Kitchen Safety: 5 Principles Every Cook Should Know

mom-son-kitchenFood safety goes well beyond making sure you cook chicken thoroughly. There are many ways someone can get sick from food. Here are for kitchen safety, 5 principles every cook should know about to keep their families healthy.

Time-Temperature Abuse

When you’re handling food, you should always be aware of the time and temperature abuse of food. When food is not cooked or reheated enough, it’s not stored at the right temperature or the food was not cooled properly, dangerous bacteria grows very quickly. When food has been left at temperatures long enough for bacteria to grow, it has been time-temperature abused.

Remember to always keep the cold food cold and the hot food hot – this reduces the risk of bacteria growth. The range of temperature between  40°F and 140°F is considered the “temperature danger zone” – the temperatures when bacteria grows the fastest. Refrigerators are designed so the temperature stays below 40°F, so most of what to keep an eye out for is food left on the counter too long or food you might be traveling with (to a picnic or barbecue, etc.).

Cross Contamination

Cross contamination refers to when raw food comes in contact with food that is ready to eat. This can happen in many ways:

  • Liquid from raw food drips on ready-to-eat food
  • Surfaces aren’t cleaned well after handling raw food
  • Towels used to clean up after raw food are used again, spreading the bacteria from raw food

The best way to prevent cross contamination is to be vigilant about keeping raw food separate from the ready to eat food.

Food Storageraw-chicken

Food kept in the refrigerator should always be stored at a temperature of 40°F until it’s time to cook, but how you stack your food inside your refrigerator is also important. Despite the fact that most refrigerators are designed with the crisper and vegetable bin at the bottom, raw meat should always go at the bottom of the refrigerator to prevent cross contamination; the safest food for eating immediately should go at the top.

Here’s how your refrigerator should be stacked from top to bottom.

  1. Ready to eat food (leftovers, food that’s been prepared that doesn’t require further cooking)
  2. Fruit and vegetables
  3. Milk and dairy products
  4. Raw eggs
  5. Raw fish
  6. Raw beef, pork, lamb
  7. Raw chicken

Keeping the raw food at the bottom reduces your chances of it coming in contact with or dripping liquid on food that doesn’t require cooking.

Cooking Temperatures

Knowing cooking temperatures will also keep you armed against dangers in the kitchen. Having an instant read thermometer is very helpful with this because you need to know the internal temperatures of foods.  Every food has to be cooked to different temperatures to kill bacteria. The following list is of the suggested cooking temperatures for different foods.

  • 165°F Poultry (chicken, turkey or duck), stuffed food and food that contains already cooked foods
  • 155°F Ground meat (any – including fish)
  • 145°F All fish and seafood, steaks/chops/roasts of pork, beef, veal, lamb, eggs
  • 140°F Any fruits, vegetables, grains, and processed foods.

Cooling and Thawing

When putting food away (for leftovers or prep for the next day), it should be cooled quickly. All food should be cooled to 70°F within two hours and it should go down to 40°F within four hours – the total cooling time should not be longer than six hours.

When you’re thawing raw meat, you can microwave it run cold water over it until it’s thawed or you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Never, ever let it thaw at room temperature.

woman-in-kitchen-cutting-vegetablesCooking  is trickier than just putting the right flavors together and pairing the right textures – it should also be worry-free. If you follow those guidelines, every meal will be a safe meal.

International Moment of Laughter Day: Benefits of Laughing

Cackle, chortle, giggle, snicker, guffaw: they’re all part of the health regimen to follow. It’s International Moment of Laughter Day, and here’s a list of health benefits of laughing.

ladies-laughingRelieves Pain

Endorphins are natural pain relievers – when they’re released, they react with chemicals in your brain that make you feel good (drugs, chocolate, chili peppers stimulate endorphin release) – they also distort your perception of pain. One study shows that the physical element of laughter stimulates the release of endorphins in our brains, raising our pain threshold.  It might not work to watch a sitcom when you stub your toe, but a funny show may make your headache go away.

Strengthens the Immune System

When your immune system is down, you’re more susceptible to illness and infection. According to a study from the Indiana State University Sycamore Nursing Center, the release of hormones that crush the immune system is significantly reduced during rounds of laughter. So, if only for a brief moment of laughter, you can be saving yourself from getting sick.

lady-laughingRegulates Glucose Levels

For diabetics, laughter could be a substitute for insulin treatment. Japanese researchers tested the theory with diabetic patients by taking them to a comedy show after a meal. The patients didn’t have the regular spike in their after-dinner blood glucose level after all the chuckles.  Researchers believe it was either the muscle motion involved in the laughter, or the positive emotions that affected the neuroendocrine system that curbed the spike; either way, it proved laughter is good medicine.

