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It's that time of year when we start to plan catching up with friends and family. Not everyone feels like going out and navigating the restaurant scene and if you're still observing social distancing rules and keeping your gatherings small, it's likely you'll be entertaining at home.
We have some great ideas to give you the edge when it comes to stocking your pantry and preparing a holiday-worthy spread at home. Here are our picks for the season:
Who doesn't like hand-chosen artisanal cheese to share over wine? But who knows what's good? Founders and certified cheesemongers Laura Downey and Chris Palumbo have taken the confusion out of choosing cheese with cheesemongerbox.com, a sophisticated subscription of choices from American and European artisanal and small batch cheesemakers and specialty food producers. Choose from a variety of subscriptions sourced from small farmers, creameries, and cheesemakers nationwide; and you can also be sure that trusted importers and distributors have been used to source the most authentic artisan and farmhouse-style European cheeses.
We found this a great way to keep the fridge stocked with quality and conversation-worthy cheese that also looked good on the table and was plentiful enough to go around. Select the right subscription package for yourself and share with your guests; or purchase a one-time gift that is hand-cut specifically for your gift-giving preferences. And if you are already a cheese connoisseur you can also Build Your Own Box.
Each box comes with generous half-pound cuts of cheese and thoughtful sides such as artisan crackers and small batch jam, or spread such as some tangy raspberry mostarda, or charcuterie — all attractively packaged with helpful tasting notes and serving suggestions.
It wouldn't be the holidays without some delectable smoked salmon to complement your favorite glass of Champagne, martini, or dry white wine! The perfect appetizer with a touch of luxury, vibrant color, and warm, smoky flavor, salmon is also a great no-fuss, elergant choice of snack packed with healthy Omegas as well. SeaBear Smokehouse’s Appetizer Sampler Collection features six of their most popular items, all ready-to-serve, making it an easy table option or a thoughtful gift to bring to your favorite foodie host. But don't stop at salmon. SeaBear's plentiful smokehouse turns out chowder and Dungeness crab and plenty of complete meal options that can have you serving up a three-course seafood dinner without any fuss!
SeaBear Smokehouse is rightfully proud of its 60-year heritage in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. The authenticity, quality — and simply delicious, fresh, and carefully packaged product — has something for fish fanciers, food connoisseurs and health-conscious enthusiasts.
With all the cooking that happens during the holidays, we've found that an essential kitchen staple to have on hand is good olive oil. And we mean not just good enough to cook with but good enough to eat with our favorite bread! TRE OLIVE's centuries-old Italian olive tree groves are the source for a bright, smooth, and nutty Extra Virgin olive oil. This product comes from an Italian family in Calabria that has been in the olive oil business for five generations.
Attractively packaged, it makes a thoughtful gift for the foodie in your life. The Piattino Gift Box contains one 250ml tin of extra virgin olive oil (your choice of which scrumptious one to choose!) along with a tasting dish and TRE Olive's famous spice pack, which contains a melange of herbs and spices perfect for sprinkling into a dish of the EVOO and dipping your favorite baguette or focaccia. A tasty gift or addition to the holiday table!
RAISED GLUTEN FREE
One of the problems with the holidays is that the eating can get carb-heavy. Gluten-free guests may feel like they're creating a headache for their host, especially when it comes to pies. We're pleased to report we've found a solution that will have your carb-hungry friends envious.
Imagine savory pies and quiches with a perfect flaky crust filled with hearty vegetables, all while being allergy-friendly and 100% vegan. Crafted with care by two California moms passionate about providing delicious treats for families with food restrictions, Raised Gluten Free pies are plant-based, vegan, and in addition to being certified gluten free, also free of dairy, eggs, nuts, and peanuts, Kosher Pareve, and Non-GMO Project Verified.
We tried the Vegan Quiche and found the light and fluffy organic tofu and savory spinach filling baked to perfection in a light pastry crust. Raised Gluten Free also makes fruit pies, too — the apple and berry peach are scrumptious and taste much healthier than traditional fruit pies. Be a thoughtful host and keep a few of these convenient 6" pies in your freezer in case one of your dinner guests comes out as gluten-free!
