Monthly Archives: December 2015

Top Ten Healthiest Frozen Foods

Healthy Frozen Meals
Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans

There’s no doubt that frozen foods are some of the most convenient foods on the planet. But if you’re eating healthy,  you have concerns about eating them. Here are the top ten healthiest frozen foods on the market.

1. MagicKitchen.com – Our meals are made by hand without preservatives, and we show the nutritional panel on each product page. We have categories for Diabetic, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carbohydrate, Low Cholesterol, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Vegetarian in our HomeStyle menu. We also feature our MK Special Menu Meals, which are complete meals especially created by our chefs for the convenience and health of those on special diets. Our choice, ease of purchase and customer service make us the best website to buy from. Our meals give us the honor of being the healthiest frozen meals around. Customer reviews >>

2. Edamame. They’re low in fat and calories and high in protein, fiber and almost every other essential vitamin and mineral. Heat them per instructions, toss with a little sesame oil and soy sauce, and you have a terrific snack.

3. Brown Rice has the whole grain, nothing taken away but the hull, so it’s way better for you than white rice. You can buy it frozen, which eliminates the usual 40 minute cooking time. It’s nutty and chewy and really good!

4. Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Masala Burger reportedly is very healthy. I can’t say I’m a big fan of vegetarian burgers, but I guess if they disguise the taste in some masala spices…

5. Jennie-o Frozen Turkey Breast Tenderloins – these aren’t heavily processed, are lower in sodium, and very lean.  You can get recipes here.

6. ah-scoops-mango-400Häagen-Dazs Mango Fat Free Sorbet – No fat, people! That doesn’t mean you can eat the whole container, but a half a cup is only 150 calories, and no fat grams.

7. Alexia all natural sweet potato fries – Only 174 calories and 5 g of fat for the delightful taste treat of 3 ounces of sweet potato fries. We both know you’ll double that, so keep it as your only ingredient for supper. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron. That’s a healthy dinner!

8. Tyson Grilled Chicken Breast Strips – Already grilled, so heat them up for a sandwich wrap, a stirfry, a taco, or a salad!

9. Engine 2 Grain Medleys – Ancient Grains Blend – contains organic quinoa, organic farro, organic red lentils, organic brown rice, organic black birdeseye-peachesbarley. That’s like so much healthy stuff that you won’t need to eat healthy again for a week. Kidding! Of course we eat healthy every meal.

10. Birdseye Ultimate Frozen Sliced Peaches – If you can’t find fresh, frozen peaches are great in recipes. Little did you know that the lowly peach supplies you with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Antioxidants, and small amounts of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B-6, thiamine, riboflavin, and more.

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Watch Out for an Empty-Calorie Ambush During the Holidays

empty-calsThey’re everywhere. During the holidays, they invade every grocery store, shopping mall, party, and family gathering. And just when you thought you were safe, they show up at your front door on a plate, in a gift basket, or in the mailbox. If you want to eat healthy and prevent weight gain, you’ve got to watch out for an empty-calorie ambush during the holidays.

Step on the scale before and after the holidays, and there’s a good chance you’ll have gained a few pounds. The average adult gains 1 to 3 pounds a year during the holidays, and it’s a problem that can lead to obesity and other health risks. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

MagicKitchen.com has a large selection of healthy meals and healthier desserts to choose from that will help you eat well. Knowing where empty calories are hiding can help, too. Here’s what to watch for:

Desserts

Lemon Tarte, 144 calories per serving. And simply divine.
Lemon Tarte, 144 calories per serving. And simply divine.

How about dessert under 250 calories? You won’t find that with a restaurant-sized serving of cheesecake, or mountain of chocolate ice cream topped with whipped cream and more than 500 calories. But MagicKitchen.com has a large selection of lower-calorie desserts to choose from. Pay attention to calories in desserts to avoid eating more than you should.

Drinks

Sure, the holidays are a reason to celebrate. But that doesn’t mean you have to pop open a bottle of bubbly for every get-together, toss back a glass of wine or two every night between now and the new year, or guzzle another cup of punch or soda, during the holidays. These drinks might taste good, but there’s a price to pay for drinking them. They’re loaded with sugar and empty calories. Your best option, drink more water. Your body needs it, and it contains zero calories. Plus, it goes well with any meal on the menu at MagicKitchen.com.