Good for the Heart

Laughing increases blood flow, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.  A study out of the University of Maryland tested blood flow of volunteers before and after they watched a funny movie. Researchers found cardiovascular blood flow increased by 22 percent with the humorous movie — about the same as doing light exercise. It might not be a great workout, every little bit of laughter does help.

Whether you want to have a good time or you want to protect your health, take a moment for laughter today. It’ll do you


The Lakeside Selection: Our Favorite Items for the Week

We’re getting ready for the weekend and skimming the catalog. We can’t wait to play outside now that the temperatures are climbing. These are the things we’re thinking about as the weekend comes into view: the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week.


Don’t let a day at the beach turn into painful sunburns! This lightweight Kids’ Beach Chair with Adjustable Umbrella keeps those harmful rays off exposed skin. The chair folds flat for easy transport. The active double-lock system feature is operable only by an adult.


It’s easy to treat everyone to a delectable treat with the 24-Cupcake Carrier. Pack its 2 tiers with cupcakes or muffins to take to parties, work, picnics and other gatherings. The 2 tiers secure together under a snap-close lid that has a handle for easy transport. The 2 removable trays have indentations to hold up to 24 cupcakes or muffins. Remove the cupcake trays to use the carrier for other treats. BPA-free plastic.


This Set of 50 Self-Inking Stampers Collection offer a wide variety at an incredible value. They’re easy to use stampers when you want to add a personal touch to stationery, cards, scrapbook pages and more. They also make delightful classroom prizes or party favors. Because they are self-inking, there are no messy ink pads.


Hang this Set of 3 Glass Globe Tea Light Holders anywhere for decorative and functional lighting. The LED tea light candle inside each glass globe gives off a warm, gentle glow. Hang them from a tree branch or outdoor fixture, or set them on your patio for pleasant accent lighting on a summer evening. Place them on a tabletop or mantel for warm illumination indoors.


Carry your cell phone in the front window, with credit cards and cash behind it, in this thoughtfully designed clutch wallet. Featuring a 3-D geometric textured surface, it’s all you’ll need to take along for a quick trip to the grocery store or to pick up the kids from school. It has 2 slots for credit cards, an enclosed spot for your ID, a side slot for cash and an elastic band to hold the phone in place. Fits most smartphones and multimedia devices.

Sibling Day: 5 Celebrity Siblings You Didn’t Know Were Related

Today is Sibling Day – a day to honor your brother or sister.  While you can’t imagine growing up without your siblings, here are 5 pairs of celebrity siblings you can’t imagine are related.


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Kate & Oliver Hudson

Though she has a successful acting career of her own, Kate Hudson is widely known as the daughter of actress Goldie Hawn, but she also has a brother who’s no stranger to the business – Oliver Hudson. Oliver played the goofy friend and fiancé, Adam, on Rules of Engagement and currently plays Jeff Fordham on the drama Nashville. Most recently, Kate had a recurring role as dance instructor Cassandra July on Glee and has several projects in production.


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Emily & Zooey Deschanel

Hipster Heartbreaker Zooey Deschanel, is known as Jess on New Girl, and her older sister Emily, is known for her character opposite David Boreanaz on the crime drama Bones. Even before they both started acting professionally (before the age of 20) the sisters were familiar with Hollywood. Their mother was on the 1980s’ series Twin Peaks  and their father is a cinematographer known for his work on the film The Passion of the Christ. The Deschanel sisters are both seeing a lot of momentum with their acting careers: Bones is on its ninth season and New Girl is on its fourth season.


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Warren Beatty & Shirley MacLaine

You know Warren Beatty as one of Hollywood’s most notorious reformed ladies’ men as well as his work in Dick Tracy and Heaven Can Wait. You know Shirley McLaine as Downton Abbey’s Martha Levinson and the mother in Terms of Endearment. But did you know they’re siblings? They grew up in Richmond, Virginia and both started their acting careers by the age of 20. Warren has a Howard Hughes project in the works and Shirley has two upcoming projects.



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Justine & Jason Bateman

Justine Bateman is known for her role as the older daughter, Mallory Keaton, on the 1980s’ sitcom Family Ties. Jason Bateman has been bouncing in an out of Hollywood’s view since the age of ten, but he’s most recently known for his role as the responsible son, Michael, on Arrested Development. Jason’s acting career is thriving while Justine is taking a break from the entertainment business and is back in school at UCLA.

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Fred & Ben Savage

Star of 1990s’ sitcom Boy Meets World, Ben Savage is the younger brother of the 1980s’ sitcom The Wonder Years star, Fred Savage. Though they both earned fame before becoming teenagers, the Savage brothers are still active in Hollywood as 30-somethings. Ben is working on a spin-off of Boy Meets World and Fred just finished an animated series.



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Kate & Rooney Mara

Kate Mara is known as persistent journalist, Zoe Barnes in House of Cards and Rooney Mara was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They were both born in Bedford, New York and great-granddaughters of the founder of the New York Giants and granddaughters of the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Mara sisters have been acting since they were in their teens. Right now they both have several TV and film projects in production.



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Taissa & Vera Farmiga

You may remember big sister Vera Farmiga as George Clooney’s love interest in Up in the Air and little sister Taissa Farmiga as Sam from The Bling Ring… but with a 21-year age difference, they both played Corinne Walker, albeit at different life stages, in the movie Higher Ground. That was Taissa’s acting debut, and she hasn’t stopped – she’s about to start the fourth season of American Horror Story and Vera is working on several films.


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Neve & Christian Campbell

You might know Christian Campbell as Greg Ivey on the series Big Love and his sister, Neve Campbell, from the 1990s’ series Party of Five. The Campbell siblings have been acting most of their lives – they were raised in an acting family in Toronto. Christian made his acting debut on Degrassi High and one of Neve’s first roles was on the sketch comedy show The Kids in the Hall. The Campbell siblings both have several projects in production.

Lauren Bowles & Julia Louis-Dreyfus


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Made famous as Elaine on Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s younger half-sister, Lauren Bowles, played Holly Cleary on True Blood. Both had roles in Louis-Dreyfus’s first post-Seinfeld TV show, Watching Ellie. That series only lasted 17 episodes, but both still have healthy acting careers. Louis-Dreyfus stars in Veep and Bowles just wrapped up filming the movie Underdogs.



5 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is next month and it’s never too early to think of ways to honor your mom. Here are 5 Mother’s Day gift ideas that will surprise and delight your mother from Lakeside Collection.


Personalized Family Pendants Anytime you can give mom something engraved, you’re a winner in her book. This Personalized Family Pendant is a beautiful and intimate way to tell your mom how important she is to you. Up to five names with up to seven letters will fit on the spinning pendant with sparkling cubic zirconias separate each name. Your mother will be enchanted.


Framed Handprint Wall Art Precious prints will melt your mother’s heart with Mom’s Garden of Love Framed Handprint wall art. You and your brothers and sisters can create a handprint with paint or ink (not included) to give your mother a unique and thoughtful gift. The finished art is protected under plastic in its wooden frame so it can be admired for years to come.

daily-guideposts-365-devotionsDaily Guideposts 365 Daily Devotions Your mom will be touched and grateful for Daily Guideposts 365 Devotions. It is a collection of readings that uses faith as a guide for day-to-day life. Scripture is followed by personal stories of experience, strength and hope for each day of the year.

monogram-micro-fiber-totesMonogram Microfiber Totes Extend the perfect invitation for a weekend day trip with a Monogram Microfiber Tote. She can carry everything she needs for the museum, brunch and a walk in the park with this tote – and there’s no mistaking who it belongs to! Nothing says personal gift like a personalized bag for mom.

country-breakfast-gourmet-gift-basketCountry Breakfast Gourmet Gift Baskets Good morning goodies! For the mom who loves to eat, loves to cook or both – the Country Breakfast Gourmet Gift Basket will brighten her Mother’s Day. Home-style breakfast favorites fill a reusable wicker basket that will remind her of the joy you bring her long after the food is gone.

TAX DAY COUNTDOWN: Crazy Tax Deductions People Make to Save a Buck

The countdown to tax day is underway. The pressure can be intense — intense enough to drive people mad. Here are 6 crazy tax deductions people have made to save a buck.Taxes-date

Financing Fire A taxpayer in Pennsylvania paid an arsonist $10,000 to burn down his furniture store.  H&R Block reports the taxpayer claimed the insurance money he received from the fire as income and the arson as a deduction.

Bosom Bill One of’s favorite deductions was for breast implants. The tax payer was a saleswoman who wanted to deduct the $14,000 surgery as a medical expense.  The claim was denied. Had she been an exotic dancer, it may have gone over as a business expense filed under “stage prop.”

Wee Wages According to the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, one person claimed an infant as an employee. His CPA did not let this one slide.

