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Seasonal

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What is the difference between spearmint and peppermint?

With the holidays here you can be sure of one thing — mint, mint, mint, and more mint. Peppermint is practically the poster child for the entire winter season, with candy canes, peppermint patties, peppermint bark, and peppermint flavored hot chocolate. Peppermint might steal the show, but actually, there are over 15 types of mint including orange mint, apple mint, and of course, spearmint. Peppermint and spearmint are, by far, the most popular. Peppermint vs. Spearmint So, are the two interchangeable? Well, all mints are not the same. You’re likely to notice right away if someone switches the spearmint in your mojito with peppermint or if your barista were to replace the peppermint in your mocha with spearmint. That’s not saying they wouldn’t be good — just noticeably different. Both have square stems and spear-shaped leaves, and both are great for cooking, but the two have distinct difference in terms…

10 things you never knew about eggnog

It’s that time of year when people all over the world get a hankering for holiday eggnog. You already know it’s delicious, but did you know it was responsible for a riot at West Point? Or that it was prescribed as medicine by doctors in the 1800s? Read on to learn more about everyone’s favorite way to imbibe during the holidays. 1. Americans love of eggnog adds to its waistline. According to Indiana University, Americans consume over 135 million pounds of eggnog every year — almost all of that between Thanksgiving and New Years. Recipes will vary, but a one cup serving of eggnog has approximately 210 calories and 11 grams of fat. Some eggnog brands can cram as many as 450 calories and 58 grams of sugar into a single serving. Add rum and whipped cream and you’re basically drinking dinner. 2. George Washington left us his favorite eggnog recipe.…

8 Best Subscription Gift Boxes for food lovers

Subscription boxes are so much more than just Jelly-of-the-Month-Club nowadays. If you’re not sure what to get that hard-to-buy-for someone, why not leave it to the pros? Each of these subscription boxes is curated by a team of experts in the category, to deliver just what your snack-loving sister or healthy-eater husband need. So give everyone with a big question mark next to their name one of these gifts and have them be thankful for you all year long. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb923u_jXp7/ For the coffee obsessed: Mistobox Cost: $20 per month What you get: When you sign up for Mistobox, you’ll tell the company your coffee preferences and an expert coffee curator will get to work selecting the coffees that best match your tastes from over 300 fresh-roasted blends. Then, every 30 days you’ll get to open a new 12-ounce bag of whole beans. More info here: Mistobox.com https://www.instagram.com/p/BjpiLq7HXWI/ For the snacker:…

3 fun napkin folding ideas for your Christmas table

The holidays are the perfect time to kick your table decorating game up a notch. You’ve spent hours scouring Pinterest to help you create the perfect holiday menu. You’ve dropped serious dough on extra serving platters, and you’ve cleaned corners of your house you never knew needed cleaning. Now is no time for holding back. Folding napkins is such a festive way to add some extra fun to the party. It’s quick, easy, and can make you feel like you really have it all together. If you need some inspiration, here are three holiday napkin folding ideas that will impress your guests — even if you’re drinking out of plastic champagne flutes. We can’t win them all, but you can have cute napkins! Christmas Tree Will work with either cloth or paper napkins. This fold works best for sit-down dinners.  1. Fold your square napkin in half. Then fold it in…

3 Easy steps to picking the right bottle of champagne for you

Christmas and New Years are right around the corner meaning one very exciting thing — it’s solidly champagne season. We associate the pop of the cork and those sparkling flutes with fun and celebration. But while you may want to down a glass, or two… or three, over the holidays, sometimes all of those choices at the store can be confusing. If you’ve ever hit the wine store and didn’t know what to buy, or feel like an amateur this time of year in the alcohol department, read on for a beginners guide to shopping for champagne. Remember, whichever you choose, make sure it’s in a dark bottle to help keep light away and preserve the intended flavors of the drink inside, but relax. It’s champagne! And no one should ever take a drink this fun and fizzy too seriously. Also see, Tips to prevent a champagne hangover. Step 1:…

