Blog Posts by Team Mom Staff

  • Best Hot Chocolate Ever

    What's better than a cozy cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter's day? If you've been relying on instant hot cocoa for your chocolate fix, you don't know what you're missing. In this sweet episode of "Easy Does It," chef Stuart O'Keeffe demos his favorite creamy hot chocolate and shares some delicious ideas to kick it up for extra decadence.

    WATCH: No Bake Pumpkin Pie

    Simply bring your milk or half-and-half to just below a simmer while you combine bittersweet and milk chocolate, sea salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Then, temper the chocolate by pouring the hot milk over the chocolate mix, allowing the chocolate to sit for a few minutes and slowly melt. Stir, and add back into the saucepan to stay warm while you serve to eager guests.

    WATCH: Surprising Trick for Extra-Cheesy Grilled Cheese

    Stuart recommends personalizing your hot chocolate with additions like peanut butter, instant coffee, caramel, peppermint sticks, or cinnamon sticks for an extra layer of flavor. So get creative

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  • Get Your Bathroom Holiday Party-Ready

    It's holiday-party season, and if you're throwing a celebration, you probably have a lot on your mind — food, drinks, decorations — but you might overlook one important room, the bathroom! Event planner Shawn Rabideau explains why it's important to get this room in party shape for your next big bash.

    WATCH: Warm Up Your Bathroom for Winter

    "It's the one room, aside from your living room, that everyone's going to end up in!" Shawn says. "So you have to take care of it."

    First, stock up on soap, toilet tissue, and disposable hand towels. "Nobody likes to put their hands on the cotton towels after everybody's been using them," Shawn says. Place disposable towels on a platter from your kitchen for an easy way to make things a little more elegant.

    Second, don't be afraid to decorate the bathroom. Shawn suggests taking a wreath and hanging it over the mirror or on the wall as a statement piece. "You can have a lot of fun with it," he says. "You can use boughs, you can use ribbons … whatever you

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  • Warm Up Your Bathroom for Winter

    With winter fast approaching, it's always nice to make your home a little cozier. However, you might overlook one room: the bathroom. Interior designer and HGTV host Genevieve Gorder explains that the bathroom is "a colder room in general because there's tile, stone, ceramic, metal; all the hardscaping is in this one little room. So we need to address it like we do every other space and warm it up."

    WATCH: Five Money-Saving Tips for Cleaning the Bathroom

    Genevieve offers a few great tips to make things a little more homey. She recommends heated bathmats, and encourages thinking outside the box when it comes to floor coverings. "You can bring in most natural fiber rugs into the bathroom," she explains.

    Another important factor is lighting. "Most of us just have those big overheads that have the glare and make us look bad," she says. Genevieve suggests sconce lighting and setting your bathroom lights to a dimmer to alter the brightness according to your mood and time of day.

    WATCH: Fun

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  • Easy, Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

    Side dishes may be the best part of Thanksgiving dinner, but with the average person consuming 4,000-6,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day, they’re not the most waistline-friendly. Luckily, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito has a solution – three simple Thanksgiving sides you won’t feel guilty about eating.

    WATCH: No Bake Pumpkin Pie

    Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple, and Rocco insists it doesn’t have to come out of a can. His version can be done in the microwave and uses the whole berries for maximum flavor. “They’re tart and delicious and can take on a lot of different flavors,” Rocco says. “And instead of having to cook it for hours on the stove, it’s going to be five minutes in the microwave.” His sugar-free sauce also has a miniscule 20 calories per serving, compared with the normal 110.

    Take one cup of fresh cranberries, place in a plastic bag and using a meat tenderizer, smash the bag to release natural pectin. Add orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, agave nectar, stevia, and

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  • Five Money-Saving Tips for Cleaning the Bathroom

    So many people dread cleaning the bathroom, but if you're willing to get creative, it doesn't have to be scary. On this episode of "Easy Does It," Bahar Takhtehchian, editor-at-large of Shape Magazine, offers five tricks to save you time and money.

    WATCH: 5 Ways to Cut Cleaning Time in Half

    If your shower head is getting clogged with buildup, look no farther than your pantry. Simply take a plastic sandwich bag, fill it with white vinegar, and tie it around the shower head. Leave it overnight, and in the morning, it will be shiny and residue-free. "It works like magic overnight," Bahar says.

    Bahar's second tip is perfect for glass shower doors that get cloudy. Sprinkle a dryer sheet with a few drops of water, and scrub the glass door with the sheet. "You're going to get rid of all the soap scum and residue, and it's going to be nice and clear," she says.

    WATCH: Men's Grooming Secrets

    There's no need for harsh chemicals to remove a dirt ring from your bathtub. Simply cut a grapefruit in

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  • Inside-Out Caramel Apples

    Who says a sugar rush is just for kids? Dylan Lauren of Dylan's Candy Bar joins us for a very "sweet" episode of "Easy Does It," just in time for Halloween.

