RENT Leaves no Feeling Untouched!

Written by Scott Rigtrup, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

Bass Concert Hall played host venue to the opening night of the 20th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Broadway play RENT on October 13, 2017.  Being in attendance was to say the least, historic!

(L to R) Skyler Volpe, Kaleb Wells RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2017.

(L to R) Skyler Volpe, Kaleb Wells RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2017.

Set in the late 90′s in New York City, a young group of impoverished artists squatting in an old dilapidated warehouse, band together as they face seemingly insurmountable struggles in pursuit of their youthful hopes and aspirations.

The palette of characters paints an intensely colorful tapestry as their lives joyfully and sorrowfully weave together. The young musician vexed by the death of his lover struggles to discover “that perfect note”.  Yet, he finds himself falling hopelessly and fearfully in love with the vivacious striptease dancer who is ensnared in her own life threatening drug addiction.

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Meanwhile, the aspiring film maker astutely records the nuances of their eclectic community as he longs to feel connected to the people before him in his camera lens.

Subsequently, a former squatter marries in to money and purchases the very warehouse he once lived in because of his dream of turning it into an institute for the arts, which ironically unveils the tyrannical landlord in him as he threatens to evict the very friends he once lived side by side with.

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All the while, the community watches helplessly as the incredibly big hearted “friend to all” springs further alive by meeting the love of his life. Heartbreakingly so, his new hysterically flamboyant cross dressing boyfriend soon succumbs to the ravages of AIDS in his fledgling partners loving arms.

RENT leaves no feeling untouched.  The feverish pitch of youthful hope and aspiration, countered by the walloping blows of despair and anguish are ever so gently balanced by the weaving of the abiding thread of reassuring love that undoubtedly conquers all and that is the textile of life.

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Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign restages this 20th anniversary tour.  Marlies Yearby (Tony Nomination, RENT) serves as choreographer.

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions, whose other touring productions include Cinderella, MAMMA MIA!, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Vocalosity, and Crazy For You.

Find Medicare Confusing? Start Here

Navigating Medicare can be challenging. In fact, according to a 2017 UnitedHealthcare survey, nearly 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries find the program confusing. Learning the basics can help you cut through the confusion and make an informed decision about which coverage option may be the right fit for you.

Here’s a quick guide to five important Medicare terms to help prepare for the upcoming open enrollment period. What is open enrollment, you ask? Well, read on.

1. Open Enrollment Period

If you are already enrolled in Medicare and want to make changes to your health plan, you can do so during the annual open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. For most people, this is the one opportunity each year to make changes to your Medicare coverage.

Changes made during this year’s open enrollment period take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

2. Original Medicare

Original Medicare is made up of Part A and Part B and is offered by the federal government. Simply put, Part A helps cover services such as inpatient care at a hospital or a skilled nursing facility. Part B helps cover doctor’s office visits and outpatient physical and occupational therapy services.

According to Dr. Efrem Castillo, Chief Medical Officer for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, “Original Medicare generally covers 80 percent of health care costs, leaving you responsible for paying the remaining 20 percent. It also does not have an out-of-pocket maximum, meaning that if you have unexpected health care costs, you could end up with a hefty bill.”

Original Medicare does not cover things like prescription drugs, long-term care, hearing aids and the exams needed for fitting them, or routine dental or vision care.

3. Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans combine Medicare Parts A and B into one plan (which means you only need to carry one card), and can offer additional benefits such as vision, hearing, dental and even gym memberships. Most plans also provide prescription drug coverage.

In addition to the all-in-one coverage, Medicare Advantage plans also have an annual out-of-pocket maximum, making it easier for you to estimate your health care costs, even when facing an unforeseen health event.

4. Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)

A Medicare Supplement policy is also known as Medigap and is offered by private companies. It can help pay for some things not covered by Original Medicare, such as copays, coinsurance and deductibles. Medigap plans typically have a higher monthly premium but little or no out-of-pocket costs when you access care. However, Medigap plans don’t cover prescription drugs, so you would need to enroll in a separate Part D plan.

5. Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D helps cover prescription drugs. Castillo explains, “You have two options for prescription drug coverage. Either enroll in a standalone Part D plan, or you can get drug coverage through most Medicare Advantage plans.” Make sure that the plan you select covers the prescription medications you need.

To learn more, visit UHCOpenEnrollment.com. (BPT)

How to Prep Your Pup for Winter

The colder months are approaching, and it’s not uncommon to lessen focus on diet and exercise, and the same goes for furry friends during the cooler seasons. To keep your pup healthy this winter, it’s important to establish proper nutrition habits – which start by feeding your pet the right type of food.

“Whether it’s the increase in holiday parties or the decrease in temperature, healthy eating routines typically fall to the wayside during winter – for humans and pets,” said Dr. Jeff Weber, veterinarian and IAMS™ spokesperson. “In addition, it’s common for pet owners to stay indoors and out of the cold weather, which can negatively affect the daily activity and exercise required for dogs.”

Despite all the distractions and temptations of the season, it’s important to keep your dog on a steady diet that includes high-quality ingredients, each serving a purpose in his or her overall health.

“I recommend looking for a dog food with high-quality ingredients,” Dr. Werber said. “I like IAMS™ dog food because it offers quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals for your furry friend to stay healthy and active during the winter months.”

To provide these benefits, Dr. Werber recommends an option like the IAMS™ diet, which can help you see the following visible differences in your dog:

  • Healthy skin and coat: A rich source of omega-6 fatty acids from chicken fat promotes excellent skin and coat health.
  • Healthy energy: A customized protein and carb mix contributes to healthy energy levels.
  • Healthy digestion: Beet pulp helps maintain intestinal health and aids his or her ability to absorb nutrients.

Heading into the colder months it’s also important to sustain your active habits. Bundle up, head outside and let a high-quality diet fuel both you and your dog to make the most of the colder months.

For more tips and information on healthy habits for your pup, visit IAMS.com/VisibleDifference. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Iams

Easy Ways to Make Your Data, and Your Dollars, Go Further

Wireless providers would love for you to believe that a modern lifestyle requires an endless, unlimited stream of data; and by the way, they’d love to sell it to you! On its face, there’s probably nothing wrong with this assumption. Just think about how much of your day is spent on data-dependent activities, like streaming video or music, searching the internet or using GPS on your smartphone. They all require data, in some form, to deliver what you need.

But in our fast-paced, plugged-in world, don’t lose sight of the fact that all of these things can actually be done while using far less, and sometimes even none, of the data from your cellular plan. This means that in just a few simple steps, you can save considerable money each and every month. Here’s how:

Tame the Video Beast

The convenience of watching video on your smartphone can sometimes obscure an important fact: it’s a data glutton. For example, viewing a full-length movie on Netflix consumes about 1GB of data per hour in standard definition video, and up to 3GB per hour in high definition. At that rate, you’ll burn through even the most robust data package in no time.

Try connecting to Wi-Fi instead. It’s widely available, and lets you stream without using any cellular data at all, often with a faster connection. While connected to Wi-Fi, you can also download videos, TV shows or movies to your phone or SD card to watch anytime at your convenience, with no data required.

In addition, when you’re streaming video on a small screen, such as a cellphone, you really don’t need high resolution. Many apps give you the ability to change video quality settings, and therefore consume less data. For Netflix, log into your account and switch to one of three settings: low (using 0.3GB per hour), medium (which uses 0.7GB per hour) or high (using up to 3GB per hour). In the YouTube app, just tap the three-dots menu and click “Quality” to lower it.

