Friday, February 26, 2021

The Benefits of Healthy Soups #soup #comfortfood #coldweatherfood #onepotcooking

During cold-weather months, there's nothing better to warm you up than a bowl of steaming hot soup! This time of year, I make soup at least once per week -- because soup is healthy AND cooks an entire meal in one pot. Today, The Weekend Gourmet is sharing the best ingredients to include to ensure any soup you make offer maximum health benefits. They're also providing a handy guide for pairing common soup flavors with a complimentary beer or wine. This post may contain affiliate links.

A big bowl of soup can be one of the most nutrient-dense meals...if you know which ingredients to include! When a pot of soup is loaded with vegetables and protein, they offer immense health benefits -- including plenty of fiber -- to help you attain all essential nutrients you need in one easy meal. Since soups are mostly liquid, they're also a great way to stay hydrated and satisfied. Soup also gives your immune system a boost; they can help you stave off cold and flu. Further, a bowl of soup can be a great antidote when you're sick, because many soups are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients.

Here are some of the best ingredients to include in your next pot of soup to ensure it’s loaded with essential nutrients:

  • Lean meat (chicken or turkey)

  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, of sardines)

  • Butternut squash

  • Leafy greens (spinach, arugula, or kale)

  • Mushrooms

  • Potatoes

  • Tomatoes

  • Legumes (beans, lentils, or peas)

Soup is a healthy, hearty meal that does the trick when you're lacking cooking inspiration...or when you simply need a pick-me-up. They're quick and easy to make, and they can cater to all types of dietary preferences. Don't feel like you need to make a huge pot of soup to enjoy this soothing comfort food! Small batch soups provide all the benefits of soup...without tons of leftovers to deal with! If you're interested in learning more about small-batch soups, check out the following infographic. It shows the best option for pairing small-batch soups with both beer and wine. The infographic makes it easy to understand which soup flavors pair best with which drink.

Infographic designed by: Small Batch Soups Small Batch Soups Indianapolis

Why not enjoy one of these pairing suggestions with your family or friends this weekend! Simply cook up one of these soups for dinner, add a salad or warm bread on the side, and use this infographic to serve the perfect beer or wine too!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Lenten Meals Spotlight...Featuring Sizzling Garlic Shrimp #lentenfood #shrimp #garlic #seafood


It's officially the Lenten season for Catholics -- which means Friday meals are meatless until Easter. As a result, I love to have plenty of quick-cook seafood and veg-friendly Friday dinner options for the coming weeks. Growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, I grew up eating Gulf seafood. Gulf shrimp? Don’t even get me started…it’s my favorite food to this day!! Today, I'm sharing a fantastic recipe for Sizzling Garlic Shrimp...which takes FIVE simple ingredients that combine to provide HUGE flavor! It's quick to make for a speedy dinner…and it also makes a fabulous appetizer. Here's an insiders' tip for you: if you buy shrimp that are already peeled and deveined, this dish can literally be ready to eat in about 10 minutes. While you whip up the shrimp, make sure to put some French bread in the oven to soak up the flavorful sauce in the bottom of the serving bowl!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Four Diets You Might Want to Consider #Healthy2021 #weightloss #whichdietisbest #healthyweight

How are your 2021 health resolutions going so far? If yours need a little fine as we head toward March, today's #Healthy2021 feature is just what you need! I've got some great dietary options for your to consider. The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing four eating plans for you to learn more about. Perhaps one will be a perfect fit for your lifestyle and dietary preferences. This article may contain affiliate links.

NOTE: This feature is not meant to pr0vide professional health or medical advice. Please reach out to your personal physician to ask ANY questions you have prior to implementing any of these eating plans.

Are you thinking about making changes to lifestyle to achieve a healthier you? If so, you might want to consider a new diet. There are many different diets worth exploring. Here are a few possibilities you can get started with today. 

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Vegan Diet

You might want to consider embracing the vegan diet. Vegans do not consume any animal products -- including dairy and eggs. Research suggests that going vegan can have tremendous benefits. Some believe that eating a plant-based diet can be the secret to ensuring you look and feel younger for a the long term. However, you do need to approach the vegan lifestyle the right way. For instance, you need to make sure you're eating the right foods. You should definitely explore brands like No Evil Foods. Companies like this are entirely based on ensuring consumers can easily access plant-based produced in a way that's sustainable and does not impact the environment. 

