Author Archives: rbell

garden

National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month?

According to the National Gardening Association, one in three Americans households now grow their own food. In the past five years, the number of Americans with some type of garden increased by 17%. The largest increase came from those in the 18-to-34 year old bracket. Reasons given for gardening included: the produce tasted better and cost less than at the supermarket, it was healthier and of better quality, and it enabled individuals to spend time outdoors and feel productive. Many parents also noted that they enjoyed teaching their children how to garden.

The top 10 garden-grown vegetables in the United States are:

1.) Tomatoes

2.) Sweet peppers

3.) Cucumbers

4.) Hot peppers

5.) Onions

6.) Beans

7.) Carrots

8.) Summer squash

9.) Lettuce

10.) Peas

Farmers’ markets are a popular alternative for individuals who don’t have the time or space to garden. They have increased in popularity throughout the last five years: in 2009, there were around 5,000 registered farmers’ markets in the United States; today, there are over 8,000.

Despite the growing popularity of gardening and shopping at farmers’ markets, however, Americans are still not eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. ABCNews.com found that only 11% of Americans consume the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals, follow these tips from Cooking Light:

1.) Eat More Fruits for Breakfast

* Stir berries (fresh or frozen), dried fruit, or banana slices into yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal.

* Eat a fruit salad or drink fruit juice.

* Cut up a banana and eat it with peanut butter toast.

* Make a fruit smoothie. There are thousands of great smoothie recipes. You can whip them up in a matter of minutes. They’re a healthy and delicious breakfast alternative! You can find lots of great smoothie recipes in Taste of Home magazine.

2.) Add More Vegetables to Each Dish

* Add extra vegetables to a pizza, casserole, or sandwich. If you’re making Eggplant Parmesan, double the amount of eggplant. If you’re making Chicken Pot Pie, double the amount of vegetables in the dish.

* Add extra vegetables to your sandwich. Switch up traditional sandwich toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes with unique alternatives like cucumbers, zucchini, or apples.

3.) Sneak Fruits/Vegetables into Meals

* Add mushrooms, eggplant, onions, peppers, and squash to your spaghetti sauce recipe. Add grated vegetables to your meatloaf or soup. For more recipes ideas, check out Taste of Home!

* Make carrot cake, pumpkin bread, corn muffins, blueberry coffee cake, and other healthier options.

4.) Make Meatless Meals

* Make meatless meals one day a week. You can make meatless salads, omelets, pizzas, soups, wraps, sandwiches, and other recipes. Make Eggplant Parmesan, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, and other hearty, healthy recipes. If you need ideas, peruse Vegetarian Times for inspiration!

5.) Try a New Fruit or Vegetable Each Week

* Try a new seasonal fruit or vegetable each week. Check out your local farmers’ market for ideas. Let your kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable that they want to try.

6.) Choose Healthy Snacks

* Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter at home or at work.

* Eat dried fruit or pre-cut fruits and veggies for an afternoon snack.

* Drink fruit juice instead of soda. Half a cup of 100% fruit juice is equivalent to an entire serving.

7.) Make Fruity Desserts

* Dip bananas in antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and freeze them for a delicious dessert option.

* Top ice cream or frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.

 

 

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Summer Activities for Kids

iStock_000020184652SmallAre you trying to come up with some fun summer activities for your kids? If you are looking for some creative, inexpensive ideas that will keep your kids entertained, try some of the following ideas:

1.) Tie-Dye Shirts

Help your kids unleash their artistic side by creating tie-dye shirts! Give each of your kids a white 100% cotton T-shirt and let the magic begin!

2.) New Outdoor Activities

Have your kids been dying to ride horses? Have they always wanted to go sailboating? Write a list of new activities on slips of paper and stick them in a Mason jar. Throughout the summer, draw out one of the activities and try it together! This is a great way to expose your kids to new activities without breaking your bank account.

3.) Read Together

Give your child a subscription to one of their favorite magazines so that they can continue reading all summer long. According to the literacy non-profit Reading is Fundamental, children who read during the summer retain their reading skills much more effectively than those who do not. Find a magazine that your child will look forward to receiving each month so that they can be both entertained and educated all summer long!

4.) Sidewalk Chalk

Give your kids some sidewalk chalk and let them create masterpieces in your driveway! You can also teach them to play fun games like Hopscotch. For added fun, you can draw a racetrack on your driveway and let your kids race toy cars!

