Healthy Humane Menu Plus a Giveaway!

With all of the garbage that is put in our food today, it is important to be conscientious about where your food is coming from. Not only that – but where your meat is raised is a BIG deal. By buying welfare-certified animal products, or more plant-based products, you send a strong message to food companies that you care about the treatment of farm animals. Most of the nearly 9 billion animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs in the US are suffering in inhumane factory farms. I know – it is disgusting and sad to even think about it. But where DOES your meat come from?

A normal medium size family spends hundreds of dollars each month on things like chicken, beef, and sausage. As consumers, most of us do not realize just how powerful we are. As a group, we have the power to make something a success or even push to have something inhumane pulled from the shelves. But it takes us as one collective to actually get it done.

ASPCA Healthy and Humane

It is time to put a STOP to these inhuman conditions and we, as consumers, can fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals with the Shop With Your Heart initiative launched by the ASPCA. This initiative gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.

Here are five simple ways to become a more aware and welfare-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.

  1. Eat Seasonally – Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too!
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Rigoni di Asiago and Nocciolata Spreads

Rigoni di Asiago are an Italian made food family of spreads that are now available in stores nationwide. Their fruit spreads, honeys, and chocolate-hazelnut spreads are both sustainable and organic.

Made with organic ingredients completely free of GMO’s, preservatives, colors, additives, or artificial sweeteners, Rigoni di Asiago’s Nocciolata combines hazelnuts, fair trade cocoa and cocoa butter, natural vanilla extract, skimmed milk, and raw cane sugar for a chocolate-hazelnut spread with undeniably superior flavor. It is made with environmentally-responsible cold-pressed sunflower oil (no palm oil!). It also contains far less sugar than other brands and is free from hydrogenated fats. Rigoni di Asiagoeven offers Nocciolata Dairy Free, is a certified-vegan alternative of this chocolate-hazelnut spread.

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Win New Years Snack Package

Welch’s Fruit Rolls deliver the same quality consumers love in Welch’s Fruit Snacks, in a new, irresistibly fun format. Featuring fruit as its first ingredient, they come in three mouthwatering flavors: Berry, Tropical Punch, and White Grape Strawberry.
  • Munk Pack’s ready-to-eat Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes, packed with grains and fruit bites, are perfect for a quick breakfast or snack on the go! Available in five delicious flavors, including Apple Quinoa Cinnamon, Maple Pear Quinoa, and more, they are gluten-free, non GMO, vegan and high in fiber.
  • Cased in 7 fluid ounce bottles, Brooklyn Crafted’s small but mighty ginger beers pack a zesty punch and are made with 100% fresh, unfiltered ginger pieces you can actually SEE. Available in four trendy flavors – Traditional, Earl Grey, Lemon & Lime and Mango – the minis are perfect for enjoying on the go.
  • AquaBall’s naturally flavored water is the only zero-sugar, zero-calorie, zero-preservative children’s beverage around. Available in four flavors and featuring fan favorite Disney and Marvel characters, AquaBall is not only fun for kids, but also smart for parents.
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Surveying The Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene

In a city like Pittsburgh, there are endless options on where and what to eat. It’s a diverse city, populated with people of many different ethnic backgrounds. They come to the city with a particular background, find a space, stock a commercial refrigerator with the supplies of their trade, and head to the stove to create masterpieces. As you might expect, the resulting culinary offerings are almost endless.

In fact, there are so many good restaurants in Pittsburgh that any attempt to saturate the scene and visit all the best would be futile. It’s just more than anyone could bite off–literally and figuratively.

A better way to approach a food tour of a unique city like Pittsburgh is to break it down geographically. Each nationality represented in the city is heavily populated in one or more city neighborhoods, and the restaurants in those areas reflect that influence. So start with a map and finish with a fork as we review Pittsburgh’s culinary scene.

Oakland: Conflict Kitchen

The name may be puzzling at first, but hear us out. Conflict Kitchen seeks to provide a place not just for stimulating food but for stimulating conversation. Speakers and performers provide the context for conversation, and an Iran-influenced menu is served.

The response is overwhelmingly positive, constructive, and enjoyable. Somehow it’s a little easier to see things from another’s perspective when you sit down and break bread together.
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Cream of Tartar, Recipes and More

If you ever bought a can labeled cream of tartar and got a powdery stuff inside, don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with either your eyesight, or the product. That’s the way it is supposed to be. Cream of tartar is an acidic substance that also goes by the names of potassium bitartrate and potassium hydrogen tartrate.

This powdery substance is actually, a by-product of the process of making wine. Who would have thought, right? Well, I wouldn’t be so keen on writing about cream of tartar and its many uses if it hadn’t been for an article I read the other day. It contains everything there is to know about cream of tartar, from culinary uses to those that go beyond the kitchen.

