How to Pour Wine Like a Pro Sommelier

You don’t have to splurge on a $100 aged Cabernet Sauvignon to seem like a real wine expert; all it takes are a few smart tips and some essential wine-serving tools. Follow these simple steps to impress your guests the next time you serve them a glass of red.

  1. Maintain the proper temperature. A surefire way to come across as a newbie wine drinker is by serving your bottle at the wrong temperature. Light or sparkling white wines should be served at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain their fresh flavor, while fuller whites and lighter reds should be 50 to 60 degrees. For full-bodied reds, stick to a warmer 60 degrees.
  2. Stock up on enough wine. It could be embarrassing to run out of wine before everyone has their fill, so as a general rule, imagine that each bottle serves approximately five glasses.
  3. Invest in good wine glasses. They don’t have to be expensive, but having real wine glasses does add to the experience. Also, be sure to wash the glasses by hand and dry them with a clean linen towel to ensure that they don’t affect the flavor of the wine.
  4. Fill the proper amount. As a general rule, fill the glass to just below its widest point. This will make you look like a true sommelier and make your guests feel like wine aficionados themselves.

How to Serve Wine 101: Tips on the Perfect Serving Temperature [Wine Spectator]
Frey Organic Wine Serving Tips [Frey Vineyards]
25 Tips on How to Serve Wine [Bauduc Blog]

How Do You Use Up Overripe Bananas? Here Are Some Suggestions!

Bananas are quite finicky fruits, and if you don’t eat them right away they turn brown and too soft for many people’s tastes. Before you toss out those overripe bananas, however, try one of these delicious recipes that welcome that extra sweet flavor! And if you have a go-to recipe of your own, please share it!

Chocolate Banana Creamsicles []
While these cool, healthy treats are especially refreshing during the hot summer months, they taste just as delicious year-round. Simply blend a few overripe bananas with cocoa, vanilla, and coconut milk, then freeze it to create a handheld treat.

Bananas Foster Parfaits []
Give your browned bananas a second life with these gourmet quality parfaits. Greek yogurt creates the base, while cooking the sliced bananas with butter, apple juice, and toasted pecans imparts a sweet and robust flavor. If you’re serving this to adult dinner guests, substitute the apple juice for rum to create a more grown-up taste.

Banana Banana Bread []
This moist, dense bread contains so many bananas, it uses the word twice. It’s hearty enough to eat for breakfast, but it’s so sweet and delicious that it makes a great dessert, as well. Best of all, the riper the bananas, the better they work in this simple recipe.

Three Surprising Sources of Lactose

Millions of Americans suffer from lactose intolerance, a sensitivity to foods that contain the natural sugar lactose. Most often, lactose is found in dairy products such as milk and cheese, but there are some foods that contain it that you might not know about. Here are three surprising sources of lactose you should look out for:

  1. Lunch meats. Cold cut meats are great for having on hand for a quick sandwich, but they're often made with processed ingredients that include lactose. Even a small amount could be harmful to those with sensitivities. So the lactose intolerant sure to purchase farm-fresh deli meat when possible.
  2. Nougat. This creamy sweet filling in candy bars contains lactose. There are many other candies that contain lactase as well, so do your research before you indulge.
  3. "Non-dairy" creamer. This tricky label might seem like a safe choice for lactose intolerant individuals, but many brands of this milk-derived substitute still contain trace amounts of lactose. Avoid it altogether and use soy- or almond-based creamers.

8 surprising sources of lactose [Best Health Mag]
Lactose Intolerance [National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse]
Learn to Detect Hidden Lactose [Cornell Women’s Health]
What is Hidden Lactose [Lactaid]

Creative Takes on Classic Peanut Butter and Jelly for Adults

Do you love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but you’re worried about the strange looks you’ll get from your friends when you pull one out at a party? Don’t be! With these fun and fancy recipes for adult PB&Js, you can enjoy the treat in style.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie []
This sweet and nutty pie is the ideal dessert for any social gathering. The classic flavor of fruit jelly perfectly mingles with a peanut butter and cream cheese filling, while a whipped cream topping is just the icing on the cake.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars []
Guests of all ages will love these peanut butter and jelly dessert bars, which are made with a browned oat crust and thick strawberry jam for a hearty taste that’s the perfect grown-up version of your childhood favorite.

PB&J Cocktail []
If you want to add a really adult twist to the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this PB&J cocktail is a lively and exciting choice. Although the two flavors seem like an unlikely pairing with alcohol, once you taste them with aged rum you’ll certainly become a believer. Line the rim with salted peanuts for a truly authentic taste.

Delightful Recipes for Rich Chocolate Pudding

Just about everyone loves chocolate, and pudding is a simple dish that can be prepared a number of different ways. Combine the two tastes to create decadent chocolate pudding with these easy recipes.

Hasty Chocolate Pudding [AllRecipes]
When your guests are arriving in just a few minutes, this recipe tastes great but takes only a little while to prepare.

How to Make Perfect Chocolate Pudding from Scratch [The Kitchn]
Forego the boxed, prepackaged mixes and learn to make a real chocolate pudding with this recipe.

Best Chocolate Pudding [Smitten Kitchen]
Dark, rich, and just a pinch salty, this recipe makes a truly elegant chocolate pudding dish.

