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Archive | Arts & Entertainment

Top ways to take a safe vacation

(StatePoint) After months spent indoors at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clear that many people are itching to get back out there and take a vacation. This is with good reason. Staying isolated for too long can take a substantial toll on one’s mental health and well-being, according to the American Psychological Association.

If you still feel uncomfortable with going far from your home for a travel experience however, traveling domestically can be a step in the right direction. There are lots of great places to visit a few hours’ drive from your home that you probably didn’t think of! Whether you’re looking for a beach stay, or some nature, exploring options close to home can allow for an escape you and your family want, and in a safe environment, such as an apartment or home vacation rental. And it’s an increasingly popular choice. According to trivago, a global accommodation metasearch provider, the share of users clicking on deals for such vacation rentals increased by 5 percent from February to June 2020, both in the U.S. and internationally.

As you book and plan your travel, here are a few tips to consider to help ensure you have a healthy and safe experience:

  • DIY Cleaning: If you are worried about cleaning standards, consider seeking out accommodations where you don’t have to worry about someone else coming into your space during your stay. Bring your own wipes, anti-bacterial soap and other supplies and wipe down surfaces when you arrive, and as often as needed. Of course, you should always check with your accommodation provider about their hygiene standards to make sure they meet your expectations. Major hotel chains have announced special cleaning protocols in light of the coronavirus.
  • Beating the Crowds: From beach houses to mountain cabins, try to look for a vacation experience away from densely populated city destinations, which is a good choice for those wanting to beat the crowds.
  • Staying Active: Getting away doesn’t have to mean staying indoors somewhere new. Take a leisurely stroll on a beach. Go on a hike in the mountains. Explore a national park you’ve always wanted to see. Brunch at a small local café. There are plenty of ways to stay active and have fun, all while following social distance guidelines.
  • Choosing Your Destination: So where is everybody going? The current most popular U.S travel destinations by click share according to trivago are:
  • 1. Las Vegas
  • 2. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • 3. Panama City Beach, Fla.
  • 4. Virginia Beach, Va.
  • 5. Destin, Fla.
  • 6. Miami Beach, Fla.
  • 7. Ocean City, Md.
  • 8. Galveston, Texas
  • 9. South Padre Island, Texas
  • 10. Orlando, Fla.
  • 11. Key West, Fla.

For more travel tips and ideas, visit trivago.com, and trivago.com/corona for the most up-to-date travel restrictions.

Whether you hit up a popular destination or head somewhere remote, make sure you adhere to local health guidelines when traveling. And above all, stay safe and healthy.

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The pirate life

Two pirates, Morty and Sol, meet in a bar. Sol has a patch over one eye,
a hook for a hand, and a wooden peg leg. “Ye gads, matey,” says Morty. “What happened to ya?”

Sol says, “Me pirate ship was attacked, and a lucky shot lopped off me leg. So now I got me a wooden peg.”

“And yer hand?” asks Morty.

“When me ship sank, a shark bit me hand off. So now I got me a hook.”

“OK, but what’s with the eye patch?”

“I was standin’ on a dock, and the biggest seagull I ever saw poops right in me eye.”

“But ya don’t go blind from no seagull poop!”

“True,” says Sol. “But it was me first day with the hook.” 

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For a tasty treat – try these recipes

Apple pie sundae


 4 large apples, cored, peeled and sliced into 1/4 in. slices

 ¼ cup butter

 ½ cup chopped walnuts, a few reserved for garnish

 ¼ cup packed brown sugar

 1 tsp lemon juice

 ½ cup apple cider

 1 tbsp cornstarch

 1 tsp ground cinnamon

 ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

 ⅛ tsp allspice

 Vanilla Ice Cream

 Waffle bowls


Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat.

Add apples in a single layer.

Sprinkle with lemon juice, brown sugar and spices.

Stir to coat.

Cover and simmer on low until tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove apples with a slotted spoon.

In a small bowl, combine apple cider and cornstarch. Whisk well.

Pour into skillet with drippings from apples.

Increase heat to medium.

Whisk continuously until thickened.

Combine apples, sauce and walnuts in a large bowl.

Stir gently to combine.

Allow to cool slightly.

Scoop ice cream into waffle bowls, spoon apple mixture over top.

Add a few walnuts to top.

NOTE You can serve this right after cooking, when it’s very warm, but I find it works better when it’s cooled slightly. You can also make it ahead of time and reheat in the microwave, for about 1-2 minutes until it’s warmed through.

Recipe from Winnersdrinkmilk.com, the official website of the American Dairy Association of Indiana Inc.

Blender strawberry ice cream


 1 (10 ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries

 ½ cup sugar

 1 cup Heavy cream


Combine the frozen strawberries and sugar in a food processor or blender.

Process until the fruit is roughly chopped.

With the processor running, slowly pour in the heavy cream until fully incorporated.

Serve immediately or freeze for up to one week.