This has got to be one of our favorite kitchen finds of the year. Lasting Freshness is a high quality, stackable, vacuum seal food storage system that’s superior to conventional plastic containers you've been using — including those repurposed takeout containers! Do yourself a favor and switch to the Lasting Freshness system. Not only do these containers keep food fresh five times longer with a pump system that is designed to suck all of the air and moisture out so food stays fresher longer; the containers themselves come in an array of sizes that take the hassle out of the storage of leftover meals and ingredients such as stocks, soups, cereals, cuts of meat, casseroles, and even slices of pie and cake.
This is the perfect way to store all those Thanksgiving leftovers that usually create a chaotic mess in your fridge, using up your dishes and going bad after a day or two. Cut down on waste and keep your gourmet goodies shelf stable for longer. We baked a batch of cookies and with the vacuum seal system they lasted 21 days!
The DJ-production drag duo known as Jawbreakers is asking people to take "Just a Taste" of their upcoming EP. That flavorful sample called "Boyfriend" is available now on digital platforms. If you're thinking, hey, didn't Ashlee Simpson have a song of the same name back in 2005? Yes, she did, but this version is a lot more club-friendly with an EDM edge.
The creative process has many layers as most dance songs do these days. It begins with the Jawbreakers producing the music then finding a voice to sing it. In this case, Amunda, formerly of the Australian group Operator Please. The song dismisses its punk roots and evolves into a banger bop with dancefloor disco sass much like its producers.
Kali Forni-Kate and Sabrina Babyslut are those producers and they call themselves Jawbreakers. But you can just call them Kali and Sabrina. Both are in their twenties but refuse to say on which end of the scale. What's abundantly clear is their love of pop culture and tapping into nightclub synergy.
They both live in Melbourne, Australia, or Naarm, as it is called by those who wish to respect traditional Aboriginal names. Kali lives in the southern area where modern artists and modern history collide. That is where the iconic Chapel Street is located. It's known for its shops, restaurants, and popular gay districts. Although they live a stone's throw away from each other, they always end up together.
"There’s a bunch of queer venues and events happening frequently and honestly any venue that books us and supports and uplifts the queer community is iconic in my opinion," Sabrina said.
JawbreakersAndrew Van Dorsselaer
Their pronouns are she and her when in drag, and they and him when out of it. We will refer to them mostly in the former for the purposes of this article. But ultimately they hate labels, "We both identify as queer and slowly trying to move away from labels as much as possible regardless of whether we are in or out of drag."
The two have been friends going on six years. They met each other while doing a Britney Spears tribute show at the deco-inspired historic Greyhound Hotel, now sadly demolished.
There’s a four-to five-year age gap between them; they met when Sabrina was 18 and Kali was 23. "I think we were surprised how instantly we clicked and that we had so much in common for a millennial and Gen Z," they explain. "From there we were inseparable pretty much trying to incorporate each other into every gig and then the rest is history."
In school, Sabrina studied costume design and music theory and she's played saxophone ever since she was seven years old.
Kali was a track and field athlete who admits to being, "a Uni drop out studying musculoskeletal therapy. I also love waterskiing, kneeboarding, and to be honest, still into Pokemon Go," she smirks.
Eventually they let their love of music and style win out over everything else. That makes sense because both have music in their blood. "I dead ass was in primary school listening to sonatas on my iPod Touch but I would listen to literally any genre of music as long as it was on 'Glee,'" said Sabrina who loves how technology has progressed the medium."Music has become a lot more synthesized but people have leaned into that embracing the electronic sounds."
"My dad is a jazz musician," adds Kali, "and mum was a dancer. [My] Sister was an opera singer so I grew up in a very musical industry going to interstate jazz festivals---and I played piano. I went through my pop diva 'Britney Spears in the zone phase,' to my emo My Chemical Romance phase and got my first Ministry of Sound CD when I was 10 years old, which is insane because I had so many CD’s with John Course’s name on them, and now [I'm] supported by his record label."
Which brings us to their latest project: the "Just a Taste" EP and their first single from that album, "Boyfriend." With so much creativity in their vains and drive in their hearts it's curious why they would choose to make an EP that averages four tracks per album rather than the longer format with three-times that.
