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Still more ideas, tips and info for December

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Info and Ideas for Dec. 16-Dec. 22

Dec. 16th is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day. According to a recent study, people who ate 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily lowered their stress levels.And dark chocolate is also lower in sugar than the milk variety. Special Note: Look for a bar that's at least 60 percent cacao.

Dec. 17th is National Maple Syrup Day. You can go the traditional route and have pancakes or waffles to celebrate or try something different: Pour the syrup over oatmeal or yogurt. “Unlike cane syrup, pure maple syrup is a source of manganese; this helps regulate blood sugar and zinc, which helps boost your immune system and lowers the risk of eye disease”, according to dietitian Keri Glassman.

Are you going to do your Christmas food shopping this week? Try to make a list and eat a healthy snack before you leave. If you go on an empty stomach, you'll tend to buy and eat far more than you should, because hunger will set in. A list will help you to stick to the 'written plan.'

A Gravy Tip From Chef Michael Chiarello

Did your gravy come out too thin? Is it too bland? Does it need some extra flavor? Just stir in a bit of cranberry sauce; not only does it make a great thickener, it's also a great flavor booster.

Gifts for Foodies

Seeking delicious gifts for foodies? At, “chocolate artistNorman Love makes lovely, pop art-looking pieces that are flavored with lemon, caramel and peanut butter (retail price is $33 for a box of 15).
For 10 (!) more delicious ideas, check out

Sources: “31 tips for a healthy you” by Camille Noe Pagan-Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2013,
“This & That”-Relish magazine, Nov. 2013 and “Parade Picks”-edited by Vi-An Nguyen-Parade magazine, Dec. 8, 2013



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