Super Bowl Snacks for 12s

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 26, 2015

Last week we told you in our blog on eco-friendly Super Bowl parties (SBPs) that we’d have some ideas for how to make some Seahawks-themed snacks for your party—and we meant it! There are some great ways to add some team spirit to your spread by altering a normal recipe just a little—or adding food coloring—and here are some of our favorites:

Perhaps the easiest way to bring a little blue and green to your SBP table is in the nacho-type dishes. Start by swapping out your standard tortilla chips for blue corn tortilla chips—and having guacamole and green salsa on hand. Choose a hard white cheese like Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack to melt on the chips, add your favorite toppings, and add some green accents like jalapeños or poblano peppers. If you’re more of a seven-layer dip kind of person, add a little blue food dye to the sour cream, and juxtapose it with some homemade guacamole.

Note: If you want to shy away from using food dyes, there are natural alternatives!

If you want to have a healthier option at your Super Bowl party, making a blue and green fruit salad is very easy. Simply chop up some kiwis, and mix them with blueberries for a quick option. Add a little dish of whipped cream on the side for people who want a little extra sweetness! (Bonus: You can also spruce up a normal green salad with blueberries to add a little Seahawks spirit!)

Kukuruza takes Beast Corn to a whole new level—but making colored kettle corn at home is actually quite simple. To make kettle corn, all you need to do is add about ¼ cup of white sugar for each ½ cup of unpopped popcorn kernels you’re cooking—and to color it, all you need to do is to mix some food dye gel into your sugar before adding it to the pot! (Need a giant popcorn-cooking pot? Find an inexpensive one at Goodwill!)

If you're looking for some awesome Super Bowl snack recipes that you can alter with dye or basic ingredient swaps, check out—they're local and chock-full of great recipes.

One of my favorite party foods (and all the time foods) is guacamole—here’s my personal recipe for a large batch of guac!



5 Haas (large) avocados 1 large mango (or 2 honey mangos)
2 - 3 Roma tomatoes 1 baby lemon
1 red onion 1 lime
1 bunch of cilantro Tapatío hot sauce
1 jalapeño salt


Finely chop the cilantro, jalapeño, onion (I use a little more than half of the onion), and tomatoes (I usually drain my tomatoes after I’ve chopped them to avoid overly wet guacamole). Put the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up. Dice/peel the mango and add it to the mixture. This base mix actually makes a pretty good Pico de Gallo, so if you have some left over… eat it!

Next, peel and chop the avocados and put them in a separate bowl—you can smash them with the back of a fork, or use a potato masher! Once you’ve got your avocados smashed, start adding the Pico de Gallo mixture about ¼ cup at a time, mixing after each time—add as much or as little as you want, depending on how chunky you like your guacamole. Squeeze about ½ of the lime juice and ½ of the lemon juice into the mixture—and mix it up again. If you taste the guacamole now, it should be very citrusy. Add about ½ or 1 teaspoon of Tapatío to the mix—making sure it doesn’t get too spicy (or gets spicy enough). This is a great time for a taste test! Once it’s all mixed up, begin adding salt to balance out the spice and citrus flavors. Keep in mind, this will likely be eaten with salty chips so you don’t want to make it too salty! And there you go - Super Bowl guacamole to go with those blue corn tortilla chips!

As you’re preparing for your Seahawks Super Bowl party, don’t forget to stop by Goodwill to pick up any additional needed cookware or serving dishes!

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Thrifty Super Bowl Parties (GO HAWKS!)

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 22, 2015

Now that we’ve all recovered from the NFC Championship game—and our collective region-wide heart attack has given way back to our normal pulse and calmed breathing—let’s talk about planning a Super Bowl party.

Since this is our third trip to the Super Bowl, we’re definitely getting the hang of throwing twelves-themed parties. This being Seattle, the land of eco-friendliness, we’ve got a few tips for how you throw an awesome, budget-conscious, and eco-friendly Super Bowl party (heretofore referred to as the “SBP”).