Snacks and Sweet Treats

You know they’re everywhere during the holidays. But it doesn’t take many cookies, handfuls of caramel popcorn, or sweet treats to derail your diet. Plan ahead and pick out healthy snacks like fresh-cut veggies, hummus dip, and whole-grain crackers. Or pick a healthy side like French Bread, Creamy Spinach dip, Sweet Potatoes, Crab Cakes, or Verdura Gourmet Artisan Flatbread with Kalamata Olives.

xmas-portion-contorlPortion Sizes

Last but not least, you’ll cross paths with excess calories during the holidays in the form of biggie-sized servings, second helpings, and meals big enough for two. Practice portion control during the holidays to keep your weight in check. Using a smaller plate, splitting a restaurant meal with a friend, or eating slowly and only until you feel full can help. You’ll also find healthy meals that are just the right size at MagicKitchen.com.

Keep your eye out for empty calories during the holidays, and you’ll have another reason to celebrate the New Year when you step on the scale.

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4 Ways to Be Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Santa eating cookieJust because you’re a little older doesn’t mean Santa isn’t watching anymore. If Mr. Claus or his little helpers get a look at what you’re eating, will you be on the nice list or the naughty list? Too many sweet treats, fast food, or skipped meals will land you on the naughty list. Eat healthy, and you’ll get more than just coal in your stocking.

For seniors, it’s especially important to eat healthy, because poor eating habits can have a negative effect on existing health problems like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, or getting better after having surgery. You also need to eat well to keep your bones, body and brain healthy. Here are five ways to be happy and healthy during the holidays.

1. Pay Attention to Calories

For some seniors, eating too many calories from sugary drinks, snacks, and large portion sizes is a problem. And for others skipping meals, and not eating enough healthy food, can lead to poor nutrition. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Pay attention to the amount of calories you’re eating per day. If you’re moderately active, the National Institutes of Health recommends seniors eat 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day. Check out our large selection of Senior Meals and look for the calorie count per serving.

2. Take Time to Rest

There’s a reason Santa takes a whole year off after the holidays. It’s tiring. Travelling, shopping, driving in traffic, or navigating airports can be stressful, too. And you need to give yourself time to rest and recover. Why? When you’re tired or fatigued, you’re more likely to overeat. So go ahead Grandparents laughing with grandchildrenand give yourself permission to take an afternoon nap if you feel like it.

3. Laugh, Love, and Enjoy the Celebrations

When you get older and see life a little differently after years of experience, you start to appreciate the little things more. Spending time with your family and friends to laugh, love, and celebrate the holidays is fun, but it’s also good for your health. Studies show laughter and feelings of happiness or joy can actually lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and improve your mood. Healthy comfort foods like Chicken Mac & Cheese with Broccoli, Peas & Corn, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Turkey Chili with Brown Rice can help, too.

4. Stay Active

It’s important to stay active as you age to keep your bones healthy and your muscles strong. So look for ways to stay active during the holidays. Take seniors-exercisea walk after a big meal. Put your treadmill or exercise bike to good use. Or attend a local fitness class for seniors like tai chi, yoga, or water aerobics. Regular exercise will give you an appetite, so make sure you stock up on ingredients at the grocery store or our large selection of healthy meals made just for seniors.

Cookies and sweet treats are easy to find during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you should gobble them up. If you do, you might end up on the naughty list by Santa and your doctor.

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Tips to Help You Through the Holidays on a Renal Diet

What’s for dinner? It’s something everyone who plans to attend a party, family gathering, or night out at a restaurant during the holidays wants to know. But if it’s the usual fare, a lot of the food might be off limits if you have renal disease. Then what? No, you don’t have to stay home while everyone else has a good time. You just need to have a plan. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you through the holidays on a renal diet.

Two Mature Female Friends Talking In Kitchen TogetherTalk to the Cook

If you’re attending a private holiday party or family gathering where food will be served, talk to the cook ahead of time. A good host and cook will want to know if you or any other guests have special dietary needs. But they won’t know what those are unless you let them know.

Provide some suggestions about foods suitable for those with renal disease, or offer to bring a dish you can eat like something from the Renal Meals Menu. Just ask. You’ll find that most people are willing to accommodate your special diet.

