Thursday, September 18, 2014

All the Taste, Less Fat: 2 Handy Stand-Ins for Butter

Whether you practice a vegan diet or you simply want to reduce harmful fat and calories from your meals, cutting out butter is a healthy food choice. These simple butter substitutes will enable you to eat the foods that you love in a healthier manner, and they’ll taste just as delicious.

  1. Olive oil. While olive oil is also high in calories, it has a number of other health benefits that butter doesn’t. For every cup of butter, you can easily substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil plus two tablespoons in order to maintain the same texture and consistency. Olive oil is also completely vegan, and it can be used to grease pans as well.
  2. Commercial butter substitutes. Your local grocery store likely sells a wide variety of commercial butter substitutes and margarines that can be used in place of butter. These products usually have the same look, feel and taste, but they have much less fat and calories. Brands like Earth Balance and Smart Balance taste very similar to real butter, but unlike butter they’re completely vegan. Most chefs advise against browning commercial butter substitutes, however, because they burn very easily and don’t achieve the same effect.

Common Ingredient Substitutions [All Recipes]
Top 3 Ingredient Substitutions [The Kitchn]

Fort Ward Museum: An Important Historic Spot in Alexandria

During the Civil War, Fort Ward stood as a symbol of strength, protecting the nation's capital (and the president who called it home), Washington, D.C. The fort still stands today in its original Alexandria home as a reminder of the brave men who fought not only for their own freedom, but also for that of others. It's touted as one of the best preserved Union forts still standing, which is why it makes for the perfect spot for a Civil War museum.

Fort Ward Museum houses exhibits that explain the role it played in the Civil War. Learn about everything from the way its military personnel lived and operated at the time to its effect on history as a Union Army crossroads. The museum also hosts special events, such as Civil War reenactments and lecture series.

Fort Ward Museum
4301 W. Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22304
(703) 838-4848

3 Easy Projects for New Knitters

Whether you want to create a handmade gift for a friend or you’re simply looking for a low-key craft to do with your hands, knitting is becoming increasingly popular among people of all ages. Here are 3 great knitting projects that are accessible to even the most novice knitter.

Basic Scarf
A scarf is one of the most straightforward, expected knitting projects, but that doesn’t mean that it’s boring. This simple pattern enables you to customize the color and the length of your scarf to tailor it to your tastes or a loved one’s preferences. There’s even a border along the edges of the scarf to take it from basic to perfectly chic.

Quick & Easy Knitted Infinity Scarf
If you want to create a scarf that’s a bit more modern than more traditional options, an infinity scarf is a great choice. Infinity scarves are popular because they’re so secure, and this one also features rows of texture for an intricate look.

Seagrass Throw
Create a knitting project that’s out of the ordinary with this impossibly warm throw blanket. The flat, square surface makes it easy to make, but the chic, luxurious look makes it seem much more elaborate.

Happy Labor Day!

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Labor Day!

NY Chicken and Grill: Chicken and More in Maryland

Fast, friendly and flavorful are the code words at NY Chicken and Grill. There’s plenty of chicken on their expansive menu, but there’s also a whole lot more going on at this tasty little Maryland eatery, including Quesadillas, Tacos, Burgers and Sub Sandwiches.

The fried Chicken comes with biscuits and your choice of sides that include Coleslaw, Potato Salad, French Fries, Corn on the Cob, Rice & Beans, Hush Puppies, Mashed Potatoes, Mac & Cheese, Spinach, and Black Beans. Wings, Chicken Tenders and Chicken Nuggets are also served. The Grilled Platter menu includes New York Strip, Steak & Shrimp, Chicken Breast, Tilapia and Jumbo Shrimp. Fajitas come sizzling hot with Steak, Chicken or Shrimp and include green peppers, onions, rice & salad.

NY Chicken and Grill is open every day.

NY Chicken and Grill
2914 Colebrooke Drive
Temple Hills, MD 20748
(240) 695-5207

Washington, D.C.’s Must-See National Parks

The national parks in Washington, D.C. encompass both the rich history of our forefathers and the beauty of the land as it was centuries ago. Visit some of the most famous monuments in the world and stroll through the majestic forest, both of which are within reach of our nation’s capital.

