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    • Put a Plant-Based Twist on Holiday Baking

      4 October 2022

      (Family Features) Flavorful desserts are a staple of the holidays and the exciting, appetizing allure of new recipes can help elevate seasonal gatherings and create sweet memories. With near-endless options for celebrating the season, putting a plant-based twist on traditional recipes offers everyone the opportunity to indulge with decadent treats.
       
      In seasonal sweets like Brulee Pumpkin Pie and No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, an option like Country Crock Plant Cream can be used as a dairy-free substitute for heavy whipping cream. With 29% less saturated fat than dairy heavy whipping cream, it’s an easy 1:1 swap and is also soy-free, certified plant-based and 100% vegan, making it ideal to have on hand during holiday baking season. It’s all of the deliciousness of heavy cream, with none of the heaviness of dairy.
       
      Visit CountryCrock.com for more delectable holiday dessert ideas. 
       
      Brulee Pumpkin Pie
      Prep time: 45 minutes
      Cook time: 1 hour
      Servings: 8
       
      Pie Crust:
      1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon sugar
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      8 tablespoons Country Crock Plant Butter, cold and cut into cubes
      2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
      4 tablespoons ice water
       
      Pumpkin Filling:
      1/2 cup maple syrup
      1 tablespoon vanilla
      1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
      1/4 cup coconut cream
      1 cup Country Crock Plant Cream
      1 cup brown sugar
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ginger
      1 teaspoon nutmeg
      1/8 teaspoon ground clove
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      3 tablespoons cornstarch
      3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
       
      Whipped Topping:
      2 cups Country Crock Plant Cream, chilled
      1/4 cup powdered sugar
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
       
      To make pie crust: Preheat oven to 350 F.
       
      In bowl of food processor, add flour, sugar and salt; pulse to combine. Add cold plant butter and shortening. Process about 10 seconds until it looks like coarse meal.
       
      With food processor running, add ice water. Process until mixture clumps together.
       
      On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 14-inch circle. Transfer to 9-inch pie dish. Lift edges and allow dough to drape into dish. Trim, leaving 1-inch overhang. Fold excess dough under and crimp edges.
       
      To make pumpkin filling: In medium saucepan over medium heat, add syrup and vanilla; warm about 2 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.
       
      In large bowl, combine syrup mixture, pumpkin, coconut cream, plant cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, salt and cornstarch; blend with hand mixer until smooth. Pour mixture into pie crust.
       
      Bake 1 hour. If crust starts to burn, cover edges with aluminum foil. The middle will still be jiggly.
       
      Cool at room temperature 30 minutes then cover and transfer to refrigerator to chill at least 5 hours or overnight.
       
      Before serving, sprinkle pie with white sugar and, using kitchen torch, brelee until sugar is melted and dark brown.
       
      To make whipped topping: Using electric hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk plant cream, powdered sugar and vanilla on high until mixture thickens and stiff peaks form.
       
      Slice and serve with whipped topping.
       
      No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
      Prep time: 5-10 minutes
      Cook time: 5 minutes
      Total time: 6-7 hours
      Servings: 8

      Country Crock Plant Butter, for greasing
       
      Crust:
      1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
      1/2 cup Country Crock Plant Butter, melted
       
      Filling:
      2 packages (8 ounces each) dairy-free cream cheese, at room temperature
      1 cup peanut butter
      1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      1/2 cup Country Crock Plant Cream
      1 cup powdered sugar
       
      Chocolate Ganache:
      1 stick Country Crock Plant Butter, cubed
      1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
       
      Grease 9-inch pie dish with plant butter; set aside.
       
      To make crust: In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted plant butter; mix thoroughly.
       
      Add crust to greased pie dish and press firmly to bottom and sides; refrigerate.
       
      To make filling: In bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
       
      Add powdered sugar; beat until fully incorporated.
       
      Add peanut butter, vanilla extract and plant cream; beat until smooth and creamy.
       
      Pour filling into prepared crust and refrigerate 5-6 hours or overnight.
       
      To make chocolate ganache: In pan over medium heat, add plant butter cubes and chocolate; stir continuously.
       
