Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave?

    Tom SchierlitzTom SchierlitzFind out which materials are microwave-friendly, and which ones you should avoid.

    Some materials are fine in the microwave and some aren't (see below). And then there's plastic. You'll find experts who say no plastic containers should be used in the microwave-ever. "The material contains chemicals that may leach into food when it's heated," says Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., a scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a health-research organization. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed that plastics labeled "microwave-safe" are suitable for microwave use. "No studies have shown short- or long-term health consequences from heating microwave-safe plastics," says Michael Herndon, an FDA spokesman. The bottom line? Right now, there isn't one. If you choose to use plastics, stick with those labeled "microwave-safe" (but don't allow plastic wrap to touch your food during heating). If you're wary, use glass or ceramic dishes marked "heatproof" or "microwave-safe."

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  • The Best Jams and Jellies

    By Lindsay Funston



    After 112 jars of sticky goodness were sampled by Real Simple staffers,* these emerged as the true bread winners.



    Jams:


    In this category, you'll find preserves, spreads, marmalades-and jams, of course. What they have in common: They're made with fruit. Preserves usually have a chunkier, more home-style texture (and whole fruit, if you're lucky). Those containing citrus peel are labeled marmalade.



    Jellies:


    Some are sweet, some more savory. All are smooth, translucent, and made with juice-not fruit.



    *All products tested were free of high-fructose corn syrup.



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  • Green Bean and Pasta Salad


    Serves 2 | Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 20m

    Similar Recipes:
    Double-Onion Turkey Sandwich
    Tropical Ham Sandwich
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    Ingredients

    • 4 ounces penne (1 1/4 cups)
    • 4 ounces green beans, halved crosswise (about 1 cup)
    • 1 cup canned red or kidney beans, rinsed
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • kosher salt and black pepper
    Related: 20 Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, and Coleslaw Recipes

    Directions

    1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
    2. Toss the cooled pasta and green beans with the red beans, parsley, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Divide the salad between 2 containers and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
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  • Crispy Pork Cutlets With Arugula and Apple Salad

    Serves 4 | Hands-On Time: 25m | Total Time: 25m

    Similar Recipes:
    Roasted Red Pepper Canapés
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    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 4 thin pork cutlets (about 1 pound)
    • kosher salt and black pepper
    • 5 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
    • 1 bunch arugula, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)
    • 1 apple, thinly sliced
    Related: Pork Chops, 4 Ways

    Directions

    1. Place the flour, eggs, and panko in separate shallow bowls. Season the pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Coat the pork in the flour, then in the eggs, and finally in the bread crumbs, pressing gently to help them adhere.
    2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pork until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
    3. Meanwhile,
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  • 5 Mistakes Everyone Should Make

    Five successful people, ranging from a noted psychologist to a legendary tastemaker, describe their most startling (and most revealing) blunders.
    by Amanda Armstrong

    1. Totally embarrass yourself.
    After the publication of my book Reviving Ophelia, in 1994, I was invited to a prestigious party. I got all dressed up; I was so excited to make connections. I had a wonderful time and was elated as I was walking back to my car. Well, that is, until I felt something on the back of my skirt. While I had gotten dressed for the function, I had apparently sat on a stack of clean laundry, and a pair of underwear had affixed itself. I had spent the entire night that way! I was mortified, but at the end of the day, it just didn't matter. I went to other similar events after that, and as far as I could tell, that incident didn't change people's impression of me one little bit.

    Related: Everyday Dangers Not to Worry About

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  • A Decade-by-Decade Guide to Protecting Your Bones

    by Stacey Colino

    Take a stand: what you should (and shouldn't) do to avoid breaks, fractures, and bone loss throughout your lifetime.

    Sophie BlackallSophie BlackallNo matter how old you are, you should protect your bones by eating well, exercising, and avoiding cigarettes. But as your body, hormones, and lifestyle change, there are certain things you should do to make sure your skeleton gets the protection and help it needs. Here, decade-by-decade information on what to do to ensure that the 206 bones in your body stay strong and supportive throughout your life.

    Timeless Advice

    Throughout your life, be sure to:

    • Stick with a bone-friendly diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Women should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 800 I.U. (international units) of vitamin D a day. After menopause, they should consume more.
    • Keep moving. Exercise may have a greater effect on bone strength than calcium consumption, according to recent research. The more impact, the better:
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  • Numbers to Live By

    By Stacey Colino

    Understanding key numbers-BMI, blood-sugar level-can lead to better health.


    Blood Pressure


    Healthy number: Less than 120/80 mmHg.

    Blood pressure refers to the force of blood against the walls of your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure, the top number) and during rests between beats (diastolic pressure, the bottom) and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). "The lower yours is, the better," says Holly Thacker, M.D., director of the Center for Specialized Women's Health at the Cleveland Clinic. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is 140/90 mmHg or higher. Hypertension is called "the silent killer" because it often has no symptoms and, left untreated, can lead to stroke, heart disease, kidney damage, and vision and memory problems. (If your top number is between 120 and 139 and the lower is between 80 and 89, you have prehypertension, which also carries risks.)
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    Have yours checked:
    Every time you see a

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  • 17 Ways to Safeguard Your Heart

    By Liz Krieger



    A top cardiologist shares her heart-healthy habits.




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  • Do Your Hands Give Away Your Age?

    By Sarah Smith How to keep your hardest-working parts soft, smooth, and youthful for years to come.

  • Keep Your Mind and Body in Top Condition

    By Sally Wadyka
    Photos by Laurie Frankel


    Simple but effective strategies to stay vital, sharp, and looking great.


    Taking Care of Your Brain

    • What aging can bring: Forgetfulness, decline in mental agility, risk of Alzheimer's disease.
    • What the research shows: "Doing things that hit both the left and right sides of the brain, like word puzzles plus mazes and visuals, has been proven to build brainpower," says Gary Small, M.D., director of the University of California at Los Angeles Center on Aging. Swedish researchers believe there's also a connection between physical activity and cognitive decline. Their study found that subjects who exercised at least 20 minutes two or more times a week at midlife reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia later by 60 percent. On the nutrition front, a study at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center showed that an essential omega-3 fatty acid counteracts the brain's production of neuron-damaging
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