    WATCH: Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

    If you've ever bitten into a caramel apple, you know it's tough to devour with any sort of grace. Luckily, there's a solution: inside-out caramel apples. Simply slice an apple in half, hollow out each side, and fill with caramel that has been melted over a double boiler. Top with your favorite candies and nuts. Enjoy immediately, or put it the refrigerator to serve later.

    WATCH: His & Hers Grilled Cheese

    For the purists out there, Dylan also demos a traditional caramel apple on a stick, expertly decorated with popcorn hair, candy corn eyes, and a charming chocolate sunflower seed grin.

    To see how to make these caramel apples, watch this episode of "Easy Does It."

    Inside-Out Caramel Apples
    Yield: 4 apple halves

    1 14-ounce bag of caramels, unwrapped
    1 tablespoon water
    1 slice of lemon
    2 Granny Smith

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  • Three-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie

    Pumpkin is the hottest flavor of the season, and chef Stuart O'Keeffe has some great no-bake recipes that are truly "easy as pie."

    WATCH: Best Trick for Extra-Cheesy Grilled Cheese

    Looking for a fun seasonal dessert to make with your kids? Try these three-ingredient mini pumpkin pies, made simply by mixing pumpkin pie spice with Greek honey yogurt and pouring into mini graham cracker pie shells. Top with whipped cream and ground cinnamon for a perfect individual treat.

    If you're in the mood for something a little more traditional, try Stuart's no-bake pumpkin pie, which uses gelatin to set the ingredients. Simply add condensed milk, eggs, gelatin, and spices into a saucepan and bring it up to a slow heat. Mix with pumpkin purée and vanilla, pour into a pie shell, and leave in the fridge to set. "It smells like fall," Stuart says.

    WATCH: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Reinvented

    To learn how to make these easy pumpkin pies, tune in to this episode of "Easy Does It," and check out the recipes

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  • What's on Your Cell Phone?

    Did you know that 82 percent of phones show some sort of bacterial contamination? You might be diligent about washing your hands, but cleaning your phone is probably a different story. Luckily, Ereka's here to share some easy tips.

    WATCH: Five Tips to Cut Cleaning Time in Half

    First, turn off your phone and grab a microfiber cloth. Use distilled water, not tap water, to clean your screens and camera lenses. Use rubbing alcohol for the keypad, if you have one, and for the hard plastic areas around the screen. Dampen the microfiber cloth but don't get it completely wet. And for the little crevices? Q-tips will do the trick.

    Now that you know how to clean your phone, it may make all that bathroom cell use a little more acceptable. In a recent survey, 75 percent of people said they use their phones in the bathroom. Are you one of them?

    WATCH: Men's Bathroom Secrets, Revealed

    To hear people explain why they use their phones on the throne, tune in to this episode of "Easy Does It."

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  • 6 Important Questions to Ask at Your Next Parent-Teacher Conference

    Each year, as we welcome students back into the classroom, we educators find ourselves with a new bunch of little people (or bigger, depending on the age you teach) who are new to us and our classrooms, but whom parents are, obviously, very familiar. The first thing teachers do is try to learn every students' name and then we figure out who these students are and how they operate in the classroom setting. Next up, it's time to pass out books, begin lessons, take grades and then before you know it, it's time for parent teacher conferences. This can be a daunting, scary thing for parents who have had bad experiences in the past, but it doesn't have to be that way if you're armed with specific questions about your child and their learning.

    As a person who has been on both sides of the table, I can tell you it's not really easy on either side. Your job as a teacher is to tell families how their child is faring, what they're learning, and how you plan to help them achieve academic goals.

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  • Surprising Trick for Extra-Cheesy Grilled Cheese

    When the weather gets cooler, there's nothing quite like the comfort of a warm, buttery grilled cheese. Vanessa Palazio and Adam Schneider are the soon-to-be married couple behind Little Muenster, a New York City grilled cheese shop specializing in adult versions of the classic comfort food, and they're here to show us just how extreme — and extremely delicious — grilled cheese can be.

    WATCH: PB&J, Reinvented

    Ereka challenges the almost-newlyweds to come up with "his" and "hers" takes on grilled cheese. First up is Vanessa's: a gooey blend of herbed goat cheese, Muenster, and heirloom tomatoes on hearty bread. But the cheesy goodness doesn't end there — Vanessa adds a surprising ingredient to make her sandwich extra cheesy: Parmesan on the outside of the sandwich. "You think outside of the box when you put cheese on the outside of your grilled cheese," she says of the crispy Parmesan crust.

    Adam's version featured pork belly, Gouda, and caramelized onions. Adam fries the pork belly

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