Treat Yourself to an Early Christmas in Fall

The busy Christmas shopping season is getting closer and closer. And with Lakeside’s Christmas Catalog for 2016 now online, it’s easy to get a jumpstart on all your holiday shopping. But you don’t have to wrap up everything and save it for the holidays. Here are some sweet treats for Christmas, family activities for some fun this fall, as well as some gift ideas to treat yourself right now so you don’t have to wait until the holidays.

Sweet Treats You Have to Try
assorted-gourmet-pretzel-tubchocolate-chip-cookie-milk-tinsmarshmallow-madness-tub

Assorted Gourmet Pretzel Tub
An irresistible combination of salty and sweet, gourmet pretzel rods are a tasty treat. Each tub contains 20 pretzel rods dipped in chocolate and chocolate swirls, dusted in cocoa or sprinkled with chocolate candy.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Tins
This milk tin is filled with bite-sized versions of chocolate chip cookies. A lovely seasonal image adorns the milk tin, which can be reused for storage or decor when the cookies are gone. Contains 12 oz. of cookies.
Marshmallow Madness Tub
The marshmallow tub is filled with rich and delicious chocolate-covered marshmallows. It has approximately 30 oversized pieces coated in chocolate, topped with candy-coated pieces and drizzled in white chocolate.

Something Special Just for You
cozy-sock-and-lotion-gift-boxed-setsbirthstone-floating-charm-locket-necklacespersonalized-stainless-steel-mugs

Cozy Sock and Lotion Gift-Boxed Sets
With this super cozy sock and lotion gift-boxed set, your feet will stay comfortably soft and moisturized. The feminine set features a revitalizing scented foot moisturizer and a pair of ultra-soft socks tied with a bow.
Birthstone Floating Charm Locket Necklaces
This silvertone, heart-shaped locket is outlined in crystals, with a see-through window and floating charms. Locket has a magnetic closure to add or remove charms. Hangs on a ball chain with a lobster claw clasp.
Personalized Stainless Steel Mug
This mug is a cute and customized way to sip your morning coffee. The trendy pattern wraps around the 16-oz. insulated design. The mouth opening slides open and closed, and the top is airtight yet easily removed.

Family Gifts for a Fun-Filled Fall
licensed-trivia-boxes1000-Piece-Seasonal-Leaf-Shaped-Puzzlefarkel-game-set-with-dice-rolling-tray

Licensed Trivia Boxes
Get together with your family and test your knowledge of the facts with this Licensed Trivia Box. It contains hundreds of trivia questions, as well as character cards or game cards, perfect for a fall family game night.
1,000-Pc. Seasonal Leaf-Shaped Puzzles
Unlike traditional puzzles, this 1,000-Pc. Seasonal Leaf-Shaped Puzzle has a unique silhouette in the spirit of the season. It’s also filled with detailed artwork from one of the four seasons. Perfect for fall and winter.
Farkel Game Set with Dice Rolling Tray
This classic, high-scoring dice game is great for a family game night. The set includes a dice rolling tray with scoring combinations printed in the center of the felt cloth and a dice collection alley along the outside edge.

7 Foods That Sound Bad but Are Good for You

Most of us struggle to eat well. It’s tough to include kale in every meal, but really we don’t have to. What’s even better news than that, is that not all food we think is bad for us is unhealthy. Here are 7 foods that sound bad but are good for you.

Rapeseed oil and flowers isolated over white.No Fear Fried Food Fried food not only tastes good, but it’s good for you, too. Sort of. It depends on what is being fried. Something like battered and fried broccoli isn’t so bad despite that it’s cloaked in fat. But foods that contain carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins like A and K need fat it helps the body absorbs the nutrients. What makes the frying bad is the type of fat. It’s better to stick to oils like canola and safflower that are made up of unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids which improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for heart disease. The bad fats like butter and shortening (trans fats) should be avoided. They increase cholesterol significantly.

Good Shape Guac The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado which is full of fat but it’s good fat that not only doesn’t contain cholesterol, but it can also help lower bad cholesterol. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin E. In addition to avocados, guacamole also contains onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Tomatoes are widely considered a super-food; they contain lycopene, vitamins A, C and E. Mix it all together and you have a cancer-fighting, heart-disease-battling dip.

Coffee cupCoffee Cure Coffee doesn’t just wake you up in the morning, it can give your brain a boost. It actually stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine as well as improve your memory and cognitive function. But a cup of Joe can give your whole body a kick start as well. The long term benefits may include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Fitness Fries Sweet potatoes are associated with carbohydrates which can scare away any dieter, but those orange tubers are packed with nutrients and they don’t contain nearly as much starch as rice or corn. Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber and vitamin A (and Beta-carotene). Beta-carotene protects the body’s immune system and can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. While adding fat through deep-frying isn’t ideal, in moderation the benefits outweigh the consequences. However, baked sweet potato fries are just as tasty as the fried ones.

