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Party-Worthy Wine Pairings Perfect for Easy Entertaining

Red or white, sweet or dry, wine lovers are often entertainers at heart. When inviting guests to share your personal favorites, nothing enhances a tasting get-together quite like complementary snack and wine pairings.

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(Family Features) Red or white, sweet or dry, wine lovers are often entertainers at heart. When inviting guests to share your personal favorites, nothing enhances a tasting get-together quite like complementary snack and wine pairings.

The next time you find a wine party on your schedule, consider these simple yet delicious recommendations from sommelier and founder of “The Lush Life,” Sarah Tracey, who partnered with Fresh Cravings to create “Dips and Sips.” Aimed at reinventing wine and cheese parties, the movement focuses on simplistic recipes, easy dip pairings and suggested wines.

“When I entertain at home, I’m always looking for ways to impress my friends with fresh, creative bites I can pair with wine,” Tracey said. “My favorite hack is finding great products with high-quality ingredients then creating simple, elevated ways to serve them. The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I get to spend with my guests.”

Tracey relies on the versatility of Fresh Cravings’ array of dip options and crowd-pleasing, bold flavors worth celebrating. With authentic-tasting chilled salsas offering a vibrant alternative to soft, dull blends of jarred salsa and flavor-filled hummus made with premium ingredients like Chilean Virgin Olive Oil, these dips elevate both traditional and reinvented recipes.

For example, Tracey’s recipes for Polenta Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab, Spiced Butternut Squash Naan Flatbreads, Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa and Hummus-Stuffed Mushrooms offer flavorful, easy-to-make appetizers that can make entertaining easy and effortless. Plus, these crave-worthy morsels are just as tasty and approachable for guests choosing to skip the wine.

Find more recipe and pairing ideas perfect for enhancing your next party at FreshCravings.com.

Hummus-Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Nonstick olive oil spray
  • 16 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed and gills scooped out
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Classic Hummus
  • 1 jar manzanilla olives stuffed with pimientos, cut in half
  • 1 jar roasted red pepper strips
  • Oregon Pinot Noir
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray.
  2. Place mushroom caps on sheet pan, spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Roast 7-8 minutes then let mushrooms cool to room temperature.
  4. Fill each mushroom cap with hummus and top each with one olive slice.
  5. Thinly slice roasted red pepper strips and arrange around olive slices.
  6. Pair with lighter bodied pinot noir with cherry tones from Oregon.

Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • 16 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chiles, drained
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Restaurant Style Salsa, Medium
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place large flour tortilla on sheet pan. Top with handful of grated cheese.
  3. Sprinkle chiles on top of cheese layer. Add chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with additional cheese.
  4. Top with another tortilla. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Work in batches to make three sets of cheese-filled tortillas.
  5. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  6. Serve with salsa and pair with sauvignon blanc from New Zealand with zest and zing.

Spiced Butternut Squash Naan Flatbreads

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • 1 package mini naan dippers
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, minced
  • La Veielle Ferme Rosé
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Chop butternut squash into 1/2-inch chunks.
  3. Toss squash with olive oil, maple syrup, cumin and chili powder.
  4. Spread on sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Spread hummus on naan dippers and top each with squash and fresh rosemary.
  6. Pair with deeper, savory and earthy rosé.

Polenta Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab

Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1 tube (16 ounces) prepared polenta
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • salt, to taste
  • 8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 1 container Fresh Cravings Pico de Gallo Salsa, Mild
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Mateus Rosé
  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice polenta into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Arrange on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and let cool.
  3. Combine jumbo lump crabmeat with salsa.
  4. Top each polenta round with crab salsa mixture.
  5. Garnish with finely chopped fresh mint and pair with vibrant, fruity rosé.


SOURCE:
Fresh Cravings

Family

Get Creative with Easter Sweets

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Kid-friendly crafts that bring loved ones together

(Family Features) Holiday hams and deviled eggs may take center stage at Easter gatherings, but edible crafts offer a reminder of the magic of the season that’s found in moments spent together. Simple recipes that call for a dose of creativity are perfect ways to bring the kids to the kitchen, made even easier when all that work leads to sweet treats.

