Quick and Easy Snack Ideas for March Madness

8 Quick and Easy ‘March Madness’ Snack Ideas

“Oh, by the way, the guys are coming over to watch the game in 30 minutes…” Is March Madness driving you bonkers? The guys are coming over might be a common ‘FYI’ in your house these days. Unlike the Super Bowl, an event you have months to prepare for, the weeks of March Madness can result in a parade of last-minute house guests. Just because the gathering is less “formal,” doesn’t mean that you won’t be expected to provide something to snack on during the game.

A simple solution for any last-minute gathering is to have simple snacks that you can throw together from your pantry with little to no preparation. Here is our collection of game day snacks that will make you look like a super host without any effort. We promise you won’t even have to put real pants on.

Easy Game Day Snack Ideas

With a few items from your pantry, you can whip up a snack to please the crowd (and keep your pajama pants on).

Game Day Snack Ideas from Your Pantry

1. Flatbread Pizza. If you keep flatbread or pita bread on hand, you can have a snack in a flash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the flatbread or pita rounds on a baking tray. Top with whatever you have on hand and bake for 8 minutes. Here are a few combinations to get you started:

  • pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella with pepperoni
  • olive oil and parmesan topped with olives or roasted red peppers
  • shredded sharp cheddar with ham or bacon
  • ricotta, red onion, and asparagus finished with arugula after baking

2. Chips and Queso. What is Velveeta? Who cares. It’s ‘cheese’… we think. It has a long shelf life so you can keep it in your pantry for entertaining emergencies. Drop the block of Velveeta in a small pot or microwavable bowl, top with a can of your favorite chili, and heat until melted while stirring every so often. In five minutes or less you will have a tasty dip to go with chips, a jar of salsa, and beer.

3. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp. Bacon, frozen shrimp, and toothpicks will make an amazing snack to serve alongside cheese and crackers. Thaw out the shrimp, cut the slices of bacon in half, roll up the shrimp in the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or wax paper, line with the wrapped shrimp, and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes — done!

4. Easy Poutine. For a poor man’s version of this Canadian indulgence, just keep a bag of frozen fries on hand. Bake according to instructions on a baking sheet, remove from oven and create a pile of fries. Drizzle with a can of brown gravy and top with shredded cheese (the real deal is made with cheese curds, but use any cheese really). Pop under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve on the baking sheet and let the animals have at it.

Easy Entertaining Ideas for March Madness

White Bean and Rosemary dip is so versatile, you can serve it with anything.

5. White Bean and Rosemary Dip. An alternative to hummus, this is the best dip to make if you don’t want to invest in a tub of tahini and have fresh rosemary on hand. Simply drain a can of cannellini beans and add to your food processor with a squirt of lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary. Blend and add olive oil until you reach the consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, pita bread, or toasts.

6. Easiest Cheesiest Bean Dip. If there’s anything we learned from our parents or grandparents, it’s that you can make a meal in minute with a can of condensed soup. Keep a can of condensed bean with bacon soup — you know the brand — in your pantry. Stir together the soup, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of minced onion, and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning mix in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir again and microwave an additional 3 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve with chips and you’re done!

7. Easy Mini Meatballs. Keep Italian sausage in your freezer to thaw as you need it. Cut off the casing of the sausage and cut the link into quarter size pieces, rolling them into balls. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place balls on a wax-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with toothpicks and a small bowl of warm pasta sauce for dipping. You can also use Italian turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter option!

8. Hot Crab Dip. Dips that you can bake require minimal effort on your part. Crab dip may sound complicated, but you can make it with items in your kitchen that have a long shelf life. In a bowl, combine a block of softened cream cheese, ⅓ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, 1 ½ cups shredded cheese of your preference, 1 can of crabmeat, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh onion (red, white, yellow, or green). Mix together then transfer mixture to an oven-friendly baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Stir. Sprinkle sliced almond on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot with crackers!

For more recipes and ideas for entertaining, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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Best TV Shows to Binge Watch in 2018

The Best TV Shows to Binge in Your Pajamas

We in the Northeast have endured another blizzard, but more pajama time is A-OK with us! Snow days and quiet Friday nights are perfect for binge-watching gripping television shows in the comfort of your living room. If you tend to binge-watch your television shows, you’re not alone.

It may seem counterintuitive in this age of short, quippy social media posts and funny cat videos, but humans have a psychological urge to watch entire seasons of television from start finish — no matter how dark, twisted, and complicated the storylines. According to Netflix, three out of four viewers watch the entire first season of Breaking Bad in one sitting!

Psychologists believe that we binge-watch because we crave an escape from our busy lives. As it turns out, occasionally binge-watching television shows can help alleviate symptoms of stress. So put on your coziest pair of pajama pants, pop some popcorn, and stream one of these binge-worthy TV shows. Doctor’s orders.

Best Shows to Stream in 2018

Put on your pajama pants and get ready stream.

Top 10 TV Shows to Binge-Watch Right Now

1. The Americans

Nothing is what it seems on The Americans. To their unsuspecting suburban neighbors, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are the most boring couple you could possibly imagine. But to anyone who gets in their way — including the FBI — these undercover Russian spies are quick, efficient, and deadly. If you like intrigue, action, ‘80s nostalgia, and brutally honest depictions of marriage, you’re going to love The Americans. Stream on Amazon.

2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

If you like to laugh and love a little action, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the breakout hit for you. Starring SNL funnyman Andy Samberg and acting veterans Andre Braugher and Terry Crews, the TV show follows the hijinx of the NYPD’s fictional 99th Precinct. The plot revolves around the professional and personal life of Detective Jake Peralta (Samberg), an immature but talented police officer. Hilarity ensues. Stream on Hulu.

3. Westworld

For the sci-fi fanatics, Westworld is a thriller that takes place in a technologically advanced Wild West-themed amusement park populated by android hosts. Westworld caters to high-paying guests, who may indulge in whatever they wish within the park without retribution from their hosts — including murder. The series begins as a routine update in the hosts’ programming causes unusual deviations in their behavior, concerning park staff. A few of the hosts become sentient and learn the truth about themselves and the world they are forced to live in. Stream on HBO Go.

Jane the Virgin jammies

Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo in pajamas for a scene in ‘Jane the Virgin’

4. Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin follows twenty-something Jane Villanueva as she navigates the aftermath of an accidental artificial insemination in her very Catholic household. With plenty of family drama, comedic relief, a steamy love triangle, and crime lord, the telenovela satire packs a lot entertainment into each and every episode. Perfect if you were a fan of the old series Desperate Housewives.  Stream on Netflix.

5. Orphan Black

Sci-fi is clearly coming back to mainstream television with shows like Westworld and this hit, Orphan Black. The Canadian series raises questions about the moral and ethical implications of cloning. Con-artist Sarah Manning, one of several identical clones, assumes the identity of one of her fellow matches, police officer Elizabeth Childs, after witnessing her suicide. Viewers can watch the entire plot from start to finish, as all five seasons are now available for streaming. Stream on Amazon.

6. Peaky Blinders

If you enjoyed The Godfather trilogy, know that Peaky Blinders is essentially the British version. Inspired by a real-life gang that operated in Birmingham, England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the story follows Tommy Shelby, the gang’s reluctant but passionate leader, who must take over his family business (Michael Corleone, anyone?). Each season is just six episodes, making it very easy to devour in one sitting. Stream on Netflix.

7. Friends from College

Friends from College is a “coming of age” story for a new generation. This intense all-too-real dramedy starring funnyman Keegan Michael Key will resonate with many tightly knit college groups who have tried to keep their youthful connections rolling into their 40s. Filled with anti-heroes, beautifully acted, and endlessly entertaining, each of the eight half-hour episodes can be watched in one evening. Stream on Netflix.

8. Bob’s Burgers

Is it just us, or is everything on television these days dark and twisted? Take an extended break from reality and stream every season of the funny adult animated series Bob’s Burgers. We promise that you will fall in love with at least one of the adorable cast members who feature voice talent from legend H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Kristen Schaal (Last Man On Earth, The Daily Show) Megan Mullally (Parks and Rec, Will and Grace), Jordan Peele (Get Out, Key and Peele), SNL alum Bill Hader, and Aziz Ansari (Parks and Rec, Master of None) to name a few. The plot follows the hilarious antics that take place in and around Bob Belcher’s family business, Bob’s Burgers. Stream on Hulu.

