How to Select Only the Freshest Veggies in the Produce Aisle

Fresh vegetables have a shorter lifespan than their frozen counterparts, so you likely want to make them last as long as possible when you purchase them. Use these expert tips to help you maintain a healthy diet and maximize the lifespan of your produce.

  1. Choose firm veggies. Vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, and onions should be firm, even colored, and free of bruises or other signs of damage. Be sure to pick these vegetables up in your hands and feel for consistent texture all the way around.
  2. Know your leafy greens. Green vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce should be crisp and brightly colored, with no visible signs of wilting or rot. You can also give these leafy vegetables a good whiff before buying to make sure that they don’t smell moldy.
  3. Inspect your root vegetables. The best potatoes, carrots, garlic, and other root vegetables may be a bit trickier to identify, but these simple tips can help: Look for cracking along the surface of the vegetable (an indicator that it's too dry), and be sure to avoid root veggies that smell rotten or moldy.
  4. Know your farmers' market veggies. If you regularly buy your produce at a supermarket, keep in mind that these types of stores use different techniques to make veggies look perfect. While farmers' market vegetables may not look as pretty, they’re still just as tasty.

How to Select Fresh, Ripe Produce [Lifehacker]
How to Pick Fruits & Veggies [Good Housekeeping]
Raw Produce: Selecting and Serving it Safely [FDA]
Choosing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables [Family Circle]

Feeling Under the Weather? Try These All-Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

If you get a cold or the flu every winter like clockwork, you’re likely always on the hunt for natural ways to treat your illness at home. Before you drag yourself out of bed to go to the doctor, try these all-natural home remedies to help banish your sore throat, soothe that runny nose, and make your aching muscles feel as good as new. (But consult your doctor for professional medical advice first!)

  1. Drink as many fluids as possible. When you’re feeling all stuffed up and congested, one of the best ways to rid your nasal cavity of mucus is by drinking plenty of fluids. Aim for eight to ten glasses of water per day, and supplement them with herbal teas, sports drinks, and even broth-based soups.
  2. Inhale steam. Another way to clear your stuffy nose is by leaning over a pot of boiling water, placing a towel over your head, and breathing deeply through your nose—just be careful not to breathe too deeply and burn yourself.
  3. Adjust your diet. By incorporating things like lemons, garlic, and honey into your diet, you can absorb their vitamins and antimicrobial properties. Green tea or peppermint tea also help to rid your body of cold or flu symptoms.
  4. Gargle with salt water. If a sore throat is keeping you up at night, this old wives’ tale can help to decrease the swelling in the throat’s mucous membranes and ease your pain.

Home Remedies for Colds [WebMD]
Cold and Flu Home Remedies [Doctor Oz]
22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain [Everyday Roots]

Three of Philly’s Best Brunch Spots

There’s nothing better after a long weekend than a mimosa-filled Sunday brunch. Philadelphia is home to numerous brunch spots that will satisfy your craving for eggs benedict or gourmet waffles, and these are three of the best—just make sure you arrive early to beat the inevitable crowds.

Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat
With a location in Northern Liberties and one on South Street, Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat offers home-style weekend brunch to folks all across the city. The menu includes breakfast classics like omelets, home fries, lox, and huevos rancheros. It’s also BYOB, which is always a brunch plus.

Sabrina’s Cafe
Sabrina’s Cafe is another great BYOB brunch option in Philadelphia, and its brunch specials change bi-weekly to keep things fresh. These specials include fun twists on the traditional eggs benedict, French toast, and pancakes with unique toppings like dried apricots or toasted coconut, as well as hearty sandwiches with a slew of sauces and seasonings. Sabrina’s also offers many vegan and vegetarian options for meat-free visitors.

Crêperie Beau Monde
If you prefer a more sophisticated brunch option, Crêperie Beau Monde is a traditional Breton crêperie serving French cuisine based on centuries-old recipes. Brunch is served on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. only, and while dishes here are a bit pricier than most, the decadent ingredients and luxurious atmosphere make it well worth the cost. Crêperie Beau Monde's bloody mary is so good that it has won awards, and sweet and savory crêpes offer something for any palate.