Manage Social Media and Streaming Music

Videos have also become a standard part of the social media experience. Adjusting your settings to prevent videos from playing automatically will prevent them from eating up your data. The steps to change this setting can vary between applications. On most platforms, like Facebook, you’ll go to your Account Settings and either disable the “Autoplay” feature entirely, or change it so that videos will only play automatically when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

All of the popular audio streaming apps offer ways to listen to your music without having to use a network connection, or even Wi-Fi. Spotify lets you download your albums and playlists right to your device. If you use Apple Music, you can add songs, albums and playlists to your library. With Google Play Music, you can download everything: songs, albums, playlists and even radio stations.

Try a Smaller Plan for Bigger Savings

By managing data effectively, you can save money by choosing smaller, less expensive data plans. Consumer Cellular, for instance, offers no-contract monthly plans ranging from 250MB to 10GB, for $5 to $40 per month. That’s far less than most “unlimited” options, and you also get the flexibility to change your plan as needed with no extra charges.

Also, be sure to take advantage of Usage Alerts, which most carriers provide for free. On an Android device, you can do this by going to your device settings, and then tapping the data usage option. Simply turn on “Alert me about data usage” to receive notifications about how much data you are consuming.

Follow these tips and you’ll enjoy streaming movies, listening to music and so much more while also keeping money in your pocket for things other than a colossal data plan. You can truly have it all, without needing an unlimited budget to do it. (BPT)

An Overlooked Benefit to Consider This Open Enrollment Season

Being a parent is a balancing act. You are constantly being pulled in different directions and it can be challenging managing all of the things you need to get done. Your company’s open enrollment period is a chance to take stock of what benefits your workplace offers that may be able to help you manage some of the issues you face.
One often overlooked benefit is a group legal plan, which provides access to a nationwide network of attorneys for help with personal legal issues for around $20 a month. Here are just a few reasons why a legal plan can be a valuable benefit for a parent:
It helps with the things keeping you up at night. Have you considered who would take care of your children if something happened to you or your spouse? Or what if someone in the family became disabled? Do you have financial and health care directives in place to protect your family? If you have kids, you need to have estate planning documents. A group legal plan covers the cost of drafting documents like wills and powers of attorney for you, your spouse and dependents.
It can help protect or restore your identity. Identity theft is on the rise, with child identity theft quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing identity theft crimes. Contacting creditors and other agencies to resolve an identity theft issue can be very time-consuming and costly. In fact, the average cost to resolve an identity theft issue, including legal fees, is around $1,300, according to a U.S. Department of Justice study cited by CSID. Access to identity theft assistance through a group legal plan connects you to experts who can do the work for you, saving you time and money.
It helps with buying or selling a home. Having children can mean having to move to a bigger house. There are numerous legal issues involved in buying or selling a home. Attorneys can review contracts, draft documents related to the purchase or sale, as well as attend the closing for you. A legal plan provides you with access to an attorney to guide you through the homebuying or selling process, taking away the stress of dealing with complicated paperwork and legal issues.
It can help with school-related issues. As your child enters school, there are many complicated issues he or she may face. Dealing with special needs requests, administrative hearings at school or even juvenile court for traffic infractions are all legal issues that can be difficult for most parents to maneuver without legal help. When you are enrolled in a legal plan, it’s similar to having an attorney on retainer. You can contact an attorney for any questions you have related to issues your children face throughout their school years.
Having access to affordable legal help through a group legal plan can help you navigate many of the issues you face as a parent. If your company offers this as a benefit at your work, it’s one to consider this open enrollment season. (BPT)

5 Tips to Help Prepare for Open Enrollment and Save on Health Care Costs

Millions of Americans will soon select or switch their health benefits plan during open enrollment, so now is the time to prepare for that important decision that usually happens once a year.

More than 70 percent of Americans say they are prepared for open enrollment, yet most people struggle to understand basic health insurance terms, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey. Only 9 percent of survey respondents could successfully define all four basic health insurance concepts: plan premium, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum.

To help people make the most out of their health benefits, and better understand how to use their health care dollars, Rebecca Madsen, chief consumer officer of UnitedHealthcare, offers the following five tips.

