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Lucky Charms Bars

Lucky Charms is probably one of those cereals you only spring for occasionally — like around St. Patrick’s Day when that devilish little leprechaun gets the best of your diet. But we must admit, the luck-themed sugary marshmallow shapes do add a fun flair to the holiday. This year, upgrade your classic Rice Krispie squares to these Lucky Charms bars. You basically just swap out the cereal in your favorite Rice Krispie recipe. Lucky Charms bars Makes 16 squares Ingredients 6 cups Lucky Charms 4 tbsp butter 1 (10-ounce) package of mini marshmallows Cooking spray Directions Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. (This will help you remove squares and cut them later.) On low heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until everything is melted. Pour in cereal and fold until cereal is completely coated with melted marshmallow. Transfer cereal…

14 Fun facts about Peeps

Forget groundhog shadows or tulips. The first real sign of spring are bright yellow Peeps stocking the shelves at your local grocery store. Marshmallow Peeps are everyone’s favorite non-chocolate Easter candy — they even outsell jelly beans! Americans will eat 1.5 billion Marshmallow Peeps and Bunnies this spring, but what do you really know about these sugar crystal coated, brightly-colored bird-shaped mallows? Discover 14 fun facts about Peeps: 1. Making Peeps used to be a really long process. It used to take 27 hours to make a Peep. The first Peeps were squeezed one at a time from a pastry tube before receiving hand painted eyes. Today, with an automated manufacturing process, a Peep takes just six minutes to make. 2. About 5.5 million Peeps are born every single day. Machines crank out 3,500 Peeps per minute — that’s nearly 2 billion Peeps per year! 3. Peeps were originally produced by…

Tequila could help you lose weight, study claims

If you want to lose weight, any doctors or nutritionist will tell you to omit the alcohol from your diet, but a surprising study actually shows a link between drinking tequila and weight loss. This is huge news for anyone looking to shed some pounds in the New Year without totally suppressing their social life. According to the American Chemical Society, the effects of tequila on blood glucose levels and found that the sugars naturally occurring in the agave plant — the plant that gives us tequila —  can actually help lower blood sugar. These sugars — called agavins (not to be confused with agave syrup) — are not digestible and can act as dietary fiber, so they will not raise your blood sugar. According to Dr. Mercedes G. Lopez, agavins are the best sugars to support healthy growth of microbes in the mouth and intestines. The study looked at…

Warning: You may not want to use the pepper shaker at restaurants

The next time you’re out to eat, you may want to consider whether you really need to add salt and pepper to your meal. It turns out, pepper shakers are one of the dirtiest items in a restaurant. According to a study from ABC News, pepper shakers harbor one of the highest bacteria counts at a public dining facility with counts reaching 11,600 — second only to restaurant menus. (And for your complete disgust, restaurant menus were found to carry the most — an average bacteria count of 185,000 — and have 100 times more bacteria than your typical toilet seat.) The study examined swab samples taken from common table items at 12 restaurants throughout New York, Ohio, and Arizona. The swabs were then examined for “total bacteria counts and coliform — a broad class of bacteria found in our environment. The presence of coliform can indicated fecal matter.” Dr.…

Winter white hot chocolate with cinnamon

Living in Pittsburgh, it seems hot chocolate is everywhere — and that, in my opinion, isn’t always a good thing. Those watered-down styrofoam cups at freezing cold football games or the overly sweet stuff handed out after cold weather 5Ks, are really consumed out of a need to stay warm, more so than for the enjoyment. It had been a long time since I had a cup ‘o chocolate that I actually enjoyed. But I was feeling a bit Christmassy decorating the house, so I thought I’d whip up something warm and delicious to sip on as we watch holiday movies on repeat. This Winter White Hot Chocolate has a dash of cinnamon to give the cup some complexity. You can add more or less, if you like. Even some nutmeg would taste pretty good. The best part of making drinks like this is always the extras, so if you’re going…

