10 Tips for a Great Turkey Bowl

Aside from mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, one of the staples of a great Thanksgiving is a Turkey Bowl. Whether you have a rough-and-tumble crowd who play for keeps or a motley crew of people just playing for fun, here are ten great tips to keep things fresh:

1. Establish safety rules. Tackling without helmets is dangerous, especially if you have a wide range of player ages, sizes, and weights. Make sure everybody knows the rules before you begin to avoid any confusion or injuries!

2. Come up with team names. Every great team needs a great team name.

3. Recruit cheerleaders. Every epic game needs some enthusiastic cheerleaders on the sidelines. Invite those who don’t want to play to come up with cheers (and jeers!) for the game.

4. Plan a halftime show. Take a break in the middle to have a silly halftime show. Blast some music and have a dance off or perform your favorite “Stupid Human Tricks.”

5. Assign a referee for tough decisions. Most games don’t need an official ref, but on the off chance that there is disagreement, decide in advance to let someone make the call. The oldest or the youngest person in attendance is a great choice.

6. Try the instant replay rule. Was there a grand moment you want to relish? Invoke the “instant replay rule” where both teams do their best to recreate the play. This always gets a lot of laughs.

7. Try the slow motion replay. Nothing will have everyone in stitches like trying an instant replay in slow motion. Try it, you’ll see.

8. Award extra points for great celebration dances. Forget the rules about over-the-top celebrations. In fact, encourage them! If a player comes up with something truly creative, award an extra point!

9. Don’t outplay the fun. Set a time limit or point limit and stick to it. A never-ending game only sounds fun at the beginning.

10. Have a great trophy. Grab a random item from the garage or fashion something out of an old trophy in the basement, but one way or another, have a trophy to award to the winning team!

Have any other great tips for a Turkey Bowl?

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Recipe: 3 Fall Quick Breads

Mrs. Fields Secrets Fall Quick Breads
There’s nothing like a loaf of homemade bread to fill your home with incredible smells of fall. (Who needs a scented candle when you can have a loaf of bread?) These three full flavored fall quick breads are simple to put together and delicious as a breakfast, snacks or dessert. They also make a perfect gift, wrapped up in a  tea towel.

Cinnamon Bread

2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup browned butter
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract.  Slowly whisk in browned butter. Combine wet ingredients with dry. Mix just until combined. In a small bowl combine butter pieces and 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon. Gently fold in coated butter pieces into the batter. Pour batter into prepared bread loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Apple and Cheddar Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
3/4 cup diced cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted, plus more for coating the pan
1 1/2 cups grated Granny Smith apples (about 2 medium), grated

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat a loaf pan with butter. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and sage together in a large bowl until aerated and any large lumps are broken up. Add the diced and shredded cheese and toss until the pieces are separated and evenly coated with the flour mixture. Set aside. Place the eggs, milk, and melted butter in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the apples and stir until combined. Add the egg mixture to the flour-cheese mixture and stir until the flour is just incorporated, being careful not to overmix. The batter will be very thick. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (test several spots because you may hit a pocket of cheese), about 45 to 50 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the bread and turn it out onto the rack. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes more before slicing.

Honey Maple Pumpkin Bread

3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease 2 loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix the honey, syrup, butter, vanilla, and eggs together. Mix in the pumpkin puree. In a different bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and stir until everything is incorporated, but avoid overmixing. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Fall Wreath Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Fall Wreath Ideas
Looking for ideas to dress up the front door for fall? Check out these inspiring autumnal decorations filled with bright colors and textures. (Left to right)

Rich mums line the stairway / Pinecone wreath with golden ribbon / Wreath with green bow / Bright yellow flowers and brown ribbon / Leopard print ribbon wreath / Mossy wreath with mini pumpkins / Upcycled aluminum can wreath / Twig wreath