1. Know your open enrollment dates

Open enrollment isn’t the same or at the same time for everyone, so there are key dates to keep in mind depending on your situation:

* For the more than 177 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many companies set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.

* For the more than 59 million seniors and other people enrolled in Medicare, their Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

* Health insurance marketplace or individual state exchange open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

For most people, changes made to coverage during open enrollment take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

2. Take time to review your options

Every person or family has unique health and budget needs, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting a health plan. Take the time to explore your options, and understand the benefits and costs of each plan so you can find the coverage that works best for you and your family members.

* Check if your current coverage still meets your needs and if your benefits will change next year.

* Determine if the plan is a good fit for your budget, and pay attention to more than just the monthly premium. You should also understand the other out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

* Make sure your medications are covered. Even if you don’t expect to change plans, it’s important to ensure your drugs will still be covered next year.

3. Make sure your doctor is in your plan’s care provider network

Even if you don’t make any changes to your health insurance this year, it’s still a good idea to ensure that any doctor you see regularly — or plan to visit in the coming year — is in your benefit plan’s care provider network. If you plan to visit a doctor or hospital outside of the network, be sure to understand how your costs will differ from a network care provider because those costs will most likely be higher.

Also, check if your plan includes 24/7 telehealth services for consultations on minor health issues. Often, telehealth — defined as online, or virtual, visits with a doctor over a computer, tablet or mobile phone — is available to people enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans and group Medicare Advantage plans, as well as select individual Medicare Advantage plans. Virtual visits may provide convenient and affordable access to care for minor medical issues, including allergies, bronchitis and seasonal flu.

4. Don’t forget about additional benefits

Additional benefits such as dental, vision, accident or critical-illness insurance are often affordable options that can protect you and your family from head to toe. For people enrolled in Medicare, many are surprised to find that Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs and most dental, vision and hearing services. But many Medicare Advantage plans do, often at a $0 monthly premium beyond the premium for Original Medicare.

5. Take advantage of wellness programs.

Some health plans offer discounts on gym memberships and provide financial incentives for completing health assessments, signing up for health coaching programs, lowering your cholesterol, losing weight, meeting walking goals or stopping smoking. Programs are designed to reward people for making healthy choices and being more engaged in improving their health.

For help navigating open enrollment, visit UHCOpenEnrollment.com for articles and videos with easy-to-understand information about health benefits and health insurance terms. (BPT)

A Fresh Tailgate Menu

Quick and tasty ideas for game day

Take your tailgating game to new heights this season with fresh dishes that are easy to make and serve, whether your tailgating tradition takes place at the game or at home.

Fast prep times and short ingredient lists make these recipes a cinch to prepare in advance and have ready to go as soon as you reach the parking lot or before guests arrive. The star ingredients are naturally hardwood-smoked sausages and seasoned deli meats from Eckrich, which offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links as well as gluten-free deli meats such as Black Forest ham and oven-roasted turkey, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.

You can switch up the flavors of these recipes by subbing in different varieties of smoked sausage, such as replacing the original rope-style smoked sausage with Eckrich Jalapeno & Cheddar Links. The roll-ups are also easy to customize for guests using any type of deli meat, and they’re easy to enjoy on the go if you need a quick bite on the way to the stadium.

Tailgate Like a Pro

Try New Toppings

Smoked sausage and deli meats are easy to add to a bun for an instant meal, and there’s plenty of ways to dress your tailgate menu up or down based upon the preferences of your guests. Be sure to keep some basics on hand for those who prefer traditional preparation, but for the more adventurous types, try out these ideas for toppings that create a new dimension of flavor.