9. Silicon Valley

A surprise hit from producer Mike Judge, best known for King of the HIll and Beavis and Butt-Head, is Silicon Valley, a witty live-action comedy starring Thomas Middleditch and Kumail Nanjiani. The story follows the day-to-day struggle of Richard Hendricks (Middleditch), a Silicon Valley engineer trying to build his own company within the quirky valley tech bubble. Stream on Hulu.

Tracee Ellis Ross Black-ish Pajamas

Golden Globe winner Tracee Ellis Ross wears a lot of cute pajama sets as her character Bo Johnson in the hit comedy series ‘Black-ish.’

10. Black-ish

Network after network is producing gloomy, depressing content but Black-ish on ABC is a much-needed standout family sitcom. Loosely based on the family life of creator Kenya Barris, the show doesn’t shy away from discussions of family, race, gender equality, or politics, but addresses these hot-button topics in a way that is timely, relatable, and approachable. The plot follows family man Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) as he struggles to maintain a sense of cultural identity while raising his children in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood. Every episode is smart, sweet, and guaranteed to make you laugh until your belly hurts. Stream on Hulu.

For more ideas for how to unwind in your pajamas this season, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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12-healthy-late-night-snacks-pajamas

12 Simple and Delicious Late Night Snacks

The clock is creeping past ten. You’re unwinding in your pajamas, snuggled into the couch, wrapped up a cozy throw blanket… when your stomach grumbles. You know you “aren’t supposed to” eat after 8pm, but is that really a hard rule? And who made the rule? Why do you have to follow it?

As it turns out, the supposed link between weight gain and late-night eating is a myth. Our metabolism doesn’t slow down at night, converting everything we ate into fat. The same daytime rules apply at nighttime: everything in moderation. That said, we’ve compiled a collection of tasty late night snacks that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Strawberry Smoothie

Late Night Snacks You Can Feel Good About

1. Strawberry Smoothie. Combine vanilla yogurt, milk or your preferred milk substitute, frozen strawberries and blend. Depending on how sweet the yogurt is, add honey to sweeten the shake. Using Greek yogurt will increase your protein intake — on average 15 to 20 grams per 6 ounces — and make for a more satisfying snack. Low fat yogurt is also an option for reduced calorie intake.

2. Avocado Toast. Simply make a piece of toast and slice up half of a small avocado. Smash the avocado on top of the toast with a fork. Add other toppings like nutritional yeast, green onions, sliced radishes, or baby arugula. Using multigrain or sprouted bread will increase both your fiber and protein intake.

3. Frozen Grapes. This may sound a little strange if you’ve never done it before, but trust us — frozen grapes are delicious. Pull grapes from their stems and place them in a freezer bag. Once they’re frozen you have snackable sorbet. This is a wonderful low-calorie option for those of us who like to reach for a frozen treat at night. Crackers, Turkey, Cheese

4. Whole Wheat Crackers with Cheese and Turkey. Fiber-rich woven wheat crackers are low in calories and very satisfying. Just six Triscuit crackers contain 120 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Top with thin slices of your favorite cheese and roast turkey. Very satisfying!

5. Quesadilla Half. Heat one 8-inch multigrain tortilla on a skillet and place grated cheese on one half. Layer with other toppings if desired (deli meats, baby spinach, green onions), top half with second layer of cheese and fold the quesadilla in half. Once one side is toasted, flip and toast the other side until the cheese is melted through. Serve with salsa and enjoy!

6. Greek Yogurt and Low-Fat Granola. As we mentioned earlier, Greek yogurt is packed with protein so a small serving will ward off hunger for a long time. Combine the yogurt with the fiber punch of granola, top with honey, and you have a sweet, creamy, and crunchy snack.

7. Ham and Provolone Roll-Ups. Cut out the carbs with these quick and easy ham and provolone roll-ups. Spread a thin layer of mustard on a slice of provolone, top with a slice of ham, and roll it up! Packed with protein and flavor, this filling snack will put an end to your hunger pangs.

Dark Chocolate is a Healthy Snack

8. Dark Chocolate. If you’re craving chocolate, the darker the better. Milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean than dark chocolate and contains more milk, sugar, and cream. Savoring a little bit of quality dark chocolate will satisfy your craving and will be a relatively healthy treat.