5.) Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling

This is a fun and inexpensive alternative to traditional bowling! You’ll need six glow sticks, six empty water bottles, a ball that can knock over the water bottles (such as a small basketball), and paper and a pen so you can keep score. Crack each glow stick to make it glow. Put one glow stick into each of the empty bottles. Arrange the bottles like bowling pins. If you’re bowling indoors, make sure to play in a clear area without breakable items (such as a living room or playroom). If you’re playing outside, you can play on the patio, driveway, or in the yard. Let each family member bowl, and keep track of the score! For added fun, serve bowling alley style snacks like hotdogs, popcorn, and soda!

6.) Ice Cream Party

Facing a particularly hot day? Let your kids run through the sprinkler or take them to the pool. Afterwards, have an old-fashioned ice cream party! Let your kids choose between making banana splits, ice cream sundaes, or root beer floats. This is a fun and inexpensive way to cool down on a hot day!

7.) Cook with Your Kids

Summer is the perfect time to teach your kids some basic cooking skills. Teach them how to prepare basic foods such as baked potatoes, tacos, and cookies. You can find simple recipes for kids in Yum for Kids or Real Simple!

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Summer Magazines

iStock_000009958489Small“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Henry James

Do you agree with the words of 19th century writer Henry James? Whether you enjoy sitting by the pool or traveling to new locations, summer is the perfect time to relax and rejuvenate. It’s also a wonderful time to catch up on reading. If you’re looking for some great magazines to read this summer, here are a few good options:

1.) Travel + Leisure

Nothing says “summer” like a vacation! If you’re looking for the perfect vacation destination, peruse copies of Travel + Leisure to find the best spots. Each magazine is filled with colorful photos and in-depth reviews of dozens of destinations. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway to a nearby city or an extensive international trip, Travel + Leisure is the perfect resource. The magazine details the best restaurants, hotels, and activities all across the globe. It’s also filled with practical tips about packing, sightseeing, and finding the best travel deals. If you want to learn about the world’s best vacation spots, Travel + Leisure is a must-have!

2.) New York Magazine

Whether you live in New York or simply want to visit one day, this magazine is a must-read. New York magazine publishes a yearly “Summer Guide,” which provides lists of summer activities, recipes, and entertainment options. Past topics included, “12 New Places to Eat in the Hamptons,” “25 Books to Beach-Read,” “Summer Rental Guide,” and “What to Do Every Weekend From Now Until Labor Day.” The lifestyle magazine also features movie and music reviews. In addition, there are articles about the latest nightclubs, fashion trends, and clubs in the Big Apple. New Yorkers will benefit from learning about all the entertainment options available in their beloved cities. Those who don’t live in the city will still enjoy the informative and engaging articles.

3.) O, The Oprah magazine

If you’re looking for a relaxing magazine to peruse by the pool, this is the perfect option. Packed with articles about career choices, relationships, and health issues, O, The Oprah Magazine is a well-respected and poplar women’s magazine. Literature lovers will enjoy the summer reading guide recommended by Oprah herself. The reading list is comprised of excellent fiction and non-fiction selections, as well as memoirs.

Still looking for the perfect magazine to enjoy on a lazy summer afternoon? Visit Magazines.com. We have discounts on thousands of magazine titles, so you can easily find the perfect magazine without breaking your bank account. Happy reading!

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Encourage Kids to Read All Summer Long

Spending time with momAccording to the National Education Association, children can lose up to three months of reading progress over the summer months. Reading is Fundamental, America’s largest literary non-profit, noted, “Children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward.” Are you looking for some tried-and-true ways to encourage your child to read all summer long? Here are some surefire suggestions:

1.)   Make Reading Fun

Many teachers hand out a required reading list at the end of the school year in an attempt to encourage students to read throughout the summer. However, it can be difficult for children to stay engaged unless the book captures their attention. Does your child have a favorite activity, such as sports or animals? If so, consider buying them a subscription to a magazine that revolves around that topic. It will be much easier for them to stay focused on something that captures their attention.

2.)   Combine Activities With Reading

Does your child love swimming? Read a story about a famous swimmer before heading to the pool. Does your child enjoy baseball? Suggest that they read a story about a baseball player before you head to the game. Encouraging your child to read about a favorite activity can help them learn more about something that interests them.

3.)   Read Aloud to Your Child

Respected educator Jim Trelease, who wrote the Read-Aloud Handbook, says that reading aloud to children helps create lifelong learners. He states,

“It’s long established in science and research: the child who comes to school with a large vocabulary does better than the child who comes to school with little familiarity with words and a low vocabulary. In books, newspapers, and magazines, the language is more complicated (than in ordinary conversation). A child who hears more sophisticated words has a giant advantage over a child who hasn’t heard those words.”

He adds that reading aloud also increase a child’s attention span. He encourages parents to read to older children as well, since a child’s reading level usually doesn’t catch up to their listening level until 8th grade. As a result, reading aloud to older children will continue to help cultivate their comprehension skills.