Mrs. Fields Bakeware: Baker’s Sto-N-Go

Mrs. Fields Secrets Baker's Sto-N-Go Mrs. Fields Secrets Baker's Sto-N-Go

More fun from the new Mrs. Fields Bakeware line! Our Baker’s Sto-N-Go is my new favorite thing, an adjustable, portable carry all that has once and for all solved the problem of transporting frosted cookies, brownies and cupcakes without smooshing their gorgeousness. Here are a few of the features I love about this smart little contraption:

  • It’s perfect for road trips, bake sales, picnics, parties, boating, school parties and camping. Keeps everything sealed, safe, and looking good!
  • The handle slides off  and stores inside, so this fits easily into your cupboards or drawers. No bulky awkward storage!
  • The three sliding trays inside can be adjusted in eleven different grooves for ultimate versatility.
  • This fits up to 1 pan of brownies, 36 cake balls, 23 cake pops, 32 mini cupcakes, 20 small cupcakes, appetizers or even pizza!
  • The trays have a matte surface that keeps your goodies from sliding around.
  • It’s collapsible and dishwasher safe.

I can’t say enough good about this product! What would you store in it?

Sign up for emails from our Cookie Club and you’ll be the first to know when it’s available.

P.S. Interested in those delicious Spiderweb Pumpkin Cookies? Try this recipe.

Raise Dough with Mrs. Fields Cookie Dough

Mrs. Fields Secrets Fundraising
With a new school year comes new fundraising campaigns, but none is more welcome than ours! Did you know that Mrs. Fields has an amazing fundraising program, featuring our incredible cookie dough in a variety of our most popular flavors? Say goodbye to expensive wrapping paper once and for all! It’s the easiest fundraising program because everybody loves Mrs. Fields cookies! Let your school groups, clubs and other organizations know how easy it is to raise dough with our delicious dough! Here’s some key information:

  • Your organization earns 40% of profits.
  • Choose a two-week window to make your sales.
  • Allow two weeks for delivery.
  • Cookie dough is frozen in individual serving, ready to go straight from freezer to oven.
  • Available in ten delicious varieties.
  • Dough is Kosher certified.
  • Dough lasts in the freezer up to one year!
  • Distribution centers around the entire country ensure fast, fresh delivery of your inventory.
  • Online system allows you to track every step of your fundraiser.

For more information on our fundraising program, contact us here!

Pickling Tips

It’s time to think beyond pickles. You can “pickle” just about any vegetable to add fresh flavor to your food. Most people don’t realize how simple and easy pickling can be, so I’ve put together a list of great tips to get you venturing out yourself. I hope you find yourself… well, in a pickle!

Quick Pickling – One of my favorite toppings for tacos and sandwiches are pickled red onions, and they are ready in as little as 30 minutes. Make a quick brine of 3/4 rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Thinly slice your onion and allow it to soak for 30 minutes (or as close to that as you can get). Any unused onion will keep in the brine in the fridge for up to a month! Try the same technique with julienned cucumbers, jalapeños and daikon radishes for great tang and crunch on sandwiches!

Reuse Your Brine – Once you use the last pickle in the jar, don’t toss it out! The brine can be used again and again, so all you need to buy are some fresh cucumbers. Wash and slice them and pop them into your pickle jar and seal it up. In two weeks, you’ll have a fresh jar of pickles for about half the cost!

Add to Your Brine – Pop in a couple of garlic cloves, peppercorns, and a sprig of fresh dill or thyme to your reused brine. You’ll be amazed at the flavor infusion.

Preserve Your Summer Crops – Pickling is a fabulous way to preserve your summer veggies growing wild in your garden. Pickled corn, beans, cucumbers, cabbage, peppers and carrots are incredible and can keep in your pantry for up to three months! My favorite pickling recipe is from Jamie Oliver.

Sweet or Spicy or Both? – Play around with your own brines to create your favorite flavors. Drop in a couple of dried red peppers for a spicy kick or a couple of heaping tablespoons of sugar to make a sweet and sour brine. Better yet, try both for sweet and spicy brine to knock your socks off! The point is, have fun and make it your own!

