels, can also be found in most packaged and processed foods. High fructose corn syrup can also cause abdominal obesity and promote the presence of visceral fat, stored between the organs and often leading to cancer. The consumption of high fructose corn syrup has also been linked to diabetes.


Sugary Sweet and Light Yogurts

Sure, everyone is thoroughly convinced by now that yogurt is healthy. Many yogurt brands only contain about one hundred calories per serving and come in a variety of tempting flavors. You can find such goodies as Boston Creme Pie and Red Velvet or Strawberry Cheesecake, but the fact remains that there are filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners, not to mention chemicals. Instead of reaching for regular or low fat yogurt, choose the yogurts with labels marked non-fat instead.




Fast Food Breakfast Sandwiches

There are numerous healthy options regarding breakfast sandwiches, but most fast food options are packed with sodium, preservatives and chemicals. Your best bet is to build your own breakfast sandwich by microwaving one egg, beaten, and toasting a whole grain English muffin. For additional protein, add a slice of cheese.


Whole Milk

Whole milk is very, very naughty with saturated fats, the bad kind that raises your bad cholesterol levels. Whole milk also promotes inflammation in your body and is believed to play a part in the clogging of arteries. For a healthier heart and slimmer, more attractive waistline, switch to skim or 1% low-fat milk or consider switching to soy or almond milk. Both the skim and low-fat milk choices will provide such nutrients as protein, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium without all the bad.


Plain Bagels with Cream Cheese

Stay away from those starchy white and flavored bagels such as onion, garlic, poppy seed varieties! These bagels are all made with refined wheat flour, stripped of all the fiber and nutrients it once offered the body. There are no health benefits to these ridiculously dense and high calorie bagels. Did you know the average bagel is the caloric equivalent of as many as five slices of unhealthy white bread? When you absolutely must have a bagel, choose a whole wheat or oat bran bagel and discard some of the filling. Top with light cream cheese or a healthy nut-butter.

 Over-sized Muffins

Muffins are on the top the list as one of the most high-calorie breakfast treats because they are extremely rich and dense, packed with lots of goodies that you generally do not need. These ingredients can include white flour, butter, oil, and sugars. Additionally, some muffins contain candies and chocolate pieces rather than fruit. If you must feed your muffin addiction, purchase small two ounce muffins which are considered one serving.