You Might Be Surprised That These Common Foods Are High in Sugar

Some foods are obviously high in sugar, such as cakes, sodas, and ice cream. But did you know that there are sneaky high-sugar foods that may be sabotaging your diet without you even knowing it? Here are a few foods that are surprisingly high in sugar.

  1. Fat-free yogurts. Sure, fat-free yogurts don’t contain fat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re low in sugar, too! In fact, the majority of low-fat and fat-free yogurts overcompensate by adding quite a bit of sugar to sweeten up the taste. Be sure to check the label on your favorite sweet side, because some 0% yogurts can contain as many as 20 grams of sugar.
  2. Marinara sauce. Marinara sauce is often viewed as a healthy alternative to creamy Alfredo sauces, but this savory pasta topping can be packed full of sugars. Beware of store bought cans and jars especially, as they’re the most common culprits.
  3. Bread. Even supposedly healthy breads, like whole grain and wheat, can contain about three grams of sugar per slice. Processed breads are usually much higher in sugars than freshly baked options, so opt for a loaf from the bakery or a sprouted wheat bread from the health food store.

6 Surprising Sources of Sugar [Eating Well]
6 Hidden Sugar Mines in Your Diet [Next Avenue]
Sugar: Five Foods Surprisingly High in Sugar [BBC]

Love Your Pet Day!

February 20th is Love Your Pet Day! So give your pet some extra hugs and kisses when you get home from work today!

Treat Your Valentine to Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

Ingredients

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 pound strawberries (about 20), washed and patted dry

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a microwave-safe glass bowl, microwave the chocolate, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.

2. Holding a strawberry by the stem end, dip it in the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. As you set the strawberry down, slide it ½ inch to the side to prevent the formation of a chocolate “foot.” Repeat with the remaining berries.

3. Refrigerate the strawberries on the baking sheet until the chocolate is firm, at least 30 minutes.

How to Prepare a Perfect Plate of Pasta

If you’ve ever overcooked or undercooked pasta and suffered the consequences throughout your entire meal, you know how touchy this seemingly simple dish can be. Luckily, these simple steps will show you how to prepare the perfect plate of pasta.

  1. Use a large enough pot. One of the most common mistakes when cooking pasta is using a pot that isn’t large enough to accommodate your noodles and water. As a general rule, one pound of pasta should be cooked in about 5 to 6 quarts of water or more.
  2. Start with cold water. To avoid tainting your pasta’s taste with the metallic taste of your sink’s pipes, fill the pot with cold water to start. Hot water dissolves contaminants like lead much more easily, which could affect the taste of your pasta.
  3. Boil thoroughly. Cover your pot with a glass lid and bring the water to a quick boil. Add a pinch of salt to bring out the natural flavors.
  4. Cook pasta. Most pastas cook for 18 to 20 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Be sure to remove a noodle or two and taste them throughout the cooking process.
  5. Drain and serve. Drain your noodles over a large colander, but be sure not to over-drain them, as this could cause them to dry out and stick together. Pour warm sauce over all of the noodles, and then serve.

The Most Common Cooking Mistakes [Cooking Light]
How To Cook Perfect Pasta [What’s Cooking America]
10 Secrets to Perfect Pasta [Good Housekeeping]

Sara’s Younique 3D Fiber Lashes!

Sara in our office has started selling 3D Fiber Lash Mascara! These are some pictures of her and her clients that have tried the product and love it! You can buy it online today for only $29.00! They are also running some great specials on her page for February so check it out!

To view the page and see the many other products she sells click here.

Winter Driving Tips!

Be sure to drive slowly and safely during this time of year. You can visit this website to get some great coupons and driving tips during the snow season!

These Recipes Make It Easy to Cook Gourmet Meals for Two

Looking for recipes perfect for two people? Sourced from the stylish web magazine The Kitchn, these three dishes look—and taste!—like they took all day to prepare, when, in fact, they're quite simple.

Thai Red Curry Mussels
Fit for a Friday night of lounging in front of the TV, this recipe swaps utensils for pieces of crusty bread, which is ideal for sopping up the mussels' coconut milk-curry broth.