Chocolate Pudding [Food Network]
Learn to make Tyler Florence’s chocolate pudding from this gourmet recipe.

Weekend Getaways

Who's ready for a get away?! There's nothing more exciting than a spontaneous vacation away from reality. Airbnb is the perfect source to plan your trip whether it's last minute or months ahead. Choose from over 190+ countries to find the perfect location! Even if you're itching to get out of town and head to the mountains just for the weekend, there are plenty of rentals to choose from. If you could go anywhere-where would you go?

Learn About the 5 Food Groups With USDA Site

You learn about the five food groups when you’re a child, but you probably haven’t thought about them much since then. While adults are concerned with counting calories and calculating fat, the USDA website wants to help you remember the importance of these distinct groups:

1. Vegetables. Vegetables and 100% vegetable juices all count as members of the vegetable group. While the amount you should consume each day varies from person to person, generally half of your plate should be covered by veggies.

2. Fruits. Whether you eat whole fruits or you enjoy them pureed, dried, or blended, fruits are another necessary food group. Women and men over the age of 19 should consume between 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day, depending on an individual's age and weight.

3. Grains. Examples of healthy grains include whole-wheat flour, cracked wheat, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. At least half of your grains should be whole grains, and the recommended daily amount for a person over 19 is between 5 and 8 ounces.

4. Proteins. Proteins are meats like chicken or beef, but they also include meatless foods like beans, peas, eggs, and processed soy products like tofu, nuts, and seeds. The amount of protein you need depends on your age, physical activity, and other factors.

5. Dairy. Dairy includes calcium-rich foods like milk and cheese, and only low-fat or fat-free varieties are usually recommended.

Food Groups []

Travel Etiquette Tips Every Jetsetter Should Know

When you’re planning a big trip, you likely think about what to pack, what travel arrangements to make, and which sights to see once you arrive at your destination. But do you ever think about travel etiquette? Proper etiquette on airplanes or buses is something that most people don’t think about until they’re faced with an awkward situation. Avoid uncomfortable run-ins with fellow passengers with these smart tips:

  1. Start in the gate area. At the airport, try to take up as little space as possible in the gate area. Don’t leave bags or other luggage on empty seats, as these places often get very crowded.
  2. Stick with your zone. Although it might be tempting to board your plane early, boarding zones are created for a reason: to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.
  3. Recline kindly. Before you jolt your seat backward and hit another passenger’s knees or jostle his or her computer, simply turn around and ask if it’s okay.
  4. Don’t rush off the plane or bus. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s important to let the seats ahead of you exit the plane first.
  5. Navigate the airport or subway station like a highway. This means always stay to the right while walking. If you’re on a moving walkway, walkers should stay to the left, standers on the right.

Travel Etiquette Dos and Don'ts [Travel + Leisure]
10 Travel Etiquette Tips [TripIt]
Whose Feet Are Those? Negotiating Air-Travel Etiquette [The New York Times]

How to Read a Nutrition Label

If you look at the nutrition label on foods simply to count the calories, you’re missing out on a number of other dietary concerns that may be standing in the way of your fitness goals. Nutrition labels may seem overwhelming, but these simple tips will help you to figure them out.

  1. Serving size. The serving size of a food is always printed first on a nutrition label. The serving size can make a big difference (if something is 100 calories for only 1/4 cup, for example), so be sure to check this first.
  2. Calories. Calories measure how much energy a food provides, but you should first know how many calories you should consume each day in order to decide how much of this food to eat.
  3. Calories from fat. This number refers to how many of the food’s calories come from fat. The closer this number is to the amount of calories, the worse the food is for you.
  4. Total fat, cholesterol and sodium. Most Americans generally eat too much of each, so look for foods with lower numbers here.
  5. Vitamins, fiber, calcium and iron. It is beneficial to consume more of these items, and foods with higher numbers here can prevent your risk for many dangerous diseases.

How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label [FDA]
Understanding Food Nutrition Labels [American Heart Association]
Eating Healthier and Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label [Choose My Plate]
How to Read Nutrition Facts Labels [Real Simple]

Simple Ways to Eat More Healthfully

It may seem difficult to change how you eat. But if you'd like to begin eating a more healthful diet, one of the best ways to do it is to start with some small, incremental changes. These tips from the NIH can help simplify the process of making positive changes to your daily diet.

Here's just some of the site's advice:

  • Make a grocery list before you shop. It may seem obvious, but planning meals in advance can prevent you from becoming frustrated and reaching for frozen meals.
  • Buy a new fruit every time you go to the grocery store. Have you ever tried papaya? If not, it can be a fun way to discover a new favorite fruit!
  • When you go out to eat, share entrees! Portion sizes have become increasingly larger in recent years, and sharing helps to cut calories and avoid overeating.
  • Change your cooking techniques. Often it’s not the foods you prepare that are unhealthy, but the ways you cook them. Instead of frying chicken, grill or bake it. Instead of using heavy oils, cook with olive or coconut oil instead. Seasoning with herbs and spices instead of heavy sauces also helps to reduce the fat in your meals.

To find more simple tips for eating more healthfully, visit the NIH website.

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