Month: December 2016

Top Wine and Cheesecake Pairings for the Holiday Season

 

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Pairing desserts with wine isn’t easy, but when it’s done well, this combination can be a deliciously decadent treat that can make your holiday party or family gathering an instant success.

A general rule for finding the right wine to complement a cheesecake is to make sure the wine is a bit sweeter than the dessert in most cases, but not in all. Sometimes a crisp, dry wine can be just the thing to offset a particularly sugary flavor in the best way possible. As with pairing drinks and other foods, when pairing wine with desserts, it’s important to strike a balance between acidity and sweetness.

 

Below is a list of 8 flavored cheesecakes and complementary wines you might serve to bring out the best in both:

 

  1. Classic Cheesecake—

The rich, creamy texture of a plain cheesecake works great with sparkling wines, champagne or nice sauternes.

Depending on the flavors you choose to add to your cheesecake, such as different types of fruits, you may want to go in a different direction with your beverage, but with a plain cheesecake, a simple wine is a great complement to the classic flavor.

 

  1. Apricot-Glazed Cheesecake—

An orange muscat wine would be a lively pairing with any dessert featuring apricots, as the citrus can brighten the potentially heavy honey-like qualities of the glaze, as well as enhancing the fruitiness of the apricots.

 

  1. Chocolate Cheesecake—

A vintage port is the go-to wine for any chocolate and vino partnership, but don’t write off the lighter reds, as a late harvest zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon can also serve as a good match.

Generally, as the desserts get darker and richer, so do the wines, and with something as light as a chocolate-flavored cheesecake, you can get away with a lighter wine.

 

  1. Caramel/Turtle Cheesecake—

To properly balance the buttery decadence of caramel, a red wine is definitely your number one choice.

A pinot noir or nice shiraz would be light and sweet, allowing the rich caramel to shine while still keeping the balance between acid and sugar.

 

  1. Pumpkin Cheesecake—

Popular around the holidays, the spicy, cinnamon notes of a pumpkin cheesecake are beautifully brought out by a white wine, pink champagne, or a riesling, which can soften the spiciness, allowing the flavors to be appreciated without overpowering the taste buds.

White wine, pink champagne or a riesling will also go well with a slice of pumpkin pie.

 

  1. Strawberry/Blueberry/Raspberry Cheesecake—

A light sparkling white wine, such as a moscato d’asti will enhance the sweet and dynamic notes of the berries on your cheesecake, but if you’d prefer something less sweet, a light rosé will work as well.

 

  1. Almond, Pecan or Walnut Cheesecake—

If your cheesecake recipe involves nuts, or perhaps a glaze involving fruit and nuts, remember that nuts pair wonderfully with a light madeira or a sherry with nutty undertones.

If the cheesecake’s nutty glaze involves apples, a pinot gris, blueberry or even an anjou wine can also be a good match.

 

  1. Lemon/Key Lime Cheesecake—

As with the apricots, citrus fruits are also best served with a muscat, sparkling white wine, or champagne to keep the flavors light and refreshing.

Remember; bubbles bring out the fresh, bright flavors and zing of all things citrus.

 

Don’t forget that pairing desserts like cheesecakes with wine doesn’t have to be an occasional after-dinner activity; you can even have a “wine and cheesecake” theme party to try new wines and desserts with your friends. With the holidays coming up, you can use the helpful wine and cheesecake pairing tips above to plan a perfect party with pals or a family get-together full of sweetness, drinks and delicious desserts.

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Vet Exam Etiquette: 5 Tips to Keep Pets Calm

 

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When taken out of their usual environment, driven to a new place, and then handled by a stranger, most creatures—even humans—may become a bit agitated or frightened. Because we don’t speak dog or cat well enough to explain to our fuzzy family members what’s happening, a trip to the veterinarian’s office for an exam can be quite a harrowing experience.

Fortunately, there are ways we can prepare our pets for vet visits that will take much of the stress out of the experience for them, making life easier for everyone involved. Below are 5 tips any pet owner can use to keep cats and dogs calmer during vet exams:

 

  1. Demystify the Pet Carrier—

For cats and smaller dogs that must ride in a carrier for car trips, much of the tension they’re feeling is because they’ve suddenly been placed into an unknown and highly restrictive new environment. For free-roaming animals, being shoved into a small cage can be a very scary experience.

To take the fear out of the crate, place the carrier inside the home for weeks before the vet exam with the door open. Place soft blankets, treats and favorite toys inside, and feed the pet in the crate once they realize nothing bad is going to happen.

Your goal is to make the pet crate a safe and friendly little room they will feel comforted by (rather than frightened of) when exam day arrives.

 

  1. Go to a Happy Place—

Once smaller animals are reassured enough by the carrier to be moved, take a trip to the vet with them on a day they don’t have an exam. (If you have a larger dog that doesn’t ride in a crate, but is comfortable in the car, take them to the vet on non-exam days as well.)

Go into the vet’s office and allow your cat or dog to become familiar with their surroundings. Reward them with treats and introduce them to staff members if they have a moment so they won’t be complete strangers the next time you visit.

