Easy Dates to do AT HOME!


You don’t have to go out on the town to have a fun date!

Couples Night IN

Finding time alone as a couple is an important aspect of maintaining a strong and healthy relationship.

Couples with children often struggle to have the time or energy to reconnect as often as they would like.

While it can be a challenge to find the time and resources to go “out” on a date, there are many fun activities couples can do at home to reconnect, especially after the kids are asleep. In order to make “at home” dates successful, follow these three tips:

1. Keep it simple. Going on a date with your sweetheart is about connecting with each other. Activities do not need to be elaborate or require a lot of time or energy. Even 20 minutes of uninterrupted quality time can boost a relationship.

2. Make a plan. Because you are staying at home, it will be easier to just fall into the normal routine rather than to have a date night, so plan what you will be doing and when. This will also help you to know what you might need to do or buy to be ready for your date. Be sure to take turns choosing the activity (complaints on either side can spoil the fun).

3. Focus on each other. Once again, because you are at home, it is often easy to get distracted by housework, electronics, etc. Commit to focus only on your spouse and the activity you are doing together for the timeframe you have planned.

Where possible, make an effort to connect through conversation throughout your date, especially about personal thoughts and feelings (not just about the kids).

Ideas for “at home” date nights:
1. Star gaze. Set up a blanket in the backyard and enjoy looking at the stars. For bonus points, get a star map and try to identify constellations.
2. Walk in your partner’s shoes for an evening. Swap your normal “duties” for the night to try to understand life from your partner’s perspective. After the kids go to bed, discuss your experience.
3. Look through old photo albums and reminisce together. If you feel really energetic, make it a time to put loose photos into albums or delete out-of-focus and duplicate digital files.
4. Have a fondue party. Dip your favorite veggies, fruits or snack foods in cheese or chocolate. Yum!
5. Curl up for an evening of reading. Find a book you both enjoy and take turns reading to each other.
6. Go dancing. Check out a dance instruction video or find one online and turn your living room into a ballroom.
7. Camp in your own backyard. Set up a tent, snuggle and tell ghost stories. If you have a fire pit, light a fire and roast marshmallows and make s‘mores. If not, improvise using a gas stove, barbeque or microwave.
8. Go gourmet. Sample a few types of cheese you haven’t tried before with crackers, bread or fruit and critique each one.
9. Cozy up on a blanket in front of a fireplace and have a picnic or treat. No fireplace? You can improvise with a bunch of candles grouped together.
10. Watch a classic romantic movie or funny videos on YouTube. Make a fluffy bed out of pillows and cushions on the floor for a fun change.
11. Play board games or card games. For a fun twist, decide on a service or treat that the winner will receive.
12. Get sweet. Have an ice cream sundae bar, experiment with creating your own smoothie recipes or have a chocolate tasting night.
13. Have an at-home spa night. Light some candles and give each other a massage, take a bubble bath or if you are feeling adventurous, treat each other to a pedicure or facial.
14. Create a dream board of pictures or a list of places you want to visit or fun things you would like to do together in the future. Make a plan to make one of them happen.
15. Get active. Try a new exercise video together or take a stroll around the outside of the house to get some fresh air.

This article was written by Naomi Brower, Extension Associate Professor

Easy Ways to Brighten Up Your Winter!

Citrus Blog

Brighten up your winter with fresh citrus!

Fresh Start

An abundance of citrus fruits are available in grocery stores this time of year. Their bright colors greet you as you walk into the produce department. Use these fruits to escape the January blues and add some color to your cooking and your kitchen!

Citrus fruits can help you get back on track to a healthy lifestyle after the holidays. They’re also a fun way to splash some freshness and color into a mundane winter menu.

Along with being delicious and refreshing, citrus fruits are full of vitamin C. Citrus fruits also promote heart health and reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. They have been known to aid in cancer prevention and are useful in diabetes sugar level control. Other important nutrients found in citrus fruits are fiber, folate, lypocene, potassium and vitamin B6.

Citrus fruits are also objects of beauty and decor. A bowl of fresh fruit makes a great centerpiece. It can also remind you that selecting a piece of fruit rather than candy or cookies is a wise choice.