Recipe from Winnersdrinkmilk.com, the official website of the American Dairy Association of Indiana Inc.

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What’s in the ice cream aisle?

Definitions of frozen dessert products

From the International Dairy Foods Association

Ice cream and frozen desserts come in many flavors and types that allow the consumer to choose from a host of delicious choices. Whether the flavor is vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin pie or cookie dough, ice cream and its related products share certain basic characteristics that are often unknown to—or misunderstood by—many consumers.

Frozen desserts come in many forms. Each of the following foods has its own definition, and many are standardized by federal regulations:

  • Ice Cream consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk, and ingredients for sweetening and flavoring, such as fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. Functional ingredients, such as stabilizers and emulsifiers, are often included in the product to promote proper texture and enhance the eating experience. By federal law, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent milkfat, before the addition of bulky ingredients, and must weigh a minimum of 4.5 pounds to the gallon.
  • Frozen Custard or French Ice Cream must also contain a minimum of 10 percent milkfat, as well as at least 1.4 percent egg yolk solids.
  • Sherbets have a milkfat content of between 1 percent and 2 percent and weigh a minimum of 6 pounds to the gallon. They are flavored either with fruit or other characterizing ingredients.
  • Gelato is characterized by an intense flavor and is served in a semi-frozen state that is similar to “soft serve” ice cream. Italian-style gelato is denser than ice cream, since it has less air in the product. Typically, gelato has more milk than cream and also contains sweeteners, egg yolks and flavoring.
  • Sorbet and water Ices are similar to sherbets, but contain no dairy ingredients.
  • A Quiescently Frozen Confection is a frozen novelty such as a water ice novelty on a stick.
  • Frozen Yogurt consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk that have been cultured, as well as ingredients for sweetening and flavoring.
  • Novelties are separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert—such as ice cream sandwiches, fudge sticks and juice bars—that may or may not contain dairy ingredients.

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Ice cream labeling

What does it all mean?

There are many choices in today’s ice cream case to suit a wide variety of consumer tastes. There is plenty of information on food labels, but what does it really mean? Here, the International Ice Cream Association sheds some light on how ice cream and related products are labeled.

Labeling Definitions

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets standards of identity for many foods, including ice cream and frozen desserts, so that consumers will get a consistent product, no matter what brand or type they buy. FDA defines nutrient descriptors such as “light,” “reduced fat” and “lowfat” so that consumers know exactly what they’re selecting in terms of nutritional content. All labeling statements follow the federal Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), which governs all food labeling.
Here are some of the terms consumers are seeing in the supermarket, and exactly what those terms mean:

  • Ice cream is a frozen food made from a mixture of dairy products, containing at least 10 percent milkfat.
  • “Reduced fat” ice cream contains at least 25 percent less total fat than the referenced product (either an average of leading brands, or the company’s own brand).
  • “Light” or “lite” ice cream contains at least 50 percent less total fat or 33 percent fewer calories than the referenced product (the average of leading regional or national brands).
  • “Lowfat” ice cream contains a maximum of 3 grams of total fat per serving (½ cup).
  • “Nonfat” ice cream contains less than 0.5 grams of total fat per serving.

Quality Segments

In addition, there are commonly used marketing phrases that describe ice cream products in terms of quality segments, such as “superpremium,” “premium” and “economy.” Several factors can contribute to a product’s quality segment such as price, brand positioning, product packaging, quality of ingredients, milkfat content and the amount of overrun (air) in the product. Overrun refers to the amount of aeration the ice cream undergoes during its manufacture that keeps the mixture from becoming an inedible frozen mass. Overrun is governed by federal standards in that the finished product must not weigh less than 4.5 pounds per gallon.

  • “Superpremium” ice cream tends to have very low overrun and high fat content, and the manufacturer uses the best quality ingredients.
  • “Premium” ice cream tends to have low overrun and higher fat content than regular ice cream, and the manufacturer uses higher quality ingredients.
  • “Regular” ice cream meets the overrun required for the federal ice cream standard.
  • “Economy” ice cream meets required overrun and generally sells for a lower price than regular ice cream.

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Where’s the bathroom again?

The doctor says, “Larry, everything looks great. How are you doing mentally and emotionally? Are you at peace with God?”

Larry replies, “God and I are tight. He knows I have poor eyesight, so He’s fixed it so when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, poof! The light goes on. When I’m done, poof! The light goes off.”

“Wow, that’s incredible,” the doctor says.

A little later in the day, the doctor calls Larry’s wife.

“Bonnie,” he says, “Larry is doing fine! But I had to call you because I’m in awe of his relationship with God. Is it true that he gets up during the night, and poof, the light goes on in the bathroom, and when he’s done, poof, the light goes off?”

“Oh, no,” exclaims Bonnie. “He’s peeing in the refrigerator again!”