If you’ll be eating out at a restaurant, plan ahead by calling the restaurant or looking at the menu online for renal-friendly items on the menu.

Eat Turkey

cured-meatsNo not all turkey is created equal. But it’s a common main dish served at holiday dinners. Find out if a skinless, low-sodium version is available. Or prepare your own by limiting salt and sodium-based marinades to season the turkey. If you don’t have the time or inclination to prepare a turkey, check out the turkey-based dishes available from our selection of renal-friendly meals. And steer clear of cured meats like sausage, bacon, and canned meats, all high in sodium.

Choose Low-Potassium Fruits and Veggies

Your best source of nutrients when you have renal disease is fruits and vegetables. You’ll find lots variations of fruits and veggies served at home, parties, and restaurants during the holidays. But you can just eat any. Steer clear of veggies high in potassium like bananas and prunes. Look for ways to include low-potassium fruits and veggies in your diet like bell peppers, onions, green beans, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. You’ll find lots of renal-friendly meals with fresh vegetables at MagicKitchen.com like Chicken Marsala with Rice, and Peas, and Carrots, or try the Breaded Fish Wedge with Green Beans and Cauliflower.

Do Dessert Right

Dessert in any form isn’t exactly healthy. But there’s lot of it around during the holidays. But just because you have renal disease, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little. Skip popular desserts like ice cream and chocolate, because both are high in potassium and protein. Instead, go with something like pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream to keep your renal diet on track.

fluidsWatch Your Fluids

You already know the rules about fluids when you have renal disease. You need to limit the amount of fluid you consume from food and drinks to prevent your kidneys from developing a problems. Many health professionals suggest that those with renal disease should not drink alcohol, and it’s a good idea to follow. Instead limit the amount of fluid you drink to water or juice.

Be Smart

When you have renal disease, limit the amount of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, and fluids you consume. Make eating this way a habit, and stay on top of it during the holidays. Eating the right foods, and avoiding others, will help you manage renal disease. Be sure to get enough sleep (7 to 8 hours is best), stay warm, and do everything you can to avoid catching a cold, which can aggravate symptoms associated with renal disease.

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Six Tips for Diabetics During the Holidays

santa-partyYou already know it’s important to watch what you eat to help keep your blood sugar under control. And you do a pretty good job making smart food choices most of the time. But when you’re staring down a selection of delectable desserts, or get invited to a holiday party where carbs dominate the dinner table, then what? Keep these six tips for healthy eating in mind to enjoy the holidays.

1. Enjoy Time with Family and Friends

Food is at the center of many holiday gatherings. But the real reason you show up is the chance to catch-up, visit, and spend time with family and friends. Go ahead a have a bite to eat while you’re there, xmas-portion-contorlbut don’t make food the focus.

2. Practice Portion Control

Do your best to treat the holiday meal like any other day. Pay attention to the amount of food you eat. Watch out for foods high in carbohydrates like breads, pizza, pasta, and potatoes. If you do decide to eat dessert, plan ahead and eat fewer carbs at dinner. And pay attention to portion sizes. When you’re eating out, or go to a party hungry, it’s easy eat more than you really need to. Our Diabetic-Friendly Meals can help, because they’re all low in sodium and carbohydrates.

3. Bring a Healthy Dish

Got an invite to a holiday party with an assignment to bring a dish? A pot-luck-style party is pretty popular during the holidays. Don’t worry too much about what others will bring. Just bring a dish you like, and one that won’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Check out the selection of Diabetic-Friendly Meals.

4. Avoid or Limit Alcohol

hand-over-glassIf you drink alcohol and have diabetes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, if you drink on an empty stomach, it can cause your blood sugar level to drop. The solution: eat something before you drink. Second, alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Many are also high in sugar and carbs like mixed drinks made with alcohol and soda, juice, or margarita mix. Find out if a sugar-free option is available. And if you do plan to drink, health experts recommend no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men. Another option, avoid alcohol all together and drink water instead.

5. Make Time for Exercise

x-countryA great way to combat eating excess calories during the holidays is regular exercise. It’s a good way to keep your weight in check, burn calories and fat, and help control blood sugar levels. You don’t have to run a marathon, but aiming to get 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise can help. Take walk. Ride a bike. Or use the treadmill you got for Christmas last year.