Smoothie Strength Smoothies get a bad rap for being high-calorie sugar shakes, but if you use yogurt instead of ice cream, they won’t be so bad. They can actually be quite good for you. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which prevents the production of cell-damaging free radicals. They’re also anti-inflammatories. Yogurt promotes intestinal health as it’s full of probiotics and the active cultures help prevent yeast infections. You can add banana for texture and potassium and orange juice as a sweetener and for some vitamin C. Just hit puree and you have a breakfast for cancer to contend with.

Cup Cake decorationPotent Peanut Butter  You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! Together, they taste like strength. Peanut butter is a protein rich food that helps build and repair muscle. It also has cholesterol-lowering, healthy fats and it’s loaded with anti-oxidants. Wrapped in dark chocolate, this may be the perfect food. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, improve your cognitive function and reduce the risk for stroke. A peanut butter cup made with the right ingredients does a body good.

Robust Rinds Deep fried pig skin. Sounds heart-stopping- deadly, doesn’t it? Well, unlike their potato counterparts, pork rinds contain no carbohydrates. The other good news: the bad fat in the skin is rendered off in the cooking process leaving behind almost pure protein.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

We are all spending a lot of time indoors, and that makes it an ideal time to update your kitchen with items from The Lakeside Collection. Organize the space with a sink caddy and a big set of bowls that is great for mixing and storing. Speed up your prep with new kitchen gadgets, and brighten up your cooking with brilliantly colored pans. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

This Set of 2 Sink Caddies ensures that you'll always have a kitchen sponge and/or scrubber at your fingertips.

This Set of 2 Sink Caddies ensures that you’ll always have a kitchen sponge and/or scrubber at your fingertips.

The 10-Pc. Glass Bowl Set makes it easy to identify which foods you've stored.

The 10-Pc. Glass Bowl Set makes it easy to identify which foods you’ve stored.

Save time and look professional with these Stainless Steel Kitchen Gadgets.

Save time and look professional with these Stainless Steel Kitchen Gadgets.

Brighten up your kitchen with this Colorful 8-Pc. Cookware Set.

Brighten up your kitchen with this Colorful 8-Pc. Cookware Set.

Pinteresting Picks for December

Winter’s frosty days make it tempting to relax indoors with comfort food and a good book. Our Lakeside Pinterest followers were looking to get cozy this month, with reading accessories and books to inspire some creativity. When you must leave the house, take some of your homemade slow-cooker favorites to any gathering, and don’t forget to bundle up with one of Lakeside’s versatile accessories. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for December.

You'll read comfortably for hours with your book or e-reader on this plush Book Pillow.

You’ll read comfortably for hours with your book or e-reader on this plush Book Pillow.

 

LEGO® Play Book from DK shares building tips and tricks, while it introduces you to new worlds.

LEGO® Play Book from DK shares building tips and tricks, while it introduces you to new worlds.

A Slow Cooker Carrier is the easy way to take your food contribution to a family gathering, neighborhood potluck or other social event.

A Slow Cooker Carrier is the easy way to take your food contribution to a family gathering, neighborhood potluck or other social event.

 

Reversible Hooded Scarf is a 2-in-1 accessory that keeps you toasty.

Reversible Hooded Scarf is a 2-in-1 accessory that keeps you toasty.

Fall Football Kickoff: Tailgating Tips

tailgatingPartying in the parking lot before a game has become as much of an institution as the sport of football itself. Tailgating can be so much more than just a cooler of drinks and a portable grill. It is a movable feast of food and fun that can get complicated. Here are some tailgating tips to make sure you don’t miss anything and have plenty of time to enjoy yourself.

Food and Drink Plan your menu ahead of time to ensure you have everything you will need. Hot dogs, hamburgers, kabobs, barbecue chicken, and brats are tailgate classics. Pack the right charcoal or propane canister to cook them on your portable grill. Sides like chips, potato salad, deviled eggs, and dips are a must. If you or your guests are watching what you eat, try some lighter options. For dessert, try something sophisticated or go for home-baked favorites like cookies and cupcakes. Y ou can even whip up icing in your team’s colors. A wide variety of drinks chilled in a cooler of ice will tackle your thirst. If the forecast suggests a hot day, include plenty of water and sports drinks to keep everyone hydrated.

tailgatingBase Camp Essentials The spot around your vehicle will be your headquarters during the party and the game, so make sure it is fully equipped and comfortable. Bring a portable canopy to keep the sun off your spot and help your party stand out in the parking lot. Camp chairs and a folding table to hold all the food are necessary. For safety, pack a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and extra sunscreen. Stay on top of all the game action with a radio or portable television. Remember plenty of batteries or a generator and extension cords for all your electronics. Pack a box or bag with the plates, cups, utensils, and napkins, and throw in cleaning supplies like garbage bags, paper towels, and extra water to put out a charcoal grill.

