Fall Leaves

Cheeses from Mexico are hot right now: what American cooks need to learn

Queso, anyone? With tortillas outselling hamburger and hot dog buns while salsa dethrones ketchup, Mexican food is more popular than ever in the United States - and cheeses are a key component of America's favorite Mexican dishes. But are all cheeses created equally? Queso is not just that ubiquitous, neon cheese sauce you might sometimes see in the grocery store. In Spanish, the word simply means cheese, and Hispanic cheeses rival anything else you might see in the supermarket aisles, with a wide range of flavor profiles to tempt any palate. Cacique, the number one brand of Hispanic cheeses, chorizos and cremas, wants to give quesos like Queso Fresco, Panela, Oaxaca and Cotija their day in

Health dangers of influenza are real

During the 2017-2018 influenza (flu) season, nearly 80,000 people died and more than 950,000 people were hospitalized due to flu and flu-related illnesses, and less than four in 10 U.S. adults (37.1 percent) were vaccinated against flu, fewer than in previous years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While those who are vaccinated may still get the flu, the vaccine helps prevent serious complications that may result in hospitalization, loss of independence or even death. It is particularly important for people with certain chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease to receive an annual flu vaccine, as they are at higher risk for fl

Don't ignore these signs of a thyroid problem

Signs of a thyroid problem in your body are often overlooked because they are very subtle and progress very slowly. In time as your symptoms progress, you may begin to realize that something is wrong. Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland that lies across the lower part of your neck and wraps around your trachea, which is your wind pipe. This gland produces and stores certain hormones which regulate a number of vital functions in your body such as heart rate, blood pressure and your body temperature. According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, the thyroid hormones are needed to regulate many of your body’s activities. Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are the two most im

How about 'an orange a day'?

"An apple a day will keep the doctor away." So sure, apples are great, but oranges pack one hell of a nutritional punch and might be a better alternative. With massive immune boosting properties and a laundry list of health benefits, this citrus fruit will protect you against seasonal viruses and more serious ailments. Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Juicy and sweet, people love their oranges. They are actually the highest value fruit crop in international trade. And for good reason. They are chock full of vitamin C, thiamin, folate, and antioxidants. Not only are they a tasty treat, but they also have many useful properties contributing to good health. Oranges are m

Things you should never feed your cat

Cats are a part of our families and our lives. They are often a part of everything we do, even if we would never admit it. It’s normal to want to share with your pet, and food is no exception. However, some human foods can be quite dangerous for cats. The following nine things are among the top culprits for feline overdoses and should be avoided. Alcohol This one really should go without saying, but people have been known to give their cats alcohol, either as a joke or as an attempt to relax the cat. But even one tablespoon of alcohol can cause severe liver and brain damage and can be fatal for a cat. Chocolate Chocolate contains chemicals that function as stimulants, most notably theobromin

Find the perfect financial planner for you

The economy has changed considerably since the recession. Unemployment is at record lows and the market is flush with opportunities for workers of every level. While it is certainly good to live in the present, it is also important to plan for the future, and research shows that many people are not saving sufficiently to live life at their current standard when they retire. A recent study finds that 52 percent of American households are at risk of not being able to carry their current lifestyle into retirement. This is an increase from an estimated 45 percent of households in a 2004 study. The estimated retirement savings shortfall amounts to roughly $6.4 trillion. This dramatic number isn't

Tis the Season for Parties

This festive time of the year offers cocktail parties, office parties, dinner parties, family gatherings, and more. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to become the most stressful time of the year when it comes to the question of what to wear. This daunting dilemma can be easily deciphered by knowing what the dress codes of today mean. Today’s fashion codes have definitely evolved in comparison to the past when strict rules were expected to be followed. However, there are a few traditional guidelines that still hold true. To help you unscramble what a particular dress code means, I’ve put together a list of the most common holiday clothing customs. White Tie ~ This is the most formal dress code an