National Mall and Memorial Parks
Popular landmarks like The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial are just a few of the famous destinations within National Mall and Memorial Parks, which are located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Visitors enjoy taking walking tours through the National Mall, guided bike tours starting at the Jefferson Memorial, or teeing off at the East Potomac Golf Course. All of the tours are free, and the park is open 24 hours a day.

Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park intersects the northwestern side of Washington, D.C., providing the beauty of nature as well as a range of public park amenities. It was one of the first National Parks in the country, and the park is known for how closely it brushes with the massive urban area that is our nation’s capital. See a show at the Fort Dupont Summer Theater, catch a concert at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, or visit Linden Oak, the largest known white oak tree in the United States.

Oxon Cove Park and Farm: Farm Fun in Oxon Hill

Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm is a national historic district, which includes a National Park Service-operated living farm museum. Located in Oxon Hill, the park evolved from a plantation home to a hospital farm and finally to the park it is today.

Group reservations are required for their most popular programs, like the Dairy Cow, Wagon Rides, and Chicken and Egg. You can also explore the park and farm on your own and see historic structures, farm equipment, and farm animals such as goats, hogs, horses, and chickens. The staff notes that the animals might not always be in view. Visitors also hike along the lower fields and ride bikes down the path along Oxon Cove. They offer a variety of events and educational activities for children. Admissions and activities are free.

Check the website for operating hours and seasons, news, fees and reservations, program schedules, and more information.

Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm
6411 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
(301) 839-1176

Topolino: A Local Italian Restaurant with a Friendly Atmosphere

Topolino serves up a flavorful selection of Italian cuisine in a friendly, relaxing setting complete with those cute red checkered tablecloths! The decor's matched by a menu of classic Italian food.

Stop by for their lunch buffet to feast on Spaghetti Carbonara, Manicotti, Three Cheese Tortellini, Meatballs, Mussels, Roasted Vegetables, Pizza, and dessert. At dinnertime you can start out with a glass of wine and something flavorful from the antipasto menu like Mozzarella Sticks with marinara sauce, Spinach & Artichoke Dip with ciabatta bread, Stuffed Shrimp with lump crab meat, Deep Fried Mushrooms, and Creamy Crab Dip. Topolino's pasta dishes include Rigatoni & Sausage, Fettuccini Alfredo, Tortellini Ala Crema, Baked Ziti, Lasagna, and Manicotti. A yummy pizza selection is also among their offerings. Chicken, veal and steaks are also on the menu.

Topolino is open every day.

6320 Old Branch Avenue
Camp Springs, MD 20748
(301) 449-6160

Traveling on a Budget? Check Out These Kid-Friendly Attractions in Washington, D.C.!

Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution provides some of the most visited museums in the world, and they cover a wide variety of topics to suit any person's interests. Their vast collections have something for everyone, including the kids! Here are two of the best kid-friendly attractions in our nation's capital. Bonus: Both offer free admission!

Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Also known as the National Zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park is home to more than 400 species of animals. They offer daily tours and interactive exhibits just about every day out of the year. Stop by the Asia Trail to see the famous giant pandas, clouded leopards, and sloth bears. Go on safari through the African Savanna exhibit to find cheetahs, Cape buffalo, black rhinos, and more. The National Zoo is dedicated to providing a fun learning experience for everyone who visits, so admission is always free!

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
See for yourself why the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is the most visited natural history museum in the world. The kids will never grow tired of the more than 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. Enjoy a guided tour that will take you back in time, or set your gaze upon the world famous Hope Diamond. The little ones will love to walk among mummies and grow their minds with one of the richest collections of historical artifacts in the world. The museum is open 364 days a year, and admission is free of charge.

Shop Trendy, Colorful Accessories at Charming Charlie

For the latest trends in jewelry and accessories, check out Charming Charlie in National Harbor. You might be overwhelmed by the extensive jewelry selection at first, but the goods here are arranged by color, so go right for your favorite color (or colors) and start shopping!

You'll find an assortment of on-trend jewelry and accessories, as well as original and unique costume jewelry—all at wallet-friendly prices. (Regulars say that you can’t beat the price considering the decent quality of the items.) Whether you’re looking for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, watches, or headbands, you’ll find it here. Charming Charlie also stocks pricier handbags, clothing, and shoes. No doubt you’ll be charmed by Charlie’s creations and leave with a few pieces that’ll have people talking.

Check the website for hours and more information.

Charming Charlie
162 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 567-3191