Games and Fun Tailgaters begin the party hours before kickoff. Lawn games and other portable pursuits give the guests who are not cooking something to do. They also keep children out of the chef’s way! Many games like bean bag toss and ladder ball are delightful for all ages. Kids practice their aim with hoop toss and mini disc golf. Take along a football for a game of catch.

tailgatingDesignated Drivers Perhaps the most important things for any party are the designated drivers. This is especially true for tailgating parties. Because they are held often at crowded stadiums, it can be difficult to catch a cab after the game is over. If you are hosting the party, encourage your guests to plan ahead to carpool to and from the tailgate site. If you are a guest, make sure you know how you can get home if you enjoy a beer or are simply tired out by all the fun.

Fall and football go hand-in-hand — here’s to a great season!

5 Back to School Brain Boosts

back-to-school No matter how much reading your kids get done over the summer, learning in those first few weeks of school can be a shock to the brain. Here are five back to school brain boosts for your kids so they are ready to learn when the first bell rings.

1. The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard Today’s schoolchildren have more gadgets at their disposal than previous generations could dream of. Smartphones, tablets, and computers are great tools for education, but there still is a place for the written word. Studies show that hand writing new information helps students of all ages commit it to memory. Writing something out engages more of the brain than typing, and since it takes longer, the brain has more time to process the information. Writing is especially helpful with spelling, reading comprehension, and mathematics. If your child is stuck on something or needs to memorize a fact, encourage them to write it out.

2. Make Sure Kids Catch Plenty of Zzzzs It is normal to be a little lax on bedtimes during the summer. When school starts, parents should enforce the rules to make sure children get a good night’s rest. Sleep is essential for any mind to function at its best. Not only does a well-rested mind pay attention during the day, sleep is the “down time” when short-term memories become long-term ones.

back-to-school3. Feed the Brain Our bodies, including the brain, need the right fuel to do their jobs. While sugar and caffeine are useful for quick bursts of energy, they do not help build the brain. Antioxidants and vitamins found in vegetables and fruits fight brain cell damage and increase cognitive function. Experiment to find veggies your children will enjoy without a fight. No brain can function well without the amino acids in proteins like meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. Proteins especially are important at breakfast because they satisfy hunger, ensuring your stays focused in the morning.

4. Get Moving! The link between brainpower and exercise has been confirmed again and again in scientific studies. Unfortunately, many schools must limit the amount of exercise kids get during the day in order to squeeze in extra classroom time. Just 20 to 40 minutes of vigorous play every day can increase a child’s brain activity. It also improves concentration and a child’s ability to work for long periods of time without interruption. The exercise can be as simple as jumping rope, running games or hula hooping.

back-to-school5. Review to Remember Repetition is the key to learning and memorizing new information. Every day, ask your children what they learned in school that day. Ask for specifics about the subjects you know they struggle with. One good idea is to make reviewing the day’s lessons a part of the nightly bedtime routine.

Starting a new school year is never easy. But with a little extra work, you can make sure your children get the most out of every day.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

As the week winds down, we are looking forward to relaxing a little at home. After several nights of quick meals, it is time to work in the kitchen to create something special. If cooking is not your thing, keep snacks close at hand on the counter and in the living room so you can grab something sweet in a hurry. Remember, everyone loves something gourmet to nibble on, even your pet! Here is the Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

The varied sizes of the Set of 4 Lasagna Baking Pans are perfect for any event from a large dinner with guests to a cozy meal for two.

The varied sizes of the Set of 4 Lasagna Baking Pans are perfect for any event from a large dinner with guests to a cozy meal for two.

Jolly Chef Kitchen Collection is a fun and upbeat way to give your home color.

Jolly Chef Kitchen Collection is a fun and upbeat way to give your home color.

Make brand name candy bars that are just as delicious as the real thing with this Copy Cat Candy Bars Cookbook.

Make brand name candy bars that are just as delicious as the real thing with this Copy Cat Candy Bars Cookbook.

3-Way Candy Dispenser keeps your favorite snacks close and easily accessible.

3-Way Candy Dispenser keeps your favorite snacks close and easily accessible.

Your pet deserves to dine in style, and this Pet Food Cabinet with Bowls lets him do that without costing you a fortune.

