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Easter Traditions Around the World

06 Apr

Easter is a religious holiday when many celebrate spring and Jesus Christ’s resurrection. However, Easter traditions vary from country to country and even family to family. This year, Orthodox Easter and Catholic Easter fall on the same day, April 16th, providing the perfect opportunity to take a deeper look into Easter traditions around the world.  Many people enjoy sending Easter Baskets to friends and family, so knowing a little about how they celebrate can help you pick out the perfect surprise.

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5 Differences in Easter Celebrations vs. Passover

31 Mar

Spring’s return means it’s time for two of the most significant religious holidays people can name! So we’re here to tell you the differences between Easter celebrations and festivities for Passover. The frequent overlapping of the Christian Holy Week and eight-day celebration of Passover merits attention. Like Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover are equally important and get a lot of attention. Side by side, they bring to light the deep structures of Christianity and Judaism.

Want to know what the main differences between Catholic Easter celebrations and Jewish Passover are without going into too many details? This video below will give you a pretty good idea.

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St. Patrick’s Day is NOT About Irish Cocktails

16 Mar

St. Patrick’s Day is NOT About Irish Cocktails: Here are Some Anyway

I want to make it clear that St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is NOT about drinking Irish cocktails half the night (the Irish do that other days of the year). And it’s certainly not about green beer – there is NO green beer in Ireland – and it would probably be considered an insult to great beer.

Irish Cocktails aren't only for St. Patrick's Day

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is more like Thanksgiving in the US. Families go to church together to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland (that’s Saint Patrick). Afterward, they often enjoy a big family meal and a day off to relax. There might be Irish cocktails, but that’s more about Irish people making a drink than it is about a holiday tradition.

That having been said, I know some people are preparing for their St. Patrick’s party by stocking up the liquor cabinet. So, I thought I’d share some of the authentic Irish cocktails and drinks I actually had while I was in Ireland during Holy Week once upon a time. Keep reading…

 
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8 Useful Lunch Box Life Hacks for Kids and Adults

10 Mar

If you wonder if packing your lunch is worth it, try it and find out! You’ll save on buying lunch every day, and you’ll enjoy delicious and healthy options you actually like. Plus, if you have children, you’ll be able to pack lunch for the whole family in one very rewarding session. We have 8 simple lunch box tips for grown-ups and kids that will help you pack your own lunch easily every day. Besides, March 10 is a National Pack Your Lunch Day, and it’s the perfect reason to have your lunch box ready to take to work, school, on a picnic, or where ever you spend the day.

Save money, save time - pack your lunch! Keep reading…

 
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Healthy Pancake Recipes for Your Family

07 Mar

If weight gain wasn’t an issue, then we’d probably eat pancakes for breakfast and lunch, and maybe between meals. For those folks who are addicted to fluffy pancakes, with melting butter and a decadent drizzle of syrup, we have good news! Since we’re in love with pancakes, but not the extra pounds, we’ve got healthy pancake recipes just in time for International Pancake Day on March 7th. It’s the perfect excuse to dive into a stack of steaming hot pancakes! But there’s no need to stick with the classic buttermilk version. It’s a hearty option for breakfast, but not the healthiest way start to your day.

Tips for Gluten Free and Healthy Pancakes

People who are allergic to wheat gluten, or who have other dietary restrictions, can’t include traditional pancakes in their diet! But our healthy pancake recipes make sure they too have options. Pancakes do not have to be full of carbs, or calorie guilt. When you learn these recipes, you’ll be able to indulge in heavenly homemade pancakes while on a diet, and it will be as easy as making regular buttermilk pancakes. These healthy pancake alternatives are low fat, delicious and absolutely guilt free. See for yourself! Keep reading…

 
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What is Purim? A Time For Joy and Giving

01 Mar

What is Purim?

For many people, Jewish holidays are shrouded in an air of mystery, and Purim – since it’s lesser known among non-Jewish people – can be even more enigmatic. It can be intimidating or awkward to figure out the best way to approach someone and ask what their holidays are all about. So, we’re here to shed a bit of light on Purim: a holiday that you may have never heard of, and certainly, have some questions about.

Purim Celebration Decorations

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How to Welcome Spring Into Your Home in 5 Easy Steps

17 Feb

In like a lion, out like a lamb, the first spring month is almost here, which means we made it through the coldest season and it’s time to shed our winter layers in favor of the lightness of spring. While it may still be a few weeks until we can put away heavy jackets and sweaters for good, it’s perfectly fine to start preparing your home for the big seasonal transition. Brighter hues, fresher scents… it’s time to bring the warmth indoors, and the warmth outdoors will follow sooner than you think!

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5 Creative Valentine’s Date Ideas

03 Feb

Valentine’s Day is nearly here and we’re sure many of you haven’t planned a date yet. This is bad news if you want to book a reservation at the most popular restaurant in town. But you probably don’t want to do that; after all, you’re a free spirit, an innovator, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person who likes to go against the rules and do things last minute. Or, maybe more honestly, you’re reading this on February 13th and won’t for the life of you be able to do any of the more traditional things and that’s okay.

Just for you, dear romantic voyager, we’ve put together some of our favorite date ideas that aren’t the typical Valentine’s Day package. Some cater to those who “plan” last minute, some cater to those who like adventure, and all can be enjoyed by couples, singles, friends, and family alike. After all, Valentine’s Day is a day we think should celebrate love in all of its many amazing forms.

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The Year of the Rooster: How does Chinese Zodiac Work?

23 Jan

The start of the lunar year is getting closer, and millions of people around the world have already started getting ready for one of the biggest celebrations: Chinese New Year. This January 28th denotes the beginning of the Year of the Red Fire Rooster, as defined by the Chinese zodiac cycle. But what does it really mean to all of us?

