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The 100 most romantic restaurants in America, according to OpenTable users

Love is in the air — and so is the smell of delicious food! OpenTable, a popular restaurant reservation app, released its annual user-generated list of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, and the people have spoken. Overall, the list includes many quiet neighborhood favorites — not just fancy steakhouses with fussy over-priced menus. No matter where you dine around the country, people seem to most enjoy dining with loved ones where the food is good and the price is reasonable. That said, a lot of steakhouses did make the cut — four more this year than last year. With keto being the nation’s trendiest diet, perhaps it makes sense. Ohio takes top honors with nine romantic restaurants on the list. Texas has a respectable eight honorees. North Carolina and Virginia each boast seven and Pennsylvania rounds out the top five with six nominated restaurants. New York, Colorado, California,…

How to perfectly melt chocolate

Chocolate-dipped Oreos, chocolate-covered strawberries, cake decorations — lots of desserts call for perfectly smooth and melted chocolate. But melting chocolate can be intimidating. One wrong step and you’re left with a sticky mess and a burnt pan. However, with just a few simple tips, you can master the art of chocolate melting. Also see, Chocolate Scenes From Your Favorite Movies.  Melting chocolate on the stovetop Melting chocolate on the stovetop is the best method. A double boiler will give you the best temperature control. Rather than putting delicate chocolate in contact with direct heat, the steam rising up from the boiling water gently melts the chocolate. To create a double boiler: Bring a medium pot (filled about half way) with water to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pot. The bowl should be large enough to sit on top of the pot without touching the bottom or…

Restaurants offering free food and deals on Valentine’s Day

Whether Valentine’s Day is a cheerful day for you and your beloved or a day to skip over and celebrate your singleness, everyone loves free food. This year, several restaurants and fast food chains are offering freebies or discounts in honor of the Hallmark holiday. From freebies to heart-shaped snacks, here are some restaurants we’ve rounded up that are spreading the love this holiday. Auntie Anne’s Love can be a little sweet and salty. That’s why a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s is a perfect choice. Get their BOGO free deal on any heart-shaped original or cinnamon sugar pretzel. Participation may vary, so call ahead to be sure. Buca di Beppo’s Valentine’s Day diners can order the “Classic Love Package,” and be delighted with a heart-shaped lasagne, small garlic bread, mixed green or caesar salad, and a mini chocolate chip cannoli for dessert. The deal is offered for just $49.99. Carrabba’s…

Why conversation hearts will be missing this Valentine’s Day

This year you might have to find another way to ask your sweetie to “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me.” Valentine’s Day’s most popular candy, SweetHearts, those tiny heart-shaped confections printed with terms of endearment, won’t be produced. New England Confectionary Company (Necco) annually made more than eight billion (13 million pounds) of the tiny hearts in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, but despite a great effort to save the oldest continually operating candy company in the country, NECCO was shut down in 2018. With Necco dead, so too are SweetHearts — for now anyway. Competing brands offer rival ripoffs of the iconic heart candies, but SweetHearts is the original, most recognized and favored brand. SweetHearts’ hold strong sentimental value for many people in the U.S. and their sales were the strongest — by a long shot. Any SweetHearts products you find online or in stores this year…

This is how much you need to exercise to burn off your Super Bowl snacks

There’s no question about it: Super Bowl Sunday is a tough day to eat healthy. Even if you’re not a fan of either team, you still might find yourself at a party, socializing, trying not to let those deep fried wings and blue cheese tempt you. The Super Bowl has become one of the biggest food days of the year, second only to Thanksgiving. During the four-hour Super Bowl extravaganza, the average party-goer will consume about 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat. For most people, splurging one day isn’t going to make much of a difference. However, to help put the damage in perspective, Dietdetective.com did a little nutritional math and replaced calories with exactly how much exercise you would have to do to burn off your bad Game Day dietary decisions. Let’s have some fun… PIZZA To burn off three slices of Pizza Hut Pepperoni Lovers Pan Pizza, you…

Fall in love with these 5 Easy Valentine’s Day snack ideas

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is right around the corner? Whether you’re looking for a healthy treat that’s classroom ready or something sweet to snack on with your S.O., here are 5 easy Valentine’s Day snacks to share with your loves this Feb. 14. Crush-worthy clementines Just cut your clementine sections at an angle and skewer two together to make cupids bow. Tomato togetherness Cut your cherry tomatoes at an angle about 1/3 of the way down. Then cut the larger piece in half, longways. Skewer the two sides together to make a terrific tasting tomato heart. Sentimental Cinnamon rolls Open a can of cinnamon rolls. Carefully uncoil one cinnamon roll at a time and reform into a heart. Bake at temperature packaging suggests, but notice the time will have to be cut. Hearts are typically ready in about 5 minutes less that packaging suggests. Partial to Pizza Roll out pizza…

10 delicious facts you never knew about Girl Scout cookies

Just in time to spoil your New Year’s Resolution, badge-covered vest wearing Girl Scouts arrive at your door with their brilliant fundraising idea — cookies.  Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs: You know you can’t resist. If you haven’t placed your order yet this year, better hurry. More than 2.6 million Girl Scouts in the United States will be turning in their cookie orders soon. And while you’re looking forward to receiving your cookies sometime in weeks that follow, its also worth reflecting on the storied past of these iconic cookies. The entrepreneurial cookie initiative dates back a whole lot further than you might expect. So listen up and earn your merit badge for the day with these 10 facts about Girl Scout cookies. 1. Home baked business In 1917, just five years after Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia, the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma decided to sell cookies…

Here is the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in every state

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to love, romance, and of course, candy. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend about $1.8 billion on candy this year as part of their Feb. 14 celebrations. As far as holiday indulgences go, candy is relatively inexpensive, so for couples looking to not break the bank, exchanging favorite sweets is a popular activity. Candy isn’t just for couples, however — 42% of people said they would buy themselves a box of chocolates this year. It’s clear that everyone loves candy, but where you live is likely to influence what you buy and give. Using sales data from the past 11 years, bulk candy company CandyStore.com determined each state’s favorite candy. Here’s what people are ordering where you’re from: Source: CandyStore.com. Alabama: Candy necklaces Alaska: Heart-shaped box of chocolates Arizona: Conversation hearts Arkansas: Hershey Kisses California: Conversation hearts Colorado: Conversation hearts Connecticut:…

Heart-Healthy February: Timing of meals might help reduce heart risks

It’s unfair that heart-healthy February falls right when we’re reaching for cold weather comfort food. But this inconvenience reminds us that we need to stay vigilant all year long — not just when it’s convenient. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States is the result of heart disease. But it’s not just what you eat that affects your heart health. It’s also when you eat. A scientific statement released by the American Heart Association says that there is reason to believe, that the timing of our meals matters a lot when it comes to cardiovascular disease. The conclusion: Eating earlier is better. The body maintains its own internal clock, so eating later can reset that rhythm and alter metabolism. “Meal timing may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal…

Chocolate raspberry thumbprints to love

Raspberry and chocolate. Need I say more? This classic combo is easy to love on Valentine’s Day or anytime you want to treat yourself — or someone else! — to something special. I wanted a quick cookie that could ship easily to those I love overseas and across country. With protection of a cookie tin and a few layers of wax paper to separate, these did the job beautifully — thanks for the idea Saving Room for Dessert.  Chocolate raspberry thumbprints Ingredients 2 cups flour, leveled 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp salt 1 cup sugar 2 sticks butter (1 cup), room temperature 1 egg yolk 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup raspberry jam, stirred (seeded or unseeded) Optional: 2 tbsp milk Optional: crushed pistachios, Directions In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar…