Does Warm Milk Help You Sleep? And Other Food Myths

Warm Milk

Does warm milk really help when you can’t sleep? We’re tackling ten food myths to see if they are fact or fiction.

Myth #1: Warm Milk Helps You Sleep
Verdict: Fact, but it’s not exactly biology that makes it so, it’s more psychology. A warm glass of milk is comforting like a teddy bear or favorite blanket, calming nerves and summoning peaceful memories.

Myth #2: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Verdict: Fact-ish. While there’s nothing magical about an apple, the idea of daily fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet is one of the most important ways to stay healthy.

Myth #3: Eating Carrots Improves Eyesight
Verdict: Fact, but specifically your sight at night. Carrots will not be able to replace your reading glasses, but the Vitamin A in carrots does help your eyes adjust to dim light. If you have trouble with night vision, try eating more carrots.

Myth #4: Fresh Produce Is Always Better Than Frozen
Verdict: Fiction. It’s true that few things are as delicious as a fresh ear of corn, but when it comes to nutrition, the frozen substitute is often better unless you picked the corn yourself from the stalk. The flash-freezing process happens within hours of picking and preserves nearly all of the nutrients, much more than produce that has to travel for days by truck to reach your store.

Myth #5: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever
Verdict: Fiction. Good nutrition is always important, and especially when you are sick. Fevers burn extra calories, sometimes an excessive amount, so restricting calories could be dangerous. Colds and fevers both deserve that bowl of chicken soup!

Myth #6: Dark Bread is Healthier Than Light Bread
Verdict: Fiction. The key for determining a healthier bread is less about color and more about one simple word: multi-grain. The more grains in a bread, the more nutrients and fiber.

Myth #7: Fish is Brain Food
Verdict: Fact. The unsaturated fatty oils in fish known as omega-3s are not only good for your heart (reducing risk of heart disease and stroke), but especially your brain. Daily servings of fish reduce your chances of dementia by up to 60%!

Myth #8: Spicy Foods Cause Ulcers
Verdict: Fiction. Ulcers are caused by a very specific bacteria in the stomach that has nothing to do with spicy food.

Myth #9: Chocolate Causes Pimples
Verdict: Fiction. (Phew!) Some very old and very poorly designed studies from the 1930s linked chocolate consumption with pimples, but that research does not hold up.

Myth #10: A Cookie Makes Everything Better
Verdict: Fact. We are the experts on this one, and even a great day is made better with a cookie. Case closed.

Valentine’s Day Preview

Love is in the air and it smells like freshly baked Mrs. Fields goodies. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’ve put together our favorite gift ideas from our Valentine’s Day collection. Whether you need to treat your kids, your BFF, your fiancé or your spouse of 30 years, we’ve got something for everyone. Check out a few of our favorites…

Valentine’s Day Frosted Cookie Tin

Buttery rich frosted cookies in heart shapes are a decadent treat for anybody on your list, and when they arrive in a heart-shaped Mrs. Fields tin, they’ll know you sent the very best.

Love Tote

Our felt Love Tote has adorable details and handfuls of our favorite Nibblers bite-sized cookies in an assortment of our most popular flavors.

Mad for Plaid Box

Looking for a more masculine gift? Our Mad for Plaid will please any fella, especially the delicious assortment of bite-sized cookies and brownies, and our signature frosted cookies.

Photo Heart Personalized Tin

Your favorite photo uploaded right onto our Personalized Tin makes your Valentine gift for your sweetheart more than just a decadent treat, it’s a keepsake.

Big Cookie Cake

How do you show love in a big way? With a Big Cookie Cake, of course! Our famous chocolate chip cookie is baked into a heart shape and decorated with decadent frosting expressing any personalized message (up to 20 characters).

Love Puppy

It’s more than just puppy love for our Love Puppy. This ultra soft plush toy arrives with paw-fuls of our gourmet best. What better way to treat your crush?

Love Letter Box

Cookies are our love letter to the world, and our Love Letter Box is a perfect way for you to express your love to someone special. (Plus, the decorative box can collect real love letters too.)

Shop our entire Valentine’s Day collection online and this weekend only, save 20% site wide with code SITEWIDE20 at checkout. And did you know? You can shop now and have your gift delivered right on Valentine’s Day! Just select your preferred delivery date in checkout.

Recipe: Snowball Popcorn Balls

Snowball Popcorn Balls

While some people are not too keen on snow (especially as January drags on), pretty much everybody is keen on popcorn balls! Our favorite fist-sized treat from childhood is the perfect dish to make on a cold, snowy January day. And this recipe is dressed up with shredded coconut to give it a snowy look that tastes like heaven. Try them out with a mug of something warm.