While plastic eggs may have led to a decline in good, old-fashioned egg-dyeing, there are still fun ways to bring crafts back to Easter celebrations. Consider these Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops, which call for little ones to help dip seasonal shapes in chocolate, use cake molds and more.

Children of virtually any age can relish in the joys of using cookie cutters and decorating Easter Sugar Cookies, all with a little supervision and short list of instructions. This version shows how to make the cookies and homemade icing so you can create any color you desire for maximum creativity.

Remember, these delicious crafts don’t have to be perfect – having fun and making memories that last a lifetime are what make Easter truly special.

Visit Culinary.net to find more Easter inspiration and recipes from “Cookin’ Savvy.”

Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can frosting
  • 1 bunny chocolate mold
  • 1 cakesicle mold
  • ice pop sticks
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips or melting chips
  • cake pop sticks
  • 1 bag orange melting chips
  • 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil, divided
  • 1 bag green melting chips
  • pastel sprinkles
  • 1 piece hard foam (optional)
  • edible markers
  1. Bake cake according to package instructions and let cool completely.
  2. Crumble cake and mix with 1/2 can frosting until dough forms. Add more frosting, if needed. Using small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and set aside. Place dough in bunny molds then pop out and set aside with balls. Place dough in cakesicle mold, insert ice pop stick in each slot and freeze 5-10 minutes.
  3. Melt handful of white melting chips. Stick tip of each cake pop stick in chocolate then insert into every cake ball and bunny until each has one stick. Set aside to dry.
  4. Remove cakesicles from freezer and pop out of molds. In bowl, melt orange melts then mix in 1 tablespoon oil and transfer to cup. Dip cakesicles and scrape off excess using rim of cup. Place on parchment paper to dry.
  5. In bowl, melt green melts then place in zip-top or piping bag. Cut tip off bag, pipe carrot leaves onto piece of parchment paper and let dry.
  6. Melt remaining white melts and mix in remaining oil. Transfer to cup and dip ball-shaped cake pops and bunnies then tap stick on edge of cup to remove excess.
  7. Over separate bowl, sprinkle ball-shaped pops with pastel sprinkles. To keep ball shape, let dry by sticking in piece of hard foam. Bunnies can dry face side up on parchment paper. After bunnies are dry, use edible markers to make face and color in ears.
  8. When carrots and leaves are dry, remelt orange melts and place in piping or zip-top bag. Cut off tip and drizzle orange over carrots. Add small line of orange on each ice pop stick and place leaves on each stick. Let dry.

Easter Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water, plus additional for thinning (optional), divided
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 bag (2 pounds) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • assorted food coloring

Cookies:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 dash salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  1. To make icing: Mix meringue powder, 1/2 cup warm water, vanilla, powdered sugar and corn syrup. Separate into bowls and add food coloring; mix with water, as needed, to thin for piping.
  2. To make cookies: Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time to form dough. Roll dough out to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Cut into shapes, place on baking sheet and freeze 10 minutes. Bake 8-12 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
  5. Place icing in zip-top or piping bags and cut off tips. Put cookies on parchment paper. Trace outline first then fill in middle. Use toothpicks to smooth out.
  6. Let dry 6 hours and finish decorating with different icing colors or edible markers.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

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Child Health

Time is Running Out: Life Time’s 3 Key Tips for Choosing a Summer Camp

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CHANHASSEN, Minn. /PRNewswire/ — With summer creeping closer, parents are now on the lookout for engaging activities to fill their kids’ days once school is out. Life Time (NYSE: LTH), which serves more than 31,000 children aged 5 to 12 annually at its summer camps across North America, offers these tips from its Kids experts to guide parents in selecting a camp this year.

Life Time’s summer camps are designed to give children an unforgettable experience full of adventures, sports, activities, and friendships, all while keeping them active through the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, active children tend to have better grades in school, improved concentration and better cognitive performance.

