Graduation Gift Idea: On Your Own Survival Kit

It’s that time of year when graduation caps begin flying in the air and young adults head off on their own for the first time, either to college or the great wide world. If you’re looking for a great graduation gift idea, we’ve got it: an “On Your Own Survival Kit” complete with all the little things you find yourself needing when suddenly you’re the one in charge. Use our list as a shopping guide or as inspiration for your own gift. But whatever you do, don’t forget the cookies!

The On Your Own Survival Kit

  • Small sewing kit with buttons, needles, thread
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Rainy day funds gift card
  • Cookbook
  • Kitchen knife set
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Cough drops
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Air freshener
  • Basic medications like pain, allergy, antacid
  • Address book with family and friends mailing addresses
  • Duct tape
  • WD-40
  • Flashlight
  • Assortment of batteries
  • Safety pins
  • USB thumb drive
  • Laundry soap
  • Tooth floss
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Cell phone battery backup
  • Basic screwdriver set
  • Basic wrench set
  • Krazy glue
  • Scissors
  • GPS
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Road atlas
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Ziploc bags
  • Clorox wipes
  • Multivitamins
  • Wall calendar
  • Board game
  • Emergency candles
  • Lint roller
  • Kleenex
  • Laundry basket
  • Sharpie markers
  • Box of ramen noodles
  • Case of toilet paper
  • Plunger
  • Travel blanket
  • Plenty of Mrs. Fields cookies

Recipe: Banana Spring Rolls

Mrs. Fields Secrets Banana Spring Rolls
We’ve got the perfect dessert for your next Asian-themed meal. These Banana Spring Rolls are easy to put together ahead of time, keep them in the fridge, and fry them up when you’re ready to wow your crowd. They’re crispy, sweet, and dangerously addictive. We dare you to try just one!

Banana Spring Rolls

48 wonton wrappers
4 large bananas
1 cup Nutella spread
water
peanut or canola oil
caramel sauce (for topping)
chocolate sauce (for topping)

Directions
In a large pot, heat 3-4 inches of oil to 375 degrees. Cut bananas into four even pieces. Overlap two wonton wrappers by an inch or so and dab a bit of water to seal them together. Spread a thin layer of Nutella down the middle and top with a piece of banana. Dab water all along the edges of the wonton wrappers and then roll the banana inside and seal. (Depending on the size of the banana, you may need a third wonton wrapper.) Repeat with remaining wrappers and bananas. Once the oil is hot, drop 2-3 rolls in the hot oil at a time, turning after about 30 seconds, or when golden brown and bubbly. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with drizzles of caramel and chocolate sauces.

101 Questions to Ask A Relative

As you get together with family and friends for Memorial Day to celebrate the legacy of loved ones lost, take a few moments to interview your living loved ones. We’ve got a list of 101 questions to get you started. Use them all or choose some as a springboard for your own questions. The past will come alive and your loved one’s legacy will have voice in the here and now. Set up a camera or audio recorder and document it, or email questions to those far away.

