According to a recent article from Consumer Reports, there are some brands of Dark Chocolate that contain dangerous levels of lead, and cadmium.
Dark Chocolate has become popular due to studies suggesting that they are rich in antioxidants, which is beneficial to the heart, and it having low sugar properties that positively impact health.
The article, which was posted in mid December, states that 28 popular brands were tested, and that 23 of them contained high levels of the dangerous metals.
For more details, check out the article from Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/health/food-safety/lead-and-cadmium-in-dark-chocolate-a8480295550/
5 Simple Holiday Hosting Hacks
(Family Features) Entertaining friends and loved ones during the holidays offers an opportunity to slow down from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and make lasting memories. The key is getting ahead of hosting duties so you can be present with family and friends.
Make this season’s holiday hosting effortless and enjoyable with these tips:
- Stick with a simple menu. There’s no need to create an elaborate menu with complex dishes that take hours to prepare. Instead, build your menu around easy crowd-pleasers. Save the experimenting with new recipes and ingredients for another time when you’re less likely to feel the pressure. Be sure to consider your guests’ likes and dislikes and be conscious of potential dietary restrictions.
- Serve beverages with festive flair. A beverage station is a fun and unexpected way to infuse some extra holiday cheer into your event. Offer cozy options like hot chocolate and coffee, along with an array of seasonal mix-ins and flavors. Convenient and tasty options to have on-hand for the holidays are Starbucks creamers, featuring flavors inspired by cafe beverages like Caramel Macchiato, White Chocolate Mocha and Cinnamon Dolce Latte, all which are now available in limited-time red holiday packaging online and at your local grocery store.
Give your guests some festive drink inspiration to start with, such as this delicious holiday-themed recipe for Iced Gingerbread Caramel Coffee that is sure to become a favorite. For added fun, provide an array of toppings such as marshmallows, peppermint sticks and chocolate candies wrapped in colorful holiday wrappers.
- Plan for entertainment. When a well-acquainted group gathers, the party has a way of taking on a life of its own. In case of a slow start, or if you’re entertaining different groups of friends who don’t know each other well, it’s a good idea to prepare some options to get guests mingling and engaged. A playlist of holiday music creates a festive atmosphere and planning a few interactive games ahead of time can help break the ice.
- Pace your preparations. Make a conscious effort to spread your party prep over the days and weeks leading up to your event. Saving all the cooking and cleaning until the day of the party only leaves hosts exhausted before guests even arrive. Instead, make a list of everything you need to accomplish around the house and tackle a few chores each night. Do your shopping a few days ahead so ingredients are still fresh but you aren’t left scrambling. Prepare any dishes that can be refrigerated or frozen ahead of time.
- Anticipate guests’ needs. The secret to great hosting isn’t really a secret at all; it’s simply making sure your guests feel welcome and comfortable. Providing a secure spot for coats and handbags, offering a drink when they arrive and making sure they can find essentials like the restroom may seem obvious, but they’re easily overlooked basics. If you worry you’ll be too busy in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the meal, recruit a friend or family member to act in your place.
Find more inspiration and other holiday-worthy recipes at athome.starbucks.com.
Iced Gingerbread Caramel Coffee
Prep time: 3 minutes
Yield: 16 ounces
- 1 cup ice
- 4 tablespoons Starbucks Gingerbread Naturally Flavored Ground Coffee for double strength
- 6 ounces water
- 1 ounce Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Flavored Creamer
- whipped cream
- homemade or store-bought caramel sauce
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Place ice in 16-ounce glass.
- Brew gingerbread coffee with water and pour into glass.
- Add caramel creamer. Stir.
- Top with whipped cream, drizzle of caramel sauce and nutmeg.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock (friends celebrating holidays)
Sweet and Savory Ways to Shake Up Holiday Celebrations
(Family Features) ’Tis the season for sweet and savory favorites – from the mouthwatering desserts you crave each year to starters and snacks that hold over hungry guests. Elevate your holiday entertaining with the right combination of appetizers, main courses, sides, sweets and beyond that start with the same seasonal staple: pecans.
As a versatile nut that can be used throughout the holidays, pecans have you covered so you can cook and enjoy a myriad of dishes, add festive flair to decor, or provide a nutritious snack in the midst of season-long indulgences. This year, pick up an extra bag of pecans to create nutritious, delicious dishes to enjoy on-the-go or serve to guests.
To help celebrate the holiday season, the American Pecan Promotion Board introduced a digital Pe-Calendar to highlight the many ways pecans can be enjoyed in and beyond a traditional pie. From Dec. 7-18, the interactive calendar will unveil tasty recipes for pecan fans to enjoy, along with fun games that can enter you in to win exciting prizes each day. From delicious Baked Brie with Pecans and Cranberry Orange Chutney to nutritious Pecan Snack Mix with Cranberries and Chocolate, along with prizes, the calendar provides an ultimate way to shell-ebrate with the must-have holiday nut.
To sign up for daily email reminders to open a new door for chances to win nutty prizes, or to find additional holiday recipes, visit EatPecans.com.
Baked Brie with Pecans and Cranberry Orange Chutney
Recipe courtesy of the American Pecan Promotion Board
Cook time: 24 minutes
- 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 orange, zest and juice only
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme, plus additional for garnish, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
- 1 round brie (13.4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup roasted pecan pieces
- toasted bread
- apple slices
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cranberries (reserving some for garnish), 1/2 cup maple syrup and water to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and mixture thickens, 8-10 minutes.
