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Deck the halls with cherry
Deck the halls with cherry preserves! Give your holidays a healthy twist
(BPT) - Bring the gift of nutrition to holiday gatherings by incorporating sweet cherries into your favorite menu. It may not seem the season for cherries, but this is the time to raid the summer stash that has been frozen, dried or canned. Adding a bright, festive touch, sweet cherries will provide a boost of flavor and nutrition to power you into the new year.
"The holidays are a perfect time to unleash the goodness locked into preserved sweet cherries to help stay in peak health during the busy season," said Mia Syn, a registered dietitian nutritionist. "Change up traditional cranberry sauce with a cherry-cranberry version - it's low in sugar, quick, easy and versatile. Add some ginger or orange peel to complement your menu, and you may have a new, nutritious winter favorite."
Try your hand at cherry-cranberry sauce, and make the holidays brighter with these five hidden health benefits:
1. Reduce oxidative stress
If there's a time to reduce stress, the holidays are it. Oxidative stress results when free radicals and antioxidants are out of balance in your body. Normally, free radicals help fight off pathogens that can lead to infection or disease, but too many can attack the body's fatty tissue, protein or even DNA, increasing susceptibility to heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, among other diseases.
Sweet cherries are rich in polyphenols and vitamin C, which have potent antioxidant properties. Adding them to a diet can return the body to a healthy balance by increasing antioxidant capacity and reducing oxidative stress.
2. Ease inflammation
Are cooler temperatures spurring arthritic pain? Research has shown that sweet cherries feature anti-inflammatory properties, introducing a natural remedy for those suffering from rheumatic diseases such as arthritis.
Cherries contain anthocyanins, which work to shut down enzymes that cause tissue inflammation and behave in much the same way as ibuprofen.
3. Relieve gout
Don't get caught sitting down. Gout, a form of arthritis, causes severe pain, redness and joint tenderness and is linked to elevated levels of uric acid in the blood - which has been shown to decline with diets including sweet cherries.
In studies of gout patients consuming sweet cherry products, patients had a 35 percent lower risk of an attack after two days and a 75 percent lower risk when cherries and the common gout medication allopurinol were combined.
4. Improve sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is always a challenge, but even more so during the bustling holidays. Enhance sleep quality and quantity, lift your mood and ease anxiety with sweet cherries. According to researchers, sleep cycles benefit when enjoying the fruit about an hour before bedtime.
The reason? Sweet cherries pack a compelling combination of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan helps produce serotonin, which aids in regulating sleep, mood and appetite. Meanwhile, melatonin works on maintaining our internal clocks, such as sleep and wakefulness patterns.
5. Lower blood pressure
Give the gift of lower blood pressure by serving up dishes featuring sweet cherries. Studies have shown that making a habit of eating sweet cherries can reduce systolic and diastolic measures of blood pressure.
Eating cherries is linked to decreasing a powerful vasoconstrictor, a compound that narrows blood vessels and restricts blood flow. At the same time, they increase the effectiveness of vasodilators, compounds that help widen blood vessels and reduce pressure.
This holiday, indulge for impact
Don't wait for warmer temperatures to enjoy sweet cherries! Add them to your favorite holiday foods to combat common health complaints and celebrate the season knowing you're taking steps toward a better well-being.
The rich fruitiness of sweet cherries helps blunt the sharp edge of fresh cranberries. Cooked together, these anthocyanin powerhouses make a great holiday staple that can be used as a base ingredient for cocktails, a glaze for meats, a spread for sandwiches, a topping for yogurt and more.
Equal portions fresh cranberries and dried/frozen Northwest cherries
3/4 cup water or pomegranate juice
3/4 cup maple syrup, molasses, or sugar to taste
Optional: 4 -2" peels fresh ginger, 3 tbsp citrus zest, black pepper, fresh herbs, raspberries
In medium-sized sauce pot, add 3/4 cup water, preferred sweetener and cranberries.
Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally and more frequently as the sauce begins to form.
Add sweet cherries, continue stirring.
Once reduced, remove from heat, incorporate other flavorings if desired.
Cool for 30 mins - 1 hour before transferring to wider, shallow pan to speed cooling.
Once cooled, refrigerate in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
5 DIY HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
5 DIY holiday activities for the whole family
(BPT) - 'Tis the season for baking and crafting - the perfect ways to feel festive and bond with loved ones of all ages. From trying new recipes to creating crafts that will be cherished for years to come, plan a date for some holiday fun and let the memory-making with friends and family begin!
These five festive projects will inspire laughter and good cheer while helping you mark the season with togetherness:
PEEPS Snowy S'mores
Classic s'mores get a holiday makeover with a tasty and adorable twist thanks to PEEPS(R) marshmallow and its fun seasonal shapes. Just follow the simple instructions and everyone will enjoy a delicious treat. Don't forget to make a few extras to give away! See instructions below:
Curated by Good Housekeeping magazine on behalf of PEEPS(R)
Servings: 3 Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: less than 1 minute
9 ct. pack of PEEPS(R) Marshmallow Snowmen
9 graham cracker squares
1 pack of mini candy canes
6 chocolate squares
1. Turn on the oven broiler and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Break the graham cracker and the chocolate bars into squares.
3. Arrange six graham cracker squares on the baking sheet and top each with a square of chocolate. Place a PEEPS(R) Marshmallow Snowman on top of each chocolate.
4. Place the tray in the oven for 35 seconds. Check to see how toasted the Snowmen are - they should be slightly puffed, looked melted around the sides, and begin to form a golden-brown crust on top. If they don't look melted enough, leave them in for another 5 to 10 seconds. Keep a very close eye on them and use extreme caution when broiling PEEPS(R) and pulling them out of the hot oven.
5. Remove the tray from the oven and immediately begin to build the PEEPS(R) Snowy S'mores by stacking two melted PEEPS(R) topped graham crackers.
6. Finish off with a clean graham cracker and top off with a PEEPS(R) Marshmallow Snowman. Adhere the Snowman to the top of the graham cracker with a dab of melted chocolate, and then adhere the candy cane to his hand with chocolate - to appear as if the Snowman is holding the candy cane.
7. Break up a candy cane and sprinkle bits to the melted chocolate and PEEPS(R) Marshmallow Snowman.
8. Make sure to enjoy while the treat is still warm!
The family tree gets a thoughtful update in this project that serves as a reminder of what matters most during the holiday season. Use cardboard or poster board to cut out a tree trunk and branches to hang on the wall. Then cut out leaf shapes with construction paper and ask each person to write down what they are grateful for. Then share with each other before adhering the leaves on the branches to create a one-of-a-kind family tree. For a holiday theme, place an evergreen tree on the wall and decorate with paper ornaments with notations of gratitude instead.
Every person is unique and so is the size and shape of their hand. Outline each person's hand on green felt and cut out individually. Then use glue to adhere the hands together in a circle shape to create a wreath, adding in a few red circles for berries or a bow if you desire. Alternatively get a white canvas and green acrylic paint from the local craft store. Gather everyone and paint the palms and underside of fingers and press each family member's hand firmly on the canvas to create various prints in a beautiful wreath shape.
Cup of joy
Want a simple project that is as much fun to create as it is to give? From neighbors and the mail-carrier to teachers and school friends, it's easy to show you care when you create a treat that lets everyone enjoy a cup of joy. Simply get packets of classic hot chocolate and PEEPS(R) marshmallow in seasonal shapes like gingerbread men, snowmen and holiday trees. Tie together with a bow and add a tag with a holiday greeting or fun saying like, "You're our favorite 'PEEP'le, thanks for being great neighbors!"
Kids love to play with clay, so they certainly will enjoy creating salt-dough ornaments. All you need is flour, salt and water to get started. Look up "salt dough ornament recipe" on the internet and you'll find quick and easy recipes. Traditionally, you'll roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters before baking and painting. You can also make three-dimensional ornaments like snowmen or people, too. Get creative by using household utensils like a garlic press to create hair or beards.
Spending time with loved ones is the best part of the holidays. Let these five DIY activities inspire your friends and family to get together and feel the joy of the season.
METAL IN HOME DECOR
Tips for using metals in home decor
(BPT) - While trends in home decor often change, there is one constant design feature that continues to shine, literally: metals.
Today, homeowners can find creative ways to incorporate a regal touch that produces a timeless look with modern appeal.
Take the Temperature
A first step in implementing metallic decor is understanding the temperature of the metals. Think of brass, copper and gold as warm, while silver and aluminum are cooler, and cast iron or black metals are neutral. When you couple up a warm metal with a cool metal, you're golden. As a thought starter, step into the kitchen and balance copper or gold fixtures with stainless steel appliances.
Heavy Metal Mixing
It can be daunting to mix metals the right way, but understanding general rules can open the doors to creative approaches. A key tip is to avoid mixing the same color family - such as gold and brass, or nickel and silver. Rather, choose one metal that can serve as the dominant and another to complement it - remembering your temperatures. And, don't be afraid to blend the same metal with different finishings to diversify the theme and pull a room together.
The Gilded Age of Flooring
Achieving the golden look isn't done through metallic finishes alone. One way to bring the shine to a room is with flooring like Lumber Liquidators' Gilded Reserve Chestnut, which reveals hints of a glimmering gold stain through its lightly wirebrushed chestnut base. Pairing decorations and fixtures with the sophisticated backdrop of a unique floor design creates an elegant space that's rich in style.
Add Elements of Luxury
A smart way to use metals is to go for the subtle shine. Simple and strategic touches of metal can bring a big impact, such as in picture frames, drawer pulls or door handles, and sink fixtures. You can also add a bit of regal to a room with accents on furniture or other fabric items such as pillowcases or throws, and kitchenware on display.
A Gold Medal for Metal
Metallics in home decor are as durable and lasting as the elements themselves. Incorporating the shine of brass, the sleek of silvers and the burnish of bronze can give your home an opulent and refined look.
Generic Prescriptions Save Lives ...
and Money, Too
(BPT) - More than 9 out of 10 generic drug prescriptions are filled for $20 or less. Patients like Ariel Leaty, a cancer patient from New Jersey, considers these savings from generic medicines to be life saving, but they are now in jeopardy. Learn more at accessiblemeds.org.