It is smart to keep fresh fruit within reach to encourage daily consumption. USDA’s MyPlate recommends eating 2 cups of fruit every day. This may be in the form of juice, fresh, canned or dried fruits.

Here are some quick ways to increase citrus fruits in your daily diet.

• Add oranges and lemons to water to allow infusing overnight.
• Eat half a grapefruit every morning for breakfast.
• Have a citrus snack every day. Throw an orange or clementine in your purse or bag on your way out the door.
• Top veggies or salads with a fresh squeeze of lemon to enhance the flavor.
• Prepare entrees centered around a citrus theme.

Below you will find recipes for a salad, an entrée and a dessert all focused on delicious citrus. Enjoy!

Tossed Green Salad with Citrus Dressing:
• 4 cups torn fresh spinach
• 4 cups torn leaf lettuce
• 2 (11 oz.) cans mandarin oranges
• ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced radishes

• ½ cup orange juice
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
• ¼ teaspoon paprika
• Pepper to taste

Toss spinach, lettuce, oranges and radishes in salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk together until blended. Serve with salad. Refrigerate leftover dressing. Yield: 8 servings

Lemon Chicken Stir Fry
• 1 lemon
• ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 onion, diced
• 3 cups sliced mushrooms
• 1 cup sliced carrots (1/4 inch thick)
• 2 cups snow peas, stems and strings removed
• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest and set aside. Juice the lemon and whisk 3 tablespoons of juice with broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add onion, mushrooms and carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add snow peas and reserved lemon zest. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk the broth mixture and add to the pan. Cook, stirring until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and heat through. Yield: 4 servings

Orange Gladness
• 2 oranges, peeled, separated and chopped
• 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
• 6-ounce package sugar-free orange gelatin
• 16 ounces low fat cottage cheese
• 8-ounces fat-free whipped topping, thawed

Place the oranges and pineapple in a large mixing bowl. Prepare orange gelatin according to instructions on the box. Pour heated gelatin mixture over fruit in mixing bowl. Mix well and allow to chill for 2-3 hours. Once chilled, mix in the cottage cheese. Last, gently fold in the whipped topping. Yield: 6-8 servings

Ask A Specialist // The Power of Pomegranates


Pomegranates are an amazing alternative to holiday sweets!

Powerful Pomegranates

As the holidays approach, fresh pomegranates become readily available. Pomegranates are found in most Utah grocery stores from October through December, and two varieties are grown in Washington County.

These native Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fruits used in anything from salads to desserts are an excellent source of phytochemicals, making them one of the best antioxidants available.

The edible seeds of these yellow-orange to deep-red colored fruits have a citrus flavor and make a delicious juice.

Over the last few years, the health value of the pomegranate has been studied.  Preliminary research shows that the pomegranate may be one of the best antioxidant fruits that can fight cancer, slow the aging process, increase heart health and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies from UCLA and USDA indicate that pomegranates are a major stabilizer of cancer. The naturally occurring antioxidants in this fruit fight the free radicals that promote disease. 

One average pomegranate contains about 100 calories and 25 grams of sugar and is a good source of potassium. Consider this information when preparing the healthy fruit.

• To open a pomegranate, cut off the blossom end and score through the skin marking the fruit in quarters. Submerge the pomegranate in ice-cold water and rub the seeds off the skin. The skin will float to the top, the seeds to the bottom, and then they can be drained. See the demonstration video athttp://tinyurl.com/peelingpomegranates.

• To store pomegranates, keep them at room temperature for a week, then refrigerate in an air-tight bag for up to 3 months or freeze the seeds for 6 months to a year. 

Pomegranates are enjoyable in salsa, salads, with main dishes, as jelly and syrup or just by the handful.


Dixie Pomegranate Fresh Salsa
1 pomegranate, seeded
2 oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 tablespoons lime juice

Score pomegranate and break apart in ice water. Drain the seeds. Add all ingredients and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Pomegranate Jelly
3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, fresh, bottled or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package (2 ounces) powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar

Combine pomegranate juice, lemon juice and pectin in a 4 or 5-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar until well blended; return to a boil and continue boiling, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Remove jelly from heat immediately. Put in jars and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes. Cool for 24 hours, then remove the ring before storing.

By Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extension associate professor, carolyn.washburn@usu.edu

Ask a Specialist // Perfectly Cooking Your Turkey

Turkey Talk Blog

Learn how to properly cook your Thanksgiving bird!

Avoiding FOWL Play

It is estimated that each Thanksgiving, more than 46 million turkeys are prepared and eaten in the United States. Because of the number of turkeys prepared, the incidence of food-borne illness also increases during the holidays.

If not prepared properly, turkey and all poultry can carry Salmonella, a common type of bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Consider these tips for preparing a safe and tasty turkey this year.

* The first and most important food safety step is to properly thaw the turkey. The best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator. Make sure it is still in its original wrapper, and put a tray underneath it to catch juices and prevent cross contamination. You will need 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, so make sure you have enough time to properly thaw it. Once thawed, cook the turkey within 1 to 2 days.

* If you need to thaw the turkey more quickly, you can use the cold water method. Place the turkey in an airtight package or leak-proof bag. Submerge the turkey in cold water for 30 minutes per pound, and make sure to change the water every half hour so it remains cold. Cook immediately.

* If you purchased a smaller turkey, it may be possible to thaw it in the microwave. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the size of turkey that will fit in your microwave, the minutes per pound and the power level for thawing. Roast it immediately after thawing.

* It is never safe to thaw turkey or other meat on the counter. This is putting the meat in what food safety experts call the danger zone, 40 to 140 F, which is where bacteria multiply rapidly. Under ideal conditions, bacteria can double every 10 to 20 minutes. That means one cell can increase to more than 16 million cells in 8 hours. For this reason, perishable foods such as poultry should never be held at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

* To roast a turkey, set the oven temperature no lower than 325 F. It is not safe to cook a turkey for a lengthy time, such as overnight, at a very low temperature. This encourages bacterial growth. To check for doneness, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh. Do not rely on the pop-up thermometer alone. Meat thermometers are available at reasonable prices in most supermarkets and variety stores. To be safe, the thigh meat should reach 165 F. If the bird is stuffed, the stuffing should reach 165 F as well.

* After the meal, promptly refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers. Some families leave turkey and other perishable items out all day for people to nibble on. This is not safe. Place perishable items in the refrigerator. If people want to snack, they can get the food out of the refrigerator.

For more information on turkey preparation or storage, contact your local USU county Extension office. You can also contact USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPH-otline (888-674-6854).

This article was written by Darlene Christensen, USU Extension associate professor, 435-277-2406, darlene.christensen@usu.edu

Take Charge of Your Diabetes // Bonus Holiday Recipe

Diabetes Blog

It’s never too late to take charge of your life!

Diabetes is a complex disease that requires daily self-management, making healthy food choices, staying physically active, monitoring blood sugar and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Over 8 percent of the American population has diabetes. In over 65 populations, 25 percent have diabetes.

Our bodies need daily nutrients. We consume carbohydrates for energy, proteins for strength, and fats are also needed for nerves and body functions. How much we consume of each is critical to understand. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during digestion. Carbohydrates are the main ingredient that raises blood glucose.

As you take control of your diet, you will need to understand portion size, the ingredients in products, and watch for added ingredients. Fiber is also an important component for diabetics. Fiber can help control blood sugar levels by slowing down sugar absorption.

Fiber makes you feel “fuller” and helps move foods through the digestive tract. With bright colors and flavorful textures, vegetables are an excellent way to add fiber, vitamins and minerals to your daily plan. Fill your plate half full with vegetables at meal time. Aim for 30 grams of fiber every day. Adding apples, pears, bran, and vegetables to your everyday diets will increase the fiber and help in maintaining sugar levels.

Finding out that you have diabetes can be discouraging and frustrating. It is a serious disease with many possible complications. However, research has shown that people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives. The way to do this is by managing glucose levels with diet, exercise and proper medications.

For those with diabetes, it is critical to find ways to eat foods with lower sugars, salts and fats. These three items greatly flavor most of our foods and when we minimize them, we must make some modifications, finding new ways to flavor foods.

Learning to use herbs, spices, sugar substitutes, low fat and low-sodium products will make a difference in your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is an ongoing epidemic, and shouldn’t go unchecked. Keep it monitored and under control. You may enjoy this favorite recipe for the upcoming holidays.

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into slices or chunks
1/3 cup sugar free pancake syrup
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp low fat butter or butter substitute, cut in small pieces

Cook potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for 8 minutes until almost tender. Drain well.
Heat syrup and ginger in a small sauce pan. Cook 3 minutes on low for flavors to blend; set aside.

In prepared pan, arrange potatoes in a single layer. Pour syrup mixture over potatoes. Dot with butter. Cover and bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, Extension Professor, Washington County

Top 10 // The Truth About Vegetables


These 10 tips will help you ditch the idea that healthy foods are too expensive!

The Whole Truth

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet because they provide essential vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber and water while low in calories, so they can help us feel full longer on fewer calories.

The USDA MyPlate Guidelines tells us to make ½ of our plate fruit and vegetables, but many people find it difficult to put this into practice. The three main reasons people give for not eating more fruits and vegetables are cost, time and taste.

This week we’ll talk about how to eat fruits and vegetables on a budget, and we will cover how to make fruits and vegetables more convenient and tastier in following weeks.

Many people think that fruits and vegetables are too expensive. But the truth is, vegetables and healthy foods are more affordable for what you get out of them. Fruits and vegetables do tend to be more expensive per calorie, but less expensive than less healthy foods per gram or per portion eaten. This is because fruits and vegetables are higher in fiber, water and vitamins and minerals, while being lower in calories.

If you think about all of the nutritional benefits you get from fruits and vegetables, it is hard not to see them as a deal! Here are 10 great tips to include fruits and vegetables in your diet at a lower cost:

1. Shop in season! Fruits and vegetables are often on sale when they are in season, and usually taste better then too. You can look up what vegetables are in season here: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/what-fruits-and-vegetables-are-in-season

2. Some vegetables are low cost year round, including potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage. Look for recipes online to find new ways to use these staples: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/main-recipes

3. Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables when they are on sale. Frozen is just as nutritious as fresh, and they can keep 8-10 months in the freezer. Choose those without added sauces, fats or sugar.

4. Plan your meals ahead of time so fresh fruits and vegetables get used before they go bad. You can learn more about meal planning here: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-on-budget.html

5. To reduce waste, you can freeze leftover vegetables to add to casseroles or soups later, and overripe fruit is great in smoothies or baking.

6. Canned vegetables are a great option, and are much more affordable than fresh or frozen. Choose fruit canned in 100 percent juice and vegetables that are low in sodium or have no sodium added. Stock up when they are on sale!

7. When buying canned or frozen vegetables, try the store brand. The store brand is the same or a similar product at a much lower price.

8. Check out your local farmer’s market. You can often find great deals on seasonal produce.

9. If you find a great deal on fresh produce, try freezing or canning it for later use. You can learn how from USU Extension: https://extension.usu.edu/boxelder/files/uploads/fn168.pdf

10. Another way to reduce cost might be to grow your own. A backyard garden or patio planter can provide super-fresh produce all summer long. USU Extension has a lot of great resources to learn how if you are a beginner: https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/

Come back next week for more tricks and tips to make fruits and vegetables more convenient and tasty.

This article was written by Carrie Durward, Extension Nutrition Specialist

Ask a Specialist // 15 Ways to Save on Groceries

Save on Groceries

Follow these tips to save some extra money for the holidays!

Being a Frugal Foodie

Money spent on food is probably one of the biggest expenses in a household budget—perhaps even larger than a mortgage, depending on family size. Combine money spent on groceries with money spent eating out, and that number gets even larger.

Here are some tricks to save on food costs. And as a bonus, most money-saving tips will also help you eat healthier.

1. Make a meal plan and detailed shopping list. Together these will help you spend less time in the store, help you buy only what you need and help you avoid more frequent shopping trips. Remember to use foods in your cupboard and food storage as part of your meal plan instead of buying unnecessary duplicates.

2. Reduce the number of trips to the grocery store. Undoubtedly you’ve gone to the store to buy a gallon of milk and spent more than $10. Try to narrow store visits to once a week; if you shop more frequently than that, try twice a month. Buy as much milk, fruit, etc., as you need for that time, or try doing without an ingredient instead of making another trip to the store.

3. Shop when the stores are less crowded and NOT when you are hungry. Food originally not on your list suddenly appears in the cart when you’re hungry, which doesn’t save money. However, it is a good idea to make your meal plan when hungry because it’s easy to bring meal ideas to mind with a grumbling stomach.

4. Make food from scratch, or nearly from scratch. It is generally cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods. Buying a head of lettuce and a package of carrots and chopping it yourself will likely be cheaper and larger than buying a pre-packaged salad mix. But if you won’t chop the lettuce and carrots, it will be a waste of money. It’s almost always cheaper—and healthier—to choose more whole, fresh foods rather than boxed, bottled or frozen ready-to-eat options. Consider your options for saving money and compare that with your time and your family’s preferences. If you have time, options such as making homemade bread, tortillas and other bread products could save a lot of money over the long term.

5. Ditch the myth that healthy foods are more expensive. While some foods considered healthy are more expensive than less healthy foods, this is not always the case. For example, frozen salmon fillets could be considered healthier than sirloin steak, yet salmon is more expensive per pound. However, chicken is a lean meat, generally cheaper than sirloin steak and a healthier choice. Another example: for the price of a box of cereal (or cheaper), you could buy a large container of oatmeal, which has more servings than the box of cereal, provides 100 percent serving of whole grains, is naturally filled with fiber and nutrients and is free of added sugars.

6. Eliminate food waste. Healthy, fresh foods become expensive when they are allowed to spoil or age before they can be eaten. Carefully plan how you’ll use foods while they are fresh. List a few meals that use the same foods and refer to that when you have excess or when certain foods are on sale. Also try the “cook once, eat twice” idea where you make one large meal and repurpose it for a different meal the next day. Be sure to use the freshest foods first, then turn to frozen and canned foods. Another way to eliminate food waste and save on food is to carry leftovers or sack meals when on the go to avoid eating out.

7. Compare prices between generic and store brands. Generally foods higher or lower on the shelves will be cheaper than those at eye level. Also check unit pricing (most stores include this in the price tag on the shelf) and not just the price per container.

8. Use coupons carefully. If it is a product you usually buy and use, and the coupon will make the item cheaper than the generic brand, it is worth using. Check for online coupons that connect to your shopper’s card. Price matching can also be a great way to save money. Some stores require you to bring proof of the item price in another store, so be prepared.

9. Buy produce in season. The price of fresh produce can vary throughout the year, based on harvest season. Save money and vary eating habits by buying fresh produce in season. Watch for labeling of prices—most of the time, fresh produce is priced per pound, not per item. There could be a great difference between heads of cabbage that are .99 per pound versus .99 per head.

10. Don’t forget frozen and canned fruits and veggies. Most fruits and vegetables that are canned or frozen are processed quickly at their peak of ripeness and nutrition. Canned and frozen fruits and veggies without added sugars and salts are healthy options and can be less expensive than fresh options, especially for foods out of season or hard to find in your area. They also add an element of convenience since the chopping and/or peeling has been done, and they store well.

11. Since meat is costly, consider cheaper proteins including milk, eggs, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, edamame and beans. Reduce the amount of meat used in recipes. If a stir-fry recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken, try the recipe with 1 pound and add more veggies. Save the other pound for later. Or add more whole grains and vegetables to your diet.

12. Shop sales and stock up on foods you use often. Track prices of foods you use most, and when prices go down, buy more. Use food storage to plan your meals and rotate the food. This helps keep costs down and reduces food waste. Many grocery stores in Utah have seasonal case lot sales when prices are lower for many pantry-stable foods, such as canned goods, flour, sugar, rice, beans and oatmeal. There are also baking sales in late fall before the holidays.

