Blog Posts by Reader s Digest Magazine

  • Odd Facts About 7 Iconic Foods

    1. Philadelphia Brand cream cheese was made in New York.
    American cream cheese was an attempt to replicate the style of French neufchâtel cheese as it was made in the 1800s. Cream cheese was first made in 1872 in New York State by dairyman William A. Lawrence. Eight years later, the enterprising cheese distributor A. L. Reynolds packaged the cheese in foil wrappers and called it Philadelphia Brand because the public associated the City of Brotherly Love with high-quality food products. To this day, Philadelphia cream cheese has a monopoly on the cream cheese market.

    2. Gatorade does have something to do with "Gators"
    In 1965, a coach for the Florida Gators college football team and one of the university's kidney specialists came up with a concoction of water, salt, sugar, and lemon juice to keep the school's football players hydrated and energized while playing football under the hot Southern sun. Two years later, Gatorade was marketed nationally and has since netted the University

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  • The Don'ts of Applying for a Job

    Human resources professionals tell you what they don't want to see from their applicants.

    Don't be yourself
    ""Someone might tell you to 'Be yourself' in the interview. That's the worst advice ever. We don't want people who are neurotic and quirky and whatever else. All we care about is your skill and experience." -Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C.

    Don't send me strange things...a thank you note is fine.
    "I once had someone send me Forget-me-not seeds with their thank you note. Yes, thank me for taking the time, that's great. But sending me seeds? That's weird." -Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

    "One time a candidate sent - I love this - a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it." -HR director at a financial services firm

    PLUS: How to Stop Annoying People With Technology

    Don't

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  • 3 Blood Pressure Blips You Should Never Ignore

    Are you - or your doctor - shrugging off early warnings of brewing blood pressure trouble? The answer is yes if any of these "little" problems haven't prompted you to take steps to lower your blood pressure:

    It's "high-normal."

    Thirty percent of American adults have slightly elevated blood pressure levels, between 121/81 and 139/89. But this gray zone is no small problem: It nearly doubles stroke risk. Researchers warn that many family doctors see pre-hypertension as a borderline condition that should be watched, rather than a warning that needs prompt attention.

    PLUS: 7 Home Health Checks That Can Save Your Life

    It's creeping up slowly

    In one eye-opening study, women's blood pressures inched upward 8 to 10 points each decade, and men's by 4 to 5 points, between the ages of 35 and 64. That's enough to land you in the pre-hypertensive or even the hypertensive category - and a good reason for you and your doctor to nip rising blood pressure in the bud.

    PLUS:

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  • 8 Foods to Store in the Freezer for Quick Cooking

    1. Bread is better frozen than stored in the fridge (it goes dry and stale). If you slice it before freezing, you can remove individual slices that will thaw quickly or can be toasted from frozen. Pita bread can be toasted from frozen, and part-baked breads can be baked from frozen. Storage times for bread vary according to the type of bread. Commercially baked or homemade brown and white bread will keep up to 6 months; flat breads 4 months; milk, fruit and malt breads 3 months. Breads with a crispy crust will keep for 2 weeks; after this the crust tends to break off as they thaw.

    2. Breadcrumbs are good for toppings and can be used from frozen - the crumbs remain separate. Crumble day-old bread, or make large quantities in a blender, and freeze in plastic bags or plastic containers for up to 3 months. Croutons are another useful freezer item.

    PLUS: 10 Secrets for Healthier Grocery Shopping

    3. Frozen fruit and vegetables are nutritious and convenient - the vitamin content does not

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  • 4 Price Tag Red Flags

    1. Don't fall for prices ending in 9, 99, or 95.
    These so-called charm prices make us think they reflect good deals, author William Poundstone tells Sonya Sobieski of Psychology Today. We also tend to round them down, reading a price like $5.99 as $5, a phenomenon known as the left-digit effect. Poundstone, the author of Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It), also notes that markdowns don't often include these magic numbers. That's because when the discount is easy to calculate, we think it's a better bargain. Thus "Originally $20, now $15" works better than "Originally $20, now $13.97." You'll be more tempted to go with the former, even though the latter saves you more.

    2. Steer clear of 99-cent stores.
    Not only are they loaded with charm-priced items, obviously, but they have a profit margin twice that of Walmart, Poundstone reveals. One exception: if you live alone or have a small family, reports shopsmartmag.org. These stores often sell pint-size

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  • Are You Tipping Correctly?

