SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018

 

Try the Trendiest Flavors Tonight

Exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za'atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes.

Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try. Thanks to new global seasonings from McCormick Gourmet, the USDA-Organic certified spice combinations are already blended for the ultimate taste and simplicity.

Made from high-quality herbs and spices, the seasonings are USDA-Organic certified and Non-GMO Project verified so you can feel good about the ingredients used in your cooking. The expertly blended spices help create distinctive global-inspired dishes that take your home dining experience to the next level so you can explore these flavors from around the world without leaving the comfort of home.

  •  Za'atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil for dipping.

  • Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.

  • Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.

Look for these flavors as well as new Peruvian and Berbere seasonings in the spice section of retailers nationwide. Find more recipe ideas at McCormickGourmet.com.

Grilled Chicken Shawarma (shown in this article)
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 16 minutes Servings: 8

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
5 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 pita pockets, halved
1 medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
8 lettuce leaves

Directions:
• In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
• In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside.
• Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.
• Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.
• Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.
Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.

 

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Yahoo Picks: The 10 Best Green Teas to Help You Power Through Flu Season

From its beginnings as a staple in ancient Chinese mythology, medicine, and agriculture, to its rich history as a ceremonial symbol of prosperity and respect, green tea is a fascinating beverage category that continues to evolve. Loaded with powerful antioxidants, essential nutrients, and anti-inflammatory polyphenols, green tea now has a prominent place in Western wellness, and it's praised for its many potent health benefits.

Although both green and black tea come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), the difference in color is the result of very different processing techniques and oxidation. Unlike black tea leaves, which are allowed to oxidize and ferment over time after being picked (but before drying), raw green tea leaves are harvested, withered, and then immediately heated through either steaming or roasting, a process that helps halt oxidation, so the leaves retain their natural green color.

Typically lower in caffeine than black tea, green tea has a fresh, more delicate flavor - and is, of course, verdant green in color. Although growing methods, timing of the leaves' harvest, and processing methods create many different varieties and styles of green tea, most green teas we drink here in the United States are still sourced from Asia.

Whether you're a green tea devotee or a newcomer, there are countless brands and varieties on the market - so many, in fact, that choosing the perfect blend can be a bit of a challenge. To help guide you toward freshly steeped bliss, we've rounded up the most highly rated, sustainably sourced, and best-tasting green tea varieties to help you reach your happy place.  Source:  Yahoo.com

 

    1. Pukka Organic Clean Green Tea

    2. The People's Green Tea from The Republic of Tea

    3. Yogi Pure Green Tea

    4. Numi Organic Tea Gunpowder Green Full Leaf Green Tea

    5. Harney & Sons Citron Green Tea

    6. Steven Smith Teamaker No. 96 Jasmine Silver Tip Green Tea

    7. Rishi Jade Cloud Organic Green Tea

    8. Tazo Green Tea China Green Tips

    9. Traditional Medicinals Organic Green Tea Ginger

    10. STASH Tea Premium Green Loose Leaf Tea

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How Your Home is Wasting Energy (and How to Fix It)

We all know it’s good for the environment and our wallets to conserve energy when we can. But there might be ways your home is wasting energy that you’ve overlooked. That’s okay, RepairClinic.com has the answers!

RepairClinic.com has a long history helping people fix their appliances before they hit the curb, and help make them eco-friendlier. Formed in 1999, the company has already helped 20 million people save $2.5 billion in DIY repair costs with one of the largest DIY Youtube channels, 365-day free returns, and all parts ae 100% genuine authentic from the manufacturer.

Important tips from RepairClinic.com to the rescue:

  • Not Going Digital
    Whether you’re heating or cooling your home, if you’re manually bumping your thermostat up and down throughout the day, you’re wasting energy and money. By installing and programming a digital thermostat, you could save up to 10% a year. The newer Wi-Fi thermostats make it even easier to program and monitor your usage.

  • Letting Lint Build Up
    Even if you diligently clean out your dryer’s lint filter after every load, there is other lint out there that needs cleaning. Lint can also build up in your dryer’s venting which not only leads to your dryer breaking down but can even cause a house fire if you’re not careful. The fix is easy, use either a long vacuum attachment or special cleaning brush to clear out your venting every six months. This could save you about $20 per month on your energy bill.

  • Getting into Hot Water
    Who doesn’t love a good hot shower? But did you know that you lose about 5% on your utility bill for every 10° you have your hot water heater up over 120°? Most water heaters come preset at 140°. It may be time to turn it down and save.

  • Taking Your Fridge for Granted
    While your refrigerator is something you use each and every day, how often do you think of it as a potential energy-waster? Dirty condenser coils and a damaged gasket can cost you. Cleaning your fridge’s condenser coils with a long vacuum attachment or cleaning brush can save you up to 30% on your electric bill. A damaged fridge door seal/gasket lets the cool air escape. Replacing it can improve its cooling abilities by about 25%.  However, one of the biggest energy drains on a refrigerator is purely human error. People spend about 10 hours a year staring at an open fridge. That translates to wasting 50 to 120kWh per year.

  • Staying Plugged In
    From everyday electronics to small appliances, leaving unused items plugged in is a huge waste of energy. An energy usage monitor is a great way to determine just how much energy an appliance or electronic item is using. Just plug the monitor into an outlet and plug in the electronic item or appliance (120-volt AC) into the monitor to see just how much energy it’s using when not in use. The numbers may surprise you and prompt you to change your habits!

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How Much Do You Know About Honey?

The story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting1 in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it's been used for food, medicine and more by cultures all over the world since.