  1. When were you born?
  2. Where did you grow up?
  3. Do you remember your first house?
  4. Who were your childhood friends?
  5. What was your favorite toy?
  6. How did you celebrate holidays as a child?
  7. Where were your childhood vacations?
  8. Did religion play a role in your childhood?
  9. Do you remember the first day of school? Your first teacher?
  10. What was your favorite way to fill an afternoon?
  11. What was your mother like?
  12. What was your father like?
  13. What were your siblings like?
  14. Did you have any pets?
  15. Did you like were you lived?
  16. What was your favorite childhood food?
  17. Where did you shop for groceries and supplies?
  18. Did you have a favorite song or singer?
  19. What was your favorite subject in school?
  20. Did you get good grades?
  21. Did you ever cut class?
  22. What was the best thing about your childhood?
  23. What was the worst thing about your childhood?
  24. What is a favorite memory of your mom?
  25. What is a favorite memory of your dad?
  26. Did you spend much time with your grandparents? What were they like?
  27. Who taught you to drive?
  28. What was the first car you drove?
  29. What was your first job? Were you good at it?
  30. Do you remember your first paycheck?
  31. What were you most excited about as a teenager?
  32. Where did you hang out with your friends?
  33. What did you think you’d grow up to be?
  34. Who influenced you most as a teenager?
  35. When was the first time you felt independent?
  36. Who was your first kiss?
  37. Who was your first boyfriend or girlfriend?
  38. What was your high school prom like?
  39. What were summers like where you grew up?
  40. What were winters like where you grew up?
  41. Did you play any sports or belong to any clubs?
  42. Have you ever been in a fist fight?
  43. Describe a time when you felt jealous.
  44. Describe a time when you felt successful.
  45. Who was the first president you really remember?
  46. Did you ever have to worry about war?
  47. Did you go to college? Where?
  48. How did college influence or change you?
  49. Did you have a favorite professor or class?
  50. What was your first “real” job after high school or college?
  51. What did you wear to your first “real” job?
  52. Did you like your boss?
  53. What excited you most about adulthood?
  54. What worried you most about adulthood?
  55. What was a typical date like when you were young?
  56. Where have you traveled?
  57. How many times have you been engaged?
  58. How many times have you been married?
  59. How did you know that was the person you wanted to marry?
  60. Where did you get married?
  61. Who was at your wedding?
  62. What do you remember about your wedding day?
  63. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
  64. In what ways was marriage what you thought it would be?
  65. In what ways was marriage different from what you expected?
  66. How did you choose your career?
  67. When was your first child born?
  68. What kind of parent were you when your child/children were young?
  69. What did you enjoy about early parenthood?
  70. How did becoming a parent change you?
  71. How much did a gallon of milk cost?
  72. How much did a gallon of gasoline cost?
  73. What were your ambitions?
  74. If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
  75. What is your best personality trait?
  76. What is your worst personality trait?
  77. Describe your first home where you paid the rent/mortgage.
  78. If you won $1000, what would you have done with it?
  79. Have you had any health scares?
  80. What age did you look and feel your best?
  81. How were your thirties different from your twenties?
  82. How were your fifties different from your forties?
  83. How were your seventies different from your sixties?
  84. How old do you feel?
  85. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in life?
  86. What do you think is better about the world today?
  87. What technological advances were most significant in your lifetime?
  88. Do you remember the first computer you saw? Used? Owned?
  89. How are you similar and different from your parents?
  90. How are you similar and different from your child(ren)?
  91. If you could go back in time to any date in your life, what would it be?
  92. If you could spend an afternoon with someone from your past, who would it be?
  93. Have you traveled to any foreign countries?
  94. Describe your perfect meal.
  95. Where do you hope to be in five years?
  96. What do you hope your legacy will be?
  97. If you could give a piece of advice to the next generation, what would it be?
  98. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
  99. What is your greatest hope?
  100. What is your greatest fear?
  101. If you could describe your life in one word, what would it be?

{Image via curiositiesbydickens.com}

How to Cut a Mango

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango
Whether you want to dice one up for a fruity salsa or to make a homemade sorbet, cutting a mango can be sticky business. Without the right technique, you’ll have mushy, misshapen pieces and handfuls of frustration. This simple method will have you slicing and dicing perfectly cut mangos in minutes. Give it a try!

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Start with a ripe mango, soft to the squeeze, a cutting board, a large knife and a paring knife.

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Stand the mango stem side up, and using the large knife and making the incision about a quarter inch from the stem, slice off one side of the mango. HINT: The pit is oblong and flat. If your cut runs into the pit, start a new cut another centimeter away from the stem.

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Repeat on the other side.

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Use the paring knife to cut the flesh from the two sides of the pit.

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Use the paring knife to score each half of the mango, and each of the side slices, cutting to the rind but not through it. (If you want long slices, cut only one direction.)

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Invert the rind and all the perfectly shaped cubes will pop out. Use the paring knife to slice them away from the rind.

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mango

Voila! Perfectly cut mango!

Recipe: English Trifle

Mrs. Fields Secrets English Trifle
A classic dessert from across the pond, the English Trifle is an easy, flavorful dessert to make for spring and summer parties. It’s got layers of fresh fruit, cubed cake, sweet pudding, and whipped cream. It’s ideal for potluck or outdoor parties, a perfect serve-yourself delight! Use this recipe, or get creative make a variation with your own favorite flavors.

English Trifle

1 white cake, baked but not frosted (angel food, pound, or white cake work great)
2 pints fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 pints fresh blueberries
4 large bananas
1/4 cup orange juice
1 (3.5 oz) package vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
sliced, toasted almonds (for garnish)

Directions
Prepare vanilla pudding with the milk and allow to set. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Wash, hull, and slice strawberries into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle sugar on them and stir to evenly coat. Slice bananas into another mixing bowl and toss with orange juice to evenly coat. In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Take one large scoop of whip cream and fold it into the pudding. In a glass bowl or trifle dish, place half the cake cubes in the bottom, followed by half the strawberries, half the blueberries, half the bananas, and half of the pudding. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients, then top with a thick layer of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. Chill before serving.

HINT: This is a perfect dessert to make if you have a cake that fell apart or somehow cooked unevenly. This dessert can hide a number of mistakes and come out tasting impeccable!

It’s Nutty Fudge Day!

Today is National Nutty Fudge Day, which means that it’s time to celebrate with a delicious piece of nutty fudge. Did you know that fudge is one of the easiest decadent treats to create in your own kitchen? We’ve gathered a variety of incredible recipes to prove it. Choose your favorite recipe (or your favorite nut) and make a batch to celebrate.

With only four ingredients, this Easiest Fudge Ever recipe can be made in ten minutes!

Another four-ingredient find is this incredible Peanut Butter Fudge. (Use chunky peanut butter for best results!)