  • Grilled onion
  • Grilled peppers
  • Grilled, roasted or sauteed mushrooms
  • Spicy mustard
  • Flavored ketchup (think spicy, fruity or sweet)
  • Ethnic flavors like curry or marinara sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Roasted corn relish
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese
  • Bacon crumbles

Handy Hacks

  • Repurpose coffee filters as holders for your sandwiches. They’re easy to hold and help keep your favorite toppings contained.
  • Up-cycle an empty six-pack container into a convenient cookout caddy to hold napkins, condiments and utensils. Not only is it quick to grab and place on the table, but it helps keep napkins from blowing away in a breeze.
  • For kabobs, keep wooden skewers from charring by soaking them in water before threading on ingredients.
  • Prepare toppings the night before and arrange them in a disposable foil pan for a quick and easy DIY topping bar.

Million Dollar Moment

This season, Eckrich – the official smoked sausage and deli meat sponsor of the College Football Playoff – is once again hosting the Road to the National Championship sweepstakes. Fans around the country will have the chance to make a 20-yard throw for $1 million at some of the biggest college football games of the season, including the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta. Visit EckrichFootball.com for your chance to win.

Find more game-day recipes at Eckrich.com.

Grilled Sausage Skewer Sandwiches

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1          regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage
  • 1          small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1          red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6          wooden skewers, 10 inches long
  • 1/2       cup Italian salad dressing, divided
  • 6          bolillo or sandwich rolls, split
  • 1          avocado, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/4       cup cilantro leaves
  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread sausage, onion and bell peppers alternately onto skewers. Brush 1/4 cup salad dressing on skewered sausage and vegetables.
  3. Grill until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once.
  4. Brush remaining salad dressing on rolls. Fill rolls with grilled sausage and vegetables. Divide avocado and cilantro onto each.

Tip: To broil sausage rather than grill, heat broiler to medium-high, follow the same skewer preparation instructions and broil about 10 minutes, or until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender.

Ham and Turkey Roll-ups

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Black Forest Ham
  • lettuce leaves
  • 2          tablespoons chunky guacamole
  • 1/4       cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1          tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2          slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Layer turkey and ham slices. Layer lettuce, guacamole, cucumber, cheese and bacon crumbles. Roll meat and secure with toothpick.

Potato Salad with Smoked Sausage

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 3/4       regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3          small red potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), cooked and quartered
  • 1          can (4 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
  • 2          cups Italian dressing
  • 1          green onion, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          teaspoons ground black pepper
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. Add olives, dressing, onions, garlic and pepper; mix lightly.

(Family Features)

SOURCE:
Eckrich

Add Family Fun to Chores

When school is in session and just getting out the door is an accomplishment, having go-to routines can help make ordinary activities more exciting for the entire family. However, if you encounter resistance to everyday household tasks, you may just need a simple revamp to make activities more entertaining and engaging.

Refresh your family routines with these ideas designed to create more willing participants:

Trash duty

No one likes taking out the trash, but with a nudge, even little helpers can find fun in this mundane chore. Ask for help sorting materials in the recycle bin for an educational chance to throw things without getting into trouble. Or try timing how long it takes to gather trash from the bedrooms or bathrooms, and set a goal to break that record next week.

Personal care

Getting kids to brush not once but twice a day can be an onerous endeavor, but making the activity silly may be just the answer. The “Silly Brushing Song” is a fun, interactive music video and tool for parents that Tom’s of Maine created in partnership with children’s singer and songwriter Laurie Berkner to help get kids brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day, as recommended by the American Dental Association.

For a winning combination, add Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste, the No. 1 natural children’s toothpaste according to SPINS, a provider of retail consumer insights for natural, organic and specialty products.  Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the toothpaste is made for kids ages 2-6 with natural ingredients including real strawberry extract and no artificial flavors, dyes or sweeteners. Learn more at tomsofmaine.com.

Yard work

Tools made for pint-sized helpers can make all the difference in getting junior gardeners on board. So can setting small, attainable goals so they can celebrate a sense of accomplishment. Try designating a flower bed to get rid of leaves or a section of the yard that needs sticks removed. Be sure to demonstrate proper techniques and give frequent praise for a job well done.