Removing Processed Sugars

You night also think about removing all processed sugars and sweeteners from your diet. This is actually more difficult than it sounds, because sugar is found in most of the foods you eat -- even beyond typical desserts and sweet treats. For example, sugar is regularly added to foods like canned tomatoes to ensure they taste sweeter. The good news is that once you eliminate sugar from your diet, you’ll find that food tastes completely different. That’s because you’ll start noticing the natural sugars found in everything from carrots to fruit. Some people claim that taking this step also improves your mood, which makes a lot of sense. Various studies have suggested that processed sugars negatively impact our moods over extended periods. 

Removing Gluten

Is gluten actually bad for you? The jury is actually still out on this question. Many researchers aren’t fully convinced that the benefits people claim they gain from eliminating gluten isn’t something similar to a placebo effect. In other words, they see benefits because they expect to see benefits. That said, if you suffer from medical issues like Celiac or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), then eliminating gluten could definitely be worth exploring. Doing so may help guarantee you're able to process your food more easily. This is another way people explore losing weight more rapidly with better results.   


Finally, you might want to consider trying the Paleo diet -- also known as "the caveman diet." Some people swear by this way of eating as one of the best ways to lose weight. Paleo is essentially focused on getting back to the foods man consumed before we evolved. Paleo-friendly foods include meat and fish, eggs, seeds and nuts, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Paleo eliminates processed foods, grains, and sugar. Some people -- including scientific researchers -- believe Paleo is the healthiest diet for our bodies. This is a modern take, but it seems to have certain benefits. For instance, Paleo might be great for you if you’re looking for ways to tone your body, or if you want an easy way to plan your meals each day. 

Could any of the four diets discussed above benefit your lifestyle and health? If you try one of these options yourself, you might be absolutely amazed by the changes it brings to your life and overall health. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Spotlight on Taste of Tucson Cookbook...Featuring Sonoran-Style Hot Dogs #tasteoftucson #hotdog Dire#bacon #comfortfood

I recently received a copy of the new Taste of Tucson cookbook, which features a collection of flavorful Sonoran-style recipes inspired by Southern Arizona's rich culture. We've grown up eating Tex-Mex cuisine...and we visited New Mexico in 2018 to sample their regional take on Mexican cuisine. This cookbook has allowed me to explore Arizona's regional Mexican dishes! Author Jackie Alpers is a blogger and award-winning food photographer. Taste of Tucson celebrates -- via 70+ recipes and photos -- the unique mix of cultures that creates Southern Arizona's unique Sonoran-style cuisine. Alpers shares her own recipes, as well as recipes from 16 of her favorite Tucson area restaurants and chefs. If you like big flavors as much as I do, this is a perfect cookbook to add to your collection.

So many great recipes caught my eye as I flipped through Taste of Tucson -- including Chile Colorado Beef Over Sonoran-Style Enchiladas, One-Pot Arroz con Pollo, and Walking Tacos. However, I let my father pick which recipe from the cookbook that I featured here. He picked a regional spin on American classic: hotdogs! Sonoran-Style Hot Dogs, which start with a grilled, bacon-wrapped hot dog. They're served in a hollowed-out bolillo roll and topped with all sorts of tasting toppings. With warm-weather ahead on the horizon, this is a great recipe to have in your Summer grilling bag of tricks!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Celebrating Valentine's Day at Home...Featuring Creamy Chocolate-Hazelnut Dip #QuarantineValentines #ValentinesatHome #chocolatehazelnut #chocolate #romanticfood

With most of us still practicing COVID-related social distancing, it's likely that this weekend's Valentine's Day will be celebrated at home. That can definitely be a GOOD thing...with the right game plan! Today, I'm sharing a romantic three-course dinner that's easy to make, delicious...and ends with Creamy Chocolate-Hazelnut Dip for two. This dip has only a few simple ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to assemble and warm up. The fudgy dip is served with fruit and a few store-bought goodies for dipping. Easy peasy. 
My suggested Valentine's Dinner for Two is a seafood-centric menu focused on upscale Tex-Mex flavors. The meal starts with a Zesty Tex-Mex Shrimp Cocktail appetizer...and restaurant-quality Baked Crab Cakes with Avocado Crema and Mango-Avocado Salsa entree. 