      Spread chocolate ganache evenly on top of chilled cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Home Multitasking Ideas to Make Chores Better

      4 October 2022

      Few people like spending their free time completing chores. Unfortunately for all of us, there are some to-dos that simply cannot be ignored. Luckily, a few techniques can make the task a little more fun. These multitasking ideas won’t ruin your concentration, but are sure to make doing your chores a little better.

      Start a New Audiobook
      Get lost in a great book while you clean. Audiobooks and wireless headphones can make cleaning a whole new experience. Whether you are scrubbing the bathtub or sweeping the kitchen, there is no doubt that even the most tedious chores are more fun when you’re in the midst of a good story. Want to make it even more exciting? Find a book you love and only listen to it if you’re cleaning, it can be an enticing reward!

      Do Your Laundry Every Day
      Laundry is one task that modern technology has certainly made easier. Capitalize on your modern conveniences by doing a load every day. This is one chore that is easy to multitask and do while you’re completing a number of other activities! New washers and dryers even have smart alerts that can notify you when the load is finished--no more getting distracted and letting a load sit unattended.

      Put Away Dishes Before Your Coffee
      Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but coffee is the star of the show. While you are waiting for your daily cup to brew, take a few minutes to put away any clean dishes from the previous evening. This routine allows you to run your dishwasher while you sleep and makes it easy to clean while you snooze.

      Listen to Music While You Cook
      Make yourself feel like a chef at a fine dining establishment by adding a little class and fun to your cooking experience in the form of music. Instrumental music like jazz can be the perfect background to give your cooking a little more pizza and the best part is, if you utilize a kitchen streaming device, you can likely ask recipe questions as well. Cooking is about to become a lot more enjoyable.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Are You Wasting Money on Memberships and Subscriptions You Don't Use?

      4 October 2022

      Paying for a membership or a subscription automatically can be convenient since you don’t have to think about it and pay a monthly bill, but it’s also easy to forget what you’re paying for. Many Americans have multiple memberships and subscriptions that they get charged for every month, but they rarely or never use those services. 

      Common Ways That People Waste Money
      Cable can be expensive. That’s why many people have switched to streaming services, which can be much cheaper. Millions of people subscribe to more than one streaming service. The total cost may still be less than cable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s money well spent. If you have one or more streaming subscriptions that you don’t use on a regular basis, you may be throwing money away. You may be able to cut back, save money and still enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies.

      Food delivery services, subscription services that deliver beauty products and companies that send monthly deliveries of pet supplies have all grown popular. Those companies may provide useful and valuable products, but there is no point in paying for those deliveries if you don’t actually use the things you’re receiving.

      Gym memberships are another area where people frequently waste money. It’s common to sign up for a gym membership with every intention of working out on a regular basis, then stop going after a few weeks or months. This happens a lot around the beginning of a new year. If you’re paying for a gym membership you don’t use, either start working out so you get what you’re paying for, or cancel your membership.

      You may be paying for a service that you signed up for years ago and forgot about or that you never signed up for at all. Many people subscribe to websites and mobile apps, then rarely or never use them and forget about their subscriptions. Sometimes a child signs up for a subscription without permission using a parent’s phone. 

      Figure Out How Much You’re Spending
      People often dramatically underestimate how much they’re paying for subscriptions and memberships. It’s easy to forget that you’re paying those fees if they’re automatically billed to your credit or debit card. A small fee might not seem like a big deal, but the money can add up, especially if you’re paying multiple companies every month for things you don’t use. 

      Look over your recent bank and credit card statements and make a list of all your monthly and annual charges for subscriptions and memberships. Then think about how much you actually used each service and whether the expense is justified. If not, consider canceling your plan. In some cases, you may be able to keep a service but switch to a less expensive option that better suits your needs.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Importance of Regular Immunizations for Heart Health

      3 October 2022

      (Family Features) While most parents are good at keeping track of vaccines their kids need to stay healthy, many adults don’t realize there are immunizations important for keeping themselves heart-healthy, as well.
       
      Adults, especially those with a history of heart disease or stroke, should take steps to stay up-to-date on preventive vaccines, particularly for the flu and COVID-19.
       