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Fudge is the perfect blend of salty and sweet with rich dark chocolate flavor that will melt in your mouth.

Don’t want to go to the dark side with your fudge? White Chocolate Cashew Fudge is creamy, dreamy and perfectly nutty!

Two-tone Cherry Pistachio Fudge is sweet, salty, and so pretty.

A bit more time intensive, this recipe for Caramel Peanut Fudge tastes like a homemade Snickers bar…but better!

There is even fudge out there for those on a health kick! Try these Dark Chocolate Almond Fudge Bites that are gluten-free and vegan and made overnight in the freezer!

HINT: A batch of nutty fudge is a perfect Teacher Appreciation gift. Box it up with a pretty ribbon and a hand-written note.

How to: Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil

Mrs. Fields Secrets Preserved Herbs
We’ve got a great tip to keep those fresh herbs from your garden or your crisper drawer from wilting and browning before you get a chance to use them. You can preserve them in olive oil for up to three months in your fridge, enjoying the same freshly-picked flavor. This works particularly well with basil and parsley, but try it out with chives, thyme, and your other favorite herbs.

Preserved Herbs

2 bunches of fresh basil or parsley
3-4 teaspoons of coarse salt
olive oil
small jar

Directions
Thoroughly wash herbs and allow to completely dry. Remove the stems and place the leaves in a food processor then sprinkle with the coarse salt. (The salt will help preserve the shiny green color as well as keep the leaves from sticking together.) Use the “pulse” function to chop the herbs into a fine mince. Drizzle olive oil all along the sides and bottom of a mixing bowl and transfer the herbs to it. Whisk the herbs into the olive oil and drizzle more oil in to give the herbs a chance to separate and become coated with oil. Pour the mixture into a small jar, then top with another thin layer of olive oil. Place the lid on top and store in the fridge for up to three months. Use a scoop or two at a time to add fresh flavor to sauce, or as a delicious dip for bread.

HINT: Pair this with a fresh loaf of bread and you’ve got a thoughtful gift!

 

Recipe: Banana Bread French Toast + Other Mother’s Day Meal Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Banana Bread French Toast
Start your Mother’s Day off right with a delicious meal for mom made with love. We’ve got some incredibly delicious meal ideas, including this Banana Bread French Toast drizzled in maple syrup, dappled with fresh blueberries, and topped with a dollop of whipped lemon sour cream, the perfect tang to balance all the decadent sweet. Try it with our delicious banana bread recipe (which you can make ahead of time), or you can cheat with your favorite store-bought loaf. (We won’t tell Mom.)

Banana Bread French Toast

1 loaf banana bread, cut into 2-inch slices (see recipe below)
unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup blueberries
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sour cream
maple syrup

Directions
In a shallow baking dish, whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg together. In a small mixing bowl, whip the sour cream with the lemon zest until light and fluffy. Set aside. Heat a frying pan or griddle on medium-high heat. Melt a pat of butter in the pan. Dredge each side of each slice of banana bread in the egg mixture, then place on the hot pan and cook until crusty and brown before flipping over to cook the other side. Remove from heat and top with maple syrup, blueberries, and sour cream. Makes approximately 4 servings.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups ripe, mashed bananas (about 4 large bananas)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the mashed bananas and scrape the sides to incorporate any butter that sticks to the sides. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg together. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until combined. Finally, stir in the buttermilk until just combined. Prepare two loaf pans with nonstick spray and add the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife dipped into the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow to sit for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Other Favorite Mother’s Day Meal Ideas

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed Menu
Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
German Pancakes
Baked Cake Donuts 
Berry Muesli
Bite-Sized Brunch Menu
Cherry and Sweet Goat Cheese Turnovers

Mother’s Day Giveaway: What’s Her Signature Dish?

Mrs. Fields Mother's Day Giveaway
It’s time for our annual Mother’s Day giveaway, a chance for you to nominate your mom for a great Mother’s Day gift from Mrs. Fields. Our prize this year is an incredible bundle of our new Mrs. Fields Bakeware. But you’d better hurry, this giveaway only lasts 24 hours! Here’s how to play:

Leave a comment telling us your mom’s signature dish.
Comments will be accepted until 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 7 EST.
One winner will be selected and notified via email.
Nominees must be a resident of the continental United States.
You must be 18 years or older to enter.
One entry per person, please.

Now, let’s start dishing about your wonderful moms!

Last Minute Cinco de Mayo Dessert Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Cinco de Mayo Desserts
You’ve got your guacamole ready, plenty of chips and salsa, and an abundance of ice for your margaritas, but what about dessert? Here are a few fun last-minute ideas to give your Cinco de Mayo party a sweet ending! (Follow links for full instructions.)

1. Sombrero Sugar Cookies
2. Crispy “Fried” Ice Cream
3. Churro Truffles
4. Margarita Cupcakes
5. So-Easy Sopapillas
6. Easy Tres Leches Cake
7. Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

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