Add in the fondue-like warm chocolate dip for dessert, pair some great wine, light a few candles, and fire up some romantic music. That's everything you need for a perfect romantic Valentine's evening at home. Best of all? Much of this menu can be prepped ahead. That means you won't be a frazzled, sweaty mess when you're celebrating with your Valentine!!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Maple Leaf Farms Duck GIVEAWAY...Featuring Super Bowl Ready Duck Sliders with Aged Gouda and Spicy Bacon-Shallot Jam #giveaway #mapleleaffarms #duck #superbowlfood #slider #baconjam

The Super Bowl is this Sunday, so I'm sharing a fantastic slider recipe for game day food spread...but not your AVERAGE sliders! I'm sharing sliders made with flavorful ground duck, aged Gouda cheese, and crazy good bacon-shallot jam.'re reading that right: DUCK sliders! One of my 2021 kitchen resolutions is to use ingredients I'm not familiar with in fun, accessible ways. First up is duck -- which I've never cooked and only eaten once or twice in my life. I'm partnering with my new friends at Indiana-based Maple Leaf Farms to feature their ground duck. The first question I was asked as I told people I was working on a duck slider recipe was, "What does duck taste like? I've heard it's heavy and gamey!"

Maple Leaf Farm features White Pekin duck, which has a delicious flavor that's more similar to red meat than chicken or other poultry...but it substitutes equally well for both. I was very excited to also learn that duck can be surprisingly healthy and lean. Their All Natural Ground Duck that I'm featuring today is actually 87% lean, with just 180 calories per 4-ounce serving! Duck meat truly is the best of both worlds for burgers -- it combines the red meat texture of beef, combined with the lean nutritional benefits of chicken. That means Maple Leaf Farms hormone- and antibiotic-free ground duck is the perfect product to create a juicy burger with amazing flavor and a healthier profile. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Top Ways to Take Care of Yourself #Healthy2021 #selfcare #stayhealthy

Leading a healthier lifestyle can definitely be overwhelming! What works...and how do you start implementing new, positive behaviors? In today's installment in my ongoing #Healthy2021 series, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing five easy health changes you can make in your daily life. Each one -- if followed consistently -- can lead to big improvements in your overall health. This article may contain affiliate links. Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels

We only get one body...and one we better take care of both as much as we can. Life is hectic, so it can be easy to neglect our self care and fail to treat ourselves the way we deserve -- which is why we need to make a conscious effort to change this immediately! Taking care of yourself is really important, and doing so can result in a whole host of benefits. From helping you with situations in your everyday life to your physical and mental health, self care is guaranteed to make you a better person all the way round. Here are five easy ways to take care of yourself.

(1) Establish a Skincare Routine

A good skincare routine is a ideal way to take care of yourself. You always feel better when you have a great complexion and know you're looking after your appearance. Whether you use simple products...or a complex array of creams and up to you. Taking care of you skin will quickly boost your confidence. Further, it's nice to have a special routine to pamper yourself with at the end of a busy day.

(2) Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is very important. If you don’t take care of your teeth, you can run into many problems later in life -- some even requiring emergency surgery. Brush your teeth twice a day...and don’t forget to floss and use mouthwash. It's also important to schedule regular dental visits to ensure everything is okay with your teeth and gums. If you don’t like your smile, why not look into getting braces for adults? These braces can be an easy -- almost invisible -- way to get the smile you've always wanted.

(3) Give Yourself Time to Relax

We live busy lives, so it can be all too easy to neglect giving ourselves “me time.” Make sure you set yourself some time aside every day where you can just unwind and relax. Whether it's half an hour to curl up, read a book, and drink a cup of coffee...or time for a long bubble's up to you. You can set aside one block of time per week where you have a full pamper session, bake something fun, or do something else that you love! Doing so will help your overall mental health. This relaxation time is vital to reset your mind and make you happier.

(4) Get Enough Sleep

Getting optimal sleep is important for everything from our digestive health to our mental health. We need enough hours of sleep to function; otherwise, we can negatively impact all areas of our lives. Set yourself a nightly bedtime routine that enables you to sleep at least eight hours per night. Try not to eat or drink too much right before you go to bed, and try to avoid screens like your TV or mobile phone if possible.