What Is 3D Printing?

You've likely heard some buzz about 3D printing, a new form of technology that's anticipated to have a major influence on our world. These printers are not just putting ink to paper; instead, they are building an object by layering material, like plastic, and then fine-tuning the design with lasers. The result is a three-dimensional, fully functional object! Read on to find more facts about 3D printers.

1) Add and subtract. 3D printers are classified as additive manufacturing because, quite simply, successive layers of material create the finished product. Conversely, manufacturing techniques such as sawing and milling are known as subtractive manufacturing.

2) The possibilities are endless. From mugs, models, and jewelry to machine parts and toys, many things can be created through 3D printing. In fact, the health care industry has already embraced this technology to create replacement jawbones and hips. Resin, metal, and plaster represent some of the materials used in 3D printing.

3) Pros and cons. 3D printing begins to raise the question of intellectual property. Since you can print whatever you want, what is stopping someone from recreating something that's already on the market? In the future, if printers are made more widely available, this might become an issue. A less pressing drawback of 3D printing is that it takes time: Even small items can take up to two hours to print!

What is 3D printing? [3DPrinting.com]
What is 3D printing? [ExtremeTech]

3 Quick and Healthy Pasta Recipes to Serve Tonight

Pasta is a comfort food that’s perfect for just about any occasion, but it is often packed full of calories and carbohydrates. If you’re on a diet but still crave spaghetti, lasagna, rice noodles, or any number of other delicious pastas, you might just love these quick and easy pasta recipes:

Mediterranean Pork Penne
This is certainly not your mama’s pasta dish, but it’s a welcome, unique addition to your usual pasta recipes. Using whole-wheat penne makes it a bit healthier, while stir-fry pork strips add a ton of beneficial protein to this complex and well-seasoned dish.

Bowtie Pasta With Chicken, Broccoli and Feta
Even children will love this simple, cheesy pasta dinner, and it’s a great way to get picky eaters to get a full serving of vegetables. Grilled chicken is a lean source of protein, and a full serving will leaving you feeling full without ruining your healthy diet.

Pasta Primavera
This Italian cuisine classic is jam packed with a variety of nutritious vegetables, and it takes just 20 minutes to prepare. Whole-wheat spaghetti and low-sodium tomatoes make this recipe an even healthier take on the beloved original. At just over 300 calories, this is a pasta dish that won’t make you feel guilty about indulging.

For more healthy, nutritious pasta recipes, visit the NIH website here.

Fascinating Websites for Foodies

For devoted foodies, enjoying food is about much more than just eating. Cooking, mixing drinks, baking, and learning about the origins of every ingredient are all important aspects for getting most out of every dish, and these informative websites are devoted to the culture of food.

Chow
Have you ever wanted to learn to make your own vanilla extract? Or to find the best culinary creations available at your local gas station? What about how to tell if your turkey is done? Chow is an elaborate website devoted to all of your most pressing foodie questions and creative recipes that you've never thought to try, from the perfect Brandy Alexander cocktail to halibut puttanesca. It also features a discussion board where you can connect with other foodies to talk about cooking techniques, restaurants, and other culinary concerns.

Cheese.com
This website is a cheese-lover's paradise, full of every type of cheese imaginable and the various ways to cook with them. Browse the site by texture, milk, country, or type, and even search vegetarian cheeses as alternatives to contemporary favorites. Cheese.com even includes serving and storage advice, cutting tips, and the perfect wine pairings for any cheese you choose.

3 Recipes for Pumpkin Seeds

Even if you make roasted pumpkin seeds every fall, there are so many different recipes for this autumn snack that you probably haven’t tried them all. Here are three unique pumpkin seed recipes that will give a new taste to one of your favorite fall foods.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds [AllRecipes]
Two hefty teaspoons of butter help to bring out the natural flavor of the pumpkin seeds in this simple, basic recipe. Whether you buy a bag of seeds from the grocery store or extract them from the pumpkin yourself, you just can’t go wrong with this fall snack.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto [Whole Foods]
Fans of pesto will adore this unique recipe, which combines the fall flavors of pumpkin seeds with the unexpected taste of cilantro pesto. Store the finished product in your refrigerator to spread on sandwiches, drizzle over pasta, or use as a topping for baked chicken.