At Magazines.com, we have several magazines for children. From American Girl to Highlights, we have a wide array of entertaining and educational magazines that kids of all ages will enjoy. If you’re trying to motivate your child to continue reading all summer long, consider buying them a subscription to their favorite magazine. They’ll look forward to receiving it in the mail each month!

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Magazines Your Teen Will Love

Looking for a magazine for your teenager? Magazines.com sells several magazines that teens of all ages are sure to enjoy. Here are a few popular options:

1.)   Seventeen

6961-MA-1-hiresSeventeen is the most popular teen magazine in the world. Centered around beauty, fashion, and style advice for teenage girls, the magazine also contains fitness techniques, relationship advice, interviews with celebrities, and inspirational stories about fellow teenagers. Special sections include “Beauty,” which is a collection of makeup and beauty tips, “Your Awesome Life,” which addresses topics such as selecting a college and developing solid friendships, and “Love & Guys,” which gives advice on interactions with the opposite sex. If you have a daughter who wants to look and feel great, consider buying her a subscription to Seventeen magazine!

2.)   Teen Ink

April14BigIs your teen a budding writer? If so, he or she will enjoy a subscription to Teen Ink. The monthly literary magazine features fiction and non-fiction pieces written entirely by teenagers. First published in 1989, the magazine now contains music, movie and book reviews, poems, artwork, essays, and short stories. Special issues include “The College Issue,” “The Love Issue,” and “The Sports Issue.” If your teenager enjoys writing, consider giving him or her a subscription to Teen Ink. It will give them motivation and inspiration for their own writing!

3.)   Teen Vogue

8734-MA-1-hiresIs your teenager passionate about style and beauty? If so, she’ll look forward to each new issue of Teen Vogue. Based on Vogue magazine, the magazine features relationship, health, and beauty advice for a younger audience. Each magazine features an interview with a young celebrity, as well as fashion and beauty advice. Special sections include “Beauty and Style,” a review of the best beauty products, and “Cover Look,” which detail the cover celebrity’s style and how to achieve a similar look. Teen Vogue’s special issues include a back-to-school edition, spring and fall fashion, and a “Young Hollywood” issue. If your daughter loves style and celebrities, she’ll enjoy a subscription to Teen Vogue!

 

You can find more magazines for teens on our website, Magazines.com.

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National Chocolate Chip Day

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In 1937, Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts was making chocolate cookies for her guests when she realized she was out of baker’s chocolate. She substituted a chopped Nestle chocolate bar, thinking that the chocolate would melt. Although that didn’t happen, the cookies became an instant hit with her friends and guests. The cookies became a overnight local sensation, and the recipe was published in a Boston newspaper. As the popularity of the cookies increased, sales of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bars also increased. Nestle reached an agreement with Ruth Wakefield: they would print the Toll House Cookie recipe on their packages, and Wakefield would be given a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate. The chocolate chip cookie soon became the most popular kind of cookie in America. Today, Nestle’s Toll House chocolate chips are named for the inn where Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the famous cookies.

May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day, so why not celebrate this sweet occasion with one of the following recipes? Chocolate chips are a versatile and delicious addition to cakes, cookies, cheesecakes, puddings, pies, and more. Here are a few recipes you won’t want to miss:

Double Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Start your day off with a delicious twist: chocolate pancakes packed with miniature chocolate chips. You can whip up a batch of these chocolatey pancakes in less than 20 minutes. They’re great served with whipped cream or maple syrup and butter.

Source: Taste of Home

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

2 cups baking/biscuit mix

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup chocolate milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Maple syrup and butter, optional

Instructions:

1.) In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix and baking powder. Combine the egg, milk and sour cream; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

2.) Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until second side is golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and butter if desired.

 

Honey Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Looking for a new twist on an old favorite? Try these cookies! Made with honey instead of brown sugar, the cookies are a chewy, rich alternative to traditional chocolate chip cookies.

Source: Saveur

Serves: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups white sugar

3 tbsp. honey

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped bittersweet chocolate

Instructions:

1.) Heat oven to to 375º F. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla; gradually add the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Stir in the chocolate.

2.) Drop 1-tablespoon portions of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper; bake for 8-9 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets after 5 minutes.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies

Looking for a rich, chocolatey brownie that won’t mess up your diet? These brownies have just 125 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving, so you won’t have to feel bad about enjoying one (or two)!

Source: Cooking Light

Serves: 16

Ingredients:

Cooking spray

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 egg white

 

Instructions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°.

2.) Coat bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pan).

3.) Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, chocolate chips, soda, and salt in a bowl.

4.) Combine sugars and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir until well-blended. Add flour mixture, stirring just until blended. Spread batter in bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack.