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Today is March 11

The second Thursday of March is Popcorn Lover’s Day.

Many people will say that no movie marathon is complete without a big bowl of popcorn. Movies and popcorn have been linked for decades, but popcorn is more than just a must-have on movie night.

Popcorn lovers may be surprised to learn just how healthy this beloved snack can be.

  • Popcorn can help lower cholesterol. Like many other foods, popcorn is full of fiber. Fiber attaches to cholesterol particles and helps prevent them from entering the bloodstream and traveling to other parts of the body, according to Verywell Health.
  • Popcorn promotes healthy digestion. The same fiber that helps reduce cholesterol also promotes healthy digestion. Popcorn is a whole grain and the high fiber content in popcorn can alleviate constipation by stimulating the peristaltic motion of the smooth intestinal muscles and the secretion of digestive enzymes.
  • Popcorn can help regulate blood sugar. The fiber in popcorn can regulate the release and management of blood sugar and insulin levels, potentially helping people with diabetes.
  • Popcorn has disease-fighting properties. OrganicFacts.net says popcorn has polyphenols that act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and can fight against the development of chronic diseases. They also may prevent the development of age-related symptoms like age spots and wrinkles.
  • Popcorn is a low-calorie snack. A cup of air-popped popcorn comes in at just around 30 calories. That means you can overindulge a bit on popcorn and it won’t lead to overconsumption of calories. One serving of popcorn has five times fewer calories than one serving of potato chips.
  • Popcorn keeps you feeling full. Thanks to its high fiber content, popcorn can fill you up and stave off hunger pangs.

Popcorn has plenty of hidden benefits that make it a healthy snack

**

Edible Popcorn Bowl

Ingredients

10 cups popped popcorn

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup water

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 drops food color, optional

Directions

Spray the inside of a large, stainless steel bowl with cooking spray and the outside of a 2nd large, stainless steel bowl; set aside.

These 2 bowls will be used to form popcorn bowl at end of cooking time. (Note: if one bowl is smaller than the other, spray the outside of the smaller bowl.)

Spray a 3rd large bowl with cooking spray and place popped popcorn inside; set aside.

Stir sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt together in a medium sauce pan.

Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and boil for 3 minutes to allow steam to wash down sides of pan. Remove lid and attach candy thermometer to pan.

Allow mixture to boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 290 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in food color, if desired.

Working quickly, pour syrup over popcorn and toss with a large spoon until popcorn is thoroughly coated.

Pour popcorn mixture into first prepared bowl and use a spoon to push mixture evenly up onto sides of bowl.

Firmly press second prepared bowl onto popcorn to form popcorn bowl. Allow popcorn bowl to cool completely between stainless steel bowls.

To serve, tip popcorn bowl out and place on platter.

Fill with popcorn to serve.

**

Hoppity Poppity Easter Eggs

Ingredients

10 cups freshly popped popcorn

1 cup pastel colored jelly beans

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows

1 package (3 ounces) blueberry, strawberry or lemon gelatin

Directions

Combine popcorn and jelly beans in large bowl; set aside.

Microwave butter and marshmallows in large glass bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed.

Stir in gelatin. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and jelly beans.

Mix lightly until coated.

Shape into 16 (2-inch) eggs with greased hands.

For more recipes visit https://www.popcorn.org/

**

In 1950 – Bobby McFerrin, American singer (Don’t Worry, Be Happy!) is born.

Stress can affect people’s lives at any moment. Some say that a certain measure of stress can be a good thing that pushes individuals to try their best to overcome obstacles. However, chronic stress is potentially dangerous for the mind and body.

According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey, the average reported stress level for adults in the United States related to the coronavirus pandemic is 5.9. When asked to rate their stress level in general, the average reported stress for American adults is 5.4. This is higher than the average stress level reported in 2019, which was 4.9, and marks the first significant increase in average reported stress since the survey began in 2007.

Pandemic stress mixed with existing stress may require additional coping techniques.

  • Turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The occasional pep talk can help people manage their stress. Rather than saying “Everything is going wrong,” tell yourself “I can handle this, I have done it before.” Find the silver lining in situations and they may not feel so stressful.
  • Take things one step at a time. Getting ahead of yourself by looking too far into the future can compound stress. Focus on the here and now. Make to-do lists and take situations as they come day by day or hour by hour. Situations are often fluid, so worrying about something that is weeks away is often fruitless.
  • Exercise regularly. Find opportunities to exercise. The Mayo Clinic says exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Physical activity can release your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. Exercise also can mimic the effects of stress, helping to condition the body to its effects and buffer the cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems from negative effects.
  • Seek out social support. Chances are someone you know also is experiencing increased stress loads. Find the time for conversation, video chats or safe, socially distanced meet-ups with friends. Each person can share their unique frustrations and collectively you can work through the stress.
  • Don’t drown in perfectionism. Trying to be mistake-free can trigger anxiety and stress. Being perfect is impossible and everyone makes mistakes. According to Psych Central, mistake-making can lead to growth and experience, while perfectionism may staunch growth because a person is too afraid to take chances. Not every decision you make will be ideal, but each is a learning experience.

Stress is something most people come up against in their daily lives, perhaps more so than ever this year. But stress can be wrangled and minimized.

**

In 1970  The 5th Dimension won the Record of the Year Grammy for “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In.”

Homeowners eagerly await the arrival of the warm weather so they can cast off the remnants of cabin fever and bask in the sunshine. However, as summer nears its dog days, the same sun homeowners once coveted can contribute to uncomfortable conditions in outdoor entertaining spaces.

Meteorologists at WHAS11 in Kentucky took to their neighborhoods in July 2020 to test just how hot surfaces can get in the sun during peak daytime temperatures. Concrete sitting in the sun almost all day reached a temperature of 134.7 F, while the same concrete in the shade clocked in at just under 80 F. When air temperatures are around 90 F, unshaded concrete and asphalt can be 125 F and 140 F, respectively. While wood decking may not be as hot as asphalt and concrete, it still can get steamy underfoot.

Homeowners who want to be able to enjoy their outdoor spaces in an array of temperatures can think about investing in shade solutions. Sun-blocking ideas like awnings, shade trees and large umbrellas can help people enjoy their yards all day long.

  • Canopy: A patio canopy is typically a freestanding unit that can be installed over a patio or a deck. Some people prefer to bolt it down so it will not be knocked over in windy conditions. The fabric on the canopy can be removed during the offseason, helping to improve its longevity.
  • Awning: Awnings may be stationary or retractable. Many are installed directly onto a home and can cast shade on specific areas of outdoor entertaining spaces.
  • Shade sail: Similar to an awning but a bit less structurally rigid, shade sails are large pieces of triangular fabric installed over areas of a patio, pool or landscape, according to The Family Handyman. Shade sails are light and airy and can be customized.
  • Trees: A natural way to increase shade in a yard is to plant more shade trees. If sun glare is an issue all year long, and it’s not just the heat of the sun that is troublesome, think about planting evergreen trees. Deciduous cousins will drop their leaves in fall and only be effective during the warm weather.
  • Patio umbrellas: Many umbrellas start at around $25. Umbrellas can be paired with patio tables, while stationary cantilever umbrellas sit out of the way on their own heavy-duty stands. A cantilever umbrella tends to provide more shade than patio table umbrellas.
  • Curtains: Homeowners can block sunlight outdoors the way they do inside, offers MSN. Hang curtains from the sides of canopies or between posts on a deck to provide shade and cozy spaces.

Shade is in high demand when the sun is hot. Options abound for making outdoor areas more comfortable.