By soothing your pets and giving them treats at these non-invasive visits, you will be creating positive associations for them that will make them less fearful during the actual exam.

 

  1. Don’t Book During Busy Times—

If you have the wiggle room in your life and work schedule to set up exams during slow periods at the vet’s office, this is highly recommended for those with anxious animals.

Booking during off-hours will ensure the office is as quiet as possible for your exam, and that your visit proceeds quickly and efficiently.

 

  1. Soft is Soothing—

Give your pet a soft blanket to lie on in the pet carrier to make them feel more relaxed and at-home. Pets have excellent senses of smell, and sometimes the scent of a familiar place can soothe.

Be sure to pull the blanket out during the exam and cover the hard surface of the table, as this will make dogs feel less like they are slipping, and give cats something to grab onto with their claws for security.

 

  1. Distractions are Delightful—

Your vet will really appreciate your assistance during the actual examination, so if you can bring things to distract your cat or dog while they’re being inspected and manipulated, this is highly recommended.

Dogs are often easily distracted by food, so consider bringing a treat or new toy to introduce that will really captivate them. Cats can be harder to distract, so treats will need to be novel enough to keep their interest. Favorite toys are also great choices for diverting attention, such as feathers and catnip mice.

If your cat likes to hide under blankets or feels safer inside the carrier, many vets will work around these minor obstructions if it keeps kitties calmer.

By helping your pet to remain relaxed at the vet, you are not only making sure they have a less anxious visit to the pet doctor; you are making the experience better for yourself, your veterinarian and staff, as well as for the other pet owners waiting in the reception area. Use the tips above to give your beloved cat or dog the most pleasant and fear-free trip possible during every vet visit.

8 Reasons Why You Should Be Using an Electric Toothbrush

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Proper brushing technique and flossing will always be important factors in the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. But did you know that your choice of toothbrush can make a big difference as well?

Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are superior to manual toothbrushes for many reasons, and can help anyone have great oral health with less effort.

 

Below are 8 ways electric toothbrushes can provide great dental hygiene:

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes are Efficient—

With rapidly spinning bristles, electric toothbrushes offer the kind of speed and power during brushing it would take a manual toothbrush much longer to produce, and would require extreme physical exertion from the human holding it. This means a more detailed cleaning is done in less time, which is always a good thing.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes are Thorough—

Because they are able to get behind molars, between teeth and gums, and into tight, awkward spaces between teeth while spinning, electric toothbrushes can make hard-to-reach places cleaner than traditional toothbrushes, preventing plaque build-up and cavities.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes are Professional—

Because they are so efficient at cleaning teeth, many people equate the feeling after using an electric toothbrush to the smooth, extra-clean way their teeth feel after a professional cleaning. Many dentists recommend them to patients for this reason, as less plaque build-up makes their job easier during routine cleanings.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes are Therapeutic—

Because they are similar to the sensation of professional dental cleaning tools, using an electric toothbrush can help desensitize a nervous patient to the whirring and scrubbing feelings that cause anxiety during routine cleanings.

Getting used to a motorized cleaning device in their mouth with an electric toothbrush can also be helpful for getting children ready for the tooth-polishing process at the end of dental cleanings, as well as helping them clean their teeth faster.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes are Environmentally Sound—

While they tend to be larger than manual toothbrushes, they don’t need to be thrown away as often, making electric toothbrushes a green choice for any consumer. Many brands even come with replaceable heads to reduce waste, and electrical plug-in chargers to eliminate the need for batteries.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes Cause Less Pain—

For those with arthritis, pulled or strained muscles, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other ailments that cause arm or shoulder pain, having a toothbrush that does all the twisting, turning and brushing for the user can be a wonderful thing.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes Remove Stains—

Because of the extremely in-depth way they clean teeth—with hundreds of rotations impossible to simulate with a manual brush—electric toothbrushes have been shown to be very effective at removing wine, coffee and cigarette stains when manual toothbrushes aren’t helping.

 

  1. Electric Toothbrushes are Gentle on Gums—

One of the biggest mistakes made by manual toothbrush users is brushing too hard, or with an improper technique, which can damage the gums and cause them to permanently recede over time. Electric toothbrushes, however, provide just the right amount of pressure to massage the gums in a healthy manner while still removing bacteria.

It is very common for dentists to notice an improvement in gum tissue when patients switch from manual to electric toothbrushes, as well as enamel improvement, as brushing too hard can also damage the surface of the teeth.

 

 

Clinical studies have proven that in only 2 minutes, electric toothbrushes clean away more plaque and bacteria than manual toothbrushes can remove in 6 minutes. When The American Dental Association asked 16,000 patients to use electric toothbrushes instead of manual in a trial, 80% of the patients reported improved oral hygiene and dental health simply because of the change in type of toothbrush.

Join the many people enjoying positive dental check-ups, less plaque build-up, whiter teeth and fresher breath, and try out an electric toothbrush today. Your gums and teeth will thank you.