Thursday, March 22, 2018

Be Food Safe this EASTER with the help of .@STOPfoodillness TIPS

Thanks to Stop Foodborne Illness for the advice:

Eggs are a symbol of new life. Enjoy them but be aware of the risks they carry.
If not handled smartly, eggs can cause food poisoning because salmonella is a common bacteria found in uncooked, unbroken eggs. Salmonella can be present on both the outside and the inside of eggs.

Stop Foodborne Illness, the national advocacy group that educates people on being food safe has some good advice on how to keep your holiday “eggstravaganza” pathogen-free.

The bad news is … some things you should know about salmonella poisoning:

Typical symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever.
Symptoms usually last, at least, a couple of days.
Susceptability and severity is generally associated with babies, and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and others with compromised immune systems. However, anyone can get ill from salmonella.
Severe cases can be life-threatening.

The good news is that there are safe ways to handle and prepare eggs! If you follow these guidelines from Stop Foodborne Illness, you and yours will be much more likely to have a fun and safe holiday!


Always choose clean and fresh eggs. When purchasing eggs, open the carton and make sure they’re clean, and intact. Handle with care: Chickens can harbor Salmonella without showing any signs of being sick, so all unpasteurized eggs -- even those that are fresh, organic, or unbroken -- can contain Salmonella. Buying in-shell pasteurized eggs reduces that risk.

Wash your hands thoroughly. Everybody, including children, must wash their hands with soap and water before and after handling eggs – which includes prepping, cooking, cooling, dyeing, hiding and hunting them.

Be smart with Easter eggs. Decorating eggs for the holiday is a joy, but do it safely by using only food-safe dyes. Use care when hiding eggs outside or in.

The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. Avoid areas where eggs would come in contact with pets, wild animals, birds, or lawn chemicals. Eating eggs that have been on the ground is not recommended. Don’t hide cracked eggs because bacteria could contaminate the inside.

 Cracked eggs should never be used. A good alternative is to use plastic Easter eggs for the hunt, and save the real eggs for eating.


Refrigerate, refrigerate, refrigerate - your eggs at 40°F or below. Safely storing and cooking your eggs before consumption is important. When storing eggs make sure they go inside the fridge, not the fridge door. Once hard-cooked, refrigerated eggs can be stored for up to one week. Eggs can be out of refrigeration for 2 hours (when it’s under 90°F) and still be safe to eat. Colored eggs being used as decoration (for several hours or days) should not be eaten. Even though eggs will show signs of spoilage (taste, smell, appearance) when they’re past the “best by” date, we don’t recommend using this as an indicator of an egg’s safeness – mainly because eggs that harbor Salmonella taste, smell, and appear exactly the same as “normal” eggs.
 Stop Foodborne Illness
Avoid cross-contamination and cook eggs thoroughly
Using soap and water, wash your hands and all surfaces that may have had contact with raw eggs. This includes countertops, pots and pans, utensils and dishes.
Don’t let in-shell eggs, raw whites or yolks cross contaminate foods that will be eaten raw.
Eggs should be cooked until the egg white and yolk are firm. A lightly cooked egg with a runny yolk increases your chance of pathogenic contamination. If a recipe calls for lightly cooked eggs, we recommend using pasteurized egg products.
Dishes with eggs in the recipe must be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C)
Eggs should be eaten or refrigerated within 2 hours after cooking.
Do not eat eggs that have been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Know the safest way to boil eggs
According to Deirdre Schlunegger, Chief Executive Officer of Stop Foodborne Illness, when cooking hard-boiled eggs, place a single layer of eggs in a saucepan. Cover the eggs with at least one inch of water. When the water is at a full boil, remove the pan from the heat source and let the eggs stay in the water for between 12-18 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs. After the eggs have set for the appropriate amount of time, run cold water over them. When the eggs are cooled enough to handle, put them in the refrigerator.

If you and your loved ones celebrate the holidays at a restaurant, and the dish calls for lightly cooked eggs—as some sauces do—ask your server if the dish can be prepared using pasteurized eggs, or liquid egg products, when possible.




