Spring Spritzer

Ice Cube Ingredients:

  • Red or green seedless grapes
  • Water

Spritzer Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (24 oz) white grape juice (3 cups), chilled
  • 1 can (12 oz) frozen apple-grape-cherry juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bottle club soda (1 liter or 4 cups), chilled

Directions:

  1. Place 2 to 3 grapes in each section of 2 ice cube trays.
  2. Fill trays with water; freeze.
  3. In 4-quart non-metal container or punch bowl, mix juice, juice concentrate and 1 cup water. Just before serving, add club soda; stir gently to blend. Add fruit-filled ice cubes.

http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/spring-spritzer/3a31f39e-56dc-42ba-a1cf-5f1571b09775

How to Build the Perfect Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie is a French term that loosely translates to “pork butcher’s shop and delicatessan (deli).” the name was originally used to designate shops in the fifteenth-century France that sold pork products. Today, Charcuterie has become somewhat of an artform and is highly regarded in the culinary world.

There are many ways to build a Charcuterie board, but most commonly they consist of different types of meats, cheeses, olives, fruit, bread and crackers, nuts and a spread or two. With growing popularity, it is now becoming a common item on restaurant menus and is the perfect solution for feeding a group of people. Here are some tips for making the perfect Charcuterie board!

First, find a large wooden cutting board or serving platter to use for your arrangement. Then begin thinking about the different colors and textures you’d like to incorporate to create a great sensory experience. Don’t be afraid to stack – the board should look full!

Meats: When deciding the amount you will need, estimate about three to four slices per person. Be sure to include a variety of flavors and textures. (Suggestions: Salami, Prosciutto, Ham or Summer Sausage)

Cheese: You should estimate about one to two ounces of cheese per person and be sure to offer a variety of both hard and soft cheeses with varying sharpness. (suggestions: Sharp Cheddar, Brie, Muenster, Swiss or Gouda)

Bread and Crackers: It’s important to have a good variety of bread and crackers to pair with the salty meats. (Suggestions: Light & Buttery Crackers, Grain Crackers, Sliced French Baguette or Sliced Dark Rye Bread)

Fruit and Nuts: Have a selection of both fresh and dried fruits for a variety of textures and colors. Choose any variety of nuts, but they should be salted and shelled. (Suggestions: Fresh Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries or even Grape Tomatoes, Dried Apricots and Apples, Cashews, Almonds and Pistachios)

Pickles, Olives and Spreads: A great way to add more variety to your board is to fill small bowls with various dips/spreads, pickles or olives. (Suggestions: Black Olives, Kalamata Olives, Dill or Sweet Pickles, Spinach Dip, Aioli or Mustard)

http://www.spendwithpennies.com/how-to-make-a-charcuterie-board/

Get Your Outdoor Space Ready for Summer!

Are you looking to make a statement this year with a beautiful patio or balcony full of flowers? Here are some of the best potted flowers that not only look great, but are easy to maintain.


Coral Bells have a whole lot of foliage with small flowers that sprout out over the leaves. It comes in a large variety of colors, ranging from a light peach to a deep red. It is best to keep Coral Bells in partial sunlight.

Angelonia is a tall growing plant that does well in the summer, because it needs full sun to thrive. It comes in pinks, mauves, deep purple, dark blues and white. Angelonia is very low maintenance as it continues to bloom all season without any attention.

Coleus is a warm climate plant. In tropical places, it can thrive year-round, but in most places, it is grown as a perennial. There are different varieties that come in countless colors and it’s important to “pinch” the old flowers to allow new ones to grow.

Hydrangea is a popular, timeless plant that is actually a type of shrub. The smaller varieties do really well in pots and get no taller than two or three feet. These flowers are great because they don’t require much sun and they come in many different bright colors!

Roses are often used in landscape planting, but many varieties do great in pots as well. Most modern roses don’t require a ton maintenance and are a great focal point for your patio or balcony. They should be kept in full sun if possible.