Prepare the Perfect Dessert with Cream of Tartar

When preparing a dessert like cakes, cookies and meringue pies. Because, let’s face it. Preparing a delicious meringue pie is not enough if it doesn’t look inviting. And to look inviting the topping should be fluffy. The answer to achieving this fluffiness lies in whipping the egg whites. More precisely, you should add a 1/8 teaspoon for each egg white while you are whipping. So if the recipe calls for 3 egg whites you add 1/8 teaspoon x 3. This will help the formation of air bubbles and you can rest assure your topping won’t be flat. What’s more, cream of tartar when added to eggs will increase their tolerance to high temperatures.
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Johnsonville’s Spark the Season #FirstBrats #ad

Warmer weather is on the way, get your grill ready! If you are like us, and on the older side of millennials- one of the over 80% of “mature millennials” – you might also rank grilling as one of your favorite summer activities.People who love to grill can’t wait to grill – and these extreme grillers may even do it when it’s not quite time yet.

Johnsonville’s Spark the Season is ready to come out of the “dark period” of winter and get grilling. Spring, and new chances to cook and eat outdoors, signifies Spring beginning just like flowers and warmer weather.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)

To kick off this new beginning, Johnsonville has partnered with former pro linebacker Brian Urlacher and is sponsoring the 2017 Chicago Polar Plunge, so shivering participants can warm up with our piping hot Johnsonville #FirstBrats of the season, fresh off the burners of the Big Taste Grill.  What could be better? Other then a warm beach somewhere, LOL.

The Big Taste Grill is a 20-foot tall, 65-foot long grill, which cooks 2,500 brats an hour or 750 bratwurst at a time on its 40 square feet of grilling surface.

The Plunge is hosted and benefits Special Olympics Chicago, which aligns directly with the charitable mission of the Big Taste Grill. If these extreme plungers are willing to jump in freezing water for a good cause, Johnsonville should be a part of it, as we don’t let weather get in the way of what we love – grilling brats.

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher helped Johnsonville grill and serve bratwursts at Sunday’s Chicago Polar Plunge on March 5, 2017, in Chicago. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Johnsonville)


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Sharks and Ninjas to Help You Clean Up Your 2017

Now that the holidays are done and gone, what do you do with all the leftovers? Cleaning up after the festivities can be quite a project. Here are some of our favorite finds to clean up our acts in 2017.

Everyone has been in and out of your home for months now. The floors are a mess, and you could really use a deep cleaning.  From winter mud and snow and salt to all the random foods prep and holiday wrapping and decorations, there is just more mess then usual. The Shark Rocket Complete  is beast of a vacuum, with two powered brush rolls to make sure all the debris is picked up.  It’s good for hard floors or carpets, as well. The soft roll and gets into things by grabbing large, small, or stuck on items off hard flooring while grabbing large particles and piles on carpets.  The second brush roll has a bristle head, which on hard flooring accelerates large, small, and stuck on particles into the vacuum while on carpet deep cleans and pulls stuck on and small particles into the vacuum.  These two brush rolls working together make short work of just about any dry mess you can think of as well as regular vacuuming around the house.  It really gets in there, and you can tell the difference. About $200 on http://direct.sharkclean.com

For those sealed hard floor messes which a vacuum isn’t built for, check out the Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop System.  This mop system is built to deep clean your floors using steam as the main agitator. The steam releases most messes and spills with minimal effort through the pad, lifting away the mess without you every having to touch it.  The stem can also be delivered directly to the floor with the Steam Blaster, which was created for stuck on or greasy messes, where steam is applied directly to the mess and can be wiped away with the pad secondarily.  The pad itself grabs 99.9% of common household bacteria (according to the manufacturer).  The best part is the amazing clean you get- the second best is the hands off approach to cleaning it gives you.  The pad detaches right into the laundry without ever having to get your hands dirty with a simple button push. That’s the third best part- no more pads to buy. About $120 on http://direct.sharkclean.com
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Instantly Fresh Herbs from Litehouse

Disclosure- We received the items below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.  Because we prepare meals as a family, we hoped that the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs would be an flavorful addition to recipes.  We discovered that the herbs are easy to add and delicious.

Since watching cooking shows is wildly popular in our home, we were eager to try the Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs.  We learn about ingredients and combinations of flavors while cheering on our favorite home cooks as they challenge chefs with years of training.  We watch as the chefs mince and chop herbs wondering if we could learn to chop with such finesse. As a result, we research recipes to prepare as a family.  Recipes often call for a pinch of fresh herbs but keeping fresh parsley, ginger, mint, or cilantro on hand to add to our favorite dishes is a challenge.  Because fresh herbs can be expensive, spoil quickly, and require a bit of knife skills, we often leave out these ingredients.  Also, dried herbs lack flavor and aroma.  Therefore, having Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs on hand makes it easy to prepare delicious family meals at home.

About Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs

Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs are freeze-dried without preservatives. The herbs are gluten-free and made from non-GMO crops.  Since moisture in the fridge can rehydrate the herbs, it is best to keep opened jars in the cabinet with other spices.  Herbs are available as single ingredients
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