The Health Benefits of Prunes

Prunes -- AKA dried plums -- are sweet, chewy fruits that contain an impressive array of nutrients. Seriously. Most people know that they can help to treat constipation. But they do other positive things to other parts of your body as well. 1) They keep your blood sugar under control: The soluble fiber in prunes slows the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines, and slows the rate at which glucose is absorbed from food. These traits helps to keep blood sugar within healthy limits, and the soluble fiber in prunes may even help to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes (by increasing insulin sensitivity). 2) They improve bone health: Researchers at Florida State Universit

These Vitamins are Important to Bone Health

If you have a family history of osteoporosis or one of the other risk factors for its development, which include a small frame size, long-term use of steroids, an overactive thyroid gland and poor absorption of nutrients, it is especially important that you review your diet. By including those nutrients known to promote stronger bones you can reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis. However, while a large emphasis is placed on including plenty of calcium rich foods in the diet, this is by no means the only way you can enhance the strength of your bones. Here we take a look at some of the other dietary components important for bone health. Vitamin D This vitamin helps to regulate calcium absor

Living With a Senior Dog

You knew it when you first brought that little puppy home. Eventually, it would become a senior citizen, and that time has arrived. As dogs age, they suffer many of the same infirmities as humans. Hearing and vision start to go, joints begin to ache, and a nap is preferable to a walk. With proper care, you can make your companion’s remaining years happy and comfortable. Gum disease is likely the most common malady in dogs, especially as they age. Fortunately, it is also the most preventable condition you are likely to come across. Just as with people, canine gum disease results from plaque, a bacterial film that coats the teeth. Signs of doggie gum disease are much the same as in humans. The

What Does it Take to Be a Good Listener?

When it comes to facing challenges, a good listener can make all the difference. Someone who takes the time to tune in to your concerns with care and compassion can help ease your hardship, find a solution, and make you feel better. But would you be able to return the favor? While anyone can listen, doing it effectively requires more than opening your ears. Once you get the hang of it, though, the payoff is well worth the gesture--for both of you. Not only will you be helping a friend in need, you’ll develop patience, gain trust and insight, and be appreciated. Use Gentle Body Language Body language says a lot when you’re engaged in a conversation with someone. When listening to a friend in

How to Purify the Air in Your Home

Every homeowner wants clean air. Over the past few decades, our society has become more and more aware of the health problems caused by polluted air. We all know that allergens are a problem for some people, while chemicals and mould are problems for everyone. Yet achieving air purity is not a simple task. Cleaning the air in older homes seems like a never-ending chore - and even new homes can have air quality problems. Here are seven tips for purifying the air in your home. 1. Get your ducts cleaned. If your home uses forced air cooling and/or heating, the ducts should be professionally cleaned at least once every year. Mould, pollen, dust, and debris build up over time, and unfortun

Hacks for Holiday Hosting

It may feel impossible to fit even more into already jam-packed days, but when the holidays roll around, entertaining and celebrating always find a way. Fortunately, you can find some shortcuts when hosting that offer plenty of festive style while also helping you avoid stressing over every detail. This year, rely on some time-saving hacks so you're not just throwing the holiday party, but enjoying some seasonal fun of your own. Repurpose with purpose. There's no need to make time for a trip to the store or to spend a bundle on party supplies. A pretty, oversized flowerpot or planter that has been cast aside for winter makes a perfect tub for icing down beverages. When it comes to decor, you

Create a festive space in your leased home

Seasons change, and so do rental contracts and housing arrangements. If you're leasing, you can still make your rental feel like home for the holidays with seasonal decor. There are plenty of ways to create a festive holiday setting that makes your temporary space feel like a cozy, inviting home for the holidays, according to Meghan Giddens, design expert for Invitation Homes. "When it comes to decorating, renters often feel limited by the temporary nature of their living arrangements," Giddens said. "We believe people should be able to make their house a home, one they're proud to share with loved ones in-person or on their social feeds, no matter how long or short the stay." These seasonal