Snowball Popcorn Balls
via Season of Sweets

7 quarts popcorn, popped and cooled*
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package shredded coconut

Directions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare another baking sheet with an even layer of shredded coconut. Place popcorn in an oversized bowl. In a saucepan, stir sugar, corn syrup, water and salt together, then cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 235 degrees or “soft ball” stage. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until melted and completely combined. Pour the syrup evenly over the popcorn, then stir with a wooden spoon until you have an even coating. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then form popcorn into baseball-sized balls and roll in the coconut for an even coating, then place to cool completely on the parchment-lined sheet. Serve immediately or wrap each snowball in plastic wrap for best results.

*Two tablespoons of unpopped popcorn equals about 1 quart popped.

5 Easy Homemade Dog Treats

Mrs. Fields Secrets Doggie Treats
If you’ve got a four-legged friend in the house, we’ve got just the way to make their day! Homemade dog treats are a fun, healthy, affordable way to shower love on man’s best friend. There are many advantages to making your own dog treats, including customizing the portion size and incorporating your dog’s favorite flavors. We’ve gathered five fun, easy recipes (including a no-bake option) to help you get started. Try them out, customize them and make them your own. Your dog will love you (even more) for it! Follow links for the original recipes.

1. Peanut Butter Doggy Pretzels
2. Bacon Flavored Dog Treats
3. No-Bake Dog Treats
4. Peanut Butter Paw Print Biscuits
5. Healthy Morning Poochidatis

Tips for Keeping Your Cookies Fresh

There’s nothing quite like a batch of cookies fresh from the oven, so soft, chewy and moist. But how do you keep that first-day freshness until the last cookie? We’ve got some brilliant tips to help you do just that!

  • Always allow cookies to cool completely before storing. Placing still-warm cookies in a container will cause them to get soggy from steam.
  • The more butter, the longer the cookie will stay fresh. The natural fats from butter help retain moisture and softness. If you need a recipe you can make ahead of time, our blue-ribbon chocolate chip is ideal.
  • Air-tight containers are key for freshness, but pay attention to size. Use the smallest container you can, which will ensure the least amount of air inside.
  • Never store cookies in the refrigerator, which dries them out. For long-term storage, opt for the freezer in a freezer-safe, air-tight container. Frozen cookies can stay fresh up to three months.
  • Place a slice of sandwich bread inside the cookie jar or container. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread to remain moist. Replace the bread every 1-2 days.
  • Wrapping each individual cookie in plastic wrap is a great way to keep air out and moisture locked in. Plus, cookies are ready to go at any time into a lunch bag, purse or pocket.
  • When using a container, separate layers of cookies with pieces of wax or parchment paper. They will retain better shape and more even moisture.
  • Never combine soft and crispy cookies in the same container.
  • Buttery cookies like shortbreads and sugar cookies will stay fresher longer with liners. Use cupcake liners around each cookie in a container for best results.
  • Unless freezing for long-term storage, room temperature is best for cookies.
  • Cookie jars are cute, but make sure they have an airtight seal around the rim for best results.
  • To give a cookie a fresh-from-the-oven taste, wrap it in a barely wet paper towel and microwave it for 5 second increments until warm and soft.

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping cookies fresh? Share it with us!

Press Release: Mrs. Fields Sweetens Portfolio

The parent company of Mrs. Fields Cookies and TCBY Yogurt is adding Maxfield Candy and Nutty Guys brands to the portfolio. Famous Brands International, which is owned by private equity firm Z Capital Partners, L.L.C., has acquired the assets of International Confections Co. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Maxfield Candy brand, which previously was owned by a Mrs. Fields licensee, makes assorted chocolates, peppermint bark and truffles. Nutty Guys manufactures premium nut, dried fruit and popcorn products.

“With a renowned heritage as a premium confectioner dating back nearly 70 years, the Maxfield Candy brand is an ideal fit, and I’m confident that the addition of these delicious treats to the Famous Brands portfolio will delight our existing and future customers,” said Joyce Hrinya, interim chief executive officer of Famous Brands.

The addition of Maxfield Candy and Nutty Guys is expected to accelerate global demand for Famous Brands’ products.

“As a long-standing partner to Mrs. Fields, Maxfield Candy is a natural addition to our portfolio,” said James Zenni, chairman of Famous Brands and c.e.o. of Z Capital. “The Famous Brands’ team has worked tirelessly to capitalize on the significant potential of the company’s platform, and today, TCBY and Mrs. Fields are distinctly positioned in their respective markets and expanding rapidly.”