Begonias are sturdy flowers that do well in a pot or hanging planter. These flowers have a variety of leaf shapes and colors to choose from. They should be kept in partial sun with damp soil. Indoors, they will continue to bloom all year.

Euphorbia is a very tough plant, despite its soft, white appearance. It should be kept in a partly sunny to sunny location and can survive high heats or drought. It is a great low maintenance flower to add to a mixed pot.

Ornamental Peppers are a taller, fuller plant that maintains its color and has small peppers that ripen from black to red. They are great if you want to add some texture to your potted flowers. Be aware that although the peppers are edible, they are HOT and should be kept away from children and pets.

Nemesia can grow anywhere from six inches to three feet tall. They should be kept in partial to full sun and are generally a low maintenance plant that require an even amount of moisture to thrive. They come in a variety of colors like blue, orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow!

Pansies come in a variety of colors and bloom mainly in the spring and fall. They grow to be about six to nine inches tall and come in many colors. They tend to do really well in places with more mild climates.

*Depending on your region, pots must be brought inside before the first frost to survive the winter.

Perfect Gifts For Mom on Mother’s Day

Surprise your mother this year with a unique gift that is sure to warm her heart! If you’re looking for the perfect gift that is unlike any other, check out sites like Uncommon Goods. This site provides a wide range of gift options for any occasion that range in prices to meet any budget. Below we have listed a few of our top picks for moms on Mother’s Day.

Is your mom a tea drinker? Well then, she will LOVE this gift. These handmade dissolvable tea drops are made from finely-sourced tea, sugar and spices. With a cup of hot water, your mom can enjoy a nice cup of tea in flavors like citrus ginger, blueberry, acai, rose earl grey, sweet peppermint and matcha green tea. The cute tea drops come in a wooden keepsake box.

Your mom can use this beautifully crafted board for all of her social gatherings with friends and family get togethers. It’s the perfect serving board for delicious snacks and is a great conversation piece. Each board is made by a family owned company in Dorset, VT.

This cute, custom necklace is perfect for all moms and is a fun way to display their affection for and always carry their “sweet peas” with them. Each necklace is handmade by an artist in the United States using Sterling Silver and Malaysian Jade.

This unique vase comes in a large size and a small size. Each “bubble” can hold a single stem or a small bunch of blossoms to make for a lovely centerpiece that your mom is sure to love.

For those moms with a green thumb, this is a perfect and thoughtful gift. This kit comes with everything needed to grow a forest of tiny Redwood and Moss trees. These little trees are ancestors of the giant California Redwoods and make a beautiful accessory to a kitchen window or desk.

Pets of the Month

Some people say that you don’t choose a pet, they choose you. Taco, our 5-year-old Maine Coon mix did just that. While at our local animal shelter we entered a small room full of free roaming cats. Taco, who was about 6 months old at the time, immediately ran to us and laid on our feet. When visiting the other cats in the room he followed closely and kept laying on our feet. We left the room and he jumped in the window to watch us walk around the rest of the shelter. He waited there until we circled back around soon after. We got near the door and he ran to greet us again. It was clear to us that he had chosen us to be his guardians. Nowadays he spends his time doing typical cat things… sleeping and eating in our home at The Dorchester in Dallas, TX. He waits for us to get home and demands attention and cuddles constantly. The terms needy and clingy would be understatements to his temperament.

Max is 13 years old and lives at Alpine Village in LaVista, NE. He greets everyone he meets and likes to take walks in the park. He loves to cuddle and loves massages. Max went through a lot the last few years with his ailments, but he is a fighter. He means the world to me.

Think you have the world’s cutest pet and want everyone to know it? There’s nothing wrong with being a show off! Enter your pet in Richdale’s Pet of the Month contest for a chance to win a BarkBox or KitNipBox for your furry friend. Tell us about your furry friend and if he or she is featured, YOU win! Send pictures and a brief description to: TheLeaf@richdale.com!