Chinese astrology has been around for thousands of years and it is deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy and culture. It’s based on the belief that both living things and objects have a purpose in this world, and achieving harmony is the most important among them. The Chinese also believe that everything has its own energy which can be either male – vibrant and outgoing called “yang”, or female – quiet and subdued, called “yin”. Yin Yang energy plays a key role in Chinese astrology and determines common traits and potential for compatibility between the animal signs.

How does Chinese Zodiac Work?

Image by IQRemix

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7 Bizarre Cheeses From Around the World

19 Jan

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January, 20 is a National Cheese Lovers Day and a perfect excuse to talk about our favorite food, cheese!

There’s so much more to the amazing world of cheese than your typical grocery store can offer. There are a lot of great affordable cheeses out there, don’t get us wrong, but none of them made it to our list today. Thousands of artisan cheeses are produced through their own intricate and labor-intensive processes, creating complex varieties with unique flavors. Join us as we explore the most unusual (and expensive) cheeses around the world, because we’re going to give the term “indulgence” a whole new meaning!

Stilton – golden cheese from UK

Let’s start with a fancy cheese.  This delicacy, believe it or not, would be served to you as a dessert! The most expensive cheese in the UK, White Stilton Gold, is made by Clawson who is known as ‘The King” of the British cheeses. With only six creameries in the world, it’s no wonder the prices for this luxury “gold” is so high. Creamy and crumbly White Stilton Gold is made with real edible gold leaf and gold liqueur. It will cost you around $500 per pound and will certainly make an amazing gift for any cheese connoisseur you know. Rumor has it that celebrities and oil sheikhs are already in line for a sample of the golden cheese.

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Pule – donkey’s cheese from Serbia

Another option for those who don’t mind spending a fortune on good cheese is Pule. Even more expensive than Stilton (around $600 per pound), Pule is made outside Belgrade, Serbia and only available on demand. So, even if you’re a millionaire you will still need to go to Serbia and wait for the cheese to be made, which might actually take a while. To make 1 kilogram of this cheese requires 25 liters of smoked donkey’s milk (or 3 gallons per pound) collected by hand from 100 donkeys who only produce 200 ml of milk per day, each!  But this cheese may just be well worth the wait, not only because of the unique crumbly taste, but also due to its health properties. Pule is low in fats, rich in proteins and vitamins (60 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk), and is known to strengthen the immune system.

Moose Cheese from Sweden

Moose cheese? The main reason you probably have never heard of it is that there are only three moose on the planet capable of producing milk. Their names are Gullan, Haelga, and Juna and they all live in Bjursholm, Sweden.

The process of making moose cheese is long, expensive, and tricky. Moose only lactate 5 months a year and require the most tender handling in complete silence otherwise they can get unsettled and dry-up for good. Each moose can produce about 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of milk per day if you’re lucky, which means the farm can make no more than 300 kg (660 pounds) of cheese a year. So if you’re looking to surprise your friends and have $400 to spend on a pound of cheese, pick yourself up some of the world’s rarest moose cheese. Although, instead of actually giving them this cheese, you can always go the cheap route, and just say, “Did you know you could make cheese from Bullwinkle?”.

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Epoisses – stinky cheese from France

If smelly cheeses aren’t a problem for you, then Epoisses should be on the top of your “to try” list.   As a hand-washed rind cheese, it is considered among the stinkiest in the world. Of course, cheese-lovers know that’s a sign of potent, delicious flavor.  Made from raw cow’s milk with its rind washed with pomace brandy, this cheese has a flavor and texture as unforgettable as its smell, which has made this cheese a culinary treasure. Some liken its scent to gym socks, and it has even been banned from public transportation all over France. I wonder what made Napoleon love it so much?

Casu marzu – flying maggot cheese from Italy

For the extreme foodies out there, here’s a cheese that will horrify you. Casu marzu literally means “rotten cheese.” It is one of the most disturbing cheeses out there, and here’s why. To make it, you start with regular sheep cheese and basically leave it out to attract flies until it’s infested with thousands of live larvae. This cheese is only made in Sardinia, Italy and is quite popular with locals. They prefer to eat it while the maggots are still alive (they think it’s unsafe otherwise). Some people get rid of them before consuming, while others leave them in but cover the cheese with their hands while eating because the disturbed maggots can jump up to six inches high! Soft and liquidy, Casu marzu has an aftertaste that lasts for hours and is definitely one of those foods that require a certain courage to try.

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Milbenkäse – cheese with mite excrement from Germany

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Italian maggot cheese, along come the Germans who take cheese-making to another level. Their Milbenkäse is made by allowing quark (a fresh dairy product much like yogurt) to sit amongst thousands of dust mites that transform it into a highly sought after delicacy. The mites excrete an enzyme that ripens the cheese for about a year until it turns to a blackish lump with a bitter and zesty flavor. Is there anything more to this cheese rather than the unique process and high price? They say by consuming Milbenkäse you can rid yourself of a host dust allergies. That might be a question worth asking some aficionados who’ve already tried it.

Yak – everlasting cheese from Tibet

Are you one of those people who wish good cheese never ended? They have a solution for you in Tibet! Hard like a piece of resin, Yak cheese is so hard it could break your teeth, but at least you can suck and gnaw on it for hours. Made by wrapping the curd from yak’s milk in cloth, then pressing and drying it over a wood fire to give it a distinctive earthy taste, this cheese variety can only be found in Tibet, India and Nepal.

Do your friends love cheese as much as you do? Click the share buttons below to make sure they read this too. Or even better. Surprise them with a gourmet gift basket filled to the brim with delicious cheese delivered to USA, UK & 200 countries.

Image #1 by Yoane Carle
Image #2 by Simon Doggett
Image #3 by Ewan Munro
Image #4 by JohnPickenPhoto
 
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