- Remove cranberry mixture from heat and stir in orange zest, orange juice, 1 teaspoon thyme, rosemary and bourbon, if desired.
- Place brie on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes, or until inside of cheese softens while outside remains intact.
- Transfer brie to serving platter and top with chutney and toasted pecans. Drizzle remaining maple syrup over brie and garnish with remaining fresh thyme and reserved cranberries. Serve with crackers, toasted bread and apple slices.
Pecan Snack Mix with Cranberries and Chocolate
Recipe courtesy of Jess Larson and the American Pecan Promotion Board
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling time
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 cup rice squares cereal (wheat or cinnamon)
- 1/2 cup pretzels
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- In large, microwave-safe bowl, add pecans, rice squares cereal and pretzels. In small, microwave-safe bowl, add butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt and nutmeg. Microwave butter mixture 1-2 minutes until melted then pour over dry mix. Toss well to combine.
- Microwave snack mix in 45-second intervals, about 4-5 intervals total, until mix is fragrant, golden and toasty.
- Cool mix completely then stir in cranberries and dark chocolate chips.
STARRY® and NBA® 2K24 Give Players A Leg Up on The Competition with New Combo & Locker Codes Available at Pizza Hut®
PURCHASE, N.Y., Dec. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Ahead of the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals, STARRY® and NBA® 2K24 are dropping a gaming-ready combo at Pizza Hut® that will make it easy for players to snack and game simultaneously.
Starting December 5, when players order the NBA® 2K24 STARRY® combo, which includes the choice of any Pizza Hut Melts® and 20 oz. crisp, clear, refreshing, lemon-lime flavored STARRY, they will score a Locker Code for NBA® 2K24*. Once players redeem their NBA Locker Code in NBA® 2K24, they will have access to in-game apparel and MyPLAYER skill boosts for 10-games. Additionally, players can earn 2X Rep during wear and earn events, purchase apparel in Swags including a denim patch jacket, suit, tie-dye tee, pizza box jersey, and branded jersey, play in a theater event, and earn their own bike with branded embellishments.
“In its first year as the official soft drink of the NBA, fans have seen first-hand that STARRY Hits Different and shows up during basketball’s biggest moments,” said Scott Finlow, CMO of PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “We’re pumped that gamers and basketball fans can level up their meal at Pizza Hut and experience unique in-game offerings with STARRY.”
The NBA® 2K24 STARRY® combo is available at PizzaHut.com or on the Pizza Hut app for $8.49. For more information about the NBA® 2K24 STARRY® combo or to gain access to a Locker Code, in-game apparel, and perks, follow @starrylemonlime and @nba2k on social media.
*NBA® 2K24 Locker Codes are available with online orders of the NBA® 2K24 STARRY® Combo only through February 18th, 2024, while supplies last. Locker Code redemption requires a copy of NBA 2K24 (sold separately) and an NBA 2K Account (must be 13+). NBA 2K Accounts are free. Limit (1) one code per customer a day, with no more than (5) five codes per NBA 2K Account. Locker codes will be delivered within 24 – 48 hours after qualifying purchase via the email connected with the qualifying purchase. Locker Codes must be redeemed by March 31, 2024. Availability, prices, and participation may vary. STARRY® is a registered trademark of Portfolio Concentrate Solutions UC. © 2023 NBA Properties, Inc. All rights reserved.
Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment for video game consoles, personal computers, and mobile devices, with product availability including physical retail and digital download. The Company is home to many talented development studios, including Visual Concepts, Firaxis Games, Hangar 13, Cat Daddy Games, 31st Union, Cloud Chamber and HB Studios. 2K’s portfolio currently includes several AAA, sports and entertainment brands, including global powerhouse NBA®️ 2K; renowned BioShock®️, Borderlands®️, Mafia, Sid Meier’s Civilization®️ and XCOM®️ brands; popular WWE®️ 2K and WWE®️ SuperCard franchises; as well as the critically and commercially acclaimed PGA TOUR®️ 2K. Additional information about 2K and its products may be found at 2K.com and on the Company’s official social media channels. 2K is a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc..
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $86 billion in net revenue in 2022, driven by a beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.
Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with pep+ (PepsiCo Positive). pep+ is our strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com, and follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @PepsiCo.
About Pizza Hut®
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., was founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas and since then has earned a reputation as a trailblazer in innovation with the creation of icons like Original Pan® and Original Stuffed Crust® pizzas. In 1994, Pizza Hut pizza was the very first online food order. Today, Pizza Hut continues leading the way in the digital and technology space with over half of transactions worldwide coming from digital orders. Pizza Hut is committed to providing an easy pizza experience – from order to delivery – and has Hut Rewards®, the Pizza Hut loyalty program that offers points for every dollar spent on food any way you order. Hut Rewards is open to U.S. residents 16+. See applicable terms at https://hutrewards.pizzahut.com/terms/. A global leader in the pizza category, Pizza Hut operates more than 19,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Through its enormous presence, Pizza Hut works to unlock opportunity for its team members and communities around the world. For more information, visit www.pizzahut.com. You can remain up to date on what’s happening at Pizza Hut by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and subscribing to our YouTube channel.
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