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Hometown Happenings 7/23/2020

Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

Adult Education Classes

July 16,23,30: Learn more, earn more, make your Grandma proud! If you always wanted to get your High School Diploma or GED, now is the time. Sparta Adult Education is pleased to be partnering with Alpha Family Cedar of Cedar Springs to offer free adult education enrollment and classes every Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm. Most of the classwork can be done online, with the support of a certified teacher. All classes are free and open to anyone 18 and older. GED test vouchers are also provided free. Come anytime during class time to enroll to the Alpha Family Center, 6 N. First Street, Cedar Springs. For more information contact Anne Heyt by email at anne.heyt@spartaschools.org or call 616-292-4842. #29,30p

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History of the ice cream cone

For over a century, Americans have been enjoying ice cream on a cone. Whether it’s a waffle cone, a sugar cone or a wafer cone, what better way to enjoy a double scoop of your favorite flavor?

Making Its Appearance

The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchiony, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903.

Although Marchiony is credited with the invention of the cone, a similar creation was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry — zalabis — in a booth right next to an ice cream vendor. Because of ice cream’s popularity, the vendor ran out of dishes. Hamwi saw an easy solution to the ice cream vendor’s problem: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone, or cornucopia, and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, the customers were happy and the cone was on its way to becoming the great American institution that it is today.

A Business is Born

St. Louis, a foundry town, quickly capitalized on the cone’s success. Enterprising people invented special baking equipment for making the World’s Fair cornucopia cones.

Stephen Sullivan of Sullivan, Missouri, was one of the first known independent operators in the ice cream cone business. In 1906, Sullivan served ice cream cones (or cornucopias, as they were still called) at the Modern Woodmen of America Frisco Log Rolling in Sullivan, Missouri.

At the same time, Hamwi was busy with the Cornucopia Waffle Company. In 1910, he founded the Missouri Cone Company, later known as the Western Cone Company.

As the modern ice cream cone developed, two distinct types of cones emerged. The rolled cone was a waffle, baked in a round shape and rolled (first by hand, later mechanically) as soon as it came off the griddle. In a few seconds, it hardened in the form of a crisp cone. The second type of cone was molded either by pouring batter into a shell, inserting a core on which the cone was baked, and then removing the core; or pouring the batter into a mold, baking it and then splitting the mold so the cone could be removed with little difficulty.

In the 1920s, the cone business expanded. Cone production in 1924 reached a record 245 million. Slight changes in automatic machinery have led to the ice cream cone we know today. Now, millions of rolled cones are turned out on machines that are capable of producing about 150,000 cones every 24 hours.

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Did you know?

  • Pecan is the most popular nut flavoring, and strawberry is the most popular fruit in ice cream.
  • Candy and chocolate pieces are the most popular confections in ice cream.
  • Waffle cones and sugar cones tie for most popular containers.

Ice Cream Production

  • Most ice cream is made March through July. July is the busiest production month for ice cream makers.
  • About 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2017 (most recent data).
  • Ice cream is an $11 billion industry that supports 26,000 direct jobs and generates $1.6 billion in direct wages, according to IDFA’s Dairy Delivers®.
  • The majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses.

Ice Cream Marketing

  • Families are the primary customer group for ice cream retailers.
  • Ice cream marketing is primarily done on a local or regional level.
  • Two-fifths of ice cream makers are seeing an increased demand for premium ice cream versus 17 percent seeing an increase in gelato demand followed by 15 percent for sorbet. Demand for low-fat or non-fat ice cream ranked the lowest at just 4 percent.
  • Ice cream makers and retailers say the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) is the most successful ice cream market. 


  • The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year.
  • Regular ice cream is the most popular category of frozen desserts.

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Give a Treat with a Kid-Friendly Sweet

Letting kids get hands-on in the kitchen is an easy way to keep them busy while teaching important life skills. Planning for delicious snacks children can make all on their own (or with minimal assistance) makes for a winning solution, and these Crazy Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches are a prime example. Find more kid-friendly snack ideas at milkmeansmore.org. 

Crazy Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

1 cup vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup chopped candy bar

6 graham cracker sheets, broken into 12 squares

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

1 1/2 tablespoons refined coconut oil or vegetable oil

multi-colored sprinkles (optional)

In medium bowl, stir ice cream until just softened. Stir in chopped candy.

Working quickly, scoop ice cream mixture onto six graham cracker squares. Top with remaining graham cracker squares, gently pressing down until ice cream reaches edges of crackers. Place in shallow, wax paper-lined pan. Freeze 1 hour.

In small, microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate morsels and coconut oil. Microwave on high 40-60 seconds, or until melted, stirring vigorously every 20 seconds. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.

Remove sandwiches from freezer. Dip half of each sandwich into chocolate mixture. Immediately scatter sprinkles over chocolate, if desired. Return to wax paper-lined pan. Freeze about 5 minutes, or until chocolate sets. Serve immediately or individually wrap in plastic wrap and store in freezer.

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