These are just a few simple ways you can take care of yourself. Start implementing these activities into your daily life, and you'll feel much better in no time at all. Which of these five health strategies are YOU going to try first? Let me know in the Comments below...I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Three Sure Fire Ways to Impress Dinner Guests

 Dinner parties for friends and family are always a popular way to entertain. Since COVID social distancing began last Spring, having guest over for dinner is one of the things I've missed most! Be sure to check specific guidelines for your city/countybut some areas currently permit small gatherings. The key is to follow all mandatory social distancing requirements...and consider serving the meal al fresco if the weather permits. The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing a trio of ideas to impress hungry diners. This article may contain affiliate links.

If you're keen to invite a few friends or family members over to enjoy a delicious meal, you know that a boring meal isn’t going to cut it. You want to impress them with excellent food, a safe/healthy environment, lively conversation, and comfy ambiance. The themes, cuisine, and vibe of your small gathering should be carefully crafted and planned to ensure your diners leave with full bellies and happy memories. Here are three proven ways to impress your diners in your home.

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The cuisine you whip up in your kitchen will make or break your gathering. Guests will arrive hungry, so make sure you have plenty of food to offer -- including an appetizer or two and beverages. Ensure you ask your diners about any dietary requirements they have. For example, if you have a vegan dining with you, offer an awesome plant based dish or two. Further, if you know someone is on a diet, be sure to offer healthy alternatives to sugar-laden dessert options. When considering what to create in the kitchen, why not go for a theme? If you want to explore Mediterranean cuisine, consider sourcing some wonderful lamb from Superior Farms. Then enjoy crafting Greek koftas, kleftiko, and moussaka. You can also take your guests on a tour of your favorite travel memories. If you’ve ventured to Japan, why not offer some Japanese gastronomic specialties? Ramen, tempura prawns, and soybean-based sweets could definitely impress diners.


When thinking of the ambiance of your dinner, think about following a theme. Taking COVID social distancing in mind, you might want to plan and informal outdoor barbecue in the garden. Dress codes and themes give guests an idea of the sort of gathering you'll be hosting. Be sure to consider any entertainment or music you want to provide. Silly, fun table games can break the ice if your guests don't already know each other. A personally curated music playlist can set a great mood for a gathering -- chilled out tunes provide a great backdrop to facilitate conversation.

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Ensure your hosting is gracious by taking care that the drinks keep flowing and providing a comfortable atmosphere for your guests. If you want to spend time with your diners, forget about labor-intensive recipes that tie you to the stove. Instead, consider serving one pot meals that require slow, long cooking. This method ensures you spend more time chatting with your guests. Be on hand if anyone needs you, and keep your home neat and tidy. Don’t be afraid to stay at the dining table if you want to keep your guests adhere to social distancing requirements...or keep them from wandering around the rest of your house. Offering pre- or after-dinner drinks outside -- perhaps in the garden -- under a heater would definitely set your gathering apart from the rest.

Follow these suggestions -- and don't forget to adhere to your local COVID-related social distancing regulations -- and your dinner will really impress your guests!

Friday, January 29, 2021

ABRAMS Dinner Party Spotlight: Simply Delicious Vegan...Featuring Coconut Mango Muesli #ABRAMSDinnerParty #vegan #breakfast #muesli #makeahead

It's time to dig into the first ABRAMS Dinner Party cookbook feature of 2021: Caitlin Shoemaker's Simply Delicious Vegan. Shoemaker is the food blogger behind the From My Bowl website. Her Simply Delicious Vegan cookbook shows users that unprocessed 
plant-based food doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated, or boring. The book's 100 recipes are made for living a healthy, real life: gluten free, oil free, and refined sugar free! I opted to make a vegan breakfast recipe from the cookbook since we've been on a chilled overnight oats kick lately. Caitlin's recipe for Coconut Mango Muesli is easy to whip on the weekend, assemble and put in the fridge before bed each night...and enjoy a healthy, quick tropical-inspired breakfast on the busiest of mornings!