Some other Spring holiday food safety tips

Easter Ham: If your Easter ham is prepared with a fresh, uncooked ham, be sure to cook it to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) and allow the ham to rest for a few minutes before serving. Always avoid cross-contamination from countertops, knives, dishes and pots and pans. Do not let the uncooked ham come into contact with foods you will eat raw. 

If you purchase a pre-cooked Easter ham, which can be served cold or heated, be sure to re-heat leftovers to at least 140°F before serving.

Beef brisket: This is a popular Passover dish that nearly everyone enjoys if it is prepared well. This cut of meat needs to be cooked for a long time because it is less tender. Preferably, set the oven temperature to 350°F and no lower than 325°F. Place the brisket fat-side up. The brisket should be almost covered with water and the cooking pan should be lidded. Brisket should be cooked for about one hour per pound of meat to a safe temperature of 145°F (63°C). Avoid cross-contamination from the uncooked meat.

Lamb: Lamb is another popular dish for Easter and Passover. Remember that lamb should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F. Let it rest a few minutes before serving. As always, avoid cross-contamination with uncooked meat and juices.

Be smart with leftovers, too
Making a little extra is almost a given at holiday time, as is taking home goody bags. Just remember to keep food safety in mind. Here are some tips for handling leftovers:
Make an educated guess as to how much food you will need on the table, then refrigerate the leftovers.
Prepared foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
Put leftovers in air-tight containers for travel.
For an extra-nice touch, purchase insulated bags and ice so that leftovers can stay ice-cold during your guests’ long drive home.
Remind your guests to put the goodies in the refrigerator as soon as they get home.


About Stop Foodborne Illness

Stop Foodborne Illness is a national nonprofit, public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens by promoting sound food safety policy and best practices, building public awareness, and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness.
Follow @STOPfoodillness  on Twitter

Take the Hartz® Quilted Plus™ No Leak Challenge

You are invited to take the Hartz® Quilted Plus™ No Leak Challenge by comparing your experience with Hartz® Home Protection™ Quilted Plus™ versus the brand you are currently using and sharing that experience on the Hartz® Facebook and Instagram pages.

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I received complimentary product.



Going Solo: Hope and Healing for the Single Mom or Dad by Robert Beeson Review

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Going Solo: Hope and Healing for the Single Mom or Dad
by Robert Beeson

As parents face the difficult reality of a broken home, a sense of being completely overwhelmed can shut down the perspective they need to find restoration. Parents need to know that they can choose to define this season of their lives, instead of becoming defined by circumstances. They can deliberately look toward God and come to a deeper understanding of His true nature, power, and intimate care.

As this former Christian music industry executive shares his story of divorce, his seven years as a single father, and his transition to a second marriage and a blended family, he also offers readers some hard-learned lessons and insights on being an effective, empathetic, and empowered single parent, answering crucial questions such as:

How do I find peace when everything around me is chaos?
How do I manage meeting needs when I have nothing to give?
How and where do I begin again?

The author addresses the fears and exhaustion of single parenting, while revealing the keys to gaining strength and courage for each day. He also shares how he found his "solo" relationship with his heavenly Father through his "solo" parenting season.

Readers will learn five helpful habits and practical healing principles they can immediately apply in this season of life.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's review Q&A-

- What did you like about the book and why?  It is more advising the reader through personal struggle, then actually pushing the reader to think a certain way.  I enjoy the option to take away from the moments instead of feeling transformed into the passages included. 

- What did you not like about the book and why?  There were a lot of references to passages that I felt could be used in any way, but it is not a dislike I just felt like I would be in the middle of a story and then want to transform into a bible study moment. 

- What did you learn? The author gave fresh, pure and honest thoughts, incorporated that with biblical reference and fact to make a really good book. 

- To whom would you recommend this book and why?  A parent or someone that has a need to focus on the family in a spiritual way. 

Ready or Not Leaning into Life in Our Twenties by Drew Moser Review

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Ready or Not: Leaning into Life in Our Twenties
by Drew Moser

Discerning a calling is a messy undertaking. You are already involved in many good things now, even as you are being called to many good things in your future. The good life―good work, good relationships, good citizenship, good faith―is to be enjoyed now and pursued on every horizon. We are living out the Kingdom of God even as we seek it.