Asparagus, Potato and Spinach Galette [Woman's Day]
Galettes are very popular because of their versatility and their beautifully rustic appearance, and this one incorporates pumpkin seeds in a way that you’ve likely never tried before. Fill the rolled pie crust with Gruyere cheese, asparagus, and Yukon gold potatoes to create a truly filling meal that’s pretty enough to serve at parties or holiday gatherings.

Expecting Company? Here’s How to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests!

You just found out that a few friends or family members are coming to visit for a few days, and they’re going to stay at your place instead of a hotel. Before you get stressed, check out these simple tips for making guests feel comfortable in your home.

  1. Create a private area. Although a separate guest bedroom is the ideal area for out-of-town guests, not all homes have this space. Give your guests a bit of added privacy by placing an air mattress in a little-used office instead of offering them the living room couch, or even put up a temporary partition at night if the couch is your only option.
  2. Provide linens. One of the most important things you can do to make guests feel at home is to provide them with clean sheets, towels, and other linens. Place a stack of towels on the bed, and be sure to turn down the bed sheets before they arrive.
  3. Offer storage. Your guests will feel like a nuisance if their suitcases are strewn all over the floor, so offer them a spare closet or even a corner of a low-traffic room where they can store their belongings.
  4. Invest in a few snacks. Oftentimes guests’ eating schedules are different from your own, and they might feel uncomfortable mentioning their hunger. Purchase a few tasty snacks before they arrive, and be sure to accommodate dietary restrictions like veganism or lactose intolerance.

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Guest-ify Your Home [The Art of Simple]
Getting Ready for Overnight Guests [Real Simple]
How to Welcome Overnight Guests Without Spending Money [Not Spending Money]
Hosting Overnight Guests [Life Your Way]
Make Your Overnight Guests Feel at Home [Southern Living]

How to Upcycle Common Household Items

You may recycle your paper and plastic, but when it comes to all of that junk that piles up in your closets, most people are at a loss. If you want to reuse those perfectly good items that you simply don’t have use for anymore, these tips can help.

  1. Picture frames. Instead of letting that slightly broken picture frame go to waste, get a bit creative about how to use it. Place a piece of colorful paper inside and lay the frame on its back to use as an eclectic, decorative jewelry tray or as a place to set candles.
  2. Colander. That beat up old colander may still have a bit more life in it. Place the bottom inside of a small bucket and fill the colander with ice at your next party. The water will run into the bucket as the ice melts so your guests won’t have to fish for ice.
  3. Old newspaper. Line drawers or shelves with old newspaper using wallpaper paste and craft sealant for an authentically vintage look.

New Uses for Old Things [Country Living]
25 New Ways to Use Your Old Stuff [HGTV]
50 All-Time Favorite New Uses for Old Things [Real Simple]

Summertime Desserts Inspired by Delightful Cocktails

Here's a trio of tasty cocktail-like desserts to keep you cool all summer long:

Grilled Mint Julep Peaches
Nothing says summer like fresh, juicy peaches, and this decadent dessert combines them with a classic mint julep cocktail to create a deliciously Southern dessert. Four ripe peaches are glazed in Kentucky Bourbon and grilled to a golden brown, then the whole thing is topped with vanilla bean ice cream a few sprigs of mint to give them that signature minty flavor.

Pink Grapefruit, Strawberry and Champagne Granita
Whether you have something to celebrate or not, this champagne-infused dessert dish is perfectly festive. The fruits and bubbly champagne are blended with ice to create a slushy mix that’s best served in a pretty martini glass.

Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Poptails
A “poptail” is a fun way to describe a dessert that combines a cocktail with a popsicle, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular summer dessert trend. This one contains pureed strawberries, homemade peach syrup, and refreshing vodka to create its cold, fruity taste.

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