Your pet deserves to dine in style, and this Pet Food Cabinet with Bowls lets him do that without costing you a fortune.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Case for Febgiving

Dinner-partyAs we enter the latter half of winter, it can be kind of discouraging to know that there’s not much holiday-wise to look forward to. All of the big ones have already passed, and the “fun factor” of Valentine’s Day isn’t quite as universal as we’d like to believe. Thus, it may be good for our collective mental health to consider a new holiday that’s been catching on: Febgiving!

At its core, Febgiving is a holiday for gathering up your friends and family to have a day of warmth and celebration despite the bitter cold. Consider it as a sort of pre-party for the end of winter and a surefire way to combat the season’s blues. Modeled on the luxurious feast that defines Thanksgiving, Febgiving, like most good holidays, is simply an excuse to eat and drink well in the presence of people you care about.

Not sold yet? Though the benefits to Febgiving are literally unending, here are a few choice reasons for you to jump on the bandwagon.

You don’t have to deal with tradition
Am I alone in my hostility toward whole roast turkey? It’s one of my least favorite dishes, but having a Thanksgiving dinner without it would invite endless scoldings and complaints from people who are devoted to it for the sake of tradition. That’s why Febgiving is so great: there aren’t centuries of tradition to deal with, so you can do it up however you want! Cook up a nice porchetta, some brisket, or quiche as your main dish instead — it’s all up to you!

You don’t have to invite everyone
One drawback to the major winter holidays is the feeling that hanging out with not-so-nice family members is mandatory. It’s sort of the price you pay for eating all of that good food. Since no one’s heard of Febgiving, you’re freer to decide who gets to come over and celebrate with you. You can make it a friends-only affair, or dine with a few close cousins instead of the whole clan.

Traveling is easier in February
Anyone who’s flown or driven to relatives’ homes during the winter holidays knows that it can often balloon into a huge expense. You have to budget for inflated airfare, airport snacks to eat during the inevitable delays, and extra gas for bumper-to-bumper traffic. The good thing about February is that it’s one of the slower times for interstate travel: you’ll get where you’re going faster and cheaper than in November.

It makes February a little less lonely
Though Valentine’s Day can be a lot of fun for couples, the flipside of it is that it tends to leave unpartnered people in the lurch. And since Valentine’s is really the only holiday in February, it can make the whole month feel like kind of a bummer. With Febgiving, you can extend the spirit of love to everyone in your social group, regardless of whether they’re coupled or not. Everyone wants to feel loved; especially in February.

Leftovers!
Do I even need to explain this one?

Soleil is a former chef, with an encyclopedia of recipes floating around in her head. Nowadays, she applies her culinary expertise to the wonderful world of fancy picnic baskets.

It’s Almost Game Day! Get Ready with The Lakeside Collection

NFL Mickey ThrowThe biggest game of the year is right around the corner, so it’s time to make sure your home is stocked with all the game day gear. You’ve got two weeks until the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks, and it’s expected to be an incredible game. Are you ready to support your team in the final face-off? If you’re hosting a huge party at home or just watching the game with a couple of friends, here are a few of the essentials you’ll need to pull off an energetic football party.

Meal Preparation

It’s time to break out the generations-old recipe for 7-layer bean dip. Time to stock up on your favorite baked hot wings, and plan a football-shaped cheese ball for the appetizer table. You should also look into kitchen essentials that will make your prep work a breeze, like the soak and strain bowl, or the Easy-Grip Cutter Set. Check out these great kitchen essentials and more at The Lakeside Collection to make sure you have everything you need to prepare all your favorite game day snacks!

Dip Bowl Hangers

Serving Bowls and Platters 

Is your home stocked with enough serving bowls and plates for chips, dips, appetizers and more? Will your guests know where to grab a napkin or put their garbage? Make sure you have enough serving ware to keep everything organized! Use nice plastic plates that can be kept or tossed for guests, but make sure your serving bowls are sturdy and efficient, leaving plenty of room on the table for dips, salsas, and spreads. And for those of you heading to someone else’s house for a party or potluck, check out the NFL Casserole Carriers to keep your cold dishes cold and your warm dishes warm.

Party Glasses

NFL Party drink sets are a must-have item for this year’s big game! If your team isn’t in the championship game this year, you can get multiple different team sets and individuals can choose what cup they use. Complete with a coaster, your guests will never lose their cups!

A Decorative Touch

Every football party needs some sort of decorative touch, so if you’re not into the crazy tablecloths and streamers, check out the Team Pride Canvas Wall Art, or grab a few pendants. You can also get decorative NFL blankets and throws for the couch as decoration and to keep viewers warm throughout the party!