"'With this EP we’re showing a few different sides of our musical personality ranging from pure pop to more club focused songs and we really wanted to give the listeners ‘Just A Taste’ and use this EP as a metaphorical tasting platter," they explain. The idea is to show their audience they are musically diverse, but still have something succinct. "Since this is our first body of work we're putting out, it would be risky to do a full album. It's better to dip your toe in and see what works and what needs tweaking before releasing an album, which is a huge undertaking."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
Once they had the music track for "Boyfriend" laid down, they needed to find a singer who could not only bring a freshness to the vocals, but also understood what the DJs were trying to do. Upon the advise of Joel Siviour from Seismic Talent, they found that female voice in Amunda, an indie artist who used to sing for the popular Australian band Operator Please.
"Since the original track is a pop rock song from the 2000s we knew we needed something in that realm, so when we were introduced to Amunda we knew it would be the perfect fit because she herself had some big hits with Operator Please which had that pop/alt/rock kinda vibe to it. The track was pretty much done before we sent it to her and we were just looking for a topline and when she agreed to be a part of the project we let her have free reign with the topline and we were so obsessed with what she came back with!"
The completed project was perfect they say. "Boyfriend" is the epitome of who they are, "it’s a high energy dance track that just makes you want to get up and party and have fun! It shows how much we love pop culture referencing the iconic queen Ashlee Simpson but how we recontextualized the track for today's music climate. In the music video you truly get to see us and become part of (what I like to call) the Jawbreaker Cinematic Universe which is just this bubble gum pop world we live in and serve some iconic Y2K looks and be the biggest Y2K divas we can be."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
That's no exaggeration. The video which recently released on YouTube proves it. Bubblicious colors, mod culture designs and 60s era couture, Jawbreakers is just like Kali's Pokedex: ready to evolve. Groovy chic and pink hair showcase the talent of these pop rocks. And the land down under is eating them up.
"The LGBTQIA+ community in Australia is sooo supportive," Sabrina says. "Every city has such an uplifting community that gets behind their up-and-coming artists in queer spaces. From painting, to acting---the sex and drag industry---the community is so insanely supportive. Like, we couldn’t imagine being straight because like there's no community and they don’t hype each other like the LGBT community does."
Jawbreakers is only beginning their reign. With "Girlfriend" finished and the "Just a Taste" EP dropping on April 1, 2022, the duo are poised for stardom. They aren't taking anything for granted either.
"We also have been so lucky to be offered some incredible gigs that are coming up this year. Now that borders are open we are about to head on an Aus tour starting at St Kilda Fest, and then heading on the Summer Camp Tour with a killer queer lineup. We also plan to get back in the studio and keep making new music. We truly are just ready to make the most out of all the opportunities we have been blessed with and do the most to make anyone who has supported us proud."
You can listen to Jawbreakers' debut single "Boyfriend" on digital music platforms and watch the video below.
Their full EP "Just a Taste" will release on April 1, 2022.
Jawbreakers - Boyfriend (ft. AMUNDA) (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
Mental health impacts how you think and feel, affecting all aspects of your life. It also determines how you handle your stress and make important choices. Having good mental health is important for all ages, from children to elders. Here are the most effective ways to boost your mental health.
Staying positive may be easy when you're happy, but it gets more difficult as you encounter stress. Staying positive is something you'll have to learn how to do, but it gets easier with time. Ultimately, it's up to you to see the silver lining when something stressful happens. For example, if you lose your job, you might consider it an opportunity to find a career you enjoy.
Staying positive is all about balancing positive and negative emotions, but it doesn't mean you won't ever feel down. It's important to feel your emotions so you can address them and move past them. However, how you manage those emotions once you feel them depends on you.
Practicing gratitude allows you to actively acknowledge the good things in your life. Practicing gratitude might look different for everyone, but it's typically easiest to keep a gratitude journal that you write in every day. Your journal can be a list of everything you're grateful for, including your family, friends, pet, and even coffee. Don't worry about repeating things in your journal; it's important you continuously recognize the things that make you happy.
Practicing gratitude allows you to see your life in a different light. When you take the time to sit down and think about things that make you happy, you can focus on the positive instead of the negative.
Get into the habit of practicing gratitude by writing in a journal for at least five minutes a day. In addition, writing in your journal at night can help you relieve stress so you can easily fall asleep. t your job, so you must do something you love or have a passion for—being at a job you despise can make you feel like you're wasting your life, which can make you feel depressed. Additionally, having a stressful job can impact your mental and physical health.
If you find yourself feeling drained just at the thought of going to work, consider why your job situation makes you feel down. You might find that you enjoy your job but have a toxic workplace. No matter the case, it's up to you to get out of any job situation that makes you feel stressed or burned out.
Setting goals gives you something to work towards. Then, when you accomplish those goals, you'll feel a sense of purpose that's unbeatable. Setting goals gives you a reason to get up in the morning and stay productive and active all day long. Your goals can be career-based, health-based, or even home-based. For example, you can have a goal for weight loss while also having one to get a promotion by the end of the year.
Whatever your goals are, make sure you also set an action plan that helps you accomplish those goals. You may even have to break your goals up into smaller goals so you can keep accomplishing small tasks until you reach the ultimate goal.
Spend Time With Others
Even if you're an introvert, spending time with others can boost your mental health because it allows you to take your mind off of other things going on. Not only that but your friends and family are your support network, so you'll always have someone to talk to when you're feeling stressed.
Don't Forget About Your Physical Health
Taking care of your physical health can improve your mental health. Your body and mind are connected; the other will be impacted when one doesn't feel well. You can focus on your physical health by:
- Being active
- Getting quality sleep
- Eating well
Find a Purpose
Giving yourself a purpose in life will allow you to wake up feeling energized. Not to mention, it allows you to find something you're passionate about so you can feel connected to the world and yourself. Your purpose in life won't be the same as someone else's. For example, your purpose in life might be your pets or children, while someone else's will be their passion for their hobbies or career.
If you don't know what your purpose is yet, spend time thinking about the things you enjoy. Many people find careers they're excited about while others wake up so they can enjoy their hobbies. It doesn't matter what your purpose is; just make sure it gives you a reason to wake up every day and helps you manage daily stresses.
Take Care of Others
Focusing on others allows you to get out of your head. Whether you volunteer at the local pet shelter or take care of your grandmother, you'll have something to do that makes you feel connected. Not only that, but you'll be able to keep a schedule of helping others that not only makes you feel good but helps others.
Reconsider Your Job
You spend eight or more hours a day at work. If you notice that you've been feeling anxious or depressed for a while, it might be time to seek help from a psychologist or an in person or telepsychiatrist. These professionals can help you learn how to cope with stress while providing you with medication to improve potential chemical imbalances. Seeing a professional is not something to be ashamed about; it's something you should be proud of. Getting the help you need can improve your life and make you feel happier.
Boosting Your Mental Health
There are many ways to boost your mental health. It's up to you to find the ways that work best based on your schedule and needs. For example, while getting a puppy can give you a sense of purpose, it's not a good idea if you're never home. Finding ways to improve your mental health might take experimentation, but you can find something that truly works for you with a little patience.
About the Author
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.
Did you know January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day?
According to Google, the history of chocolate cake goes back to 1764, when Dr. James Baker discovered how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones. A popular Philadelphia cookbook author, Eliza Leslie, published the earliest chocolate cake recipe in 1847 in The Lady's Receipt Book.
Many of us would love chocolate cake the be celebrated every day of the year, but to officially celebrate its national day, a Chandler-based restaurant, The Double Dutch Kitchen and Cocktails, is offering a free slice of its handmade Chocolate Cake with the purchase of a sandwich or entree.
Their chef-crafted chocolate cake is topped with white chocolate and berry coulis. The Double Dutch Kitchen and Cocktails is a locally owned and operated New American gastropub serving comfort food with a modern and elegant twist. It is located at 1890 W Germann Rd # 1, Chandler, AZ 85286.
For more information about The Double Dutch, please visit www.thedoubledutchaz.com or call (480) 758-5856.