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Try This! Tajín Fruit and Snack Seasoning


Time to take your taste buds on a mini-vacation.

Tajin Classico Seasoning

Tajín is my favorite go-to seasoning if I want a little more kick than salt and pepper deliver.

In Mexico, where Tajín is made and bottled, the spicy condiment is sold as a seasoning for fruit. But early-adopters and lovers of this chile pepper-dehydrated lime juice-salt concoction use it on everything. And I mean everything.

Excellent with eggs. Terrific with tuna salad. Stupendous with steak. Amazing with… you get the picture.

Tajín’s appeal is hard to describe. It’s a bit spicy… but not so spicy that it’ll burn your face off. It’s a bit salty… but you won’t feel like you’ve just dined at a salt lick. There’s a nice acidic bite, but it won’t make you squint and pucker up.

Yep… this is exactly what you need to breathe new life into your boring mealtime repertoire.

If you’ve never tried it, sprinkle a little on some sliced cucumbers or melon. Pretty soon, you’ll be shaking it all over everything… and loving it. Your leftover turkey sandwich never tasted so good.

They’re making a low-sodium variety now, in addition to the Tajín Classico. You can find it in most supermarkets, Trader Joe’s, Target and Wal-Mart.

Let me know if you try it, what you tried it on and how you liked it!

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Try This: The Popcorn Factory’s Halloween Popcorn Decorating Kit


Popcorn Decorating Kit

Want your Halloween Party to really POP this year?

It’s so nerve-wracking throwing a Halloween Party. There’s always that moment of dread: What if it’s BORING? Here’s a great icebreaker for your guests while they mentally judge the other costumes (“That’s the fifth Heisenberg get-up I’ve seen!).

Now this will sound corny (ha!), but right after your guests walk in, have them begin creatively and ghoulishly decorating a popcorn ball. Then later on, have a contest and judge the creations across different categories… most ghoulish… cutest… weirdest… you get the idea.

Don’t worry… I’m not adding extra work to your party planning. My good friends at The Popcorn Factory offer an all-in-one Halloween Popcorn Decorating Kit that comes with Popcorn Balls and bags of goodies for creating enchantment. The kit even has writing “glue” tubes to personalize each creation.

Oh… and this is great for kids AND adults!

This is all you need to do:
1. Set up a table and cover it with a plastic tablecloth. Put out some hand sanitizer, paper plates and a roll of paper towels. Put a garbage can underneath the table.
2. Pour the decorating candy into small bowls. Open the candy writers.
3. Leave the popcorn balls in their wrappers and put them in a big bowl.
4. Share on Instagram and Twitter with #justbecause so we can all see them!

If you’re interested in ordering the Halloween Popcorn Decorating Kit, click here. Don’t wait… Halloween is a week away!

What other Halloween Party ideas do you have to get your guests involved?

I made these at the party… hey, I’m a cook not a crafter! But we had fun!

Halloween Popcorn Balls


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Try This: The Apples of Autumn


25 Different Apples to Try This Fall

Really? A Red Delicious apple? Why… when there are so many more interesting and tastier apples out there?

Here are 25 apple varieties you should definitely try this fall.

Oh, and one other thing. You’ve got to love the names of some of these apples: Twenty-Ounce, Sweet Sixteen and my personal favorite: Prairie Spy! Let me know which ones you try!

Autumn Crisp Apple





Autumn Crisp (formerly known as NY674) – Perfectly balanced sugar and acid with an extra crunchy texture and fantastic juiciness makes this one of the best eating apples. Perfect for: eating raw, salads, applesauce.



Blushing Golden Apple





Blushing Golden – The crisp white flesh has an almost sweet flavor very much like a Golden Delicious Apple. It holds its texture well so store in a cool dry place for up to 3 months. Perfect for: baking, applesauce.




Cortland Apple




Cortland – This apple is tart and crisp with pale flesh that is slow to brown. Perfect for: eating raw, baking, cooking, applesauce.





Empire Apple






Empire – This firm, slightly tart medium-sized apple with a crisp cream-colored flesh gradually gets sweeter and juicier as the days gets colder. Perfect for: eating raw, baking, cooking, sauce.





Fortune Apple





Fortune – A unique spicy-flavored apple with a crisp, yellow flesh. Perfect for: eating raw.




Grimes Golden Apple






Grimes Golden – This apple has a crisp, juicy flesh with an aromatic taste, which makes it a great cider apple. Perfect for: eating fresh, salads.



Hardy Winesap Apple






Hardy Winesap – This somewhat tart, juicy apple is very aromatic, which is why it is used to make delicious cider. Perfect for: eating fresh, cooking, cider.




Honey Crisp Apple






Honey Crisp – An explosively crisp, white-flesh apple with a slightly tart, honey-like sweet flavor. Can be stored Store up to 3 months. Perfect for: eating raw.




Honeygold Apple





Honeygold – A medium to large apple with smooth skin and yellow, crisp flesh. Perfect for: eating raw, baking, salads and sauce.