Made with only a handful of healthy, fiber-rich ingredients, this muesli is stored in an airtight container until you're ready to prepare a serving. Simply add your favorite non-dairy milk and yogurt, a bit of cinnamon, and a natural sweetener like coconut sugar or maple syrup...then stir to combine everything. Cover and refrigerate the muesli overnight...and breakfast is ready to eat when you wake up. The muesli can be eaten as is straight from the fridge, but I love to top my softened muesli with whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. Just wait until you see how incredibly simple this recipe is to prepare and keep on hand for whenever the craving strikes!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Five Healthier Alternatives to Your Favorite Junk Foods #Healthy2021 #healthysnacks #eatwell #healthyfood

Face it: most of us enjoy eating fast food now and then! While it's fine as an occasional treat, a steady diet of fast food is definitely not healthy. As part of my #Healthy2021 series, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing five healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. Making a few key changes can allow you to enjoy your favorite foods in a much healthier way. This article may contain affiliate links.

Did you know that 53% of men and 42% of women report eating fast food regularly? While junk food may be delicious and easy to consume, it also comes with a few negative consequences. Most of your favorite junk foods are classified as not so healthy due to specific unhealthy ingredients. Fortunately, you can easily replace unhealthy junk foods with healthier alternatives. Here are some ideas to get you started.

(1) Use Gluten-Free or Whole Wheat Flour for Your Pastries and Baked Foods

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Baked foods are generally high in fat and cholesterol. They also tend to be hard to digest due to their high gluten content. To make your baked foods healthier, you can replace the recipe's regular flour with gluten-free options like brown or white rice flour...and coconut flour. You can also replace butter and oil with lower-fat options to reduce fat and cholesterol.

(2) Healthier Snack Replacements

Research shows that cravings sometimes arise because the body needs particular nutrients it may be lacking. Healthy foods contain nutrients that our bodies search for in junk foods. For example, chocolate cravings usually occur because of a drop in a person's magnesium levels. Understanding this, you can consume raw nuts in place of chocolate to provide your body with needed magnesium. Low potassium levels can also result in a craving for potato chips and other salty foods. Bananas are a healthy source of potassium.

(3) Bake Instead of Frying 

Chicken wings are a go-to foods to enjoy while watching ballgames and binge watching TV shows. However, they may not be helping your waistline. Most people love the crispiness of wings, but traditional fried wings are high in unhealthy fat. A better option is to bake your chicken wings; they'll come out just as tasty, with all the flavors you know and love. You can also make cheese fries with a lowfat cheese sauce and bake your fries in an oven or air fryer instead of frying them.

(4) Replace Soda and Soft Drink Beverages 

The best replacement for soda and soft drinks is water. The transition to water may not sound great, because water does not give the same satisfaction as a fizzy, sweet beverage. Fortunately, this satisfaction can be achieved by using sparkling water. Simply squeeze in a bit of citrus or other fruit juice for a naturally sweet drink -- without chemicals and dyes, which are bad for the body.

(5) Choose Healthy Options for Pizza and Burgers

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When it comes to pizza, you can easily replace your regular crust with one made from cauliflower -- resulting in few carbs and calories. You can also make healthy burgers by using extra-lean ground beef or turkey breast as substitutes for fatty ground beef. To up the health quotient, finish the burger with a whole wheat bun. Even if you can't make whole wheat buns yourself from scratch, most grocery bakery sections sell them. Also try to buy the leanest ground beef you can find, then cook healthy burgers at home using a grill.

It's okay to occasionally treat yourself to your not-so-healthy cravings during your transition to healthier eating. That's because outright denial/deprivation in the beginning may actually cause you to return to eating junk food nonstop. The key is to create a healthy balance -- also known as moderation -- and know when to give yourself a treat while you still eat healthily overall.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Turning Your Foodie Passion Into a Business #foodielife #dowhatyoulove #findyourpassion #foodbusiness

Are you a food lover with a passion for creating delicious dishes? Then, you might be an ideal candidate to start a food-based business! Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing vital information regarding steps you should take to turn your passion for food into a business. This article may contain affiliate links.

It’s one thing being into the finest cuisine and all things gourmet...but it’s another to morph this passion for food into a business. With so many jobs being made redundant during this global pandemic, people are looking for new entrepreneur opportunities. That means some people have chosen to follow their passion for food in an effort to create a catering, street food. or restaurant business. Sound appealing to you? Think about how you can use your business acumen...and your culinary become a food industry business owner.