Tip #1: Make sure you have enough seating.
One of the biggest SBP blunders that happens at parties across the country is the lack of seating. While we do live in a city full of amped-stand-the-whole-game fans, make sure there’s enough seating to go around. If you don’t have enough seating for the people you invited, try to find some thrifted big throw pillows for the floor, or some camping chairs to add seats.

Tip #2: Thrift your décor.
Nothing quite completes the feel of a Super Bowl party like the team-themed décor—and it doesn’t have to be expensive—and it doesn’t need to be something that’ll wind up as more waste. You can find blue and green textiles and table clothes to decorate your party-throwing space—as well as serving platters and bowls for the food spread at many of our twenty-four stores.

Tip #3: Make your food, rather than ordering it—or have it potluck-style.
One way to cut back on waste is to make your own food, or have your guests bring their favorite dishes. This reduces the use of waste-producing things like to-go boxes and plastic bags—and gives you the opportunity to show off your culinary skills! (Or learn some culinary skills…) If you don’t have the right item to achieve your food goals—like a slow cooker for that pulled pork, or additional baking sheets for the mass production of nachos—check the shelves at Goodwill! Pro-tip: Potluck-style parties will also reduce the number of dishes YOU have to wash at the end of the night.

Tip #4: Ditch the plastic ware.
We know that SBPs can be tough to clean up after—and in an instance like this, consider recyclable and compostable paper plates/cups. Another way is to reduce the use of non-recyclables like plastic ware and stock up on (reusable) forks, knives, and spoons inexpensively from Goodwill! They don’t take up much space, so they can be stored and reused for future parties.

Tip #5: Clean green.
Leave the one-off cleaning supplies on the shelf at the store, and avoid the harsh chemicals. You can stock-pile things like bar mops and kitchen towels from Goodwill, and then use effective household cleaners like baking soda (deodorizes!) and white vinegar (disinfects!). Goodwill also carries a variety of new household cleaning supplies like sponges and scrub brushes.

In an upcoming blog, we’ll share some of our favorite Seahawks-themed Super Bowl party snack recipes—so stay tuned! (And tune in on Facebook for our Twelve Days of 12th Man!)

(Bonus tip: All of the items in the images here were on the shelves at our Seattle Flagship store on 1/21/2015—they may still be there if you hurry in!)

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Coming Soon: Sales & Events

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 19, 2015

The holidays have come and gone—and you’ve hopefully had an opportunity to take a little bit of a breather, relax, and come back recharged and ready for 2015. Seattle Goodwill is recharged and ready to go—and we’ve got some exciting sales, events, and giveaways coming up for you! Check out what’s coming up in the next few months:

WINTER SALE: January 19
Get to your favorite Seattle Goodwill location (excluding outlets) on Monday, January 19th for our annual Winter Sale. Blue tags will be $.99, and green and pink tags will be 40% off! Our Ravenna store will be doing something a little different with a 40% discount on all donated furniture.

FREE TAX ASSISTANCE: January 13 – April 18
Thanks to a partnership with United Way of King County, six of our Job Training and Education Centers will be hosting tax preparers to help you take care of your taxes. You can click here to learn more:

VALENTINE’S DAY: February 14
This year for Valentine’s Day we’re celebrating by helping you plan budget-friendly ways to celebrate! Visit our blog—(and subscribe!)—this February to see some creative dates idea that can be put together on a low budget, and adjustable for double or group dates!

The Designer Accessory Sale is one of our most popular sale events of the year—and takes place at our University District store. Last year we had pieces from labels like Dooney & Bourke, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Cole Haan, Kate Spade and more! Accessories are a great way to spruce up your wardrobe for the spring without breaking the budget—and we’re sure to have more budget-friendly designer bags, shoes, hats, belts and ties this year. Mark it on your calendar!

EASTER: April 5
All of our stores, donation centers, and job training and education centers will be closed on Easter Sunday so our staff can enjoy the holiday with their families.