Penne alla Vodka
With just a hint of vodka, a creamy tomato sauce coats penne pasta in this easy recipe. Red pepper flakes, salty parmesan cheese, and fresh basil provide the garnish. Because this recipe serves four to six people, you'll likely have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

30-Minute Coq Au Vin
This recipe for coq au vin can rival that of any fancy French restaurant, and it can go from start to finish in under an hour. Serve this one-pot meal with crusty French bread, egg noodles, roasted potatoes, and, of course, a glass of red wine.

Pro Tips for a Perfect Pie Crust

With the holiday season in full swing, you might want to impress your family and friends with a delicious, homemade pie at your festive gathering. Although making a pie from scratch seems intimidating, these tips from the pros will ensure that your crust turns out completely flawless.

  1. Chill everything. It’s fairly common knowledge that a good pie crust relies on very cold butter, but you can even go one step further by chilling everything (like flour, butter and shortening) before beginning.
  2. Keep things lumpy. While most recipes require you to blend or mix the dough until it’s perfectly smooth, a good pie crust relies on those small chunks of butter or other fats. This is what creates small air pockets for that lovely flaky texture once it’s done baking.
  3. Don’t over-handle the dough. The warmth from your hands can cause the gluten in the dough to seize up, so be sure to only touch the dough when transferring it into the pan.
  4. Use parchment paper. Not only does sandwiching your pie dough between parchment paper keep your kitchen cleaner, it also prevents the crust from tearing when it gets too thin.
  5. Create an aluminum shield. Because the pie’s filling and its crust tend to cook at different speeds, wrap a shield of aluminum foil around the crust’s edges during the last five minutes of baking.

10 Tips for Making Perfect Pie Crust [About Food]
The 10 Commandments of a Perfect Pie Crust [Real Simple]
6 Tips For Perfect Pies And Tarts [Food Network]

How to Create a Cheese Plate Your Party Guests Will Love

Ah, cheese. From mild cheddar to zesty Brie, there are a wide variety of reasons why people all over the world love this flavorful food. If you want to make the perfect cheese platter for an upcoming party, these foolproof tips will help you to turn your love of cheese into a perfect hors d’oeuvres for entertaining.

  1. Choose the right amount for your guests. As a general rule, it’s smart to allot at least two ounces of cheese per guest. Calculate the number of guests you’ll have beforehand and do some simple math to ensure that everyone gets their fair share.
  2. Mix soft and hard cheeses. A well-blended cheese plate includes a perfectly balanced blend of soft cheeses, like goat cheese, and hard cheeses, like aged gouda.
  3. Mix mild and intense flavors. You also want to blend mild cheeses with more flavorful options on your board. Think mild options such as fresh mozzarella combined with an intense cheese like a firm Gruyère.
  4. Serve the cheese properly. Organize the cheeses on a wooden platter, and be sure to leave enough space between cheeses. Set out a different knife for each type, and give each of your guests his or her own plate. Also, set out some neutral crackers or dry breads as palette cleansers.

Creating the Perfect Cheese Plate [Food + Wine]
How to Set Up a Cheese Platter [Food Network]
The Perfect Cheese Platter [Real Simple]

Love Birdwatching? Download These Apps!

Are you an avid birdwatcher who’s always looking for new birding resources? Lucky for tech-savvy birdwatchers, smartphone apps can help you identify birds, keep track of birds you see on your watches, and even record particularly interesting calls. Here are two great apps for birdwatching.

Peterson Backyard Birds
The Peterson Backyard Birds app is a complete field guide to the birds of North America, enabling users to identify more than 160 common types of birds. This app is ideal for the beginning birdwatcher because it helps to identify the most basic types of birds seen from most backyards, and it provides detailed illustrations of each bird’s appearance. There are even samples of each bird’s call for further help identifying it in the wild.

BirdWatching
With gorgeous nature photography and a magazine-style layout, the BirdWatching app is perfect for the more experienced birdwatcher. Lengthy, detailed articles provide information on the migration patterns and natural habitats of many interesting types of birds, while the ID Tool Kit offers helpful tips and tricks for identifying birds in your watches. If you’re a fan of BirdWatching magazine, you’ll love getting the same wonderful content right on your smartphone.