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Develop a Business Plan

Like any new business, you need to have a solid plan. A business plan shouldn’t be generic. Instead, it should be a customized, well-reviewed working document. You need to focus on the financial forecasts for your business for at least the next three (3) years. This means looking closely at your business model. For example: Is your venture going to cater to external events...or are you going to be attached to a venue? Hone your business model and consider all potential risks you could face. Even the most successful startups in the world have to consider risks. It's how you mitigate the risk(s) that will enable you to seek outside investment. A generic business plan is meaningless, but a customized plan will help you streamline your vision and ethos you stand for.

Secure Funding

As a food business, you need to secure funding for your venture. This might mean an initial cash injection for your premises, staffing, or marketing. Think about venturing to a "business angel" and flaunting your knowledge of the food services industry. By knowing your sector, you're displaying a deeper understanding of your venture. If you're not familiar with the term, a business angel is an expert within their field who's willing to invest their own cash to startup businesses. Pitch your idea...and be sure to know your gross from your net. Be prepared to be scrutinized, and ensure you're enthusiastic and passionate about your business idea. Finally, ensure you can attract potential investors to secure the funding your food business requires.

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Your Food Product

After business acumen, you need to ensure you have a clear vision for your food product. Consider the food you love to cook and eat. F0r example: authentic food from your heritage is all the rage at the moment. Check out Instagram, and you'll notice fusion food is also on trend. If you don’t want to tied to one location, consider starting a mobile eatery/food truck. This approach will allow you to feed hungry crowds at food festivals, weddings, and corporate events. Doing so means you can be flexible with your business model -- and adapt your dishes based on instant feedback. If you're eager to develop your knowledge within the culinary field, think about attending a few foodie events. Identify what foods and process work...and which don’t? You can find great inspiration and implement successes you discover into your startup business.

If you've been struggling to figure out how to make your foodie business dream a reality, then the advice is a good place to get started. Be bold...and smart...and follow your entrepreneurial foodie dreams!

Celebrating National Popcorn Day...Featuring Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark #NationalPopcornDay #popcorn #toffee #gamedaysnack


Art from
I am SO EXCITED that is January 19th is National Popcorn Day -- a day dedicated to celebrating one of our favorite snacks! Per information found at
Americans eat nearly 17 billion quarts of popcorn every amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times! Further, 70% of popcorn sold in the U.S.  is eaten at home; the other 30% is eaten in theaters, stadiums, school, etc. When I saw a recipe for a quick popcorn-based toffee bark in Bon Appetit, it immediately caught my eye. I tweaked their recipe a bit to create my addicting Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark. With the NFL playoffs in full swing...and the Super Bowl on the horizon...this is a perfect recipe to have on hand for game day snacking!!

A crunchy graham cracker base is topped with popcorn and a few other tasty toppings. Before baking a quick homemade salted vanilla-cinnamon toffee is poured over the top. After a few minutes in the oven, the toffee is topped with a generous amount of semisweet and white chocolate chunks. After the bark cools, it's broken into pieces to serve. Trust me: this sweet-salty snack will score a touchdown with your hungry friends and family on game day...nobody can eat only one piece!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Gearing Up for Game Day...Featuring Maxed Out Jalapeno Popper Dip #gamedayfood #jalapenopopperdip #chipsanddip #spicy #appetizers

 January is officially time for the NFL playoff postseason...leading up to the Super Bowl Sunday on February 7th! Even though my Texans aren't in the playoffs this year, we're still watching most playoff games -- and it's much less stressful than watching your home team play! This year, playoff season means smaller at-home celebrations instead of typical larger watch parties...but one thing remains the same: game day food! At my house, we love eating appetizers when we watch sports. Today, I'm sharing my personal spin on a recent appetizer classic: jalapeno popper dip. There are tons of variations of this baked dip on the Internet, but I went there and added all sorts of fun ingredients to make my Maxed Out Jalapeno Popper Dip! The end result is smoky, cheesy...and has a mid-range amount of heat. Best of all? It takes minutes to mix up...and it can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until you're ready to heat and serve!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Four Incredible Ways Your Smartphone Can Help Your Health #Healthy2021 #bewell #healthgoals

Thanks to the ongoing COVID pandemic, many of us are experiencing two phenomena simultaneously: (1) decreased overall fitness and health and (2) extra time spent on our smartphones and other devices. As The Weekend Gourmet correspondent shows today, it's easy to use that extra screen time in a positive manner to help promote our health while we're spending more time at home due to the pandemic. This #Healthy2021 article may contain affiliate links.