Idared Apple





Idared – The tart and juicy white flesh often has a pinkish tint, which adds a bit of colorful excitement when making applesauce. Excellent for storing. Perfect for: eating raw, cooking, baking, applesauce.



Jonagold Apple





Jonagold – These red-orange colored apples have a firm, crunchy sweet white flesh that is also very juicy. Stores well for up to 3 months. Perfect for: eating raw, baking, cooking, applesauce and juice.





Liberty Apple








Liberty – Fine, juicy white flesh with a nice sweet flavor. Perfect for: eating fresh, applesauce.





Lobo Apple







Lobo – Sweet and crisp, with McIntosh-apple qualities. Perfect for: eating raw, applesauce (because it breaks down easily when cooked).


Macoun Apple





Macoun – A great all-purpose apple that’s highly aromatic… some regard it as the “finest eating apple in the world.” The snow-white flesh is extra sweet and juicy. Stores very well. Perfect for: eating raw, salads, applesauce. Great with cheese!



McIntosh Apple






McIntosh – The unique, perfume-like aroma really sets this firm and juicy apple apart. A great all purpose apple. Perfect for: eating raw, cider, cooking, baking, juice.




Melrose Apple






Melrose – The official apple of Ohio! Large and slightly squat, this firm sweet-tart apple has a yellowish-green skin, streaked with red. Gets better if stored properly. Perfect for: baking, cooking and sauce.





Mutsu Apple






Mutsu (Crispin) – This sweet-tart apple originated in Japan. Crisp and very refreshing. Perfect for: eating raw, ciders, salads, baking, cooking, applesauce.



Northern Spy Apple






Northern Spy – A large and stout aromatic apple with a tangy taste. Considered the best apple for making pie. Stays crisp and juicy for long periods of time in storage. Perfect for: eating raw, baking, cooking, applesauce, with cheese.


Prairie Spy Apple






Prairie Spy – One of the best storage apples! It has an excellent tart-sweet flavor and is very juicy. Perfect for: eating raw, cooking, applesauce.




Snapp Stayman Apple




Snapp Stayman – Tangy and flavorful with a hard, crisp yellow flesh. Perfect for: eating fresh (if you like tart apples) baking, sauces, cooking and ciders.






Spigold Apple





Spigold – Firm with a tangy, sweet flavor. Stores very well. Perfect for: cooking, baking, applesauce.




Sweet Sixteen Apple





Sweet Sixteen – Very, very sweet in flavor with aromatic, crisp flesh. Perfect for: eating fresh.





Swiss Gourmet Apple








Swiss Gourmet (Arlet Apple) – Firm, tart flesh with a very distinctive flavor. Perfect for: eating raw.



Twenty-Ounce Apple




Twenty-Ounce (aka Cayuga Red Streak) – Yes, this one really lives up to it’s name… these juicy, sweet-tart apples are HUGE. Perfect for: eating raw, salads, cooking and baking.




Zestar Apple





Zestar (formerly known as the Minnewashta) – A crisp apple packed with sweet, tangy flavor. Perfect for: eating raw.




So… which one will you try first?

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Try This: REAL Halloween Treats!


Forget the candy corn… leave that for the kids. This is what you really want this Halloween.

Morkes Chocolates mixes a little bit of the macabre with a whole lot of chocolate to come up with a fantastic collection of molded chocolate rats, eyeballs, Frankensteins and more. The company’s been around since 1920, and makes all of its chocolate goodies from the best ingredients.

Morkes Halloween Chocolates

And if you’re more of a Day of the Dead celebrant, Morkes has a variety of sugar, solid and semi-solid chocolate skulls. They’ll even personalize the skulls with the name of a loved one, just like traditional Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico!

Morkes Sugar and Chocolate Skulls

You can order online here, or stop by one of their two Chicago-area locations!

You can’t have Halloween with out caramel apples. Mrs. Prindable’s uses a delicious buttery caramel that’s made the old fashioned way: slowly cooked in copper pots in small batches until perfect.

Mrs. Prindable's Jumbo and Petite Apples


I’m not kidding. Their Jumbo Caramel Apple can weigh up to 1½ lbs! Mrs. Prindable’s also makes smaller, more manageable 8-ounce dipped apples. Both sizes are available in 8 different gourmet flavors, including Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Almond Caramel. Whew. Just reading that gives me a sugar rush. Take a peek at their online store here!

Chef Jamie Cantor of Platine Cookies really knows how to make some boo-tiful Halloween cookies. Her scary-themed couture cookies and Halloween Candy Craze cookies (like everything in her bakery) are created from original recipes with all-natural ingredients and mixed in a small batches.

Platine Cookies!

Every single cookie is made to order… which, as you know, is so important when dealing with baked goods! Stop in her Culver City, California bakery or click here to order online.

Serve any of these sweet treats at your Halloween bash and you’ll be the talk of the ‘hood as the ghost-ess with the most-ess!

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: