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.

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.

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

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

It’s not quite beach weather yet, but with what Mother Nature put us through this winter, we can’t help but dream about all the outdoor activities we have planned for this summer. As we page through the Lakeside Collection catalog, here are our favorite items for the week.


Wear this 3-Pair Barefoot Jewelry Set anywhere your bare feet go! The set features anklets with glass beads in different colors that will sparkle in the sunlight. Stretches to fit around your ankle and toe.


Solar Animal Repeller is the humane way to stop pests from damaging your yard, garden or property. It eliminates the need for cruel traps and poisons, plus it’s easy to install. Just stake it in the ground and it charges in sunlight to activate a built-in infrared motion detector. When pests come within its 20-foot detection range, it triggers powerful, ultrasonic waves that turn animals away. It only activates when motion is detected, so it can run around the clock when charged. Stake it in your lawn, near your garbage cans or near any spot where animals cause destruction.


Renew your spirit with this inspiring wall art by Marla Rae that reminds us, Today Is a New Day! Wooden box-frame artwork has an antiqued look balanced with contemporary fonts and a variety of colors. The array of uplifting messages will leave you feeling good each time you look at it.


Enjoy a break from your hectic life and relax in our Swinging Chair Hammock. Hang it from a tree or on a stand (not included). Made of cotton canvas, it’s held up by ropes on a wood frame. Features a foam-cushioned seat and back for extra comfort.


Show that faith is eternal with this Antiqued Metal Garden Angel. The sculpture features a weathered finish that creates a timeless look in your garden. Detailed wings and a star wand highlight the top, while the bottom has an open lattice design that lets your plants and flowers show through.

Etiquette: What to Wear to a Wedding


When attending a wedding, it is a sign of respect towards the happy couple to wear the appropriate clothing. Some cultural and religious groups have specific standards as to appropriate wedding attire, while others are not as strict on what you are allowed to wear. Emily Post, adviser on all things etiquette, gives the instructions for guests on what to wear to a wedding.

  • Formal daytime wedding – Women should wear a cocktail dress or dressy afternoon dress. Men should wear a dark suit coupled with a conservative shirt and tie.
  • Formal evening wedding – Women should wear a long evening dress or fancy cocktail dress, depending on local customs (gloves are optional). Men should wear a dark suit, or a tuxedo if the invitation specifies “black tie.”
  • Semi-formal daytime wedding – Women should wear a dressy afternoon dress, suit, or pantsuit. Men have the option of a dark suit OR a blazer and gray flannel pants with a tie.
  • Semi-formal evening wedding – Women should wear a cocktail dress or dressy pantsuit. Men should wear a dark suit.
  • Informal daytime wedding – Women should wear an afternoon dress, dressy skirt, or pants and a blouse. Men should wear a sport coat or blazer with slacks (tie optional).
  • Informal evening wedding – Women should wear an afternoon or cocktail dress. Men should wear a blazer with gray flannel pants or slacks (tie optional).
  • For women, hats or head coverings are optional, unless required by the house of worship or at the bride and groom’s request.

wedding-cakeWhat should you never, EVER wear to a wedding? Some say that’s a matter of personal preference, but Emily Post suggests otherwise. Here is her list of clothing items to NEVER wear to a wedding:

  • Clothing that is skimpy, provocative, suggestive, obscene, or just in poor taste.
  • Costumes – UNLESS you have been notified that it is a costume wedding and everyone else will be attired in costumes as well.
  • Blue jeans and t-shirts. Avoid denim in most cases; a denim skirt, shirt, or jacket is most likely not appropriate.
  • Any jewelry that calls attention to your own faith while attending services for another faith. It is important to have your own beliefs, but there is a time and a place for making a statement about religion, and someone else’s wedding is neither that time nor that place.
  • Baseball caps, sport caps, large decorative hats that block others’ lines of sight. Those are appropriate at the Kentucky Derby, but not at someone’s wedding.
  • Casual shoes or boots worn with formal or semi-formal outfits. Perhaps you forgot your fancy shoes at home – run out to Target and buy a pair of heels instead of wearing the dirty tennies you found in your trunk.
  • Sunglasses worn indoors (unless you have a valid medical reason for doing so).
  • Boutonnieres and corsages (unless supplied by the hosts).

If you follow these fool-proof guidelines, you will be an enjoyable member of the happy couple’s special day, instead of an eyesore who causes a distraction!

This post was written by a guest contributor for The Perfect Card Box, creators of patented locking wedding card boxes and card holders for all occasions.

7 Ideas for Throwing the Perfect Weekend Party with Kids


As we grow, the term “party” seems to evolve. In college the word meant “all night experience” filled with lots of friends and unknown shenanigans. But things like a full-time job, children and other responsibilities get thrown into the mix as we get older. We have a few ideas that can incorporate the entire family when throwing a fun weekend party.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Small

It doesn’t have to be tiny, but when you want to keep both kids and adults entertained, it’s easier to keep everyone engaged when there are fewer people to deal with. No one gets overwhelmed, and parents can keep track of their kids.

Invite Adults with Kids

It’s easier to keep kids interested in the party if they have other kids to play with. Having playmates will make the party feel less like a chore for kids – you can even encourage them to invite their own friends. There’s more incentive for them to get out and have a good time if they have someone to have a good time with.

Game OnFamily-dancing

To stir things up and get guests of all ages mingling, make a game the centerpiece of party. Divide everyone up into random teams, have several big games like charades or a dance competition planned that involve team-work and keep score. Everyone stays involved, everyone behaves and everyone has fun. It also gives the party a clear beginning, middle and end so guests and kids can gauge their comings and goings.

Go Easy on the Booze

If you’re serving alcohol, keep it simple and stick to single-serving beer and wine for the adults and soda for the kids. The single-servings will prevent mix-ups with mixers so the kids stay safe and the adults can still have fun responsibly.

Host as a Group

Divide the hosting responsibilities up and give everyone a job to do. It will keep kids busy, involved and feeling important. The pressure of entertaining the kids will be taken off parents and it will keep the adults socially active.


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Make the Food Fun

A build-your-own taco or burrito bar will keep the kids as well as adults active and interactive. With finger foods and barbeque, it’s easy to walk off on their own to eat.  They have more opportunity to talk with everyone and stay engaged if they have to fiddle with their food rather than if a grab and go buffet is an option.

Hard and Fast Times

Have a set starting and ending time. It’ll save you the grief of putting a cranky child to bed and your friends will be grateful that they have answer to the question, “When are we leaving?”  It doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but try a party with kids without a closing time and you’ll notice a difference.


7 Cities That Go All Out for St. Patrick’s Day

You might still be recovering from your St. Patrick’s Day parties this weekend, but we’ve got the low down on the 7 top cities that put all others to shame.


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New York, NY New Yorkers have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a parade for more than 250 years. Every year between 150,000 and 200,000 people march in the parade, let alone watch the parade. About two million people are expected to show up to watch the marchers hike up Fifth Avenue this year.

Boston, MA Ireland is well-represented in the United States, but the northeastern part of the country seems to be the most Irish, so it would be fitting for Boston to have the first St. Patrick’s Day observance in 1737. According to parade organizers, they now hold the second largest parade in the country with as many as a million spectators every year.


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Chicago, IL In Chicago, to honor the Irish, the Chicago River is dyed green. If you’ve never been to Chi-town, the river weaves through the center of downtown, so on St. Patrick’s Day, if you look up, you’ll see skyscrapers and if you look down, you’ll see green water – or green ice, if this winter never ends.

Off the Beaten Path

Columbia, SC Though it’s only been on the parade calendar for 32 years, in Columbia, SC about 40,000 people show up at the city’s Five Points to celebrate all things Irish. It might not be as big as New York or Boston’s parades, but it’s one of the biggest Irish celebrations in the southeast.



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Savannah, GA In Georgia’s oldest city, the fountains will run green in honor of the Irish. It’s not just a day of festivities – it’s an entire week of festivities that started March 10th, and it has been compared to a small Mardi Gras. 500,000 people are expected to attend the party. The city has been celebrating the holiday for almost 200 years.

Unusual Celebrations

New London, WI

Every March in the Cheese State, leprechauns change the name of New London, WI to New Dublin and its population expands from 7,000 to about 30,000 to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. While that’s only a fraction of what the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York attracts, things do get a little crazy for an entire week of celebrating the Irish.

Hot Springs, AK

The town of Hot Springs, AK boasts of hosting the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade route is 98 feet long – this year Duck Dynasty’s Mountain Man will kick off the parade and actor Jim Belushi will lead it. This March 17th marks the parade’s eleventh year and organizers expect to attract about 30,000 revelers. Hot Springs is also home to the Arkansas Blarney Stone.



5 Ways to Make it a Day Your Kid Won’t Forget

Family-flying-kitePlanning activities for your kids is fun, but sometimes you just don’t know where to start. We’ve got five great ideas to make a day your kid won’t forget.

Make a Fun Breakfast


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You have to start the day out right – with a high energy breakfast for all of the fun things you have planned. But just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy, like the breakfast banana split or donut hole breakfast skewers.  Either one is definitely more memorable than a bowl of cereal and it will certainly make your kid feel special.

Morning ‘Exercise’

Get your kids’ hearts pumping and their brains going with a Lego challenge. On index cards, write down simple designs, turn them over and let your kids pick a card. When they’re ready, start the timer and let them build. Whoever finishes first, wins.


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Have Krabby Patties for Lunch

You can’t take your kids to Spongebob Squarepants’s Krabby Patty, but you can bring a Krabby Patty to them.  Or, at least, you can make them one at home.  This recipe is about as weird as a sponge in pants living in a pineapple under the sea. It’s so weird that your kids will love them.

What Does the Fox Say? I don’t know what the fox says, but I do know what he looks like and your kids can look like him, too. Spend the latter half of the morning crafting and making felt fox masks and let your kids decide what the fox says.


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Hungry for More?

Just when you thought they couldn’t get enough Minecraft…  This cookie will win them over before they make it to the oven.  It might feed the obsession, but it’s a way they can enjoy Minecraft off-screen.