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Ideas, tips and info for December

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Did You Know That.....

90% of candy canes are bought in the month before Christmas.
You'd have to eat approximately 64 candy canes to gain 1 pound (!).

The average American actually only gains a pound or two between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to the National Institute of Health. “But the gain, if unnoticed, can accumulate over time and become serious,” said weight-loss specialist Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. Dr. Bowden further advised maintaining a predictive journal that details what you intend to eat in the coming days.

Two Quick and Easy Homemade Candies (for those of you with kids, they can help with these!):

Chocolate Crunchies
Melt 1 cup of milk chocolate chips.
Stir in 2 ½ cups of dried chow mein noodles.
Drop from a tablespoon onto an oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with coarsely chopped peanuts or almonds. Let cool.

Here's the second one:
Peanut Chocolate Bark
Melt 12 oz of finely chopped milk chocolate in microwave, stirring occasionally. Add 1 Tbsp melted shortening and 4 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with one-third cup raisins and two-thirds cup salted roasted peanuts. After chocolate hardens, break into pieces.

Three Ways to Wrap and Package the Sweeties

Gift mailers-Cover with seasonal scrapbook paper (available in craft stores) or wrapping paper (99 cents each at www.containerstore.com).
Paper Eskimo red and white dot baking cups-just fill them with treats, cover them with clear cellophane and tie with a ribbon ($8 at Sur La Table stores)
Miniature clear paint cans-You can glue a red or green paint swatch on one side of the can then write a gift note. Fill with goodies (from $2.29 to $2.99 at www.container.com ).

Other Ideas, Tips and Info-Dec 2nd to Dec.9th

Try a bowl of clementine oranges on the kitchen countertop (they're in season all month). Clementines are only 35 calories and are a great source of vitamin C. Did you know that the scent of citrus is an instant mind booster?

Dec. 5-Hanukkah ends this evening.

National Pastry Day is Dec. 9th. Why not combine your favorite sweet treat with nuts? People who eat an ounce of walnuts (about 14) for example, had far less of a spike in blood pressure after a stressful incident than those who don't eat nuts, according to a Pennsylvania State University.

Sources: fresh/guide section-”December-Moments To Make And Things To Do” and “31 tips for a healthy you” by Camille Noe Pagan-Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2013, “Around the Table-Sweet Treat-Objects of Our Confection”-Parade magazine, Dec. 16, 2012, “Winter Wellness Myths Busted” by Joanne Van Zuidam- Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2012 and “Presents Perfect”-Parade magazine, Dec. 9, 2012

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