13. Buy from the bulk section. Not all bulk items will be cheaper than pre-packaged foods, so compare prices carefully. However, buying bulk, scoop-it-out-yourself foods is an excellent way to get food you use frequently or to get small amounts of foods to try in new recipes, such as quinoa, whole grain pasta noodles, nuts, steel-cut oats and ground spices.

14. Grow a garden and use the produce in your meals and snacks. Visit livewellutah.org and click “recipes” for ideas on using produce easily grown or purchased in most parts of Utah.

15. Consider preserving garden produce for later use. Freezing, dehydrating and canning are all great ways to preserve food and have the potential to save you money and avoid food waste. Canning supplies can be expensive, but can be accumulated over time, and with the exception of canning lids, they can be used repeatedly. For safe, scientifically tested canning and preserving information, go to extension.usu.edu/foodpreservation or contact your local Extension office. For classes near you that will give you more healthy, eating-on-a-budget tips, visit https://extension.usu.edu/foodsense/htm/calendar.

This article was written by Melanie Jewkes, Utah State University Extension associate professor, Salt Lake County



November Menu Planning

November Menu Planning

November is a crazy month. Stay ahead of the game and plan your meals now!

Om Nom November

You might remember that we did a post on menu planning a little while back. Menu planning is an amazing way to save money and time! However, thinking of meals to make week after week can be a challenge.

To help you out with the month of November, bigbiteslittlebudget.com has put together a sample menu plan for you! Feel free to move meals around, swap meals out for ones you like better and completely change it up. The most important thing is that you make a plan and stick with it.

Don’t worry; if you have never tried menu planning, this is a great place start! Plus, bigbiteslittlebudget.com has included all of the dinner recipes you will need this month and every single one is absolutely delicious.

Here is one of the recipes you won’t want to miss!
Pumpkin Pie Bread

To find your handy-dandy November menu plan and all SIX delicious recipes, click here.
Happy planning!


Table for One

Kid-Friendly Creations // Strawberry Ghosts

Strawberry Ghosts Post

A fun and easy kitchen creation for you and your little ones!

Spooky Strawberry Ghosts!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


24 fresh strawberries (washed and dried)
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening
1 tsp. vanilla


1. Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
2. Wash and dry strawberries. Make sure all of the excess water is gone or the chocolate will have trouble sticking to the strawberry.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and shortening at 50 percent power; stir every 30 seconds until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
4. Hold strawberries by the stems and dip in melted chocolate, making sure to coat all sides. Place on cookie sheet.
5. Chill strawberries in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
6. Stick chocolate chips on each strawberry to create a face.

Chocolate Melting Tips!!

1. Make sure all utensils and bowls used to melt the chocolate are dry. Any amount of water will cause the chocolate to clump and harden.

2. To avoid scorching your chocolate in the microwave, melt it using a makeshift double boiler.

Makeshift double boiler:
1 medium to large glass bowl
1 medium saucepan.

Make sure the glass bowl is large enough that it rests on the rim of the saucepan. The bowl should be suspended a few inches from the bottom of the pan.

To use the double boiler, simply add water to the bottom of the saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Place bowl filled with chocolate on top of the pan and start stirring. In no time you will have perfectly smooth, melted chocolate.

3. If you’re planning on using your melted chocolate for an extended period of time, simply place your bowl of chocolate on a heating pad! It will be kept warm enough to use, but the risk of scorching will be avoided.


Photo Credit
Made it. Ate it. Loved it.

Halloween Safety Tips!


Keep your little ghouls and ghosts safe this wicked weekend!

How to Have a Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a fun and festive holiday that both kids and adults love. From carving pumpkins to making costumes, the whole holiday offers ways to be creative, celebrate and have fun.

To make sure your Halloween is as fun as possible, follow these safety tips to keep you and your kiddos safe!


Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.


Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.


Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.


Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.


Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and to help others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.


Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.


Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.


Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.


Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.


Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.


Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.


Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.


Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?

Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:

Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie snacks and drinks. For guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
Be sure walking areas and stairs are well lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
Keep candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children and never leave them unattended.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO DRIVE CAREFULLY ON HALLOWEEN! The peak time for trick or treating is from 5:30 until 9:30 pm. Please be extra careful while driving during these times to avoid an accident.

Have a Happy Halloween!!