6. Get Back on Track

If you eat more than you should at a party, it’s no reason to give up on eating healthy to control your diabetes. Just get back on track. Plan your meals ahead of time for a week or more. When you’re pressed for time, or don’t want to cook during the holidays, just pick out your favorite dishes from our Diabetic-Friendly Meals.

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Helpful Ways to Control Calories During the Holidays

santa-belllyHow much weight do people really gain during the holidays? If you’ve struggled with your weight during this time of year, it can seem like a lot. But it’s not as much as you might think.

In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that the average adult gains about 1 to 3 pounds from late November to early January. But before you give yourself permission to indulge in every holiday delight, there’s something else you need to now. Researchers also found that most people don’t lose the weight they gain during the holidays. And that adds up if you gain just a few pounds a year.

So how do you handle the holidays where biggie-sized desserts, parties, and plates of cookies and sweet treats seem to be everywhere? Check out these helpful ways to control calories during the holidays:

choose-wiselyCount Calories

There’s a reason programs like Weight Watchers and others get results. Keeping track of what you eat forces you to think more about your diet and make smarter choices. The Weight Watchers PointsPlus® program can help you, and all of our meals include the points value per serving. You can also use a food journal or mobile app to keep track of what you eat and stick to a daily calorie limit to help control your weight.

Choose, But Choose Wisely

Remember the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Indy (played by Harrison Ford), hunts down the Holy Grail. It’s guarded by The Black Knight and surrounded by hundreds of other goblets. The knight warns Indy, “Choose, but choose wisely.”

And that’s exactly what you should do at every holiday party. Take a look at the food being served. Look over the menu before you order the special or what have what everybody else is ordering. Think about how well you’ve eaten throughout the day. And then make your choice on what to order, what to dish up on your plate, what to avoid.

xmas-portion-contorlPass on Less Than Healthy Foods

Your mom might have told you to eat everything on your plate, but that’s just not necessary. Especially if you’re trying to manage your weight. Look for ways to avoid eating empty calories by avoiding things like sugar-sweetened drinks, appetizers, and mammoth-sized desserts big enough for two. Instead of mindlessly eating, be selective about your food choices, and you’ll have a better handle on portion control.

Use A Smaller Plate

It’s an eating strategy recommended by the National Institutes of Health. It’s easy to dish up more than you need to eat at a party. And restaurants are notorious for serving super-sized portions equal to two meals. At a party or buffet, dish up using a salad plate, and then take your time to chew your food and enjoy it. When you go out to eat, order from the senior menu or kids menu. Split your entrée with a friend, or put half of it in a to-go box before you start eating.

Pay Attention to Cravings

If you get a craving to devour a whole plate of cookies at a holiday party, or munch your way through the dessert table, you’re not alone. It happens. But you don’t have to give in to the cravings. Acknowledge it. Then do something to distract yourself from thinking about that delectable dessert for just a few minutes, like talk to a friend, admire the holiday decorations, or step outside for some fresh air. You’ll often find that a few minutes of this kind of self-discipline will help the craving pass.

Your goal during the holidays: Maintain, don’t gain weight. If you want to eat healthy, keep your weight in check, and start the new year out right, we can help. Check out our complete selection of Portion Control Meals.

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Eat This, Not That Holiday Guide for Dialysis Patients

Stuffed_BellPepperManaging your diet is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health when you’re on dialysis. But that’s harder to do during the holidays when you’re more likely to attend a party, go out to eat, or have dinner with family and friends.

Need a little help? Check out our Eat This, Not That Holiday Guide for Dialysis Patients for tips on controlling potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and fluids, what to eat, and what to avoid.

Potassium

Watch out for foods high in potassium like potatoes, pumpkin pie, squash, and dried fruit. Plan ahead and leach potatoes to lower potassium levels. We’ve got several Dialysis-Friendly Meals that include mashed potatoes that you’ll enjoy. Or instead of potatoes, try side dishes like green beans, mixed vegetables, or steamed cauliflower. And if you plan to eat dessert, choose desserts lower in potassium like angel food cake or sugar cookies.

Phosphorous

Ravioli_MixedVeg_Brocc_IMG_6526 (2)During the holidays, steer clear of high-phosphorus foods like cheese, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, egg nog and ice cream. But go ahead and enjoy low-phosphorus options like turkey, roast beef, fish, and chicken. If you do want something cheesy, check out Dialysis-Friendly meals like Cheese Manicotti & Vegetable Alfredo, Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, or the Cheese Omelet with Hashbrowns and Broccoli.

Sodium
It’s a challenge for a lot of people to eat less sodium, not just for those on dialysis. That’s because processed foods, burgers and fries, pizza, and canned soups and meats are all high in sodium, and these foods often show up during the holidays. Your best bet, prepare your own meals using low-sodium recipes, or pick your favorite entrees from our list of Dialysis-Friendly Meals.

Fluid

Here’s another reason to avoid foods high in sodium during the holidays. They make you thirsty. And to protect your health, you need to limit the amount of fluids you consume from food and drinks. On strategy that works well for people is to fill up a water bottle with the amount of fluid you want to drink in a day. Then keep it with you, and skip the punch bowl and fountain drinks.

The holidays are hectic enough with shopping, travel plans, parties, and family gatherings. And you shouldn’t have to stress about your diet either. Eat regular meals throughout the day. Carry snacks with you if you won’t have time for a bite to eat. And follow the Eat This, Not That Holiday Guide tips to eat right and protect your health.

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High-Sodium Holidays Food You Need to Avoid

techIt’s no secret that a lot of foods are high in sodium. At the holiday party or during your last-minute dash to finish shopping, if you following a Low Sodium diet, you know you should avoid foods like pizza, French fries, and fast-food burgers. But even less obvious foods like soup, sauces, and some cereals can be high in sodium. And there are some serious sodium offenders you should avoid during the holidays like:

Salted Mixed Nuts

You’ll find these in the bar or lounge at a restaurant. Salted nuts and pretzels are also often served at parties, or given as gifts during the holidays. But it’s all too easy to munch your way through multiple handfuls, and eat more sodium than you should. Fortunately, if you’re a nut-lover, there’s an easy fix. Eat unsalted nuts.

Spinach Dip

It might taste good, and you might even be fooled into thinking it’s healthy because it’s made from spinach, but Spinach Dip is something you should avoid. Why? Just eight tablespoon-sized servings of spinach dip contains close to 1000 mg of sodium. A healthier alternative, try chips and salsa, or fresh vegetables and low-sodium hummus.

Casseroles

Green bean casserole, or a casserole by most any other name often includes one specific ingredient that puts this dish on the no-no list: cream of mushroom soup, or something similar. If you must eat this during the holidays, make use low-sodium soup. Or try our Sweet Potato Casserole served with Pepper Beef Patty and Mixed Greens.

Summer Sausage

Hit the mall during the holidays, and you’re bound to cross paths with someone serving samples of summer sausage. You might receive a summer sausage log as a holiday gift, or find it served with cheese and crackers at a party. Step away from the snacks and condiments. Summer sausage is among the worst offenders for sodium. Just two small slices contain more than 700 mg of sodium. By the way, bacon isn’t any better, and cheese, especially American cheese, can have a lot of sodium, too.

If you’re trying to cut back on sodium, health professional recommend eating no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. And we can help. Check out all the Low-Sodium Meals and entrees we’ve created to help you during the holidays.

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Ten Festive Christmas Cocktails!

With Christmas just a week away, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate. Last-minute shopping, presents to wrap, house cleaning, and meal prep and planning before your guests arrive. And your to-do list probably keeps getting bigger. Sound familiar?

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with cooking for house full of people with different tastes and special diets, check out MagicKitchen.com for meal ideas everyone will enjoy. But before you serve the big meal, you might want to consider including a holiday drink to go with dinner. Try these 10 easy-to-make Festive Christmas Cocktails.

chambord-kir1. Chambord Kir Royale

Making a drink for the party couldn’t get much easier. All you need is two ingredients. Sweet Chambord liqueur made from black and red raspberries, and good champagne. Add your own signature to this cocktail with raspberries or a twist of lemon. Make your own with this recipe.

2. Tom & Jerry

It’s a holiday favorite that’s been around for a long time. Mix eggnog with brandy and rum, and serve hot in a large mug. Top it with whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg or cinnamon. For fun, make your own eggnog.  Check out how this drink got its name here.