    While most of us agree that 20 percent (or close to it) is the standard amount to leave on a restaurant check, other tipping-related matters leave us scratching our heads. To settle these debates once and for all, Steve Dublanica, former server and author of the blog Waiter Rant and recent book Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity, weighs in on some hot-button issues.

    1. SHOULD YOU TIP ON THE TAX?

    On one hand: There's no reason to tip on the tax. The restaurant doesn't get to keep tax money. When gratuity is automatically included on a check for a large party, it's added pretax.

    On the other: When most servers total their sales at the end of the night, they include the tax in the amount. This "cash-out" amount determines how much they tip out to busboys, runners, and other staff members. By not tipping on tax, you're stiffing them out of their fair share.

    Steve's verdict: "I like it when you do, but you don't have to tip on the

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  • The Surprising Health Benefits of Probiotics

    You've probably heard that probiotics, the "good" bacteria found in yogurt, aged cheeses, and supplements, may help soothe digestive ills, including diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Some researchers now think the good bugs could improve your health in other ways too. These benefits could include:

    A healthier heart.
    Canadian researchers recently discovered that the LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, levels of people with high cholesterol who ate yogurt containing a strain of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri dropped by nearly 9 percent in six weeks.

    Less anxiety.
    People who took supplements containing specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium longum supplements for 30 days were less stressed than those who didn't take the probiotics, according to a British Journal of Nutrition study.

    Cleaner teeth and gums.
    A 2011 review found that the probiotics Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium can reduce some strains of harmful bacteria that cause gum disease and

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  • How Long Did You Date Before Getting Engaged?

    December is one of the most popular months to get engaged! We want to know... how long did you date your significant other before getting engaged? Also, check out this list of what you should do after he pops the question.

    1. Tell your parents.
    Give them the honor of hearing the news first.

    2. Make the calls.
    Before you log in to Facebook to update your relationship status or tweet your happy news, be certain everyone who should hear it from you personally has been called.

    3. Get a manicure.
    Your finger and its sparkly new adornment will be getting a lot of attention.

    4. Speaking of rings, get yours appraised and insured!

    5. Craft a catchall response.
    You'll be asked when you're getting married often. Get past the "big day" question by choosing a month, season or even just a year.

    6. Perfect your proposal story.
    Everyone will be asking how he popped the question. Craft a retelling that reflects the beauty and magic of the moment.

    PLUS: 13 Things Your Florist Won't Tell You

    7.

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  • The #1 Tool to Avoid Food Poisoning

    You always knew your dishwasher was convenient. But did you also know that it's one of your best allies in keeping your kitchen safe from contaminants? The dishwasher sanitizes everything that goes in it, says Bonnie Richmond, senior lecturer in food safety and sanitation at the Hotel School at Cornell University, if you use the dry cycle. During that cycle, the internal temperature of the dishwasher reaches 170°F, which is required for sanitizing. (Sanitizing is the process of reducing harmful microbes to an acceptable level. Sterilizing is the process of removing all living organisms - something we can't aspire to in our own homes.)

    Here's Richmond's first rule of thumb: Run anything through the dishwasher that can go into it, including plateware, glassware, flatware, plastic cutting boards, and sponges. Anything that touches raw meat and fish, or their juices or blood, should be placed in the dishwasher immediately. That means if you use a sponge to wipe up the counter where meat

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  • 7 Lucky (and Healthy) New Year's Eve Foods

    Greens
    Supposedly greens are eaten on New Year's Eve because they resemble money. They are also teeming with vitamins and minerals so eat up!

    Beans
    Beans, like greens, resemble money. More specifically, they symbolize coins. Whether you choose black beans, lentils or black-eyes peas, try some healthy fiber-filled beans to soak up that champagne.

    Fish
    Fish is lucky for a couple of reasons. Its scales resemble money and fish swim in schools which invoke the idea of abundance. There are also plenty of nutritional benefits. Fatty fish (salmon and tuna) are filled with Omega-3s and leaner fish (tilapia and sole) are a great source of protein.

    PLUS: 16 New Year's Resolution Cartoons

    Fruit
    Fruit of many kinds is consumed on New Year's Eve. The Mexicans pop a grape for each stroke of midnight. Each one represents a month. If it's bitter, watch out for that month! The pomegranate's many seeds symbolize prosperity. Figs are a symbol of fertility. Chow down on fruit for a healthy sweet

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