Nutrition labels are about to look different

The next time you pick up a bag of chips at the grocery store, flip it over and look for the new nutrition label. The Food and Drug Administration announced that nutrition labels would be receiving a makeover that reflects new scientific findings. The changes will ultimately help you make better-informed choices about foods you and your family eat. The new labels will only be required of manufacturers who sell more than $10 million in food a year. Companies in this category have until 2020 to adopt the new label. Some manufacturers have already incorporated the new label into their packaging, so it might already look familiar if you’re a frequent label checker. One of the most noticeable changes comes with the serving size and calories. Serving sizes have been adjusted to reflect how much people actually eat, rather than an arbitrary number some companies were perviously using to skew…

The sweet history of Candy Corn

Every October, when the weather cools, we recognize that it’s time to start arguing about candy corn. But whether you think the little tri-colored candies are delicious or disgusting, no other candy is more iconic of Halloween. The history of candy corn and its place as a part of Halloween dates back more than a century ago. Though nobody knows for sure, candy corn is said to have been invented in Philadelphia by George Renninger, a candymaker for the Wunderle Candy Company. In 1898, George’s recipe rose to nationwide popularity when the Goelitz Confectionary Company picked it up and started marketing it as “Chicken Feed.” The candy packages pictured a rooster and a tag line that read, “Something worth crowing for.” The initial marketing was intended to appeal to Americans’ agricultural roots, and it was touted as a year-round treat. The Goelitz company, now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co., has the…

How to cut sugar and calories from your Pumpkin Spice Latte order

Fall cool weather has arrived, and we’ve all got pumpkin spice on the brain. But before you head to Starbucks to wrap your hands around a warm cup of pumpkin spiced goodness, wrap your brain around the fact that each standard Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte has the sugar equivalent to 3.5 giant Starbucks sugar cookies. Yikes! At that rate, you’ll be packing on the holiday pounds before we even enter October. Plus, all that sugar can leave you feeling sluggish and cranky. So what’s a PSL fanatic to do? Each Grande PSL has four pumps of pumpkin spice syrup. At 7.5 grams of sugar per pump, it’s easy to cut back while still keeping the delicious pumpkin flavor. Order half the amount of syrup (2 pumps) and save 15 grams of sugar. Of course sugar isn’t the only problem. A Grande PSL will add a whopping 380 calories to your day.…

Millennials being blamed for the end of iced tea

As if being blamed for the end of shopping malls, bars of soap and dinner dates wasn’t enough, if you were born between 1981 and 1996, now you’re being held responsible for the death of iced tea. A recent study by YouGov BrandIndex showed that younger Americans have grown less fond of the drink over the past two years. Only 18 percent of millennials surveyed they would consider purchasing ice tea the next time they go to buy a beverage — down a full five points from the same study conducted in January 2016. This shift is seemingly part of a larger trend in beverages overall. Millennials have reported a “negative impression” of big named ice tea brands like Lipton, Nestea, Snapple, and Crystal Light. The only brand whose reputation has remained favorable with millennials is Arizona. There hasn’t been one big event that has lead to the slide in ice tea sales,…

Artificial sweeteners won’t help you lose weight, study finds

Listen up Diet Coke drinkers. Artificial sweeteners have given artificial hope to those looking for weight loss. For years, brands like Sweet ‘N Low and Splenda have claimed to be better for consumers than their real sugar crystal counterpart. It was said, the synthetic substitutes would give you the sweet-tasting foods and beverages you crave, without the extra calories, weight gain, or other negative health issues. But over time, research has reveled that it’s not so simple. While we’ve been questioning the validity of sugar substitutes for some time now, a new scientific review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Monday, shows that not only is there no solid evidence supporting the weight-managing health claims of sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, but those who regularly consume these alternatives are more likely to develop health problems in the future. For the 25 percent of children and 41 percent of adults who consume these sweeteners at…