9. Banana and Peanut Butter. Snacks don’t get much easier than this! Simply spread a little bit on peanut butter on a banana as you peel it. While peanut butter is high in protein, it’s also high-calorie and high in saturated fat, so spread accordingly.

10. DIY Popcorn. Air pop your own popcorn at home or pop with oil. Either way, it will be far better for you than the sodium and chemical-loaded stuff that comes out of the microwave. The benefit of popping it yourself is that you’re in control of the toppings — what they are and how much. Add a little parmesan cheese, garlic salt, or zesty lime seasoning. Have fun with it!

Black Bean Salad and Tortilla Chips

11. Black Bean Salad and Tortilla Chips. Keeping a batch of black bean salad in the fridge is a great way to spice up salads, rice, and other side dishes throughout the week. It’s also wonderful as a flavorful and hearty snack on a handful of tortilla chips.

12. Pita with Veggies and Hummus. Cut a small whole wheat pita in half, open up the pocket and spread the inside with hummus. Place mixed greens and sliced veggies inside for a fresh and tasty treat!

For more ideas for how to unwind in your pajamas this winter, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

 

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Best Winter Reading List for Pajamas

The Ultimate Winter Reading List

After this week’s Nor’easter on the East Coast, we feel like curling up in our flannel pajamas with a good book this weekend. A hot cup of coffee and great novel is the best way to recover after a yucky week of snow, sleet, ice, and slush. The winter months are ideal for nostalgic novels, a splash of history, dark thrillers, and deeply twisted plots. Grab your fuzzy slippers and park yourself on the couch with one of these winter favorites.

Winter Reading List

Get comfortable with pajama pants and a good book this weekend.

Top 10 Books to Read in Your Pajamas this Winter Continue reading

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Host a Cookie Swap Pajama Party

How to Throw a ‘Cookie Swap’ Pajama Party

We’re big fans of a good pajama party, especially during the winter months. There is something about being snuggled up with your closest friends in your favorite PJs, enjoying great snacks and good movie, that feels so right in the winter. The only thing in the world that could make a winter sleepover feel even more cozy is a pile of freshly baked cookies.

‘Cookie swaps’ are a super fun addition to Christmas parties, cookouts, and family reunions — so why not host one during a pajama party, when you’re already on the hunt for sweet treats? The concept is simple: each guest brings cookies for everyone to try and enough cookies for everyone to take some home. It’s a great way to share recipes you love with friends and, well, eat cookies!

How to Host a Cookie Swap

Need recipe ideas? Check out these must-try cookies.

8 Tips for Hosting a ‘Cookie Swap’ Sleepover Continue reading

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Snow Day Activities to Amuse Kids

10 Simple Snow Day Activities to Keep Your Kids Amused

The temperatures may have temporarily risen here in the Northeast, but we know better. Mother Nature still has plenty of “winter fun” in store. Snow days are an inevitable part of parenting in many parts of the US, and yet every time they roll around we’re unprepared (like tax season, anyone?). Be ready for your next snow day with these simple activities that will keep your kids amused — for just long enough to catch up on your inbox.

Pancake Design Snow Day Activity

Pancake designs are a fun way to start the day, cozy in your flannel pajama pants!

Pajama-Friendly Boredom Busters for Snow Days Continue reading

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Movies to Stream on Netflix in Pajamas 2018

Netflix Hibernation: The Best Movies to Stream Right Now

Raise your hand if you need a long weekend! I don’t know about you guys, but we’re totally pooped out from that gym membership we’re sporadically using now that it’s February. President’s Day is right around in the corner just in time for a little R&R in your pajamas. Even better? Netflix just added a slew of movies to its collection, so we’re going to give you ten excuses to stay in bed this weekend.

Ready to hibernate for the winter? Check out the latest prints from PJ Salvage, pictured above.

Netflix and Chill in Your Pajamas

10 Best Movies Now Available on Netflix Continue reading

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Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Dates That Don’t Require a Reservation

Oh no! Valentine’s Day is when?! If you’re one of the many who annually forget this holiday, you’re not alone. After all, Valentine’s Day is placed — diabolically — right after the rush of the major holiday season and just after Super Bowl madness. For most people, making a dinner reservation is a struggle within a week of the big date. Don’t panic. We developed a list of reservation-free Valentine’s Day dates that have a little more personality than a prix fixe menu at a crowded restaurant.

Valentine's Day Date Ideas

A romantic ‘carpet picnic’ for two — a date you can enjoy in your pajamas!

8 Simple Valentine’s Day Date Ideas Continue reading

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Super Bowl Games You Can Play In Your Pajamas

5 Games to Play During the Super Bowl, If You Don’t Follow Football

Go sports! Do the thing! Make the points! Are you ready to watch that football team that wins a lot play that other team from somewhere else on Sunday? Or is it Saturday? If football isn’t your jam, we feel you. Plenty of people tune in to the Super Bowl (on Sunday) for the big-budget commercials alone.

When you host a Super Bowl party, you inevitably have a mixed crowd. Some partygoers will be avid football fans, others might support a team that didn’t make it, and some people will want to eat bean dip but don’t care about the main event. If you think your guests will be mostly the latter, keep it casual. Throw on your favorite pair of pajama pants and encourage your guests to do the same. Get comfortable and settle in for a relaxed day of games — it’ll give you something to do until until the next commercial!

Super Bowl Pajama Pants

Game day ready in ultra-comfy Boxercraft pajama pants!

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What do I get my man on Valentine's Day?

Mission Impossible-to-Buy-For: Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

We’re just going to come out and say it: what the heck are you supposed to get your man on Valentine’s Day? While a passion for chocolate knows no gender, quite often the tasty treats men and women pine for are very different. So where can we get a heart-shaped box of Buffalo chicken wings?

When it comes to gift-giving, it’s the thought that counts and you do want to make him feel special — even if you know he secretly believes it’s a ‘Hallmark holiday.’ On this day fellas are often tasked with dinner reservations, plans, flowers, candlelight, romance… that’s a lot of pressure! Despite being the gender that is most inclined to stick with lifelong routines and habits, research has proven that men actually enjoy surprises more than women do.

Surprise your ‘creature of habit’ with one of these comfortable personalized gifts to remind him that you’re paying attention.

Kasher Super Soft Collared Robe from Pajama Company

Kashwere Super Soft Bathrobe — featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things!

5 Personalized Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

1. The Finer Things

For the man who has it all, you can’t go wrong with a tasteful pajama set. Pair the PJs with a fantastic bottle of whiskey and chocolate that compliments the spirit. For dark chocolate, opt for Red Breast Single Pot 12 Year (or Jameson, if he’s a superfan). For milk chocolate with nuts, George Dickel Superior #12 Whiskey is a truly great bottle for the price.

2. Sports Fan

The Super Bowl is just around the corner. Show your support with a sports fan gift basket: branded beer koozies, his favorite brew, a plethora of game day snacks, and an extra comfortable pair of pajama pants to enjoy the game in. You could also consider a gift card to his for his favorite gameday takeout so he can get those Buffalo chicken wings… The heart-shaped box is totally optional.

3. The Pretty Boy

For the man who loves to preen, you can’t go wrong with a soft, plush bathrobe and high-end grooming supplies. Sandalwood-scented luxe shaving cream, new high-end razors, an exfoliating body wash, moisturizer, and a great pomade will do the trick. Show him some extra love by not banging on the door when he’s in the bathroom all morning, trying his new products!

Valentine's Day Gifts for Him - Bookworm

To complete the package, add warm slippers, tea, and biscotti.

4. The Bookworm

Some fellas prefer a quiet evening with a good book. If you’re not sure what he likes, type a few titles from his bookshelf into Goodreads.com and the site will generate suggestions based on other users with similar tastes. To complete the package, add warm, cozy slippers, quality tea or coffee, and a box of delicious chocolate-dipped biscotti.

5. The Romantic

If your guy is a cheeseball, he’ll appreciate you going above-and-beyond for your special day. A pair of matching pajamas is sure to bring a smile to his face. Cook up a romantic feast or plan a quick, local weekend getaway by booking a cozy Airbnb in the countryside. Make it extra special by finding an affordable rental for a classic car on a site like Turo.

In truth, he’ll appreciate anything you do to show him that you care. While we don’t have to wait for a holiday to show our partners that we love them, it is nice to have an annual reminder that gives us the chance to reflect on how lucky we are. For more gift ideas, easy recipes, and ideas for fun activities you can do together, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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