17 fruits and vegetables in season in December

It sure is cold outside! You’re definitely not going to stumble upon a strawberry outside anytime soon. But winter isn’t all bad. Thanks to modern methods of extending the growing season, farmers are able to produce fresh food well into winter. It can be easy to ignore what produce is actually in season come December when you can walk into any grocery store and it still looks like summer. Thanks to shipments from South America and beyond, we are spoiled, eating whatever we want, whenever we want. But if you want to eat food that hasn’t been picked before its prime, artificially ripened, and trucked thousands of miles, it’s worth considering making your selections from this list. Depending on where you live, these crops may continue to grow locally, or they’ll be trucked in from shorter distances. Plus, they’re naturally in season this time of year so they’ll taste best.…

What, exactly, are sugar plums?

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore paints a peaceful Christmas Eve scene, with new-fallen snow, carefully hung stockings, and visions of sugar plums. And you’ve probably heard of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from “The Nutcracker.”  But have you ever stopped to ask what, exactly, is a sugar plum? While the recipe for sugar plums has varied, what they’re not, and never were, is sugar-coated plums. The truth is that sugar plums are not linked to fruit or any plum-like substance. According to the Oxford English Dictionary of the day, a sugar plum is a comfit. Comfits are seeds, nuts, or piece of spice coated with a hard sugar shell — not unlike the outer crunchy shell of an M&M or Jordan almond. The first sugar plums date back to the 1600s when popular centers for comfits would have included caraway, fennel, coriander, almonds, walnuts, ginger,…

How to avoid gaining weight during a cold winter

Winter started early this year, with many areas of the country seeing snowfall even before Thanksgiving. The East Coast was blasted with a freeze that sent frost and snow as far south as the Carolinas. Temperatures across the country dipped into the  low 20s —  And that was just the first few weeks of winter. It’s shaping up to be a particularly long, cold winter. But cold weather is no excuse to binge on booze and fatty comfort foods. It’s easy to reach for that mac and cheese, chili or homemade chocolate chip cookies when the weather stays dreary and cold outside, but you’ll most certainly regret it later. Here are a few tips to help you prevent winter weight gain: Watch your alcohol intake It might be tempting to pour yourself another glass of wine, or spike a little something in your hot chocolate, but on average, an alcoholic drink will add an extra 150…

What is the difference between white and dark turkey meat?

It seems at Thanksgiving there are two distinct teams — those who dig deep on the serving platter for the white meat, and those who fight for the drumstick. It’s really a battle of white meat versus dark meat. But aside from the color, what really is the difference? It all comes down to what a particular muscle, aka meat, is used for. Turkeys aren’t known for their flying abilities. They typically only take off for short distances — say, from the ground to a perch (Fun fact: Wild turkeys spend the night in trees, preferably oak trees). This means they rely on their legs to get them around all day. All of that walking and running means the muscles in their legs and thighs are full of blood vessels. These blood vessels contain myoglobin (or muscle hemoglobin), which delivers tons of rich oxygen to the muscles. The more myoglobin…

The best way to store nearly any type of cheese, according to an expert

If you ever cleaned out the depths of your fridge and found a rock-hard chunk of cheese, you probably wondered what you could have done to prolong its life. Sure, the first step is not forgetting it’s in there. But what else should be done to make sure your expensive fromage stays fresh? Most of us are guilty of leaving cheese in the package it came in or rewrapping it tightly with plastic wrap. It turns out, cheese lovers, we’ve been doing it all wrong. “Wrapping your cheese in plastic for its lifetime in your refrigerator is a mistake,” said Anthony DiPietro of Delallo Foods, and go-to source for all things cheese. “If you’re someone who likes cheese and exploring the world of cheeses, or even if you just buy cheese once in a while, you’re doing yourself a disservice.” “A hard and fast rule is to store any cheese…