At Seattle Goodwill, we are committed to environmental stewardship. Last year, Seattle Goodwill kept over 48 million pounds of goods out of landfills! Tune into our social media channels on April 20th – May 1st for twice-daily giveaways and contests—and keep a weather eye out for some BIG Earth Day announcements! 

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Tax Season is here - and we can help!

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 17, 2015

In November of 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote to his friend Jean-Baptiste Leroy, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” To this day, that rings true—and on this day, you may be thinking, “It’s tax season—again.” Well, take a deep breath, and read the following: WE CAN HELP.

Thanks to a partnership with United Way of King County, we are hosting FREE tax preparation services, provided by UWKC, at six of our Job Training and Education Centers.

Free tax preparation services are available to anyone in the community who made less than $60,000 in 2014. All tax assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis—so no appointment is needed, although we do recommend arriving at the center most convenient to you when the tax services open.

If you choose to take advantage of this free tax help, please be sure to bring your W-2’s, social security number or taxpayer identification number, picture ID, last year’s tax return if available, student loan information, mortgage information, 1099’s, childcare provider information (if you pay for childcare), bank account number (if you want your refund deposited directly into your account), and any other tax documents you may have. If you are filing jointly, be sure to bring your spouse, too—both of you need to be present.

Here are the dates, times, and locations where Goodwill be hosting free tax preparation:

January 13 - April 18
Tues. & Thu., 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 12:00 - 4:00 pm
January 20 - April 14
Tues. & Thu., 5:30 - 8:30 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
January 13 - April 18
Tues. & Thu., 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

January 15 - April 18
Mon. & Wed., 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Everett South
January 20 - April 14
Tues., Wed. & Thu., 5:30 - 8:30 pm
Mount Vernon
February 3 - April 15
Tues. & Wed., 3:00 - 7:00 pm

While taxes may be a certainty in life, the stress that often accompanies them doesn’t need to be. Head to your nearest participating Seattle Goodwill Job Training and Education Center to get help. Thank you, United Way of King County for making this possible! 

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Meet Israel: Manager of Goodwill in Ballard

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 7, 2015

One might be hard-pressed to find a person more passionate about helping people through the mission of Seattle Goodwill than Israel Juarez, the manager of our Ballard location.

Israel's journey to Seattle Goodwill has covered over 6,800 miles—and involved two different Goodwill affiliates. Israel left Mexico City when he was 20, after an invitation from his father to join him in Indianapolis, Indiana. “When I came to the United States I needed to learn English, so I went to Goodwill in Indianapolis,” he said.

Israel worked for Goodwill Indy for a while, but then decided to move to Seattle, where his wife Darcy is from, to be closer to her family when they had their first child. Before they made the move, Israel did his research he knew he wanted to continue working for Goodwill, because he believed in what Goodwill was doing, and he himself had been impacted by the programs Goodwill Indy had to offer. “One of the main reasons why I work for Goodwill is that as an immigrant and as a person who took advantage of these programs, I believe in the potential of each individual. I want to help.”

Upon arriving in Seattle, he began working as the production supervisor at the Bellevue store—and has worked his way up to being manager at the Ballard store. Israel spends most of his spare time focusing on being a husband and father. He and his eight year-old daughter Naomi both play soccer—and you'll find him at both his daughter's soccer games, as well as his own when he gets the opportunity. Rafael, his five year-old son, loves playing with LEGO, and it's not uncommon to find Israel joining him. “I'm a person who's always trying to find new ways to improve myself.” He said, “New ways to help my family—and do better for ourselves. I don't like to stay in one place all the time. I like new challenges. I like to help people as much as I can.”

“Working here is just different than working at a normal corporation. It feels very good going home knowing that I helped a person. It feels really good meeting someone in a job interview, seeing their challenges and needs, and saying,‘I want to help change the life of this person’ and hiring them. That's the real work!”

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