Grocery Delivery Service

It’s a very popular service that is now available almost everywhere and makes buying groceries a whole lot simpler. Retail giants like Google, Amazon and even your local grocery stores are offering this convenience. Yep, you guessed it, grocery delivery is an up and coming luxury that is quickly becoming the norm.

Google Express is the new way to shop online at all your favorite stores at the same time. With nearly 40 stores to choose from, including Walmart, Target and Costco, there’s hardly a reason to make a trip to the store. Free two-day delivery is available on orders over $25-$35 depending on the store. No membership is required to shop with Google Express. You simply add items from your favorite stores to your cart and pay for everything at once in a single transaction. If you have Google Home device, you can add items to your list with voice command.

For another added convenience you can download the app and add things to your cart on the go. This service is great for ordering all of your household products and non-perishable food items.

Amazon is also getting in on the grocery delivery business, but currently only offers the service in select cities. Amazon Prime Fresh is available for $14.99 a month, which is charged separately from the Amazon Prime cost of $99 a year. Non-Amazon Prime members are able to try both services for free with a 30-day trial. Amazon uses your preferred method of payment for all items. You can shop Amazon for specific products or shop directly from Whole Foods Market. Orders below $50 will have an added $9.99 delivery fee, but for all orders above $50 delivery is free. In eligible cities, this service is an added convenience for Amazon lovers, having almost anything you could want at your fingertips and making trips to the store a thing of the past.

In addition to services like Google Express and Amazon Prime Fresh, many local grocery stores have also jumped on the delivery train. If you visit your favorite local grocer’s website, you will be able to shop online and have your groceries delivered to you on the same day.

Most stores will offer discounts like money off or free delivery on your first order. It’s common for stores to add on a small delivery fee, but the time saved and added convenience of shopping from home really makes the small extra cost worth it.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

How many hours of sleep do you get at night? If your answer is between seven and ten, then you’re probably doing pretty well! According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep you need is dependent on your age. For teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17, the optimal amount of sleep is eight to ten hours. The amount of sleep needed for younger adults (18-25) and adults (26-64) is exactly the same, between seven to nine hours. For adults ages 65 and older, a slightly lower amount of seven to eight hours is needed to feel fully rested. These numbers make sense when you really think about. The younger you are, the more sleep you need to make it through the day.

Next you may ask, why do we need sleep? The answer is, there is no clear reason. Scientists have asked this question for years and there have been multiple studies done, but no one has come up with a clear result. There are, however, several theories as to why both humans and animals feel tired and require sleep. Two popular theories include the Restoration Theory and the Brain Plasticity Theory.


The Restoration Theory states that our body needs sleep in order to “restore” whatever it has lost throughout the day while being awake. While your body is sleeping, it takes the opportunity to “recharge” your batteries in a sense and restore functions like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis and releasing growth hormones. The Restoration Theory also mentions that sleep has proven to be important for cognitive function. The neurons in your brain produce adenosine, which has been linked to the cause of feeling tired. This may explain why you feel so tired after a long day of work and cognitive activity.

Another theory that has gained popularity is the Brain Plasticity Theory. This theory states that sleep plays a huge role in the structure and organization of the brain. This is especially critical for the brain development in infants and young children, which is why they need more sleep than adults. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep has an impact on the cognitive abilities of adults. For example, adults that did not have enough sleep had a harder time learning and performing other tasks, than those who got a good amount of sleep.

Although no theories have been proven, they have helped scientists get closer to fully understanding what causes us to sleep and why we need it.

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory

Pets of the Month

Hello, My name is Lacie Lorraine and I moved to LionsGate in September 2017. I love my new home. I love when we get to go for walks around the buildings and especially when I get to see some of the other dogs. I have made friends with some of them already. Where I used to live, it stressed me out because I lived next to a busy road, so I love the quiet now. I get excited when I see my new furry friends walk by our patio door.

