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Seasonal

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This is why we eat ham on Easter

Holidays are chock-full of timeless traditions, perhaps in no category more steadfastly than food. What’s Thanksgiving without turkey? Halloween without candy? New Year’s without some bubbly? And of course, what would Easter dinner even be without a briny, salty ham? But aside from simply tradition, how did pigs come to play such an important role in our annual spring feast? It really just has to do with practical considerations and timing. Traditionally, pigs were slaughtered in the fall as temperatures cooled. This would allow the meat to stay fresher for much longer. Before refrigeration, farmers would set aside any unsold meat to be cured, or preserved, as to not waste food or income. That cured meat was finally ready to eat each year right around Easter. Also read, Why do eat chocolate bunnies on Easter? These days, slaughtering schedules don’t play an important of a part as simply our preference. While…

A short but sweet history of Hershey’s kisses

The year was 1907. Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, Oklahoma had been admitted as 46th state in the Union, and Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses came into the nation’s collective candy-loving conscious. Hershey’s has been planting its chocolaty kisses on Americans for more than 110 years. Today, the bite-sized candy is the 5th most popular chocolate brand in the country, with sales topping $400 million. To keep up with demand, more than 60 million Hershey’s Kisses are produced each day between the company’s two factories. So how exactly did this iconic candy get its lovable name? While no one alive today was there to witness the first bottom-heavy, bite-sized, chocolaty blob hit the conveyor belt, urban lore has it that the tasty treat was named for the lip-smacking sound the machinery made when dropping the melty chocolates during the manufacturing process. Naysayers argue that the word “kiss” had been a…

25 most romantic restaurants in Pittsburgh

The once industrial Steel City might be well-known for its dominating sports teams and french fry smothered salads and sandwiches—but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a softer side. Take the guesswork out of where to go this Valentine’s Day. From fire-lit dining, to impeccable service, historic architecture, and of course, decadent dishes, Pittsburgh’s most romantic restaurants have something for everyone. 1. Altius Award-winning Altius offers contemporary American cuisine served with a scenic city view. From its spectacular location atop Mt. Washington to its exceptional new dining concept created by B DeFrancis and Chef Jessica Bauer, Altius takes the dining experience “higher”—which just so happens to be the Latin translation of its name. Make reservations here.  1230 Grandview Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15211, Phone: 412-904-4442 2. Hyeholde Hyeholde sits on four acres of gardens and winding stone paths. It’s easy to see why it has long been considered one of the most…

What’s in season in February?

Nothing tastes better than fresh-picked fruits and veggies. If you too prefer your produce when it’s freshest from the farm, here’s what you should be buying in February. Fresh produce is tastier and cheaper since there is plenty of it—simple supply and demand here! So stock up, save money, and enjoy these fruits and vegetables grown this time of year right here in the U.S. Oranges Oranges show up every year right when we need their powerful vitamin C the most. Cold, grey days tend to be synonymous with sickness, but a healthy dose of OJ or a fresh orange a day can help keep the doctor away. Grapefruits Grapefruits also offer a pop of bright color and cheery flavor when we need it most. Grapefruits are perfectly ripe and juicy in February so enjoy them this month in fresh-squeeze juice, salads, or all on their own. Try this grapefruit…

Tips for making the best breakfast in bed this Valentine’s Day

On any given weekday, breakfast might mean a simple cup of coffee and perhaps a piece of toast—still warm if you’re lucky—gobbled up as you leave a trail of breadcrumbs to the door. But Valentine’s Day is a special day meant for spending with the one you love—and the food you love—so what better place to cash in on that merriment than in bed cozied up with your better half and your favorite breakfast? Here are a few tips for making the ultimate breakfast in bed. Plan ahead You don’t want to wakeup and find you’re out of OJ, or coffee, or baking powder for your waffle batter, or anything else you had anticipated being available. Get ready for your morning a few days before by planning a menu, making sure you’ll have everything you need, then head to the store to fill in the gaps. go for the good…