50-dollar-billCanine Cash According to GROCO CPA & Advisors, a tax payer claimed his dog as a dependent. He even claimed his doggy daycare expenses as childcare costs. His arguments were denied.

Feline Funds A junkyard owner claimed cat food as a business expense. The tax payer argued he used it to attract feral cats. The cats, in turn, took care of the rat and snake problem at the property making it safe for customers. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine reports the deduction was accepted.

woman-doing-taxesTraveler’s Check  says a painter claimed a trip to Brazil as a business expense. When questioned about the expense, he said he went to Brazil to buy spatulas.

Taxes are a serious business, and sometimes the IRS needs a laugh, but there is such a thing as being too creative with your costs. Err on the side of caution.

Lakeside Collection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

It’s Friday and it’s time to have fun flipping through the catalog! We’ve picked out the items we love — we think you’ll love them, too. Here is the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week.


Create an enchanting oasis with a Fairy or Gnome Garden Kit. Add the pieces to a container or a corner of a flower bed, select a few plants, and soon you will have a mini garden. Perfect indoors and outside. Adjustable fence can be bent to accommodate gardens or containers of varying shapes.


Have more fun at family reunions and kids’ birthday parties with this 10-Foot Outdoor Activity Parachute. There are over 100 great games children can play with these parachutes–including bouncing balls on top or lifting it and running underneath. Promotes cooperation, builds muscles and develops perceptual, cognitive, motor and academic skills. Features 12 evenly spaced handles and a carry bag.


Women’s Knot Front Dress is a flattering outfit for all occasions. The knot and empire waist creates a slim look. The front of the skirt has a graceful overlay. Change your accessories to make this dress casual or more formal.


Baby’s Bathe ‘n Wrap Apron Towel is the ultimate shower gift! Extra-large bath towel offers peace of mind to anyone bathing a baby or a toddler. The apron portion allows a mother to wear the towel while keeping her hands free. She then can quickly and safely wrap her child up in one smooth motion. The hood portion of the towel is perfectly placed to fit on the baby’s head. Made of soft cotton and polyester, it’s gentle and absorbent with a tight weave. Order several so you will always have one on hand. Cute embroidery decorates the towel.


Don’t let magazines, newspapers and books overrun your tables and counters. Deluxe Magazine Side Table is an attractive way to end the clutter. Wooden table has a roomy top surface, an open shelf and a bottom shelf with a removable magazine rack. There’s also a pullout drawer with a drink coaster and a place for a remote to make it the perfect table to keep next to your favorite easy chair. The rack keeps periodicals and books easy to find, but it’s simple to take out if you want added space in the bottom shelf.

Graduation Gifts: Etiquette for Giving and Receiving

Graduation-tassleGraduation is just around the corner and that means presents! People are always concerned with the rules about gift giving – here’s what you need to know about the giving graduation gifts and receiving them.

Giving Gifts:

If you receive a graduation announcement, it is just that: a statement of an accomplishment. Graduation announcements are usually sent to an inclusive list, meaning there are a lot of people on the list with varying degrees of social importance to the sender, so announcements are not a request for gifts. A gift is not required.

It is up to the recipient of the announcement on whether it’s appropriate to send a gift or if an acknowledgement of the achievement – like a greeting card — is sufficient. If the graduate is the daughter of a co-worker you once bought Girl Scout Cookies from, a card is a fine way to recognize the occasion. If the graduate is someone you know personally or the graduate’s parents are good friends, sending a gift would be good form. If you are invited to attend the ceremony or the graduation party, the social standard is to give a gift.

If a gift is in order, you have options. You can send a personal keepsake or something functional for their new dorm room or apartment. You don’t have to go big to make the gift count — toaster ovens and microwaves are useful gifts and things a graduate can keep for a long time. This goes for gift cards and money as well. You should only give what you are comfortable with or can afford. If everyone else is sending $1,000 and you can only afford to send $10, that’s OK; it will still be appreciated.

If you are not attending the graduation ceremony or party, sending the gift or delivering it in person is fine. Bringing the gift to the graduation or party is also acceptable.

graduation-giftsReceiving Gifts:

If you are the graduate, you did a great job and recognition should be reward enough. Don’t expect gifts – no one is required to give you anything, even if you sent them an announcement. If you do get a gift, show your gratitude: that is polite.

Thank you notes should go out as soon as possible — don’t take more than a month to give proper recognition.  Though getting out a note fast is important, a quick email for the $25 check isn’t going to cut it. For any gift, big or small, a handwritten note is necessary. Invest in a nice set of thank you cards. Because no gift is required, make your thank you count. Put thought into it with keywords like “generous” and “thoughtful.” It doesn’t have to be long – just a few sentences to show your appreciation.

No matter what the occasion or the season, gifts are a delicate detail when it comes to celebrations. When in doubt, a token for the festivities will be appreciated and it should always get a thank you note.Graduates

The History of April Fool’s Day



It is not a national holiday, but April Fool’s Day is observed, revered and feared all over the world. It comes with tricks and no treats at the same time every year, so why do we keep up with the tradition? There is no clear evidence on the origin of the holiday, but there are a couple of ideas surrounding the history of April Fool’s Day pranks came about.

Calendar Confusion

Some believe April Fool’s Day started when it Pope Gregory XIII’s calendar – now referred to as  Gregorian Calendar — went into effect. In 1582, Pope Gregory decided to reform the Julian Calendar moving April 1 back to January 1. Most people followed the new calendar, but the news of the calendar change moved slowly so some people continued to celebrate New Year’s Day in April. Considered fools for missing the holiday celebrated four months before that, they became targets of pranks and tricks.

Gullible Guppies


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In France, fish hatched in early April – a bait and hook were an easy lure for the young fish who were easily caught. To mark this time of year, people play pranks on other people – the ones who are tricked are referred to as poisson d’avril (April Fish) – a fish that’s easily caught or a gullible human being. So if you ever see someone in France on April first with a fish taped to their back, they have been marked for the whole world to see that someone fooled them.

Citizen Con

In 13th century England, a road was declared public property when a king stepped on it. When word spread to a small town that the king was coming, the town refused to let him in in order to maintain control of the main road. The king’s minions were sent to the town to sort the visit, and when they arrived, the townspeople pretended to be insane so the king would not drop by. The king fell for it, but was alerted to the trick and declared the town too foolish to punish, hence April Fool’s Day.

Chaucer Chicanery


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Another theory goes back to the 14th century and links it to a book — Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales. In Nun’s Priest Tale is set on the date March 32 – March having only 31 days, the text would translate to April 1. The main character is tricked by a fox and so April Fool’s Day was born.

Or not.

Weather Wiles

Another believable theory is related to spring. Because it’s so close to the vernal equinox, the thought is people are fooled by Mother Nature’s unpredictable weather. And she has certainly made fools of us this year.

While it’s unclear where and when the idea of April Fool’s Day originated, it is celebrated by many cultures all over the world. In India, jokes and pranks are played during the festival of Holi. Sizdahbedar is observed by Iranians with gags and high jinks.

Fool or be fooled on April 1st, while we don’t know exactly why we do it, it makes for a fun way to welcome spring – even if Mother Nature keeps tricking us with the occasional snowfall.

Pinteresting Picks for March

Hooray for the last day of March! We’re super excited for the change of seasons, and, judging from what Pinterest shows us, our customers are excited for warm weather, too.

Here’s our list of the products most pinned for the month — our Pinteresting Picks for March.

Sidewalk-designerThis Designer kit and 50-Ct. Chalk set brings back memories of hours on the sidewalk and days inside crafting. The Magic Art™ Spiral Sidewalk Design Kit lets kids go beyond the hum-drum hopscotch to create amazing designs on the concrete on the backyard patio or in the front on the driveway.  The wheel stencils help create clever  patterns that will keep kids occupied for hours on sunny days. The Bucket of Chalk features thick bright sticks of pink, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple and white all in a plastic tub.tipsy-tower

Here’s a new twist on the vertical garden — the Tipsy Tower Plant Stand is an easy and creative way to give height to your garden using your own planters.  It works by sliding the down the bar at an angle, allowing each pot to rest slightly on the one below it, creating a fun, gravity-defying look. 4-Ft. tower can be used in 4 different configurations as the upright tower rod is actually 2 pieces. It’s designed to accommodate 4 or more pots. 2-Ft. tower can be used in 2 different configurations and is designed to accommodate 3 to 5 pots.stove-top-cover

With warm weather on the horizon, there won’t be as much use for the stove top this summer — but the space shouldn’t go to waste! This Wooden Stove Top Cover goes right over the burners giving you more surface area for working with food, cookbooks or whatever you don’t have room for on your counter tops. It’s easy to take off and put back on using the handles.Sliding-bathroom-storage

Everyone has spring cleaning on the brain and one of our more popular Pinteresting Picks helps keep the bathroom tidy. 2-shelf Sliding Bathroom Storage unit makes use of space by adding a shelf to your cabinet while also making access easy by allowing you to slide the shelves in and out as you need. It lets you add more stuff without adding to the clutter.