But honey isn't about humans. It's the natural product made from bees—one of our planet's most important animals. Honey bees visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive.
Lucky for us, bees make more honey than their colony needs, and beekeepers remove the excess and bottle it. Just like they've been doing since the beginning of time.

Since September is National Honey Month, we thought it would be a good time to take this honey quiz from the National Honey Board to see just how much we all know about nature’s finest work.

HONEY QUIZ:

1. How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey?
2. How far does a hive of bees fly to bring you one pound of honey?
3. How much honey does the average worker honey bee make in her lifetime?
4. How fast does a honey bee fly?
5. How much honey would it take to fuel a bee's flight around the world?
6. What is mead?
7. How long have bees been producing honey from flowering plants?
8. What Scottish liqueur is made with honey?
9. How many sides does each honeycomb cell have?
10. What is the U.S. per capita consumption of honey?
11. What state is known as the beehive state?
12. How many wings does a honey bee have?
13. How many beekeepers are there in the United States?
14. How many honey-producing colonies of bees are there in the United States?
15. How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip?
16. How do honey bees communicate with one another?
17. What does "super" mean to a beekeeper?

ANSWERS:

1. Two million. 2. Over 55,000 miles. 3. 1/12 teaspoon. 4. About 15 miles per hour. 5. About one ounce. 6. Honey wine. 7. 10-20 million years. 8. Drambuie. 9. Six. 10. On average, each person consumes about 1.3 pounds per year. 11. Utah. 12. Four. 13. USDA has estimated that there are between 139,600 and 212,000 beekeepers in the United States. Most are hobbyists with less than 25 hives. 14. The USDA estimates that there are approximately 2.68 million honey producing colonies. This estimate is based on beekeepers who managed five or more colonies in 2010. 15 50-100. 16. "Dancing." Honey bees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen was located. The dance explains direction and distance. Bees also communicate with pheromones. 17. The super is the hive box in which honey is stored.

1Ullmann, Fritz (2003). Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. John Wiley & Sons

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Lotus Trolley Bag Transforms Grocery Shopping

Beauty and function…this product has it all!  It redefines grocery shopping, clears out clutter in the home and tackles the problem of single-use plastic bag waste.  Lotus Trolley Bag is a reusable and reliable system, while protecting the environment and saving shoppers money and time. The Lotus Trolley Bag is a set of four reusable bags that are easy to carry and designed to spread out accordion-style along the top of a customer’s shopping cart.

Each bag holds up to 70 pounds, is convenient to store, reduces checkout wait times and promotes sustainable living. Every day more consumers are turning to easy-to-use eco-friendly products such as the Lotus Trolley Bag to eliminate clutter, trash and benefit the environment.

“The product has struck a chord with shoppers who share a common frustration of too many plastic bags, a lack of organization and longer checkout times,” said Jennifer Duvall, co-founder of Lotus Trolley Bags. “Our bag simplifies and streamlines the process and customers have responded.”

The average American family uses 1,500 plastic bags a year, and this husband and wife team’s goal is to save millions of plastic bags with one simple change.  The bags allow the customer to pack and sort groceries in the cart, making shopping simpler and faster. The product has quickly become a bestseller online and is also available through its website LotusTrolleyBag.com.

One of the best things about this set is the different bags and their unique storage design.  Varying in sizes, the largest is an insulated cooler bag that keeps frozen products cold for up to four hours. Lotus Trolley Bags also have a patented built in compartment specifically for fragile items such as eggs and bottles.

In addition, the company is bringing out its line of Lotus Produce Bags later this year, designed for easy storage of fruits and vegetables.

“We have been blown away by the amazing response and reaction from our customers throughout the U.S.,” said Farzan Dehmoubed, co-founder of Lotus Trolley Bags. “It has been so exciting to see the product sell out three times in the past six months. We’ve had demand from 14 different countries and are now looking to raise funding to expand the concept internationally.”

During our product testing, we took the Lotus Trolley Bag to our local Stop & Shop.  Not only were we stopped in almost every aisle by inquiring minds, on our way out we ran into a super satisfied Lotus Trolley Bag customer carrying her set over her shoulder with pride!  A quality product that is good for the environment and a bargain at $29.99.  www.LotusTrolleyBag.com

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2018’s Most & Least Energy-Efficient States

With the U.S. Department of Energy estimating families could save up to 25% on utilities with energy efficient measures, the personal-finance website WalletHub earlier this month released its report on 2018’s Most & Least Energy-Efficient States as well as accompanying videos.

Energy is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the biggest household expenses for American consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. family spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities, with heating and cooling of spaces alone accounting for more than half the bill. In 2018, the average consumer spent another $1,968 on motor fuel and oil, up $59 from last year.

It pays to conserve, especially during a time of increasingly warmer temperatures. As for transportation, the agency found that a more fuel-efficient vehicle could save the average driver about $708 per year.

In order to gauge the impact of doing more with less energy, WalletHub measured the efficiency of auto- and home-energy consumption in 48 U.S. states. Due to data limitations, Alaska and Hawaii were excluded from their analysis.

Most Energy-Efficient States

 

Least Energy-Efficient States

1.

New York

 

39.

Wyoming

2.

Vermont

 

40.

Oklahoma

3.

Utah

 

41.

Kentucky

4.

Rhode Island

 

42.

Texas

5.

Massachusetts

 

43.

Mississippi

6.

Colorado

 

44.

Arkansas

7.

Minnesota

 

45.

Tennessee

8.

Wisconsin

 

46.

Alabama

9.

California

 

47.

Louisiana

10.

Connecticut

 

48.

South Carolina

 

To view the full report and your state’s ranking, please visit: wallethub.com

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