Nine years ago I saw a shadow moving along our high patio wall. I looked out to see a tiny gray kitten with big eyes! My hubby, Troy, climbed on two stacked patio chairs and offered him a handful of treats. Thomas has been our forever cat since that night. We posted his picture on TabbyTracker and Petfinder but he wasn’t claimed (thankfully). He is affectionate and well behaved now that he’s matured. Because of his fur he has never had a hairball.

Think you have the world’s cutest pet and want everyone to know it? There’s nothing wrong with being a show off! Enter your pet in Richdale’s Pet of the Month contest for a chance to win a BarkBox or KitNipBox for your furry friend. Tell us about your furry friend and if he or she is featured, YOU win! Send pictures and a brief description to: TheLeaf@richdale.com!

Fitness: Tips To Start The New Year Off Right!

Many people start the new year off with a resolution to become healthier, lose weight, exercise more, etc. However, close to 60% of those individuals start off great, but eventually fall off the wagon. A common mistake that people make is trying to do too many things at one time instead of making obtainable goals. Here are some tips to help you set up realistic goals and keep your resolution.


What is the motivation behind your weight loss or healthy resolution? Do you want to feel better, do you want your clothes to fit a little looser or do you want to have more energy? Take a minute to figure out the main reason behind your end goal and prepare a plan.

Instead of jumping into all the changes at once, make it easier on yourself and make one change at a time. If your end goal is to cut out high-carb foods and work out three to four times a week, then begin by slowly taking away the foods you want to avoid and add in more of the foods you need, like protein and vegetables. Set a goal to work out once or twice a week to start and gradually add in more days.

Goals are an easy way to know where you’re going and how to get there. SMART goals will help you narrow down your plan and simplify your strategies. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. For example, “I will work out for 30 minutes twice this week and pack a lunch to take to work every day.”

Tracking what you eat on a daily basis can be a great way to help you gradually make better choices when it comes to food. Being aware of the food you eat can help you to control portions and calories. It can be shocking to see what some of our favorite foods consist of. As you start replacing some of your foods, eating more vegetables is a great way to get many of the nutrients your body needs. Filling up with veggies cuts down your calorie intake and also makes you feel full.

Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, it’s not just a saying. Eating a large healthy breakfast early in the morning will help you stay full longer, give you more energy throughout the day, and it will influence you to make healthier food choices.

https://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/10-tips-to-help-you-achieve-your-new-years-health-goals.html

Easy Dinner Ideas That Will Impress Your Valentine

Ingredients:
• 3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tbsp. honey
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. dried thyme
• 1 tbsp. dried oregano
• 4 steak fillets, such as sirloin
• 2 tomatoes, sliced
• Kosher salt
• 4 slices mozzarella
• Fresh basil leaves, for serving

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, olive oil, dried thyme, and dried oregano.

2. Pour over steak and let marinade 20 minutes.

3. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

4. Heat grill to high. Grill steak 5 minutes per side, then top with mozzarella and tomatoes and cover grill until cheese is melty, 2 minutes.

5. Add basil and serve.

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a48615/caprese-steak-recipe/

Ingredients:
• 1 c. all-purpose flour
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3/4 c. marsala wine
• 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/3 c. heavy cream
• 2 tbsp. Freshly Chopped Parsley
• Cooked angel hair, for serving

Directions:
1. Season flour with salt and pepper, dredge chicken in flour.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil. Add chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

3. Make Marsala sauce: melt remaining butter in skillet and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden and liquid has been released, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, then season with salt.

4. Add marsala, chicken broth, heavy cream, and parsley and bring to a simmer.

5. Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over breasts.

6. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

7. Serve over angel hair, if desired.

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49576/creamy-chicken-marsala-recipe/

Ingredients:
• 4 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
• 1 lb. fresh strawberries

Directions:
1. Place chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.

2. Holding the strawberries by the stem, dip in the melted chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip off.

3. Transfer the dipped strawberries onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

4. Refrigerate the strawberries until the chocolate is firm, at least 30 min. Enjoy!