Jamie L. Watts

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Top 5 Ways to Use Keeley Krackerz This Summer!

With summer and the heat upon us at last, no one wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen!  Here are five quick, simple and refreshing recipes using Keeley Krackerz that will make you the hit of the neighborhood picnic or family barbecue!

1.  Cool Cucumber Cracker Appetizer

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Photo Credit:  Snackpicks

Recipe:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 32 Keeley Krackerz® Original crackers
  • 1/2 cup Ranch Veggie Dip
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced very thin
  • Finely chopped radishes (optional)

Directions

1. Spread each cracker with Ranch Veggie Dip and top with cucumber discs. Sprinkle with chopped radishes, if desired. Serve immediately.

Click here for more summer recipes!

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Join Us for the 5th Annual WiseKrackerz Comedy Competition and Fireworks Display!

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Photo Credit:  Comment Nation

It’s that time of year again!!

If you are in the New York City area, please join us for the 5th Annual WiseKrackerz Comedy Competition and Fireworks Display, being held on July 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm in Astoria Park.

The WiseKrackerz Comedy Competition and Fireworks Display has something for everyone in the family to enjoy including:

  • Carnival games and rides for the kids
  • A variety of food vendors
  • Local bands and performers
  • Even the chance to meet everyone’s favorite kangaroo, Mr. Krackerz!

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Photo Credit:  CultureMob

The Comedy Competition kicks off at 7:00 pm on the main stage.  This year we received over 100 audition tapes and have narrowed it down to 5 finalists.  Each comedian will perform a 20 minute set and our celebrity judges will determine a winner.  Clips from each of our 5 finalists audition tapes can be found on our website, www.keeleykrackerz.com.  Be sure to check it out and come support your favorite!

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Photo Credit:  Broadcast Engineering

Following the announcement of the winner of the Comedy Competition, the Fireworks Display will kick off promptly at 9:00 pm.  Everyone’s favorite part of the day, our fireworks display features over 40,000 fireworks coming from four barges in the East River and will last for approximately 30 minutes.  Don’t miss out!

Cost is $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for kids, and all children under 5 are free.  

100% of the proceeds benefit Keeley Krackerz “Krackerz for Kidz Foundation” which supports children diagnosed with cancer and their families.  Last year’s event raised over $300,000.

Looking forward to seeing all of you there!

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Salt City Ice Cream Recalls Syracreamsicle Flavor

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Photo Credit:  Food.com

Salt City Ice Cream is voluntarily recalling all versions of it’s Syracreamsicle flavor (pints, half-gallons and gallons) due to salmonella concerns.

Routine FDA testing at a production facility tested positive for salmonella, but no illnesses have been reported.

As always, Salt City Ice Cream’s primary concern is the safety of it’s products and the health of it’s customers, and as a result, Salt City Ice Cream is taking this matter extremely seriously.

INFORMATION FOR CUSTOMERS

  • First, if you have consumed Salt City Ice Cream’s Syracreamsicle flavored ice cream and are experiencing any symptoms of salmonella, please contact your local medical provider or poison control center immediately for assistance.
  • If you have purchased a carton of Syracreamsicle, it may be returned for a full reimbursement to any Salt City Ice Cream store in Syracuse, NY. Upon return, customers will also receive coupons for five free gallons of any Salt City Ice Cream flavor to be used at any time in the future.

*Please note:  This recall is only for the Syracreamsicle flavor and no other Salt City Ice Cream flavor has been contaminated.

Salt City Ice Cream is available to answer any questions or discuss any concerns regarding this recall.  Feel free to contact Salt City Ice Cream at management@saltcityicecream.com or 315-475-5122.  A representative will be available from 8 AM to 7 PM (EST) to assist with any concerns you may have.

Salt City Ice Cream deeply apologizes for this recall and for any health issues or inconvenience this may have caused any of our customers.  Salt City Ice Cream is working closely with the Food and Drug Administration to ensure this does not happen again.

Please continue to follow this blog for any future updates concerning the recall.

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Building My Community

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Photo Credit:  A Million Blogs (amillionblogs.com)

As a blogger, one of the most important things to do is build and maintain a community that appreciates your blog and it’s content. For my blog, a cookie decorating blog, here are 5 ways I plan to create a community that people enjoy participating in.

1. Create Categories and Use Tags

While cookie decorating is a topic that may seem pretty narrow, it can actually create a wide variety of blog posts. The best way to organize these and make them simple for my readers to follow is to use categories and tags.

  • I plan to divide my posts into categories such as recipes, tutorials, contests, giveaways, etc. so they can be easily found by readers.
  • Similarly, I plan to tag my posts with more specific words related to the individual post to further narrow down reader’s searches (for example, Christmas cookies, animal cookies, summer cookies, etc.).

2. Post Regularly and With Specific Themes for Specific Days

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Photo Credit:  Crafty Mumma (www.craftymumma.com)

  • To be sure that the readers who come to my blog stay with my blog, I plan to post at least once daily, following a theme for most days. (For example, Recipe Mondays, Tutorial Tuesdays, etc.). This way, readers know that if they are interested in a new recipe, Monday is the day to check the blog for that.
  • However, in order for the blog to not get too bogged down in the schedule and become repetitive, I also plan to post other, more random cookie decorating posts daily as well. This will allow me to create a routine or a blog schedule, yet also have some variety in what I post so as not to bore my readers.