How to store Valentine’s Day candy to make it last

We’re barely through Halloween when Christmas candy starts piling up. Then comes Valentine’s Day, and you know Easter is right around the corner. Unless you’re making a serious effort to gobble up your holiday candy, chances are that by now you have too much of it laying around. But no need to fret! Your Valentine’s Day candy—or any holiday candy—can be stored for the long haul and enjoyed later this year. Here’s how: General tips Candies have different storage requirements, but the pantry or a dry basement are usually safe bets to stash sweets for months. Freezing is a popular method for preserving food over a long period of time, but not all sweets are suited for the harsh cold of the freezer. Toffee and truffles can be frozen for up to 2 months, but avoid freezing anything with fruit or nuts. Avoid mixing types of candies in one container.…

Sweethearts are back for Valentine’s Day 2020 but with a few changes

Sweethearts are back on store shelves in time for Valentine’s Day. Last year, you may remember, if you wanted to tell the object of your affection to “BE MINE” or “KISS ME” you had to find another way. The iconic conversation hearts were missing from store shelves because of a change in ownership. Thankfully they’re back for Valentine’s Day 2020, but consumers might notice a few changes. Because of printing machine issues, not all hearts will receive printed messages. Some Sweethearts are being released blank. Yes—silent hearts. Additionally, Spangler the company behind Dum Dum lollipops and now Sweethearts, has decided to return to the original 118-year-old candy recipe. That means flavors like banana and wintergreen will find their way back in the box. Consumers can find Sweethearts for the 2020 season at big retailers like Walgreen’s and CVS, but should act soon. Spangler spokeswoman Diana Moore Eschhofen told CNBC that…

The sweet history of the heart-shaped box of chocolates

Conversation Hearts might be cute and festive, but unless you want to be a sucker this Valentine’s Day, you better gift your sweetie with some serious chocolate. And if you want your true love to know these aren’t just regular chocolates—these are Valentine’s Day chocolates—they better be bundled in, specifically, a bright red heart-shaped box. You could put those chocolates in just about any shaped box—a square, a triangle, a rhombus. Yet, it’s the heart shape that has stood the test of time this holiday. But when and where did the first heart-shaped box of chocolates come from? As with the origins of many holiday traditions, a genius sales and marketing effort was at its core. British chocolatier Richard Cadbury (yes, that Cadbury) created the first heart-shaped box design, but before that, he first had to invent chocolates as we know them today. In the early 1800s, chocolate’s popularity was waning…

How to avoid getting the flu beyond just washing your hands

Last flu season nearly 38 million people came down with the illness. Of those, 531,000 were hospitalized, and between 36,400 and 61,200 people died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of course the usual advice is great: Get the vaccine, wash your hands often, and avoid contact with anyone who has been sick. But beyond that, is there anything else we can do? Most illness are spread by your hands, so using sanitizer and washing them regularly is extremely important, especially after coming home from a day in our germ-ridden world. So that really is the number one thing you can do. But what’s some other advice for avoiding the flu this season all together? Disinfect items you touch often. Your cell phone, tablet, and desk phone are all prime hiding spots for germs. You touch the outside world, then touch your cell, then put it to your…

10 fun facts you never knew about maple syrup

If you’ve ever had maple syrup—the real maple syrup—you know those corn syrup knock-offs just can’t compare. Real maple syrup has a rich, complexed flavor with a balanced level of natural sweetness. The fake stuff? Super sugary and pretty bland in comparison. With all of that fake syrup floating around, we tend to forget where the good stuff comes from. If you love real maple syrup, stick around. Here are 12 fun facts you never knew: The maple syrup capital is canada, of course. Vermont is the biggest U.S. producer of the sweet amber elixir with more than 890,000 gallons a year, but the U.S. pales in comparison to Canada’s production. More than 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada. Québec alone is responsible for nearly 8 million gallons a year. Native Americans were the first to discover maple syrup. Legend has it that Native Americans observed…