Ready or Not is a much-needed resource for young people on exploring the complexity of vocation in empowering, not prescriptive, ways. After exploring four foundational questions for emerging adulthood―Who is God? Who am I? How have I been shaped? What are my contexts?―you will work through interactive chapters covering the contours of adulthood, including: spirituality, family, community, and work.

Explore the full depths of your twenties with bravery and vulnerability! With insight into life skills, personal growth, and spirituality, Ready or Not will set you on a faithful trajectory for a good and meaningful life.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's review Q&A-

- What did you like about the book and why?  It has meaningful and important life stops that will give the reader a good reflection experience. 

- What did you not like about the book and why? It is geared to focus on a certain age group and will not be as beneficial if you are older.  Of course you can change the wording to suit your needs, but then it would be a different book style. 

- What did you learn?  I think the takeaway for me with this book is that there is a major point in life where you can find personal growth, but at any point you can build on that experience. 

- To whom would you recommend this book and why? I would put this group with the 20 something age range so they can enjoy and become more interested in themselves .

Bountiful Blessings by Susie Larson Review

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Bountiful Blessings: A Creative Devotional Experience
by Susie Larson, Carolyn Williams (Illustrations)

Rest in God's Blessings as You Color

This beautiful coloring book is for readers who want to unwind with a reminder of God's love and purpose for them. We often live our lives worried about to-do lists and responsibilities, forgetting how God feels about us and who we are in him. Because of this struggle, author Susie Larson began posting nightly blessings on Facebook to encourage her fans and friends, and since then, thousands have responded and forwarded the blessings along to others.

The lefthand pages of this book contain a blessing packed with biblical promises as well as a related Scripture to point you back to God's timeless truth. The righthand pages contain beautiful, intricate illustrations for you to color that bring God's wonders into focus.

Read, rest, and create as you soak in the wonder of God's love for you.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's review-  A shorter book with excellent coloring pages that you can either share with your kids while you read or take time to color yourself as you immerse thoughts, prayers and solid moments with God.   The outcome will depend on your faith and coloring skills, but overall this is a great gift for anyone who likes to create and take time to inspire themselves. 

936 Pennies by Eryn Lynum Review

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936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
by Eryn Lynum

Make the Most of Your Time with Your Children

On the day of their baby dedication, Eryn and her husband were given a jar of 936 pennies. The jar contained a penny for every week they would raise their child until graduation, and they were instructed to remove one penny each Sunday as a reminder, placing it into another jar as an investment.

At some point every parent realizes time is moving swiftly, and they ask themselves, How am I investing in my child? Through personal stories and biblical examples, 936 Pennies will help you discover how to capture time and use it to its fullest potential, replacing guilt and regrets with freedom. Meanwhile, your kids will see how simple choices, like putting the cell phone down and going on a family hike, will make all the difference. Together you will stretch time and make it richer.

Craft a family legacy in tune with God's heartbeat as you capture a new vision for your children and learn the best ways to spend your pennies.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's review- A sweet journey and gift for anyone to enjoy.  I think the author shared an opened and moments with the reader in a connected and spiritual way.   I think new parents would benefit from reading this and also if you have a strong faith, this will be a blessing. 

A Mix of Spring Reads for Adults with Reviews

The following books are for adults and not children.  
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All the F*cks I Cannot Give (fiction, humor, adventure, romance) – When mild mannered yet high performing marketing consultant, Kelly Carson, is unceremoniously fired over the phone by his pretentious boss just weeks before Christmas, it becomes the catalyst for much needed life changes. 
Falling under the unexpected mentorship of an unbalanced Hollywood actress currently escaping her own career problems, Kelly follows Terri on a last-minute trip to Hawaii, putting into motion a series of hilarious events and misfortunes that teach Kelly how to let loose, accept the fact that he has a girl’s name, what to do when you mistakenly eat an entire bag of edibles during a plane ride, and, ultimately, how to learn when to no give a f*ck. This book will have you laughing from the first page and rooting for Kelly until the very end. 