Recipe: Pinecone Treats

Mrs. Fields Secrets Pinecone Treats

It’s frigid and snowy outside, which means it’s a perfect time to stay inside and make some wintery sweet treats. These adorable, delicious pinecones are a no-bake, fun activity to do with the kids on a snow day. You might even have the ingredients in your pantry. They make a beautiful display and a yummy snack or dessert, especially with a fresh dusting of snowy powdered sugar.

Pinecone Treats

1/4 cup hazelnut spread
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
5 pretzel twists
3 cups chocolate Chex cereal

Directions
In a mixing bowl, combine the hazelnut spread, peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until a play dough-like texture is reached. Divide into five equal portions, then wrap a portion around each pretzel twist, forming it into a conical shape. Place on a flat surface and begin sticking cereal pieces into the cone, wrapping around from bottom to top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to create a snowy look. Serve at room temperature.

Make Your Own Cookie Butter

Homemade Cookie Butter via A Beautiful Mess

What’s better than cookies and butter? How about cookie butter? And what’s better than cookie butter? How about homemade cookie butter. That’s right, this decadent treat is super simple to make with your favorite cookies and a few simple ingredients. It also makes an absolutely thoughtful gift. We discovered this helpful tutorial on A Beautiful Mess and give it a standing ovation. Here’s what you need to know:

Cookie Butter
adapted from A Beautiful Mess

2 cups cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk
water as needed

Directions
Prepare cookie crumbs by pulsing cookies in a food processor. (If using sandwich cookies with a cream filling, remove the cream filling first.) Keep pulsing until you have two cups of fine powder. Transfer crumbs to a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over low heat until melted, and then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and continue stirring until completely combined. Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid into the cookie crumbs and mix together with a spoon. Keep adding small amounts of the liquid until the cookie butter is just wet enough to stay together. Depending on how dry the cookie is to begin with, you’ll need more or less liquid. Buttery cookies (like the sugar cookies) won’t require nearly as much as the drier cookies.

Once the cookie butter is blended, allow it to cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Remove from fridge and stir very small amounts of water (start with 1/8 teaspoon) into the mixture. Continue blending and stirring until you reach a smooth, butter-like consistency, adding butter as necessary. Once desired consistency is reached, cover butter and transfer to the refrigerator. It will keep up to two weeks!

Great Tips for Your Holiday Leftovers

The holidays are officially over, but you’ve still got a fridge and pantry full of decadent food and treats. We’ve gathered up some great ideas to put all that food to good use.

Meats and Cheeses
Reinvent your leftover ham, turkey or roast and bits of cheese in a delicious frittata served for breakfast or brunch. Add in fresh veggies, eggs, even pasta or rice, and the flavors come together in a delicious new way.

Fruit
A fruit basket makes a great gift, but it can be overwhelming to eat it all before it goes bad. We recommend transforming it into a fresh fruit pizza or a pitcher of delicious winter sangria.

Cakes
If you’ve got cakes that are starting to get dry, transform them into delicious cake pops. The bite-sized treats are perfectly portioned for your New Year’s goals.

Cookies
If you’ve got an overload of cookies, place a scoop of ice cream between two of them and transform them into a fresh stock of ice cream sandwiches in your freezer.

Breads, Rolls and Crackers
Stale bread makes delicious homemade croutons. Stale rolls and crackers can be turned into bread crumbs in your food processor. Pulse them and then place the crumbs in a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer until needed.

Unopened Perishables
Most food banks and shelters get a lot of support during the holidays, but very little afterward. Box up your unopened perishables and deliver them to those in need. Better yet, invite your neighbors to do the same.

Do you have a favorite idea for holiday leftovers? Let us know!

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Our Top Ten Favorite Recipes of 2014

Mrs. Fields Secrets Top Ten 2014 Mrs. Fields Secrets Top Ten 2014 2

 

One of our favorite parts of social media is sharing a fresh new recipe with you each week, prepared in a real home kitchen just like yours. As 2014 draws to a close, we took a look back at our favorite recipes from the year, some of which have turned out to be your favorite recipes too. Thanks for re-pinning, sharing, and joining our community. You’re the best part of our job at Mrs. Fields, and we look forward to a sweet new 2015 with you!

So, without further ado, our favorites from 2014:

1. Banana Bread Bread Pudding
2. Breadstick Cones
3. Butterscotch Budino Pudding
4. Cinnamon Stuffed Scones
5. Drop Sugar Cookies
6. Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake
7. Rice Pudding
8. Almond Pizzelle Cookies
9. Chewy Maple Oatmeal Cookies
10. Watermelon Pie

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know!

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