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Hasselback Apple Crisp from the 2012 DietsInReview Holiday Card

We are off today celebrating the Christmas holiday with our families and friends. If you’re stopping by DietsInReview today, we want to say welcome and thank you! Each of the millions of people who visit us each month have made our fifth year an exciting one, not to mention a successful one. We appreciate you and hope you’ll drop by often in 2013, too!

While we’re kicking up our feet and enjoying a little downtime, we wanted to share our 2012 holiday card with you! It’s not just any card with well wishes for the season and new year, it comes with a pretty fantastic treat that we dreamed up. Flip the card over (or in this case, keep reading) and you’ll find one of our most unique recipe creations ever … the Hasselback Apple Crisp!

We figured the potato couldn’t be having all the fun with this trendy slicing method and applied it to our favorite fall fruit – the apple. Use any apple you like, we prefer Honeycrisp and Granny Smith.
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McCormick’s Saigon Cinnamon Makes Over Homemade Microwave Popcorn

It finally felt like fall this weekend. I hope it did where you are, too! I spotted patches of red and orange in otherwise bright green trees. We lit a fire inside and even needed hoodies to go outside. For the first time since the official first day of fall, it felt crunchy. That’s my word to describe fall – crunchy. Which is appropriate, because one of my favorite fall snacks is popcorn.

My other favorite fall flavor is cinnamon. I don’t care if it’s on a cinnamon roll, toast, oatmeal, cookies, applesauce, topping my yogurt, or wafting from a candle, my nose simply cannot get enough of this scent. So on a recent trip to the McCormick spice headquarters, as part of the Fitbloggin’ conference, outside of Baltimore, Maryland, I found myself in cinnamon-loving heaven.

We went through some of their consumer research experiments, one of which had us tasting traditional ground cinnamon next to Saigon cinnamon. I would have said cinnamon is cinnamon before that afternoon. But the ground cinnamon that I add to French toast every Saturday morning suddenly tasted like red hots candies compared to the earthy, warm, woodsy flavor that came from the McCormick Saigon cinnamon. I fell in love with cinnamon all over again.

As soon as I returned home, making something with that cinnamon was all I could think about. With the fall season in full swing, and McCormick encouraging us to freshen up one of our recipes, the only logical choice was marrying cinnamon and popcorn. Maybe some raisins, too. Cinnamon Raisin Popcorn sounds like a pretty incredible fall snack, doesn’t it?
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R3 Flat Belly Shots Not Necessary for Taut Abs

R3 Flat Belly Shot is touted as a 100 percent organic, chemical-free, natural herbal supplement that helps people lose weight. Producers of the supplement claim that the weight is lost primarily in the belly region, which is a trouble zone for most people. And while this product may seem to be a healthy, natural option for increased weight loss, it may not be worth the investment.

R3 Flat Belly Shots contain such ingredients as cha de bugre, capsicum, tumeric, chickweed, spirulina, acacia, willow bark and cinnamon. As a way of dissecting this product, we’ve defined and described each ingredient’s individual properties below.

Cha de bugre comes from South America and is similar to the coffee bean. It has stimulant-like and diuretic properties similar to caffeine. Drinking caffeinated beverages while on anything that contains cha de bugre should be avoided to prevent worsening side effects like increased blood pressure and heart rate. If you are taking lithium, which is a mood stabilizer, the dosage may need to be lowered as cha de bugre decreases the elimination of lithium.
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Embrace Cinnamon, Avoid the Cinnamon Challenge

Talk about ruining a good thing. You take something wonderful like cinnamon, throw in teenagers and YouTube, and you have a growing recipe for disaster. The foolish internet craze referred to as the “cinnamon challenge” is causing a major commotion.

If you haven’t heard of the cinnamon challenge, it is very simple. It refers to the attempt to consume a spoonful of cinnamon in a hurry. No liquid is allowed to aid in washing it down. As one might imagine, cinnamon is very effective at drying out the mouth and the flavor can be spicy. YouTube is littered with videos of teens taking the challenge, and they are often seen gagging and coughing as the cinnamon goes flying everywhere.

Seems like harmless, albeit stupid, fun, right? Wrong. Dr. Alvin Bronstein is the medical director for the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center recently released this statement.

“We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences.”

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Your Complete Guide to Cinnamon

There’s a reason why cinnamon stars in all sorts of pies and cakes: it is a warming spice, excellent for balancing the winter chill and “waking up” the sluggish Kapha dosha.

In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon has been used for centuries along with honey, ginger and tea to cure cold and flu.

Regular use of cinnamon improves the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar. In fact, just one gram of cinnamon taken daily can reduce fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL (“bad’) cholesterol. Researchers are now recommending that Type 2 diabetics take up to 1 tsp of cinnamon daily.

In a study, participants were exposed to four scents: zero odor, peppermint, jasmine, and cinnamon. Guess what? Cinnamon emerged the clear winner in boosting brain function, especially memory and motor co-ordination. Just chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or smelling the spice does the trick. Inhale some cinnamon essential oil and feel the alertness kick in.

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