Cassandra's review- Vulgar, out of the box and super extreme is the lengths this author goes to in order to put forth what he believes to be humorous moments.  Depending on the readers this could be funny or plain stupid.  

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Winning Streak (inspirational fiction, sports, romance) – Using sport as a backdrop, WINNING STREAK is the story of how three lives intersect and how each comes to learn critical lessons in order to heal from the pain of loss in their lives. 

A pro golfer about to accomplish a feat not seen in over 80 years walks away from it all and retreats to his hometown after the sudden death of his father. A daughter, tasked with reinventing her father’s magazine, must overcome her own past hometown to fulfill his wife’s dying wish only to realize there’s far more to the story than he realized … Mitch Albom meets Nicholas Sparks as readers are taken on an emotional journey full of laughter and tear.

Cassandra's review- Like Golf?  I hope so because this book will drag you into it while pushing out a story  that is mixed up in a good paced way.
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Uncorking A Murder (fiction, mystery, detective, crime) A retired detective short on time is looking to right a wrong in this "Serial meets Gone Girl" thriller. The Uncorking a Murder podcast took the nation by storm. Farrah Graham, the creator and host, struck a nerve with listeners through a ten-episode serial that combined investigative journalism, old fashioned radio drama, and compelling storytelling. The public, not to mention Farrah’s advertisers, are hungry for season two!

 While Farrah and her partner Melody struggle to agree on a topic for the second season of Uncorking a Murder, their intern takes a call from a retired detective in Ft. Lauderdale pitching his request that the next season focus on a case he was involved with five years earlier. Curious to hear why a retired detective is driven to have a conviction overturned, Farrah follows her curiosity down to Ft. Lauderdale where she uncovers a conspiracy involving a narcissistic CEO and a US Senator willing to do anything to protect their secrets, but will she live long enough to uncork the story?

Cassandra's Review- The author has a more vulgar approach to writing in a way that I think might be for shock value, but it is kind of a turn off when reading a good book.   The story has ups and downs because of they way it is given so profoundly.   I would not purposely search this author out to read more.

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Chasing the Merry-Go-Round (memoir, special needs, personal growth) Life moves fast. Too fast for some people. This is the true story of what it's like to live in a world where you can't keep up. Bobby was ten months old when my mom and dad rescued him from birth parents who were slowly killing him. He was adopted into our family after a lengthy custody battle.

 Instead of that settling him, it set off a lifelong struggle to find a place to belong, a place to call home. Like an old-fashioned merry-go-round, the world moved at a speed that was just too fast for Bobby. He couldn't keep up, which prevented him from keeping a job, a roof over his head, and the basics needed to survive. The life he dreamt of was always out of reach.

 No one knew why. While cultural ideals of what a "normal" life looks like can distort our perspective, Chasing the Merry-Go-Round allows readers to see the world through the eyes of a person with intellectual and physical disabilities, which can often be invisible, especially at first glance. It's a story about struggle and hope, survival and resilience, and most of all, the gift of acceptance and love.

Cassandra's Review- Sad, eye opening, an honest look at something so real in a way that transformed the moments in my mind as I got in the more powerful points of the chapters.  The author gives all to the reader in a way that feels pure and it is so mixed with an emotional merry go round of sorts.

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Sanity Lost & Found (Memoir, abuse, cult, personal growth, inspirational) How do we become victims of our own irrationality? What makes us vulnerable to the predators among us? Why would an otherwise sensitive, intelligent woman allow herself to return again and again to her abuser? How do we stop the erosion of our self-worth?

Simultaneously recognizable and horrifying, we see parts of ourselves and our own vulnerabilities in this compelling story of one woman’s descent into and climb out of the abyss.

For anyone who has ever allowed themselves to be victimized, for anyone who has ever doubted their value, for anyone wanting to protect their children from such vulnerabilities, SANITY LOST & FOUND is a compelling, informative, and inspirational read that weaves together the how and why for such vulnerabilities and the components necessary for recovery and transformation.

Cassandra's Review- The book was everything a story would be in a setting like this and was actually worth taking the time to get through the slower sections.  I could feel pain and moments that were so true to life that is gave me a sickly feeling in a good way. 

I received complimentary copies. 

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