  1. Look for Unique Activities – Consider a summer camp that engages kids in new active experiences, helps them learn different skills and encourages them to be healthy. Every Life Time Summer Camp includes weekly themes, from science experiments to outdoor exploration, giving kids an opportunity to learn and try something new every day. Two electives are included every week including art, STEAM activities, sports, athletic training, dance, coding, cheer and pickleball. There are also weekly Friday field trips to museums, zoos, aquariums, waterparks, amusement parks and other local attractions.
  2. Is the Summer Camp Flexible? – Parents are busier now than ever before. Be sure to check that your summer camp start and end times work for everyone. Many camps have forced times for drop-off and pick-up, creating extra challenges. Life Time has extended hours to accommodate parents’ busy schedules. Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before care (7-9 a.m.) and aftercare (4-6 p.m.) are included in the cost of camp. Additionally, consider asking about flexible payment options. At Life Time, parents can pay in full during registration, or choose a flex payment plan for the same total price.
  3. Save Time with Swim Lessons – Summer is a great time to get kids started with swim lessons. Why not cross two things off the list with a summer camp that includes swim lessons? Registration for Life Time’s summer camps includes twice weekly swim lessons supervised by lifeguards and trained professionals, ensuring parents’ peace of mind regarding water safety throughout the season.

Life Time’s Kids Camps are designed to give children an unforgettable experience full of adventures, sports, activities, and friendships, all while keeping them active through the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, active children tend to have better grades in school, improved concentration and better cognitive performance.

“What truly sets our summer camps apart at Life Time is the quality and variety of content your child will be experiencing. Each day has a unique lesson plan, so kids never get bored,” said Samantha Stark, Senior Director of Life Time’s Kids Programming. “If you add in our unique offering of electives and swim lessons, kids at Life Time’s camps will be well-equipped to have a healthy, happy summer.”

Busy families at Life Time looking for an exciting way to keep their kids healthy and active this summer can now register for the Life Time’s 2024 Summer Camps. For more information about camps near you and to register, visit the Life Time Summer Camps website.

About Life Time®
Life Time (NYSE: LTH) empowers people to live healthy, happy lives through its portfolio of more than 170 athletic country clubs across the United States and Canada. The Company’s healthy way of life communities and ecosystem address all aspects of healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment for people 90 days to 90+ years old. Supported by a team of more than 37,000 dedicated professionals, Life Time is committed to providing the best programs and experiences through its clubs, iconic athletic events and comprehensive digital platform.

SOURCE Life Time, Inc.

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Blog

Navigating Change: Paradise Valley Unified School Board Votes to Close Three Schools Amid Declining Enrollment

In a tough decision, Paradise Valley Unified School Board voted to close 3 schools due to declining enrollment, sparking community concerns.

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In a recent decision that has stirred emotions and raised concerns within the Paradise Valley community, the Paradise Valley Unified School Board has voted to close three schools due to declining enrollment. Sunset Canyon Elementary, Desert Springs Prep Elementary, and Vista Verde Middle School are the institutions that will be affected by this move, with the closures set to take effect on July 1, 2024.

The board members involved in this difficult decision emphasized the necessity of being fiscally responsible in the face of dwindling student numbers. Despite acknowledging the emotional weight of this choice, their primary focus remained on the financial sustainability of the district. As board member Tony Pantera succinctly put it, “In the end, they’re buildings. Some people say, ‘Well it’s not a building.’ It’s just a building.”

However, the response from the audience highlighted a deeper sentiment among community members. Their outcry, expressing that these schools represent more than just physical structures, underscored the vital role these educational institutions play in fostering a sense of community and belonging. As one can imagine, the decision to close these schools will have far-reaching effects beyond the mere physical closure of buildings.

While Pantera’s assertion that “the community can exist anywhere” may hold some truth, the emotional bond and shared experiences nurtured within these school environments are irreplaceable. The impact of these closures extends beyond mere logistics, touching the hearts of students, parents, teachers, and residents who have built their lives around these educational hubs.

As the Paradise Valley Unified School District navigates this period of change and transition, it is essential for all stakeholders to come together to support one another and ensure that the well-being of the students remains at the forefront of all decisions. While change can be challenging, it also presents an opportunity for growth, adaptation, and the forging of new paths forward.

In the wake of this decision, it is crucial for the community to unite, reflect on the values that these schools have instilled, and work towards creating a positive and supportive environment for all students, regardless of the changes that lie ahead. By coming together with empathy, understanding, and a shared commitment to education, the Paradise Valley community can emerge stronger and more resilient from this period of transition.

Source: KTAR News

https://ktar.com/story/5561735/3-paradise-valley-schools-to-close-as-enrollment-numbers-decline/

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