Clean-up time

It’s no secret that kids can destroy a room in minutes, especially when it’s a room filled with their favorite toys. When it comes to cleaning up, all that mess can be overwhelming. Look for ways to make the chore more manageable, such as picking up all the cars and trucks first then the building blocks next, for example. Sing songs while you work to help make the time go faster.

Pet care

For many households, pets are not only beloved members of the family, they’re living, breathing lessons in responsibility. Once the novelty of a new animal wears off, however, so can the excitement of feeding and walking. A simple sticker chart can be a hands-on and effective way to remind kids that this is a chore that needs to be completed every single day. Plus, pet care can be a fun way to introduce children to the importance of responsibilities and becoming a “big kid.” For added fun, make your own stickers using funny photos of your family pets. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Tom’s of Maine

A Crash Course in Cyber Security

From personal computers, laptops and smartphones to IoT gadgets, tech devices can make life easier and more convenient for college students when completing assignments, communicating with peers and professors, surfing the web and more. However, it’s important to ensure those devices are protected from threats such as hackers, scams and viruses. Cover your bases with some tips and best practices from Trend Micro and learn more at TrendMicro.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Trend Micro

Flavorful Fall: 5 Meltingly Great Grilled Cheese Recipes for Autumn

Are you noticing a golden hue to the sunlight, the earthy aroma of bonfires and a slight chill in the evening air?

As autumn officially kicks in Sept. 22, we’re turning our thoughts to all the good things that come with the season, including football, cozy sweaters, apple orchards, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the warm comfort food that pairs well with crisp fall days.

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A longtime cool-weather favorite is the classic grilled cheese sandwich in all its crisp, meltingly gooey varieties. These days, restaurants and at-home chefs are serving up the deeply satisfying American concoction with a number of scrumptious toppings designed to pair in perfect gourmet harmony with the flavors of the bread and cheese. The sky is really the limit when it comes to devising new takes on the classic dish. In the autumn that may mean pairing traditional favorites with seasonal choices such as sliced apples, pumpkin or even Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.

The perfect canvas for such creations is Sara Lee’s new Artesano Golden Wheat Bread, featuring thick, flour-dusted slices that crisp up beautifully and stand up to all of your filling choices without overpowering their flavors. It’s baked with a touch of honey, olive oil and sea salt, but no high-fructose corn syrup, added colors or artificial flavors. A few autumn grilled cheese recipes featuring the delectable bread variety:

* Apple Picker’s Harvest: Thinly sliced freshly picked apples, brie and some smoked ham onto your bread, slathering on a bit of honey and thyme butter before your creation hits the grill or pan. The results are perfect for a fall picnic or family lunch before hitting up the corn maze.

* Nine-Layer Dip: If you’re a fan of the classic seven-layer dip (chopped layers of pepper jack cheese, refried beans, avocado, corn and pickled red onions), you’ll love this savory concoction sprinkled with cilantro and grilled between buttered bread slices. Cook up a warm, gooey batch for the gang gathering around the TV for the next big game, or bring it to your next game-side tailgate.

* Pumpkin Mac: Whip up your favorite mac and cheese recipe, season it with pureed pumpkin, top it with gouda and bacon, add slices of Golden Wheat bread and get busy grilling. The sweetness of the pumpkin balances the bacon’s saltiness for a gourmet treat that may well become your family’s new favorite.

* Halloween Grilled Cheese: Concoct a boo-tiful sweet-and-salty combo of brie, creamy mascarpone and chopped chocolate and peanut butter candy bars (leftover from trick-or-treating), then top the mixture with a thin layer of raspberry jam. You’ll be amazed how the flavors complement each other when melted and book-ended with warm, crisp-yet-fluffy wheat bread.

* Gooey Gobbler: Optimize that mouthwatering leftover turkey by spreading it with cranberry jam, sage butter and gouda slices, perfecting your dream sandwich on the griddle and enjoying every balanced, blended bite. The taste will have you wishing every day was Black Friday.

For more delicious recipes featuring Sara Lee’s taste-tempting breads and rolls, visit www.saraleebread.com. (BPT)