3. Participate in the Comments

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Photo Credit:  Eric-Lord.com (www.eric-lord.com)

Being approachable and accessible to my readers is something that is very important to me.  I want my readers to feel as if they can ask me questions, offer honest criticism or advice, or just chat with me at any time!

  • In a blog involving anything cooking or baking related, readers will most likely have questions on how something has been done. I will encourage my readers to post their questions (or critiques) of what I have posted in the comments section, and monitor and answer those questions as quickly as possible.
  • I will also provide contact information in the form of an email address so readers will always have a way to reach out to me. I think it’s really important for a blogger to be on the same level as the readers, and while I want my readers to see me as the “expert”, I also want them to see me as just “one of them” and feel comfortable to approach me with any questions or comments. I think by presenting myself as extremely accessible via the comments and email that will provide a comfort level with my readers that will work for all of us.
  • Additionally, I’m hopeful that comments or questions will provide me with ideas for future blog posts.  For example, if I receive multiple questions regarding my recipe for royal icing, I may decide that a tutorial outlining each step would be a good addition to the blog.  Once readers see that I am utilizing their comments to generate content they want, it should only make the community a stronger one to be a part of.

4. Use Social Media to my Advantage

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Photo Credit:  Nation’s Restaurant News (www.nrn.com)

Taking advantage of the variety of social media networks available will help me not only build my community, but stay connected with them even outside of the blog.

  • I will use sites like Facebook and Twitter to post links to all of my blog posts, as well as use it to connect with other cookie decorators.  By networking with others in the cookie world, I am opening myself and my blog to their community, in the hopes that their readers will visit my blog as well.  I will also use these sites to communicate directly with my readers, similar to how I will respond to them in the comments section of my blog.
  • I also plan to use sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to post pictures of my cookies (in progress and complete), share recipes and tutorials of my creations, and post video tutorials as well.  These sites all provide another outlet to reach readers, and also provide readers with a variety of things that will keep me and my blog fresh in their mind as they peruse their own social networks.

5.  Host and Participate in Challenges/Events with other Bloggers

The cookie decorating community is continuously growing, yet so many decorators have different styles and voices, it seems there is room for just about everyone.  A fun way to be introduced to new decorators is through challenges hosted by one blogger, inviting other decorators to participate.

  • I will participate in these challenges (ones similar to LilaLoa’s most recent one) and link up to my blog post detailing my contribution on the host’s page as requested.  This will introduce me to readers of other bloggers who are participating, and hopefully grow my community.
  • Similarly, once I have become an established blogger, I will host my own challenges, inviting other decorators to participate.  This will entice their readers to visit my blog for the challenge, and hopefully stick around after that!

By following these steps, along with others listed in our lecture, I hope to begin to build my community.  Even once I have become an established blogger in the cookie decorating community, continuing to participate in things such as challenges and link-ups, as well as being completely accessible to my readers, will only help my community grow further.

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Amelia Earhart: New Clues Suggest Final Resting Place

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Photo Credit:  Scholastic

Has Amelia Earhart’s whereabouts finally been figured out?  New evidence presented by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery suggests it has.

According to a new study, 57 radio transmissions originally dismissed, were actually distress calls from Earhart.

Discovery News reports that at the time of Earhart’s disappearance, approximately 120 distress calls were suspected to be from Earhart and led to a search in the South Pacific.  When that search failed, these signals and calls were largely deemed as erroneous and have been ignored ever since.

The study utilized advances in technology, using digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs, to take a more detailed look at those 120 calls and determined 57 were actually from Earhart.

Based on these calls, IGHAR believes Earhart, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, landed safely on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro, uninhabited since 1892.  Their hypothesis continues, stating that Earhart and Noonan continued to make calls from Earhart’s plane, a Lockheed Electra, until the plane was swept away by the tide.  Once the plane was swept away, no calls could be made, and when the U.S. Navy flew search planes over the area, not spotting the plane, they continued on without searching deeper.  IGHAR believes Earhart and Noonan died as castaways on the island, and their remains lie there.

On the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance, July 2, IGHAR plans to launch their ninth expedition to Nikumaroro.  With this new theory in hand, we will wait and see what they uncover.

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Cookie Crumbs

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Photo Credit:  The Book Butcher

Hey Everyone! Here’s this week’s edition of Cookie Crumbs, my weekly round-up of what’s happening in the cookie world!

  • Sugarbelle’s got some tips on mixing icing colors using the “one bowl method”
  • Marian posted a tutorial for her stunning KitchenAid Oven cookies over at Sweetopia
  • There’s a new cookie challenge over at LilaLoa…go check it out!
  • Just in time for the hot weather, The Decorated Cookie has gone back into the archives to post some fun summer treats!
  • Somebody got a new tool! Haniela’s talking airbrushes!
  • I can’t wait to make these sprinkle cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen!
  • Copper Gifts has some awesome sale items this month, including a 4th of July cookie cutter set that may come in handy soon!
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Top 10 Tools Every Cookie Decorator Should Have

As every cookie decorator knows, the amount and variety of tools needed to perform cookie magic is enormous. While every cookie decorator is different and has their own preferences, here is my list of the top 10 tools every cookie decorator should have:

10.  Cookie Sheets

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Photo Credit:  Sam’s Club

A cookie decorator can never have too many cookie sheets.  I use mine for both baking and decorating, keeping my cookies organized and secure while in progress.  Once you find a brand you (and your oven!) like best, buy as many as possible.  My personal favorites can be found here:  Cookie Sheets 

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