3. Rum Brandy Punch

This drink is a popular party-pleaser and easy to make a gallon at a time with lemon, sugar, rum, and brandy. Here’s the recipe.

4. Grand Marnier Coffee

If you’re getting by with caffeine and coffee during the last few days before Dec. 25, you’re not alone. But when it’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy the party, you and your guests might like coffee and caffeine with twist. All this recipe calls for to make this drink is Grand Marnier, a cup of Joe, and some whipped cream.

Cardamom-Pop-Punch5. Cardamom and Pop Punch

Make this drink and you’ll get a taste of sweet and a zing of sour in just the right amount. You’ll need sugar cubes, club soda, cardamom, rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and orange bitters, according to the recipe, to mix this drink.

6. Hot Buttered Rum

It’s another holiday favorite that can soothe the soul, chase away stress, and keep your guests feeling warm and happy. It’s made from a smooth blend of brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Along with a little salt, rum, and boiling water. It only takes about 10 minutes to make this recipe and serve four people.

coquito7. Coquito

You don’t have to live south of the border to enjoy this Caribbean-inspired drink. It’s got just the right amount of creamy sweetness, rum, and spices to make this a party favorite. Try this five-star Coquito recipe.

8. Timmy’s Brandy Milk Punch

Here’s a frothy drink born in The Big Easy your guests will enjoy. Timmy’s Brandy and Milk Punch is made from brandy, milk, powdered sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg, according to the recipe. Some people serve this drink along with breakfast during the holidays.

9. Hot Apple Toddy

madtini_12days_06Serve the kids apple cider. Serve the adults Hot Apple Toddy. All you need to do to prepare this drink is add a few ingredients to the apple cider. Here’s the recipe. Thinly peeled apple slices can a little sweetness nice touch to the presentation.

10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Cocktail

If you really want to pay tribute to the holidays and that red-nosed reindeer who saved Christmas, you might want to make a drink called Rudolph’s Nose. The recipe is a mix of rum, lemon, grenadine syrup, ice, and cranberry juice. Add a maraschino cherry, and your drink will shine at your party. You can even make a non-alcoholic version for the kiddos.

Enjoy the drinks!

Evan, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Novel Ways to Keep Warm this Winter

With the arrival of winter comes colder temperatures and, as a result, we all struggle to keep warm without going broke due to high gas, oil or electric bills. Well, here are some unique, if temporary solutions to your cold weather issues, and, despite my perverted mind, none of them include the use of another human being (sorry if you’re disappointed).

chilisEat spicy (not just hot) food – Since this is a food-centric site, this solution only seemed appropriate to list first. If you’ve ever broken out in a sweat during or after the consumption of a spicy Thai dish, you understand the thinking behind this idea. Simply cook up some recipes that include curry, chilies, hot peppers, wasabi, ginger, or any other spice that induces sweating. One side note: remember to account for the workings of your gastro-intestinal system, especially post-meal.

Hot Potatoes – Well, hot, tiny potatoes…that have been nuked (microwaved) and then placed in your pockets, on your lap, or in your slippers. Think of them as inexpensive and primitive hand warmers strategically placed around your body. Fingerling or petite potatoes work best if they’re to be placed in confined spaces, like your pockets or slippers, while russets are best for your lap (just take care not to scald sensitive areas).

Warm clothes – Prior to getting dressed, place your outfit in the dryer and crank it on high for about ten minutes…heavenly! Or do the same with your favorite blanket just before settling in front of the TV, computer, or retiring to bed for the evening. You could also “cook” your clothes in the oven, but then you run the risk of “burning” them. (See “The Calzone” episode of Seinfeld, season seven, episode twenty, in which Kramer does just that- see below).

dog-hugUse your pets – You feed, house and clean up (yuck!) after them, so why not have them contribute to your warmth? While binge watching your favorite series, simply cover yourself with pets; dogs, cats, ferrets, dozens of guinea pigs, snakes…(wait, never mind, they won’t work as they’re cold blooded reptiles), or pygmy goats, it matters not. And if you’d like to be even warmer, convince your pets to cuddle UNDER the blankets with you. It makes quite a difference.

A warm bed – prior to getting in that bed. This can be achieved in any number of ways, to include a hot water bottle, a warm frying pan that’s been rubbed over the sheets, or warm bags of rice or dried beans. Who said food’s just for eating?

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