Think Beyond Burgers – Pickled veggies add a delicious zip to potato salad, egg salad and pasta salad. Use them as a topping for sandwiches, tacos, or pizza for extra flavor and crunch.

A Note About Salt – Avoid iodized (table salt) for pickling. Opt for kosher or sea salt, which gives you a more rounded flavor with less salt.

A Note About Vinegar – Any light-colored vinegar will work for pickling, but avoid straight-up white distilled vinegar, which is too strong. Rice wine, apple cider, and white wine vinegar are some of my favorites.

Pickled Gifts – A jar of homemade pickles or veggies makes a perfect gift. (Plus, your friends will think you’re a genius!)

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Grilled Fruits 101

If you’ve never grilled fruits before, it’s time to change your ways. Fire up the grill and grab a handful of your favorite fruits, but before you do, get a quick education:

  • The best fruits for grilling are peaches, apricots, plums, pineapples, figs, pears, avocados, coconut, mangos, bananas, and even cantaloupe and watermelon. 
  • Before grilling, always brush fruit with olive oil. This will keep it from sticking to the grill and help seal in the juices.
  • Use indirect heat to grill fruit, either on a raised grill or on an unlit side.
  • Fruit cooks quickly, so stand by! Grill flesh-side first and check after about two minutes. Look for grill marks before flipping over.
  • Leave rinds and peels on fruit for better handling.
  • On the grill, your favorite sweet fruits get even sweeter and more complex as the natural sugars caramelize and give you the flavor of a fresh-from-the-oven cobbler.
  • Natural sugars not enough for you? Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top and let a caramel-y crust form.
  • Grilled fruits aren’t just for dessert. Add them to salads, pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and burgers.
  • Love fruit kabobs? Try grilling them! Even berries work well grilled on a skewer. Give them about 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Try blending grilled fruits into a homemade vinaigrette. The sweet, smoky flavor is unbelievable.
  • A drizzle of honey, maple syrup, or coconut milk is a delicious topping for grilled fruit.
  • Keep in mind that fruit will continue cooking after you remove it from the grill.

Give it a try and find your own favorite grilled fruit flavors!
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Great Ways to Commemorate Your Summer Vacation

Mrs. Fields Secrets Vacation Memories
You’re back from your epic summer vacation. You’ve unpacked your suitcases, done all your laundry and returned your camera to the back of the closet until your next trip. Before all the memories fade, take a little time to commemorate your vacation with some of these creative ideas, even for you non-creative types:

1. A Vacation Memory Box is an easy way to store all the little trinkets and mementos you gather along your way.
2. Upload all your photos and create your own coffee table book full of memories.
3. Scan a favorite vacation photo onto fabric for a throw pillow.
4. Not sure what to do with that over-used map from your trip? Use it to line the bottom of a decorative tray.
5. This Vacation Memory Jar makes a great display on the bookshelf.
6. Create an online slideshow to share with friends.

Do you have great ideas for commemorating your vacation? Share them!

Homemade Bug Repellant

Homemade Bug Repellant

I can never decide which I dislike most, mosquito bites or the smell of bug spray. That’s why I was thrilled to come across this solution. Homemade bug repellant is safe, effective, and smells nice too. I’ve been making it and using it all summer. Try this recipe and store it in travel sized spray bottles. You can keep one in your pocket or purse for use whenever you need. I also love these as favors for outdoor parties, picnics or weddings.

Homemade Bug Spray

1/2 cup distilled water
1/3 cup witch hazel
1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
30-50 drops of essential oil (any mix of lavender, eucalyptus, citron, rosemary or lemongrass)

Directions
Mix all ingredients together and pour into spray bottles. Double or triple the recipe as needed.

HINT: Look for essential oils at health food stores or natural food markets.

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