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Are you spending more time on your smartphone now that you have fewer tasks during the day? If so, does it help you pass the hours? If you're spending more time on your smartphone, there’s a good chance you’re worried about the amount of screen time you're using. After all, every study seems to indicate too much screen time is bad for your health and has zero benefits. Therefore, using your phone to regulate your well being -- both physically and mentally -- may seem counterintuitive. However, there are plenty of benefits smartphones offer that can outweigh potential negative outcomes. Sadly, not many people know about these benefits due to the intense focus on reducing the use of mobile devices. Yes, too much screen time is unhealthy. However, smartphone use is like anything: it has benefits when you use it reasonably. The key is determining which actions are helpful and which are harmful.

Regular Exercise

Spending extra time at home during the COVID pandemic has had a negative impact on some Americans. For example: before COVID, one-quarter of American men and women were getting the recommended weekly amount of exercise. During the pandemic, 32% of people sampled in a survey said they work out less now than they did before the virus hit last Spring. If you fall into this category, you need to find a way to get your blood pumping for the sake of your mind and body. That can be challenging when you can’t go outside as much, or if your local gym is closed. Your smartphone could be the answer to your dilemma! There are many workout-from-home apps that tailor fitness sessions to your home environment. For example: low-impact home exercise workouts are a great option you can perform anywhere in your house. All you need is a little bit of free space. Considering how much exercise helps the body...and the’s well worth using your smartphone to continue your exercise routine from home during the COVID pandemic.

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Medical ID

COVID has definitely put the fragility of life into perspective. Previously, you may have felt indestructible. Even if you didn’t, you probably weren’t as fearful for your physical wellbeing as you are now. COVID has shown that a single interaction can lead to contracting a very powerful illness that has resulted in wide-reaching side effects for millions of people. That means having a safety net in place for the worst case situation is paramount. Step forward to your iPhone! An iPhone 4 or better can turn into what's known as Medical ID. Essentially, you note everything from your medical conditions, allergies, and blood type to your emergency contacts. This vital data is then accessible to doctors and nurses, who can tap and hold the emergency button on your iPhone home screen to read all of your vital health information. You need an iPhone to take this action. As of March 2019, there were 193 million iPhones in the U.S., so there’s a healthy chance that you can utilize the Medical ID function.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss -- no matter how small -- can be problematic. In normal times, hearing loss can make you feel lonely and isolated when you can’t do simple tasks like follow a group conversation with friends. However, during a pandemic -- when restrictions reduce the number of interactions you have -- emotions will intensify. Thankfully, hearing aids are able to help by magnifying the sounds your ears struggle to pick up. Even better, Bluetooth hearing aids connect to your handset to offer greater control and accountability. For instance, you have access to the volume buttons on your smartphone, meaning you don’t need to adjust the hearing aids themselves. You can also turn the volume up on your hearing aids without increasing the sound from your TV or portable speaker. As a result, the whole family can spend extended amounts of time together in peace. Lastly, running diagnostics on your smartphone enables you to easily maintain your hearing aids.

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Chilling out has never been more important than at this very moment. With all the bad news on TV and perhaps the feeling of impending doom getting closer, it’s crucial to wind down when you can. Your stress levels will bubble over if you don’t find a way to relieve the tension. Listening to music, watching videos, or scrolling through social media all have the potential to reduce your cortisol levels -- and these options are mainly available via smartphone apps.

Bottom line: you don’t have to worry excessively about your screen time spent doing constructive tasks -- since research highlights that people who use digital devices have better social and emotional skills. Of course, you should be mindful not to go too overboard with screen time, because everything is unhealthy in overly large doses.

Does your health need a boost? With a smartphone, you can do any of the above health-boosting tasks easily and consistently!