      Influenza – While many experience just a few days of aches and chills, the flu can be deadly for some, including young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. There has also been research linking flu infection to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Getting a flu shot can not only prevent the flu, it may also reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
       
      In fact, a study published in “Stroke” found that, among a group of people hospitalized for various reasons, those who experienced a flu-like illness within a month of their hospitalization were 38% more likely to have a stroke. Receiving the flu vaccine within a year prior to hospitalization lowered a person’s stroke risk to 11%.
       
      “Getting an annual flu shot should be part of routine health care for all individuals, especially for people who are already living with chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk for heart attacks or strokes,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, American Heart Association chief medical officer for prevention. “The potentially serious complications of the flu are far greater for those with chronic diseases. This is true not just for older people but even those age 50 and younger who have a history of high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes.”
       
      COVID-19 – At the onset of the pandemic, the American Heart Association established the COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry, which found people with or at risk for CVD were more likely to become infected with and die from COVID-19. Additionally, the research found many people experience heart and vascular disease after getting COVID-19.
       
      A study from the registry published in “Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology” found new-onset atrial fibrillation in 1 in 20 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Additionally, research also found people hospitalized with COVID-19 had a higher risk of stroke compared with people who had similar infectious conditions such as influenza or sepsis.
       
      “We can’t stress enough the connections between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease,” Sanchez said. “There is clear evidence that people who have heart and vascular disease and even those with CVD risk factors are more likely to get COVID and to have more severe complications from the virus.”
       
      Other Immunizations – While flu and COVID-19 vaccines are of the utmost importance, there are a number of other immunizations that can help keep people heart-healthy.

      • The pneumococcal vaccination protects against a common cause of severe pneumonia and is especially important for people 65 and older, and others with certain underlying medical conditions. This type of pneumonia can be deadly, especially for people already at high risk for health complications, including CVD. One shot is usually good for several years, although you may need a second one later depending on your age at your first shot.
      • Shingles, a viral infection caused by the chickenpox virus, has been linked to an increased risk of stroke. More than 99% of people age 40 or older in the United States may carry the dormant chickenpox virus, also known as the varicella-zoster virus, and not even realize it. 
      Learn more about important immunizations and find other preventive health tips at heart.org.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Home Upgrades for Pet Lovers

      3 October 2022

      Many homeowners love their pets as part of the family. If you feel that your furry friend deserves special consideration when it comes to home upgrades, you’re not alone. These four ideas are perfect for pet lovers who want to make their house a true home for their best friends.

      Purchase Pet-Proof Materials
      Even well-behaved pets can do a number on a fragile item. Between scratches, pet hair, slobber and accidents your home and furniture has to endure a lot when it comes to your pet. Ensure that you are looking for pet-friendly materials. Scratch-resistant flooring, stain-resistant fabrics and sturdy furniture should all be prioritized. Bonus? These choices can add value down the road, many families will love that their pets and children can play without risking too much damage to the space.

      Re-Landscape the Yard
      Pet-friendly yards are about more than a place to play with a fence. Cats and dogs are notorious for having reactions to common garden plants. Keep Fido and Tiger safe by evaluating the landscaping and avoiding any toxic plants. If necessary, it’s time to re-landscape to ensure a safe space for your pet.

      Add a Mudroom Dog Shower
      If your furry friend loves to play outdoors and has a tendency to create a mess, a mudroom shower may be worth the investment. A spacious shower located near your backdoor can make cleaning your pup a breeze, even in the cold winter months. This can be especially beneficial if you live in a muddy or sandy environment, and can even be helpful for small children who tend to trek a mess inside. In the summer, this can double as a great way for kids and adults to rinse off before or after hopping in the pool or hot tub.

      Create a Pet Hub
      This upgrade is inexpensive and can save you time and frustration on a daily basis. If you’ve ever lost your pet’s leash or waste bags right before a walk, you know the frustration of looking for the item while your pet is eager to go. Save yourself time by creating a pet hub. Fill a small coat rack with pet-specific items to ensure everything is right where you need it. Add a small basket with pet toys and keep your pet’s food and water bowls in this area to create a one-and-done space for everything your pet could ever use.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.