Herb-Infused Cocktails and Ice Cubes

Herbs are a quick and easy way to transform any cocktail from fine to fabulous. Herb-infused cocktails and ice cubes are all the rage this fall, and the trend is highly likely to continue. From putting a simple sprig of herbs into a cocktail to using an infusion to create a stronger flavor, the possibilities are endless. Here are five tips for incorporating herbs into cocktails or ice cubes this New Year’s Eve. 1) Try these favorite herb-and-alcohol pairings Using herbs to add some extra zing or zest to alcohol is a timeless pursuit. Certain herbs go well with certain kinds of alcohol. Mint is a great addition to Japanese whiskey, cilantro, and sage go well with vodka, and thyme pairs perfec

Everything You Need to Know About Migraine

Migraine is a common condition that affects people of all ages. Migraine can have a debilitating, and even destructive, affect on the lives of sufferers. In the most severe cases, migraine can ruin relationships, careers and increase the risk of developing serious health conditions. While there is currently no cure for migraine, most sufferers can find ways to manage the condition and reduce the impact it has on their lives. What is a Migraine? A migraine is a severe headache, usually affecting only one side or the front of the head, and often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, tiredness and sensitivity to external stimuli. There are two types of migraine: migraine with aura and

Celebrate the holidays at Biltmore

It's a holiday tradition that goes back more than 120 years. Christmas at Biltmore enchants those who visit the estate during the annual holiday celebration which runs through Jan. 6, 2019. Every year, Biltmore transforms into an unforgettable yuletide vacation destination. Biltmore’s design team will weave this year’s theme – “The Art of Christmas” – throughout every element created for the season, taking inspiration from both individual pieces of artwork in the house as well as places that George Vanderbilt traveled to collect artwork. Inside the 250-room Biltmore House, a towering 35-foot-tall Fraser Fir tree laden with ornaments and wrapped packages tucked into its branches serves as the

The Best Christmas Sugar Cookies Ever

If you’ve been searching for the best sugar cookie recipe to bake for your holiday gifts and parties then your search is over. This sugar cookie recipe produces the fluffiest, tastiest and easiest to decorate cookies you’ve ever made. You will never go back to your old recipe again. This recipe has been passed down in our family since the early 1900’s. Back then no woman worth her salt used measuring cups or teaspoons to make a recipe, she did a pinch of this and a handful of that. This recipe has been translated down through the years into cups and teaspoons for those of us who need to be exact but it has kept its charm and flavor. It works great for any holiday cookie that is either de

Prepare Your Car for a Safe, Trouble-Free Winter

As the days shorten and the memories of sunny driving fade, it’s time to get your car ready for the tests and trials of winter. Here’s what to do to ensure your vehicle stays safe and trouble-free in the cold months to come. 1) Wiper Blades In a heavy winter, your windshield wiper blades will come in for a lot of punishment. Make sure they’re not worn down and haven’t gotten split by the harsh heat of a dry summer. Test them by pouring water onto your windshield and then turning the wipers on. If they leave streaks behind, you need to replace them before the bad weather arrives. 2) Battery Unless your car’s battery is new, you should have it tested and replaced if necessary. In freezing temp

NC Arboretum hosts its fifth annual Winter Lights Holiday Light Show

Western North Carolina will shine brightly as ever this holiday season as The North Carolina Arboretum celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Winter Lights holiday light show. On display nightly through Monday, December 31, 2018, from 6 to 10 p.m., Winter Lights is an outdoor walking tour of the Arboretum’s nationally known gardens dressed in more than half-a-million holiday lights. Designed with an artistic aesthetic, this family-friendly event includes beautifully lit displays and glowing landscapes that emphasize the beauty of Western North Carolina during the winter season. Considered Asheville’s brightest holiday tradition, Winter Lights is the Arboretum’s largest fundraising event of

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